The real reason Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher got divorced

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore were a long shot to make it. She was 16 years older and had three teenage daughters, while he was a 20-something actor in his professional and hunky prime who never seemed to have a girlfriend for very long up to that point. They ended up sticking it out for six years, then filing for divorce…but didn't finalize the split for two years. What happened?

The age difference became a problem

Kutcher married Moore when he was 25, and sources close to the actor say that he didn't give himself enough time to grow up first. "He's changed so much [since marrying Moore]," a source told People. "His personality, the way he dresses — he used to be such a goofball. Demi is very controlling. At the beginning of their relationship, Ashton would just follow her around." An industry colleague added, "Somehow I thought [the age difference] was going to come back to haunt them. He got married young and, as crass as this sounds, never seemed to have his fill."

Another source explained that Hollywood's infamous ageism terrified Moore into struggling to clutch onto youth. "As Demi got older, she convinced herself that she needed to stay young and skinny to remain attractive to her husband," an insider told People. "She needed reassurance all the time that she was hot and sexy. She was not the person Ashton fell in love with anymore." Another source who's known Moore for 30 years explained, "She was always fixated on being young, and the only thing that tied her to that, as she got older, was her marriage to a younger guy and hanging around young people."

Even Moore's daughter, Rumer Willis, then 26, admitted to Access Hollywood Live (via Celebuzz) in November 2014, "I realized the other day, that he was a year younger than me when he and my mom started going out. That would be like me meeting someone who already had three teenage kids, kind of going into that situation was crazy."

He was accused of cheating more than once

In 2010, a cute brunette named Brittney Jones claimed to have gotten hot and heavy with Kutcher, alleging she actually met him while he was out with Moore. She claimed to Star (via Hollywood Life) to have slipped him her number, which led to texting, which led to meeting up in parking lots to go to his home for hookups — because they're classy. Moore and Kutcher both fiercely denied the allegations on Twitter (via People).

That allegation may not have stuck, but his alleged hookup with Sara Leal did. Leal told the Sun she and Kutcher hooked up in a hot tub in September 2011 — on his sixth anniversary with Moore. "We had sex twice. Everything felt natural. We were having a good time. One thing led to another. He was good but it wasn't weird or perverted or creepy. I was attracted to him and he was attracted to me," she said. Leal also noted that Kutcher had told her he and Moore had separated before the illicit encounter. She echoed that to Us Weekly, insisting, "I'm a normal 22-year-old girl, and I spent the night with someone who I thought was separated. And ever since, my life has been a mess."

Why was the Leal story so hard to kill? Well, paparazzi cameras caught them in car together. Where there's smoke, there's usually fire.

A star confirmed at least one allegation was true

In an April 2015 episode of Watch What Happens Live, Scott Eastwood dropped a bombshell about Kutcher and Moore's relationship. When a viewer called in and asked Eastwood's fellow guest, Two And A Half Men star Jon Cryer, if it was awkward working with Kutcher since Cryer had dated Moore in the 1980s, Eastwood shared a chestnut of his own: "If it makes you feel any better, he did sleep with one of my ex-girlfriends — but she was my current girlfriend at the time," Eastwood said. "I think it was the catalyst that broke him and Demi up." Eastwood confirmed that his girlfriend at the time was one of the ladies involved in the hot tub hookup that allegedly went down on Kutcher and Moore's anniversary, though he didn't mention Leal by name.

They may have had a one-sided open marriage

Perhaps Kutcher's wandering eye wasn't necessarily him cheating so much as taking advantage of his wife's Kabbalist beliefs. People reports that one belief in the Jewish mysticism states, "If a man strays for a brief fling, it does not mean that he doesn't love her. He can have an affair yet still love and honor his wife."

A source close to the family explained that it was Kutcher's sloppiness, not necessarily his actual infidelity, that hurt Moore the most. "Ashton has been completely devoted to Demi and the family, always. But things have always been a little off in their relationship, especially given their flexibility with each other toward other relationships," the source said. "It's just worked that way for years…Demi loves Ashton as much as she hates public humiliation."

Another source explained, "Appearances are paramount. What people think of her and how she comes across is so important to her, so this is devastating."

He wanted to have kids of his own

Kutcher is now a proud dad of two with second wife Mila Kunis. When he and Moore were together, he acted as a father figure to her daughters with Bruce Willis, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah, but the couple had no biological children of their own throughout their eight-year relationship. Whether or not they tried having kids hasn't been reported, but Kutcher has made it clear since he's become a father that it's been a goal of his for some time — and he may have felt somewhat held back by acting as a stepdad and marrying an older woman who already raised kids. Conversely, Moore may have felt that the motherhood stage of her life, at least in terms of diaper-changing, was behind her.

A source told People at the time of the split, "He knows that with Demi he won't have kids, and he really wants kids. When he married Demi, he didn't realize it at the time. He didn't get it."

She was setting an example for her daughters

A source told Us Weekly that after the Leal scandal, Moore "just couldn't look at Ashton the same way and the marriage…completely unraveled. She still loves Ashton but feels he went too far and disrespected her and their marriage in a way that can't be taken back…She wants to set an example for her daughters and this was just something she could not rationalize to them or to herself. She really tried everything she could to forgive him and accept his apologies," the source continued. "At the end of the day, the public humiliation and the example she was setting by staying in the marriage just wasn't the right thing for her."

There may have been arguments over Ashton's work

Both Kutcher, whose worth during the marriage was estimated to be in the $135 million range, and Moore, whose worth was estimated around $150 million following her divorce from Bruce Willis, are loaded. However, when they split, it was clear that money was a sticking point for the couple. It took them two years to finalize their divorce, with TMZ reporting that Moore thought Kutcher was hiding some of his tech investments from her. Additionally, People reports that Moore believed Kutcher wouldn't have made nearly as much money if she didn't help him network. "Demi introduced him to powerful friends that took Ashton under their wings," a source said. "He would not have been able to make so much money if he had not met them."

During the marriage, Kutcher earned significantly more than Moore did in Hollywood as well, with Moore having only 10 roles during their entire relationship. Kutcher, towards the end of the marriage, signed on to Two And A Half Men, becoming one of the highest paid actor on TV.

Her alleged substance abuse put a strain on the relationship

In early 2012, an alarmingly thin Moore was hospitalized after allegedly abusing "whip-its" and smoking K2 at a party with daughter Rumer in tow. It turned out to not be Moore's first rodeo with substance abuse, which sources claim hurt her marriage to Kutcher. "The drug abuse was a sticking point," a source close to the couple told People. "Ashton wanted her to take care of herself and get a hold of things, and she wouldn't. Right before Demi and Ashton separated, Bruce went over to Demi's house to ask her to get help. He was worried about her and wanted her to get better. Many of her friends did the same thing, but she just wouldn't listen."

They fought a lot in general

A source told People that beyond Kutcher's alleged cheating, the couple just couldn't stop fighting about everything, and not even therapy helped them get along. "Ashton is unhappy; [Demi]'s unhappy," a source said. "It just got to a point where they had to end it." Another source noted, "The fighting could get pretty intense. Whatever counseling they did was fine for a quick fix but could not get to the heart of the problem."

She'd finally had enough

In her own split announcement, Moore made it clear she was the one who finally pulled the plug on the marriage. "It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have decided to end my six-year marriage to Ashton," she said in a statement to People. "As a woman, a mother, and a wife, there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life."

Kutcher's response didn't indicate his own outright guilt, but didn't deny it either, writing on Chime (via People), "I will forever cherish the time I spent with Demi. Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world and unfortunately sometimes they fail."