Earlier this year, we saw an Instagram video of Nico Tortorella chugging the breast milk of their Younger co-star Hilary Duff during a table read. And I’m sure Nico could practically hear the internet collectively scream, “NicOOOOOH NO!” But as we’re learning now, that wasn’t the first time Nico might have been loudly scolded for putting a white substance into his body.
31-year-old Nico (whose pronouns are they/them) currently has a book out called Space Between: Explorations of Love, Sex, and Fluidity, which is very on-brand for Nico. People magazine says that Nico talks about their own life experience as a queer person, including stories about their younger years and road to sobriety. But Nico’s rock bottom story is ultimately very Hollywood, because it includes Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, and Bruce Willis.
They explain that they started getting into drugs and booze at bars, which is where they initially found other queer people to hook up with. That led to a 21-year-old Nico landing a role in The CW show The Beautiful Life: TBL. It was partially based on Ashton Kutcher’s life, and Ashton was an executive producer on the show. Nico’s showdown with Ashton happened in the bathroom at a TBL cast party, after Nico ducked in to do “a handful of key bumps.” Nico then asked Ashton for career advice.
Nico, being buzzed on coke, probably thought Ashton was going to treat them to the full Inside the Actor’s Studio: Toilet Edition experience. Not so. Ashton didn’t mince words, and told Nico the only career advice he needed was to cut out the Lindsay Lohan shenanigans.
“Don’t ever put anything up your nose,” Kutcher told Tortorella, according to the book. “Ashton’s a smart dude, and he very quickly realized I was high. He got in my face and started yelling at me, telling me I was flushing my entire career down my nose in front of everyone, including Demi Moore and Bruce Willis.”
Because cocaine is a hell of a drug, Nico responded by deciding to “stand up” to his boss.
“In my mind I was hyper-calm and in control, telling him this wasn’t the place to have an argument like this, when in actuality my jaw was probably doing the Macarena as I was blaming everyone else.”
The next day, an embarrassed Nico wrote Ashton an email, apologizing for their outburst. Ashton wrote back that life isn’t a “dress rehearsal,” and that you need to “show up, or you’re out.” So does Nico look back on that moment and thank the universe for giving them a wake-up call in the form of getting bitched out by Ashton Kutcher? Not really. Nico wishes that Ashton had handled it differently, and they’re kind of pissed that Ashton was so rude about it.
“It absolutely was a fucking wake up call. Do I think that he handled it in the best way possible? No, absolutely not. Should I have been doing those things around my bosses at that moment? No, probably not. But if he or anyone in that moment actually cared about me, there would have been a way to sit down and have that conversation in a meaningful, helpful manner.
He doesn’t owe me anything at all, I’m not looking for anything from Ashton at this point in my life. But come on dude, he was probably my age now when that was happening. If something was going on between me and one of the kids I was working with now, I would handle it so differently. Ashton is an incredible business man and has built a fucking empire. But, you know, could have used a little bit more help there, bud.”
This situation is made even more awkward when you remember that it allegedly happened in 2009, while Ashton was still with Demi Moore. And last week we learned from Demi Moore herself that she most certainly wasn’t sober while she was with Ashton at that time. So there’s that.
People asked Ashton’s publicist for a comment and they had none. To be fair, it sounds like People probably tried calling on the phone. If this story has taught me anything, it’s that if you want Ashton’s opinion on something, you corner him near a toilet. And I understand why Ashton was so passionate about keeping Nico away from the drugs. But to act like drugs would be the reason Nico’s career would hit the skids? Come on, Ashton – take some responsibility. It’s not like cocaine was the reason for why The Beautiful Life: TBL was cancelled after two episodes.