Artist Mona Shafer Edwards, who captured the viral courtroom sketch of the That ’70s Show actor, 47, blowing wife Bijou Phillips, 43, a kiss before being led away on Thursday, details to Yahoo Entertainment her observations from the Los Angeles courtroom. Edwards did five sketches during the camera-free sentencing — “I work really fast and just sort of crank them out” — and was the first to report the PDA interaction.
“No one noticed it,” Edwards says of Masterson’s air kiss to the pained-looking actress/model, whom he married in 2011. “Everybody’s taking notes. He got up to be led out — he was not shackled or handcuffed at all, which has been reported — and I was sitting right behind his wife and he winked at her and then he blew a kiss.”
Once Edwards’s sketch was released, she saw the reporting of the awkwardly timed kiss (described by one on social media as “creepy”) everywhere, but “I reported it first because I look at everything,” she says of her illustration style. “I see everything. I look at people. I study.” One thing she doesn’t do is refine a drawing over and over until it’s perfect. She captures the moment, quickly as it happens, and then moves on without refining it.
The seasoned artist — who has captured court sketches of Lori Loughlin, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Jackson, the Kardashians, Mel Gibson and O.J. Simpson, among others — covered both of Masterson’s rape trials as well as the sentencing, giving her a bird’s-eye view.
“He did not seem terribly distraught,” she says of Masterson’s demeanor at the sentencing, “and I’ve been looking at him now for two years.”
During victim impact statements, which were “really descriptive and fueled by strong emotions” as the women detailed being drugged and raped at Masterson’s Hollywood Hills home in 2003 — she says Masterson looked at them “with no emotion.”
Earlier, during both trials, his body language came off as “a little bit flip,” she says. “Almost like: ‘What am I doing here?'” with his body language. Even when the victims testified, “He had almost like an impish smile. I’m not gonna say he was laughing or smirking, but there was a slight like elfin smile. He struck me as being very pixieish.”
The sentencing was the first time Masterson’s been seen since the May verdict and Edwards was surprised by his appearance.
“I was expecting him with the curly hair [and to be] clean shaven [like he was] throughout the trial. I was also expecting him in jail garb,” she says. “But he came wearing a blue suit with a gray open collar shirt. He wasn’t handcuffed. He was very relaxed — like he was watching a concert or something. And he had this full beard and his hair was combed back. He looked so different.”
Phillips, who wrote a letter to the judge pleading for leniency ahead of the sentencing, along with Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, “was sobbing” when Masterson walked into court to the point where her “shoulders were shaking.” Phillips, who had on dark sunglasses for most of the proceedings, also cried a couple of times when their daughter, 9-year-old Fianna, was mentioned. During the victims impact statements, Phillips — who was flanked by Masterson’s family —”wasn’t looking” at the women and “didn’t seem to react.”
As far as the couple’s interaction, “He looked at her when he came in and then looked at her again and motioned to her when he was leaving,” with the kiss and wink. Edwards says there was also a moment when Masterson was led out of court, with the proceedings seemingly over, only to be brought back again to be formally told he’ll have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Edwards, who has a background in fashion, has an incredible portfolio with many sketches featured in her book Captured!: Inside the World of Celebrity Trials. She says when she’s drawing, “I am a very objective person. I draw what I see and I don’t make opinions in my drawings. If I like someone or don’t like someone, it does not show.”
After decades at it, she’s still never quite sure which of her sketches will be alongside the headlines. Though her better half had an inkling about this one. She says, “My husband said, ‘Well, that’s the sketch of the day,'” after seeing the one of Masterson’s farewell kiss. “I guess he was right.”