Dark secrets the cast of That '70s Show tried to hide

The cast members of That '70s Show might've been "all alright" in their on-screen smoke circles most of the time, but behind the scenes, there was a lingering haze of drama. During its run, the cast tried to keep its darkest secrets hidden, but the shady truth about the period sitcom has gradually emerged. Brace yourself for some not-so-funny news.

Danny Masterson was accused of rape

In the fall of 2017, amid the deluge of sexual assault allegations against powerful men in Hollywood, Danny Masterson was accused of raping four women in the early 2000s while he was starring in That '70s Show. 

As the Los Angeles Police Department investigated the allegations, Netflex announced the release date of Season 4 of The Ranch, which stars Masterson and fellow '70s co-star Ashton Kutcher. The streaming service's decision prompted an uproar from those who felt Netflix had been inconsistent with its decisions about shows starring alleged abusers. Netflix suspended work on Kevin Spacey's House of Cards after he was accused of sexual misconduct in October 2017.

Things hit a fever pitch when a Netflix executive inadvertently told one of Masterson's accusers to her face that the network did not believe the allegations—the exec was not aware that she was one of the victims at the start of their conversation. 

Netflix eventually changed course terminated Masterson's contract on The Ranch. Masterson was reportedly "very disappointed" about the decision and said in a statement: "Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused."

Mila Kunis lied about her age to get the job

Ukraine transplant Mila Kunis started landing TV gigs at the tender age of 13, appearing in guest stints on Days of Our Lives and Baywatch before landing a small recurring role on 7th Heaven. While those shows were comfortable working with minors, the producers of That '70s Show weren't quite so kid-friendly.

Kunis told People that in order to nab the role of Jackie Burkhart on the show at age 14, she pretended to be a good bit older than she really was. "I told them I was going to be 18. But I didn't tell them when I was going to be 18!" she said.

As fate would have it, her "first real kiss" took place in front of the cameras that year as she, in character, planted one on her real-life future husband Ashton Kutcher, who played her character's then-boyfriend, Michael Kelso. Kutcher was 23 at the time. If not for that so-called "little white non-truth," she might not have ended up making the Jackie-Kelso ship sail onto a romantic island of marriage and babies together. Well played.

Topher Grace was a bad kisser

Nowadays, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is something of a big screen powerhouse with flicks such as Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, and Looper under his belt, but in the late '90s, he was still just a former child star whose biggest claim to fame was playing an ancient alien on 3rd Rock from the Sun.

Shortly before his breakthrough role in 10 Things I Hate About You, Gordon-Levitt appeared in a Season 1 episode of That '70s Show as Eric's pal, Buddy Morgan. Buddy had a secret crush on his buddy and shared a kiss with him before Eric turns him down. That on-screen kiss is credited as being the first gay smooch on North American prime time TV, but audiences reportedly hated it. What would've been a potential recurring role was subsequently relegated to just one episode.

It didn't hurt Gordon-Levitt's career much, but filming the scenes did leave a nasty taste in his mouth, so to speak. He told The Advocate that Grace was "probably one of the worst kissers [he's] ever kissed." Actress Laura Prepon, who plays Eric's long-time love interest on the show, echoed the kiss diss when she said on a radio show (via TMZ) that her Orange is the New Black co-star Taylor Schilling gave better lip service than Grace.

Leo disappeared from the show because Tommy Chong went to jail

One of the most memorable tertiary characters of That '70s Show was Leo, the pothead grown-up who develops a friendship with the gang, most likely because of his marijuana connections. The character was played by Tommy Chong, who seemed to float effortlessly between his on-screen and off-screen personas.

After regular appearances in the show's second, third, and fourth seasons, Leo disappears from the series. He becomes the subject of a Season 5 manhunt that produces only a good-bye note, and eventually turns up near the end of Season 7. In his big comeback episode, Leo explains his absence as time spent "just wandering around, trying to find my place for a while"—as in actually looking for his own house because he was too baked to find it. 

In real life, Chong disappeared because he was actually doing time. In 2003, he was sentenced to nine months in jail for selling pot pipes.

Laurie Foreman was recast due to devastating personal problems

Actress Lisa Robin Kelly portrayed Eric Foreman's big sister Laurie for the show's first five seasons, but her role was significantly lessened after Season 3. She didn't appear at all in Season 4 and appeared only in a handful of episodes in Season 5. Due to off-screen struggles, she eventually decided to leave the show and was replaced by actress Christina Moore in Season 6.

Kelly later explained her departure to ABC News. "I had lost a baby. As a result of that I lost it. I lost everything and I was abusing alcohol," she said. "With That '70s Show I was guilty of a drinking problem, and I ran."

Although she claimed to have recovered from the troubles that sparked her departure from the show, she made headlines in 2010 for this DWI mugshot and again in 2012 for allegations of domestic abuse. Kelly died from a reported drug overdose in 2013 at age 43.

Kutcher and Kunis hated each other

Although they played on-again-off-again young lovers on That '70s Show, and they're now married with children in real life, Kunis and Kutcher didn't care for each other as co-stars. 

She told Glamour in 2016, "There's nothing we don't know about each other because we've known each other for so long: the ugly, the bad, the good. We went through a period where I thought he was crazy. At the height of his career, I was like, 'Ugh, I don't like you. I don't even know you anymore. You think you're such hot s**t.'" She added that even though they went through "full friendship breakups" over the years, they always reconciled in the end.

What ultimately brought them together? Kunis told Howard Stern's SiriusXM show that she and Kutcher made a mutual decision to become bedroom buddies. Perhaps not coincidentally, both celebs had previously starred in movies where that exact arrangement failed to work out (her in Friends with Benefits and him in No Strings Attached), but in this case, life imitated art–and included a happy ending.

Did Topher Grace get too big for his bell bottoms?

When Grace and Kutcher both announced they would not return for Season 8, Kutcher came back for a couple of salutary episodes, but Grace only reappeared for the show's finale. That doesn't seem like a big deal, until you take into consideration Grace's absence from other show-related events.

Grace has claimed there's no bad blood between him and the rest of the cast, but he was not a part of the cast reunion in 2016, and he did not attend Kunis and Kutcher's wedding. (He said he was working on both occasions.) Grace is one of the only cast members who's had nothing to do with Netflix's The Ranch, which stars Kutcher and Masterson, has featured Wilmer Valderrama, and aims to include Kunis and Prepon soon. Grace was also the only major cast members who was never Punk'd by Kutcher. 

Grace did, however, participate in a mini-reunion in 2013 and join the cast in reciting the theme song, so maybe everything is swell.

Tanya Roberts left because of her husband's terminal illness

If it seemed a little out of nowhere that Donna's parents, the Pinciottis, get a divorce and Brooke Shields appears to play her dad's new love interest in Season 6, that's because the departure of the actress who played Donna's mom, Tanya Roberts, was sudden and unexpected.

The former "Bond girl" reportedly left the show in 2004 because her husband, screenwriter Barry Roberts, was terminally ill. Roberts did return for a few episodes in the seventh season. Her husband passed away in June 2006.