Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis shared a video on Instagram expressing regret for the letters they wrote in support of their former That ’70s Show co-star Danny Masterson just ahead of his sexual assault sentencing.
“We are aware of the pain that has been caused by the character letters that we wrote on behalf of Danny Masterson,” Mr Kutcher said in the video posted to his account on Saturday.
“We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future,” his wife added.
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher were among 50 people who wrote letters of support for Masterson ahead of his sentencing on Thursday.
The 47-year-old star of That ‘70s Show was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the rapes of two women two decades ago.
Mr Kutcher explained on the video Masterson’s family had reached out to them about writing the character letters to “represent the person that we knew for 25 years.”
“The letters were not written to question the legitimacy of the judicial system, or the validity of the jury’s ruling,” Ms Kunis said in the video.
“They were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or re-traumatise them in any way,” Mr Kutcher added.
“We would never want to do that, and we’re sorry that has taken place.”
Ms Kunis then told their followers: “Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse or rape.”
Kunis and Kutcher, who married in 2015, both co-starred in the American sitcom with Masterson, which ran for eight seasons and 200 episodes between 1998 and 2006.
In their letters of support, published by Los Angeles-based court reporter Meghann Cuniff on Friday, the couple vouched for Masterson’s “exceptional character” and pleaded for Judge Charlaine Olmedo’s leniency.
Kutcher called his co-star a “role model” and “a person that is consistently there for you when you need him”.
“While I’m aware that the judgement has been cast as guilty on two counts of rape by force and the victims have a great desire for justice, I hope that my testament to his character is taken into consideration in sentencing,” his letter reads.
“I do not believe he is an ongoing harm to society and having his daughter raised without a present father would be a tertiary injustice in and of itself. Thank you for taking the time to read this.”
Meanwhile, in her letter, Kunis called Masterson “an amazing friend, confidant, and, above all, an outstanding older brother figure to me”.
“Danny Masterson’s warmth, humor, and positive outlook on life have been a driving force in shaping my character and the way I approach life’s challenges,” she wrote.
“I wholeheartedly vouch for Danny Masterson’s exceptional character and the tremendous positive influence he has had on me and the people around him. His dedication to leading a drug-free life and the genuine care he extends to others make him an outstanding role model and friend.”
Masterson had initially been accused of drugging and raping three women at his home between 2001 and 2003. He was convicted of raping two of the women in 2003, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the third allegation from November 2001, brought forward by a former girlfriend.