(NewsNation) — Actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have apologized for penning character letters for former “That 70’s Show” co-star Danny Masterson following his rape conviction earlier this year.
Kutcher and Kunis were criticized for writing letters to the judge defending Masterson’s character and hoping for a lenient sentence. Masterson last week received 30 years to life in prison for raping two women in 2003.
Kutcher and Kunis explained in an Instagram video posted Saturday that Masterson’s family approached the couple following his conviction in May to write character letters describing “the person that we knew for 25 years.”
They apologized for the pain they may have caused with the letters, which they said “were intended for the judge to read and not to undermine the testimony of the victims or retraumatize them in any way. We would never want to do that, and we’re sorry if that has taken place.”
The letters were obtained and published Friday by The Hollywood Reporter and other publications. Character letters were also written by Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp and David Trainer, all of whom worked alongside Masterson on “That 70’s Show.”
In her letter, Kunis referred to Masterson as a “dear friend” and an “older brother figure” who has an “unwavering commitment to discouraging the use of drugs.” Kutcher struck a similar tone, calling Masterson a “role model” who exhibited “positive peer pressure” on him.
“I attribute not falling into the typical Hollywood life of drugs directly to Danny,” Kutcher wrote.
Prosecutors alleged at Masterson’s trial that he drugged two women inside his Hollywood home in 2003 before violently raping them. They also argued he used his prominence in the Church of Scientology — where the women were also members at the time — to avoid consequences afterward.
At his sentencing hearing, one woman who Masterson was convicted of raping said, “When you raped me, you stole from me. That’s what rape is, a theft of the spirit.”
“You are pathetic, disturbed and completely violent,” she added. “The world is better off with you in prison.”
In their joint apology video, Kunis said, “We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.