For years, I’ve felt/known that Ashton Kutcher is a giant a–hole. I still went into his Esquire profile with an open mind, thinking “maybe he’s grown up a bit.” He has and he hasn’t. He’s matured, he’s not a raging douche like he used to be, but there are definitely still twin streaks of arrogance and calculation running through him. He’s trying – and largely succeeding – to come across like a reformed a–hole, a guy who has made mistakes and lived and learned. But there are a few sections of this Esquire profile which left me cold. He’s currently promoting That ‘90s Show and Netflix’s Your Place or Mine, his first film in years. You can read the full Esquire piece here. Some highlights:
Riding high at the age of 25: “I was an a–hole,” he says. The actor began dating Demi Moore late that year. And suddenly he wasn’t just a star but an object of tabloid fascination. “The moment that information broke, my life changed.”
A stepfather of three overnight: “I was twenty-six, bearing the responsibility of an eight-year-old, a ten-year-old, and a twelve-year-old. That’s how some teen parents must experience their twenties.” Kutcher maintains a relationship with each of the girls, now women. They were awesome then and they’re awesome now. But everything together, he says, was definitely “a lot.”
Demi Moore’s miscarriage: “Losing a kid that you think you’re going to have, and that close to thinking you’re going to have a kid, is really, really painful. Everyone deals with that in different ways…. I love kids. I wouldn’t have gotten married to a woman that had three kids if I didn’t love kids. The idea of having another kid would have been incredible. For whatever reason, I had to have that experience.”
The divorce from Demi flattened him: “Nothing makes you feel like a failure like divorce. Divorce feels like a wholesale f–king failure. You failed at marriage.” Kutcher’s reputation was also in tatters. His infidelity played out, with varying degrees of accuracy, on news sites and in common gossip everywhere.
He’s still proud of Punk’d: “Any celebrity that asked us to destroy the tape, I destroyed the tape. Every single f–king last one.”
He loves attention: “I will never deny the fact that I love attention. And anybody who says they’re in entertainment and doesn’t love attention? F–king liar.”
Taking over from Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. “Financially, it was a wonderful idea,” Kutcher says. Career-wise, maybe not. The script he worked from, he says now, wasn’t the script he was pitched. Plus, his four-season run stretched across the height of his split with Moore. Then there was the added layer of Sheen trashing him in the press. Was anyone throwing up the warning sign when you were considering taking that? No, he says. “Very few people want to tell you something is a bad idea when they’re financially incentivized not to.”
He stayed in touch with everyone from That ‘70s Show, even Danny Masterson, who will soon be retried for three counts of rape: Back in the day on That ’70s Show, Kutcher says Masterson was the leader of the young talent. He’d been in the industry for a while. Knew reviews and ratings like the ones they were getting didn’t happen often. As Kutcher recalls, “He’s like, ‘One f–king rule: Don’t do anything f–king stupid and f–k this up. Because if you f–k it up, you f–k it up for everybody.’” He kept the cast in line. Off drugs and away from bad decisions. Masterson’s legal battle is hard for Kutcher to watch. Even after Kutcher left the show, Masterson remained a mentor of his. And when the rape accusations were first made public in 2017, Masterson was costarring with Kutcher in The Ranch, a Netflix sitcom that ran from 2016 to 2020. (Netflix soon wrote Masterson’s character off and fired him.) He and Kutcher remain in touch. Kutcher speaks to Masterson’s brother often. He says he thinks about Masterson’s child and how the Internet lives forever. “Someday, his kid is going to read about this,” says Kutcher. At the same time, Kutcher is an advocate for those who’ve been or are being abused. “I wholesale feel for anybody who feels like they were violated in any way.”
What Kutcher wants: What he wants is for Masterson “to be found innocent of the charges brought against him.” Which is not, crucially, the same as Kutcher wanting his friend to get off the hook. He wants this man who was an example of how to handle yourself at a crucial time in his own life to actually be that example. To be innocent. “Ultimately, I can’t know,” says Kutcher of what the answer is or should be in this moment. “I’m not the judge. I’m not the jury. I’m not the DA. I’m not the victim. And I’m not the accused. And so, in that case, I don’t have a space to comment.” He pauses. “I just don’t know.”
Falling hard for Mila Kunis: “The thing about Mila that made our relationship accelerate was that I had always admired her. Her talents, her skills, her gifts. But I knew that she didn’t need me. And she knew that I didn’t need her…. We already knew all of each other’s dirt.”
Yeah, I’ve read and even covered some of Danny Masterson’s accusers’ stories. This was not one isolated he-said, she-said incident. There are multiple victims and multiple stories of brutal violations, which were then covered up by the Church of Scientology. The fact that Ashton is trying to evoke pity for Masterson’s child when Ashton can’t even bring himself to acknowledge that his bro is a rapist monster who hurt multiple women… well, I hate to say it, but Ashton is still that same old douche. Ashton using his platform to cape for his rapist bro and not the victims? Burn it down.
Not that any of this matters to Ashton – there are multiple mentions of Ashton’s massively lucrative second career as a venture capitalist. He never has to work again, and he can choose to use his platform any way he wants. His choice is to let the world know that he still talks to Danny Masterson.
Cover & IG courtesy of Esquire.
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