My favorite actor did what? Celebrities are people too and even though they might play beloved characters in hit movies, oftentimes actors and others in the entertainment industry are nothing like their public personas. You might have been absolutely shocked when you heard about Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin being tangled up in the college admission cheating scandal. You were not the only one! A cheating scandal is small potatoes when you consider what some other celebrities have done. We decided to take a walk down misdemeanor lane and look at some of the world’s biggest celebrities and their criminal history. While this list might not put a smile on your face, at least you can rest easy that you’re doing life better than the rich and famous. Even better, you can rest assured you’re not putting money in the pockets of domestic abusers and convicted rapists. Here’s our list of 30 celebrities who happen to be convicted criminals.
Actor Mel Gibson took a plea deal to avoid charges of battery in 2011 after he admitted to slapping ex-wife Oksana Grigorieva. The actor said, “I slapped Oksana one time with an open hand in an attempt to bring her back to reality.” In 2014, he returned to court and had his no-contest plea expunged from his record. Additionally, this celebrity dirtbag also has been pulled over and charged with multiple DUIs. On one of the occasions, he made sexist and antisemitic remarks to the arresting officers, which made some news.
Into the Wild actor Emile Hirsch was charged with aggravated assault and sentenced to 15 days in jail after he choked a female movie executive at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in 2015. He pled guilty to the charges and was also ordered to pay a $4,750 fine and perform 50 hours of community service.
An actor who no one takes seriously, Tim Allen was not always so fortunate. In 1978, he was in trouble for possession of cocaine and pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. He spent two years and four months in a Minnesota prison and was paroled in 1981.
A talented actor with faulty morals, Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty to federal charges for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct SAT questions answered incorrectly by her daughter. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison, a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service and one year supervised release for her crimes. She played a small role in the larger college admissions scandal last year.
NFL legend O.J. Simpson is not only a notorious murder suspect, but he also spent nine years in a Nevada prison after being found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping during a 2007 incident. He was originally sentenced to 33 years but was paroled in 2017.
Movie director Roman Polanski was charged with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl 1977. As part of a plea bargain, he pled guilty and spent 42 days in jail. When he heard that the judge might not honor the bargain, he fled to Europe where he remains a fugitive today.
A jury found heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson guilty of raping Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but the judge suspended the last four years, and Tyson ended up serving just three years in jail.
Mildly talented actor and rapper Mark Wahlberg was charged with attempted murder in 1987 after he beat two Asian men and yelled racial slurs while he did it. He pleaded guilty to assault and served 45 days at Boston’s Deer Island House of Correction.
Actor and serial abuser Charlie Sheen pleaded no contest to domestic violence charges in 1996. He pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges in 2009. Then finally, in 2010 Charlie Sheen pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from a domestic abuse case. He was sentenced to 30 days in a California rehabilitation center, 30 days of probation, and 36 hours of anger management.
Musician 50 Cent was charged with drug possession nine times in the mid-90s. He was found with marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. He was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in 2002. He was also charged with three counts of assault and battery in 2003 after he jumped into the crowd to attack a man who threw a water bottle at him during a performance.
Limp Bizkit’s limp biscuit Fred Durst pleaded no contest to 7 misdemeanors in 2007 including assault, battery, and reckless driving. He admitted to deliberately hitting two people with his car. He was given a suspended 120-day jail sentence, ordered to perform 20 hours of community service, and fined $1,500.
British comedian, Stephen Fry spent three months in jail for credit card fraud when he was 17. He attributes his time incarcerated with helping him turn his life around and start his career. He made the list, not because his crime was particularly heinous! No, we were just shocked to find out that he’d ever had any criminal history.
Actor Wesley Snipes made $37 million from 1999 to 2004 of which he paid $0 in federal taxes. In 2008, he was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion. What a sexy crime! The actor spent over two years in prison before spending the rest of his sentence under home confinement.
Actor Danny Trejo had a rough start in life and went to jail for the first time when he was just 15-years-old. At the age of 23, he was sent to San Quentin prison for selling $30,000 worth of heroin to an undercover officer. He was released from prison in 1969 and put his sights on Hollywood. Although he’s an actor, he’s committed his life to helping others struggling with drug addiction.
Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding pleaded guilty to conspiring to hinder the prosecution in 1994. The case, of course, involved the attack against her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. She was fined $100,000 and sentenced to three years of probation. Luckily, Tonya has turned her life around and been able to tell her side of the story thanks in part to the 2017 film, I, Tonya.
Robert Downey Jr.
Now one of the highest-paid actors in the world, Robert Downey Jr. wasn’t always on top. In the 1990s he struggled with addiction. He was arrested in 1996 for possession of cocaine, heroin, and a pistol. Two weeks later he was arrested again for entering a neighbor’s home while under the influence of drugs. He was placed on probation and ordered to attend treatment for drug addiction, but after violating his parole for the third time in 1999, a judge ordered him to go to prison. He served a year and three months.
We had no idea about this one! In 1987, actor Matthew Broderick was on vacation in Northern Ireland. He drove into oncoming traffic and struck a car, killing the two passengers inside of it. He spent four weeks recovering from his injuries in the hospital. He was initially charged with dangerous driving causing death and faced up to five years in jail but was convicted of a lesser charge of careless driving and fined just $175.
Over 50 women came forward with stories of sexual misconduct, drugging, and abuse from comedian Bill Cosby. After some setbacks, Cosby was finally sentenced to prison in 2018 for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. He was sentenced to 3-10 years for the crimes. Although it was only a conviction for the crimes against one woman, his trial contained testimony from five other witnesses, who Cosby allegedly attacked, to show that he had a pattern. Cosby lost his appeal and will serve the sentence.
Actor Tom Sizemore has been in trouble with the law for his entire adult life. The actor has struggled with addiction and most of the charges against him involve possession of various drugs. His latest arrest was for possession of heroin in 2019. It gets worse. In 2003, he was convicted of domestic violence against his girlfriend. In 2017, he pleaded no contest to two charges of domestic abuse for assaulting another woman.
Singer Courtney Love faced jail time after being charged with felony assault against another musician, Kirstin King, in 2004. The count was reduced to a misdemeanor, and under the terms of a plea agreement, Love was given probation. Additionally, she was ordered to attend anger management, pay a $1,000 fine, and complete 100 hours of community service.
Musician Chris Brown was convicted on felony domestic violence in 2009 after he assaulted his girlfriend at the time, Rihanna. In addition to that conviction, Brown has had several other allegations made against him and charges are still pending for some.
Domestic queen Martha Stewart got into trouble after a little inside trading. In 2004, a jury found her guilty on four counts of obstructing justice and lying to investigators about a stock sale. She served five months in jail for her crimes.
In 2012, musician CeeLo Green was accused of sexual battery by a woman he had dined with in Los Angeles. The accusation led to a year-long investigation and detectives were unable to collect sufficient evidence to charge the singer with a crime. Instead, they charged him furnishing a controlled substance to which Green pleaded no contest. He was given three years’ formal probation, 360 hours of community service, and ordered to complete 52 hours of Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
In 2002, actor Jeffrey Jones was arrested for possession of child pornography and accused by a 17-year-old boy (the accuser was just 14 when the offense first occurred) of solicitation to pose for nude photographs. He pleaded no contest to a charge of soliciting a minor. At the same time, the misdemeanor charge of possession of child pornography was dropped. He received five years’ probation, counseling, and was made to register as a sex offender. As of 2019, he is still listed on the U.S. Department of Justice’s national sex offender database.
Rapper T.I. was in and out of prison for many of his teenage years for dealing drugs and then violating terms of probation. Things took a turn in 2007 when T.I. was arrested just hours before the B.E.T. awards for illegal firearm possession. He was convicted on federal weapons charges in 2010 and served a year in prison.
In 1997, actor Christian Slater was convicted of punching his girlfriend, Michelle Jonas, and assaulting a police officer while under the influence of heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. He was treated for more than 100 days in a rehabilitation facility while on bail, and then was sentenced to a three-month term in jail, followed by three months in a residential rehab center.
Snoop Dogg was charged with murder in 1993 but was acquitted in 1996. He has also been charged with drug possession five times (and counting). He was again in trouble in 2006 and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.
Like Snoop, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger has been charged with possession several times including a notorious 1967 drug bust. In 1972, Jagger was arrested in Rhode Island for assaulting a Providence Journal photographer.
Randy Quaid and his wife were charged with burglary after they spent five days occupying the guest house of a vacant home they once owned in Santa Barbara. The Quaids claimed that the home was wrongfully transferred to a third party by the use of the forged signature. Warrants for their arrest were issued after they failed to appear in court, and as a result, they also forfeited their bail. The couple then sought asylum in Canada because of a “Hollywood celebrity death list.” That didn’t happen and we are not sure what to make of these antics!
In 2010, actor Amy Locane was convicted of vehicular homicide and assault by an automobile after a drunk driving incident that killed a 60-year-old woman. She was sentenced to three years in prison and was released on June 12, 2015.
Crime? It happens. For celebrities, these mistakes get spread for the whole world to see. Some of the celebrities on this list committed minor crimes while others committed some truly disgusting offenses. While no two crimes are the same, each one does come with some consequences. We have some takeaways: don’t drink and drive, don’t do drugs, don’t even think about guns, and keep your hands to yourself.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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