Share and Follow
Between 1998 and 2006, That ‘70s Show was one of the most successful series on TV. The sitcom — which revolved around the lives of six teenagers living in a small Wisconsin town in the 1970s — lasted eight seasons and kicked off the careers of Laura Prepon, Wilmer Valderrama, Danny Masterson, Topher Grace and future A-list couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. “I think for life we will be friends,” Mila said after the show ended. “I don’t think any of us will ever not be in each other’s lives.”
Little did she know that part of staying in each other’s lives would mean writing a letter to a judge on behalf of convicted rapist Danny. In the days since the 47-year-old was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the forcible rape of two women in the early 2000s, the comedy, and its cast of once young, up-and-coming stars, have come under scrutiny. Insiders tell In Touch that behind the scenes all was not as wholesome as it seemed in the Formans’ cozy basement. “It’s all coming out,” a source exclusively tells In Touch. As the dark secrets — from disturbing behind-the-scenes games to wild partying to creepy sex talk — are coming to light, a pall is being cast on the feel-good retro show. “We were just having fun,” Ashton later said. In Touch investigates what really went on.
Ashton Under Fire
Sure, they are a happily married couple now — and parents of two. But Mila and Ashton played boyfriend and girlfriend well before they started their off-screen romance. A recently resurfaced 2002 clip from The Rosie O’Donnell Show reveals that Ashton was willing to cross the line with his costar. He bet Danny that he could French kiss Mila during their first onscreen kiss (and her first ever!). At the time, Mila was just 14 years old; Ashton was five years her senior. “She was 14 when we started the show. I was 19,” Ashton, 45, told Rosie. “And they were like, ‘You guys are going to be making out in this scene.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Wait, this is slightly illegal.’”
Mila said she was “extremely scared” to lock lips with Ashton before her now-husband (they wed in 2015 and share Wyatt, 8, and Dimitri, 6) admitted he and Danny “had a little side bet going.” She said, “I’ve never kissed a guy. I was a 14-year-old little girl and I was extremely scared for my life.” When Mila, 40, added that Ashton ultimately “tried” to French kiss her but she “didn’t let him,” the Butterfly Effect actor insisted his wife had turned 15 by the time the scene was filmed. The source says antics like that were par for the course — and that Danny and Ashton often played such games on set. “They were all young and most of the guys were very immature, especially Ashton and Danny,” says the source, adding, “Mila seemed to take it all in stride, but it must have been awkward for her to hear about the bet. She was barely into her teens.”
In yet another resurfaced video, Ashton is seen talking inappropriately about then-underage actresses Hilary Duff and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. During a 2005 episode of Punk’d, Ashton said he couldn’t wait for a then-15-year-old Hilary to come of age. “She’s one of the girls that we’re all waiting for to turn 18,” he said. “Along with the Olsen twins.” (He was labeled “gross” and “creepy” on social media after the clip went viral.)
Ashton wasn’t the only one making crude comments about young women. During a 2006 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Wilmer, 43, boasted about his sexual conquests, revealing intimate details about his exes, including Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Love Hewitt, as well as indulging the shock jock with a game of f–k, marry, kill about his conquests. After bragging about the size of his manhood, he also claimed to have taken ex-girlfriend Mandy Moore’s virginity, saying, “the sex with Mandy was good, but it wasn’t like warm apple pie,” which later prompted Mandy to expose his hurtful lie. “Wilmer had a horrible reputation when it came to females,” says the source.
What Topher Saw
Topher famously kept his distance from the cast. For years, it was rumored that the Spider-Man 3 actor, 43, thought he was better than his costars, and that’s why he rarely opted to socialize with them (he also left the show after the seventh season and reportedly left the set without even saying goodbye to the cast). Now there’s talk he knew too much about what was really going on when the cameras weren’t rolling. “Topher was focused on the work and didn’t have time for his castmates’ fun and games,” says the source. Tellingly, he was one of the few That ’70s Show alums who didn’t submit letters to the court on behalf of Danny (like Mila and Ashton, Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith also wrote character statements).
“Topher stands out as the cast member who didn’t show support for Danny during the trial,” says the source. “He kept out of it, which was wise given the guilty verdict and harsh sentencing. Topher may have had the intuition that things were not going to go well for Danny.” No wonder: A clip of Danny has gone viral in recent weeks showing him joking about his genitals on Late Night With Conan O’Brien in 2004.
In the segment, Danny recalled how a friend would poke fun at Danny’s Long Island accent saying, “Hi, my name is Danny Masterson, would you like to touch my balls?” When Conan asks, “Why are you asking people to do that?” Danny replied, “I mean, you got ’em, you know what I mean? Everybody should grab [them].”
Mila and Ashton apologized after their letters defending Danny went public. Time will tell if they’ll be forgiven. (It’s not the first time he’s ruffled feathers: Ashton was accused of being overtly sexist after posting about gender equality in the workplace and implying women have inferior business ideas.) “Ashton has learned from his mistakes,” says the source. “You can tell he’ll be wording things differently from now on.”