In a feature with Esquire published yesterday, Ashton Kutcher revealed he was not happy about the release of Demi Moore’s 2019 memoir, Inside Out.
“I was f-cking pissed,” he told the magazine. “I’d finally gotten to a place where the press had really laid off me and Mila, and my life and my family. And then the next day, [the paparazzi] are at my kids’ school.”
Though he went on to say that there are “no hard feelings” toward his ex-wife and that he “doesn’t want to open anything up in that realm,” it’s no wonder the release of the book agitated him. In recent years, Ashton’s been known for his work defending children from being sex trafficked. He and Mila also seem to prefer a fairly private life. So when Demi’s memoir was released, it reminded everyone about his past transgressions with infidelity and substance abuse and simultaneously thrust him back into the spotlight.
Like most people who have written memoirs, Demi opened up a lot in her book, which was published in 2019. She lifted the veil on everything from the two threesomes the couple had during their marriage to Ashton’s infidelity. She also suggested that he had a lot to do with her relapse with alcohol. Demi had been sober for nearly 20 years when Ashton undermined the existence and effects of alcoholism.
“Ashton was enjoying a glass of good red wine when he said, ‘I don’t know if alcoholism is a real thing — I think it’s all about moderation,'” she wrote in her book. “I wanted to be that girl. The girl who could have a glass of wine at dinner, or do a tequila shot at a party. In my mind, Ashton wanted that, too. So I tried to become that: a fun, normal girl.”
Wanting to be a fun, normal girl, is what pushed her to have her first beer in almost two decades that night. But it was also what pushed her to bring a third person into the couple’s bedroom. She said her desire to please her husband by participating in a three-way was, in retrospect, not only a “mistake”, but part of his excuse for cheating on her.
“Because we had brought a third party into our relationship, Ashton said, that blurred the lines and, to some extent, justified what he’d done,” she wrote, saying this excuse was to “deflect blame.”
Both Ashton and Demi have certainly come a long way since their very public romance, so it makes sense that he didn’t want his past being drudged up. But in Demi’s defence, what is the point in writing a memoir if you’re not going to really sit, reflect and get real when it comes to some of the most defining moments in your life?
Anger, disappointment and even outrage is something we’ve seen from people who have been written about in memoirs. Kris Jenner was furious when Caitlyn Jenner released her book, The Secrets of My Life, which didn’t paint Kris or the rest of the K-clan in a good light. Leah Remini’s controversial memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology spotlighted her battle with the Church of Scientology. She even revealed in her book that Suri Cruise had been left crying on the floor of a bathroom during Tom and Katie’s nuptials, suggesting child-minding in Scientology was never really a priority for people who followed it. And most notably, Harry and Meghan’s Netflix docuseries was just the beginning of the couple baring it all for the world to see. And that was before the release of Harry's bombshell memoir, Spare.
In my job as a TV producer, I had the pleasure of reading a lot of memoirs and getting to pre-interview the authors ahead of their segments on the show. One author in particular told me something I’ll never forget. “Writing a memoir is a healing exercise. But in order to heal and to write a good memoir, you have to write like no one is going to read it,” she said.
The best memoirs are the ones that are imbued with vulnerability and brutal honesty. The reason Spare broke as many sales records as it did is because people knew that if they could expect anything from Harry in that book, it was honesty. He had spent the last few years proving that there was no length he wouldn’t go to in order to tell his side of the story.
The point the author that shared that sentiment with me was making was that memoirs are not supposed to be comfortable. Sure, they can be funny, reflective, and informative. But the idea that taking a good, hard look back at key moments in your life is going to be pleasant at all times, not just for you but for the other key players, is just not feasible – and also, it’s not the point of writing a memoir.
If Ashton wants to clear the air about some of the things Demi has written about, he should consider writing his own memoir. But more importantly, if he wants to heal from some of the things Demi wrote about, he should definitely get to writing.