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Bijou Phillips Is ‘Protecting Her Family’ Amid ‘Devastating’ Divorce From Danny Masterson (Exclusive)

On September 7, a judge at the Los Angeles Superior Court sentenced That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson to 30 years to life in prison for raping two women. According to reports, his wife, Bijou Phillips, sobbed in the courtroom as members of Masterson’s family comforted her. In a court sketch of the proceedings, Masterson was seen blowing a kiss to Phillips before he was led away to prison.

Eleven days later, Phillips filed for divorce from Masterson, citing “irreconcilable differences.” According to multiple sources, the actress, 43, who shares daughter Fianna, 9, with Masterson, 47, felt she had no choice but to leave the disgraced star and was motivated to pull the plug on their nearly 12-year marriage over financial concerns. “This experience has been devastating and humiliating for Bijou,” says one source in the new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now. “She’s focused on being a mom and preserving her future no matter what.”

Phillips stood by Masterson when he was accused of sexual misconduct in 2017 (he was fired from the Netflix sitcom The Ranch soon after) and again when he was officially charged in 2020 with the rape of three women between 2001 and 2003. Masterson pleaded not guilty and has consistently denied wrongdoing. His lawyer has stated they will appeal the case.

But his conviction forced her to take a different tack. In court docs obtained by Us, Phillips requested to “terminate the court’s ability to grant support” to Masterson and asked that their assets be divided up by the court as separate property. There was no indication the couple had a prenup. “Bijou’s very sensitive about her family’s financial security, and the impending divorce is clearly a big piece of that plan,” says the first source. “The only reason she’s filing to end the marriage is to put a sizable amount of Danny’s assets out of reach of further litigation.”

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A different source close to Masterson says the couple may have devised the plan to split together. “It’s possible they did it because it would benefit her,” says the second source. “Danny really loved Bijou. She’s doing what she has to do — protecting her family.” Phillips has asked the court for full custody of Fianna, with visitation rights given to Masterson.

Bijou Phillips Is “Protecting Her Family” Amid “Devastating” Divorce from Danny Masterson
Jamie McCarthy/WireImage

While Phillips is doing her best to move on, she remains close with Masterson’s family, who, like she and the actor, are longtime Scientologists. “Bijou relies on them a lot, and I don’t think she’ll stop being close with Danny’s family no matter what happens to him,” says the first source. “They’ll always be in her life, and Scientology will too.” Her future also includes Masterson, with the source noting, “there will be a lot of visits and phone calls” between the two.”

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As Phillips comes to terms with Masterson’s sentencing, she’s looking ahead. While her attorney tells Us the assertions in this story are “highly inaccurate,” the first source says Phillips is weighing “the pros and cons” of staying at the Santa Ynez, California, farm she and Masterson purchased in 2018. “They wanted to make it their family home for years to come. Danny’s plan was to harvest wine on the property and turn it into a place that would make decent revenue,” explains the source. “[But] she’s got a lot of legal bills to pay [and] may have to find something more affordable.”

Bijou Phillips Is “Protecting Her Family” Amid “Devastating” Divorce from Danny Masterson
Masterson has maintained his innocence throughout the case. Lucy Nicholson - Pool/Getty Images

In terms of her career, “Bijou’s trying to be as proactive as possible,” says the first source, adding that Phillips, who hasn’t appeared on screen since 2013, is even mulling a return to acting. “She [also] likes the idea of working in a spiritual capacity somehow,” adds the source, “helping others who are going through the same type of stress she’s still dealing with.”

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Phillips isn’t going at it alone. “She’s got a lot of support from family, friends and the church as a whole team that’s been checking in on her and trying to help with emotional and practical matters,” adds the first source. “[Bijou] is staying strong for her daughter and taking it all step by step.”

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