The line between famous and infamous is a very thin one, and can be crossed at any time if a bad intention or accidental gesture ends up with someone getting hurt.
They say that celebrities are just “normal people”. well, they too can commit crimes like the rest of us and suffer the consequences. or they?
Reading: Famous people who committed crimes
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Some charges are dropped without real justice, sometimes unfairly due to the status of the offender. other times, however, these celebrities serve time and pay for their actions accordingly.
here are some celebrity crimes that may have you wondering why these stars’ names don’t always naturally associate with their crimes…
1. wahlberg brand
charged with attempted murder!
is a well-known actor, with a reputation for playing the tough guy in most of his movies. Before acting and his lesser-known days as a rapper, Mark Wahlberg was labeled a criminal. He was addicted to cocaine at 13, dropped out of school at 14, and was sued at 15 for a racially motivated crime.
wahlberg was accused of harassing black students on two separate occasions, throwing rocks at them and yelling racial slurs. He had been in trouble at least two dozen times with the Boston Police Department, but the worst had yet to come.
When he was 16, Wahlberg punched a middle-aged Vietnamese man, knocking him unconscious in the middle of the street. Later that day, he attacked another Asian man with a metal hook, leaving the victim blind in one eye.
The now-actor was charged with attempted murder, but only pleaded guilty to assault. he ended up sentencing him to two years in prison, but he served only 45 days. Furthermore, Wahlberg applied for a full pardon from the state of Massachusetts for his past crimes, but never did.
charged with aggravated assault!
This world-class actor has delighted us with his charismatic performances. he’s a leading actor in hollywood, but there’s one thing he probably doesn’t like to talk about.
in 1989, in philadelphia, will smith got into an argument with a record promoter named william hendricks. The actor told his bodyguard to beat up Hendricks, which ended up being so brutal that the man was nearly blind in one eye due to a fractured eye socket.
smith was convicted of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment of another person and criminal conspiracy. however, the charges were later dropped, despite the actor spending a night in a cell where other cellmates constantly woke him up to ask for autographs.
smith calls it the worst night of his life and maintains his innocence to this day, claiming in 2005 that his friend punched hendricks while he was there and was not involved.
3. snoop dogg
charged with murder!
One of the most famous rappers in the world has a suspicious story. he has a lot of finances & career rewards and has a great brand, but things weren’t always so glamorous for snoop dogg.
During his school years, the artist was often in trouble with the law for drug dealing, particularly cocaine, and even spent six months in jail. He has even been known to sell marijuana to an old high school classmate who later became famous: Cameron Diaz.
However, the drug charges are not the worst. In 1993, Snoop Dogg, along with his bodyguard, was convicted of the murder of Philip Woldemariam, shooting the man who was a member of a rival gang at the time. The bodyguard instantly escaped charges by claiming that he was in self-defense, but the rapper was acquitted just three years later, in 1996.
4. matthew broderick
charged with causing death by dangerous driving!
Our beloved matthew broderick has a dark stain on his past that unfortunately is marked with blood. In 1987, Broderick and his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Grey, were vacationing in Ireland. Due to the fact that they were supposed to drive on the left side of the road, the actor accidentally turned into the wrong lane. which caused a strong collision with another car that left two people dead.
anna gallagher and her mother were killed instantly on impact, while broderick and gray sustained injuries.
The actor was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and faced about five years in prison. however, none of that happened. Broderick got away with only a $175 fine and a reduced negligent driving charge. the victims’ family called it a true “travesty of justice,” and it’s hard not to agree.
5. vanilla ice cream
Since 1991, vanilla ice cream has been in trouble with the law. the first time he was arrested was on a firearm charge after threatening a homeless man with a gun. later, in 2001, he was arrested for assault after assaulting his wife.
ice pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and admitted to pulling out some of her hair in the incident. as a consequence, he was sentenced to probation and family therapy sessions. however, he didn’t seem like he had done much.
In 2008, vanilla ice was again charged with assault after being accused of hitting his wife, but was released a day later after she confirmed that he only pushed her. he was also required to stay away from his wife from then on, but that case was also dropped.
charged with attempted murder!
trouble started early for this rapper. When he was just 12 years old, Jay-Z shot his drug-addicted older brother in the shoulder after his brother stole his ring. he bred the lyrics to you must love me where he talks about how he “saw the devil in your eyes / high on more than weed, confused, i just closed my young eyes and squeezed”.
jay-z was never convicted of the shooting, but admitted in 2010 that he was afraid his life was over at that point.
However, one incident in 1999 was more than a crime of youth and confusion. Jay-Z was accused of stabbing Lance “Un” Rivera in the stomach during an altercation outside a nightclub. The rapper pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and got away with only three years of probation.
7. Tim Allen
accused of drug trafficking!
Before becoming an actor, Tim Allen faced serious charges related to drug dealing. In 1978, he was caught with more than 650 grams of cocaine at the airport. Allen pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and initially received a life sentence. however, he requested that it be reduced in exchange for the names of other drug traffickers in his niche. it worked.
after serving just two years and four months, allen was paroled. Since then, his only problem with the law has been a dui incident in 1997, which he once again evaded with just one year of probation. It’s hard to imagine this family actor in such a harsh environment, right?
8. marilyn manson
charged with criminal sexual conduct!
Known for his wacky antics, Marilyn Manson was considered to have definitely crossed the line in 2001. The rocker reportedly spat on a security guard and put his head against his bare crotch during a concert, ending with a misdemeanor charge. of disorderly conduct.
While the artist was known to surprise his audience, involving an unwilling contestant was something else entirely. Manson faced one charge of assault and battery, along with criminal sexual conduct. The felony could have landed the rocker up to two years in prison, but he got away with a $4,000 fine.
In 2021, many of Manson’s ex-partners and other women publicly stated that the rock star physically, sexually and emotionally abused them, but he has denied the allegations and has not been charged with any crime so far.
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9. r. Kelly
charged with child pornography, sex trafficking & more!
Since the 1990s, r. Kelly has made headlines with accusations of sexual abuse that he has not escaped to this day. the singer was arrested and charged with 21 counts of child pornography in 2002.
kelly was accused of making a sex tape with a 12 year old girl, whom he was supposed to introduce to the world of stardom. However, the identity of the girl was never confirmed during the case and the fact that her testimony was missing favored Kelly’s case.
The singer himself did not testify. The defense argued that because of the quality of the tape, the jury couldn’t even recognize the girl if she was standing in the room, they argued that both Kelly and the girl could be models or prostitutes who look like them, and that it was the duty of the jury to find the innocent man. the singer was found not guilty and acquitted in 2008.
However, fast forward to 2019 and the docuseries, which survived r. Kelly, detailed allegations of sexual abuse by multiple women. By 2021, Kelly was convicted of nine charges, including racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping, bribery, sex trafficking, and violation of the Mann’s Law.
10. sid vicious
charged with murder!
sid vicious, bassist for the sex pistols, had become an icon throughout his life, although he was known to be addicted to heroin. In 1978, Sid and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, were living in a hotel room when the base player called the front desk and said that “something” had happened to his girlfriend.
It turned out spungen was dead, stabbed several times in the stomach. sid was arrested and charged with murder that day.
however, three months later, the base player was found dead from a heroin overdose, so the new york police department closed the case before the man was officially prosecuted for this serious crime.
a 2009 movie called who killed nancy? He fought the idea that Sid stabbed her girlfriend, claiming that she had passed out on her when she was killed and that about $24,000 was stolen from her room at the time. However, even his former bandmates have spoken of Sid’s fall into the clutches of heroin and how he likely led to the murder of his girlfriend while he was under the influence of drugs. the case remains a mystery to this day.
11. mel gibson
arrested for dui & you have a restraining order!
As a director, actor, producer and screenwriter, Mel Gibson’s name is dominant in Hollywood. But his name doesn’t appear often due to his role in Mad Max or directing Hacksaw Bridge. instead, we find this celebrity’s name making headlines due to controversial comments, an arrest, and a restraining order.
In 1995, Gibson attended a party with Winona Ryder where she made several references to World War II concentration camps and asked her if she had been an “oven dodger” and if she was Jewish. Later, she made other comments about the AIDS movement. just a decade later, gibson used similar words after being pulled over for driving under the influence. During his arrest, he shouted antisemitic slurs about the Jewish community.
Furthering common slurs over the name of the Quadruple Threat, Mel Gibson has been accused of domestic violence by his ex-lover, Oksana Grigorieva. Although it is only an accusation, Oksana has imposed a restraining order against the actor.
12. o.j. simpsons
arrested for robbery, drugs & kidnapping!
This soccer star is famous for being the prime suspect in the murder trial of his ex-wife, nicole brown-simpson, and her friend ronald goldman, but he was found not guilty (the glove found at the scene just didn’t fit , obviously).
unlike his football career, o.j. Simpson’s criminal record was not that stellar. Looking beyond the murder trial, Simpson has a thing for bad relationships. In 2000, his girlfriend Christie Prody called 911 on multiple occasions about her relationship; one of the calls is about him breaking in.
In the early 2000s, he was notable for getting into trouble with a rumored drug ring, vehicle theft, and a warrant for sailing his boat through a manatee area.
all of these incidents led to his arrest in 2007 for carrying a deadly weapon during a grand robbery in las vegas. The following year, Simpson was finally charged with robbery and kidnapping and was sentenced to 33 years in prison with a minimum of nine years without parole. he was released in 2017.
13. mike tyson
charged with assault, drugs & oops!
another athlete who fell into a life of crime is mike tyson, the star boxer from brooklyn, new york. Although he is best known for biting off his opponent’s ear in a boxing match, Mike has done much more than just attack this gruesomely.
As a child, he was involved in cases of theft such as pickpocketing and robbery. Years later, when Tyson was 25, he was charged with rape, deviant criminal behavior, and confinement by Desiree Washington. Desiree was a candidate in the Miss Black America pageant, and the attack took place in her own hotel room.
The fighter was sentenced to 10 years, but managed to get out in just three years. Falling back into his old habits, that’s when he bit off his opponent’s ear in 1997. Years later, he was charged again with multiple assaults, drug ties, and duis.
14. glitter charlie
sued for sexual assault, domestic violence & more!
This two-and-a-half-man actor has had more than enough of his fair share of negative headlines. Charlie Sheen has a history of drugs, but also a history of rehab. This constant battle between drugs and sobriety has led to more incidents of criminal activity.
In 1994, Sheen was sued for physically assaulting a young college student who refused to have sex with him. In addition to his physical assault timeline, he also hit her ex-girlfriend, Brittany Ashland, allegedly grabbing her hair and throwing her head on the stone floor.
Just two years after this assault, Sheen was hospitalized for a cocaine overdose. domestic violence occurred again in 2009 with his third wife, and it was even said that she put a knife to his throat.
after being sued again and again, the actor’s scariest account was that he allegedly put an unloaded gun to his ex-fiancée’s head and continuously pulled the trigger on her.
15. chris brown
accused of assaulting rihanna, drake & more!
Although he is one of the best-selling male artists in the world, Chris Brown is no stranger to criminal behavior. The singer’s most well-known offense was with none other than popular star and girlfriend at the time, Rihanna.
The argument in 2009 began between the two artists, where Chris said that Rihanna allegedly “tried to kick me”, and then he hit her with a closed fist. In her 2017 documentary, she went on to say that she still doesn’t know why she reacted the way she did.
Continuing the list of chris brown crimes, he has also committed several attacks. In 2012, one of these assaults even involved Drake in a club fight, while the other assault involved his bodyguard. The following year, Brown was also charged with hit and run.
Brown did not get away with these assaults: the artist was ordered to serve jail time and probation. however, the singer constantly broke his parole, which earned him extended probation and community service time.
16. robert downey jr.
arrested for drug paraphernalia!
Best known for his role in Marvel Studios as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. he has been involved with drug use since he was a child. when he was only six years old, his father made him try marijuana. this was just the beginning of a long journey with drug abuse, which even led to some time in jail.
rdj was able to secure various roles in shows and movies, thanks to his father’s history as a film director, becoming a burgeoning rising star in Hollywood, all until he was found in possession of hard drugs, including heroin and cocaine. . .
junior was continually arrested, making trips to and from jail and serving up to a year in prison during one of the arrests. however, he turned to sobriety in 2003 and never looked back.
his career was restarted again when our first celebrity offender on the list, mel gibson, invited robert downey jr. to work on his movie, the singing detective.
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17. bill cosby
charged with 60 sexual assaults!
We are all familiar with the headlines of Bill Cosby, but perhaps not with the extent of his horrific crimes. The comedian is best known for his work on The Bill Cosby Show (humbly named after himself), and the cartoon, Fat Albert. these family programs were a great success, until in 2018 accusations and rumors began to circulate.
Cosby was one of the first celebrities to be mentioned in the #metoo movement, allowing women and men alike to speak out about attacks on their sexual freedoms.
This sentence began with Andrea Constand, a worker at Temple University. Cosby had not only drugged her, but also abused her. She was just the beginning of a series of women who confessed their past traumas related to Bill Cosby, while 60 other women spoke out about her actions.
Cosby served two years of his jail time and was released this year on June 30, 2021.
alleged account of murder, kidnapping & theft!
This famous ex-lover of Kurt Cobain has potentially the craziest stories on our list, which also involves two other well-known celebrities. Cobain and Love’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, was previously married to Isaiah Silva. Isaiah Silva was said to be a fan of Kurt Cobain’s music, so Frances gave him a prized guitar from his father’s collections, a guitar said to be worth several million dollars.
The couple split in 2016, the same year as this alleged triple attack. Not only Courtney Love was involved in this attack, but also Britney Spears’ former manager Sam Lufti, and even the 13 Reasons Why actor Ross Butler.
Several other celebrity names were mentioned in this conspiracy as they devised a plan to not only kidnap, raid and robbery, but even murder by guitar. There were claims that the three, plus a driver, hacked into Isaiah Silva’s phone to send messages that could portray him as depressed or suicidal.
isaiah then said the chauffeur, ross butler and sam lufti broke into his home and robbed him, holding him hostage until he signed a legal settlement for the guitar. That same month, Isaiah filed a restraining order against the former manager, Lufti.
19. matthew mcconaughey
arrested for “disturbing the peace”!
it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright. We’ve all heard this friendly Texan’s story about being arrested while he was on drugs and playing the bongos naked, but it’s time for McConaughey to tell it himself. This narrative of the story is just an excerpt from his own memoir that he wrote called Greenlights.
It was 1999 and the actor was wrapping up a 32-hour bender and heading home. As his last hurrah of the night, he settled into, well, nothing, smoked a bowl of pot, and whipped out his bongo drums. he began pounding away at the drums, following the Afro-Cuban rhythms that blared from the speakers and wrote, “it was time for a jam session.”
smoothed by the beats, two policemen were knocking on his door until they decided to break in. What they didn’t expect to see was a red-eyed Matthew McConaughey at 2:30 a.m. his birthday suit. after being arrested as naked as can be, the case was closed and the actor only had to pay a $50 fine.
We can’t say this is the worst of the celebrity crimes on our list, but it’s still surprising that dear matthew has been arrested once!
charged with carrying a concealed weapon!
another famous person who broke the law…popular rapper and occasional actor eminem has a pretty interesting criminal record and we’re not just talking about his crime song.
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One of his most intriguing headlines began with a physical fight with a man named John Guerra. The argument occurred outside a club after John allegedly kissed Eminem’s then-wife, Kim. Eminem then hit Guerra in the face with a pistol, which Eminem mentioned in court was a “concealed weapon,” and later pleaded guilty.
This earned the rapper some form of punishment: two years probation and John Guerra a whopping $100,000.
21. little kim
charged with perjury and conspiracy!
Grammy-winning artist Lil’ Kim has a pretty clean record, but it’s most notable for her one-year, one-day sentence. this incredibly specific amount of time was due to perjury by herself and two other accounts of perjury.
In 2001, Kimberly Jones was part of a shootout between her and her friends and an opposing rap group that was sparked by heated comments mixed with songs.
This vicious act landed the rapper in court, where she decided to lie to protect her friends involved. If she hadn’t lied, Lil’ Kim’s sentence might have been shorter.
The rapper was released in 2006 and reflects on the situation by stating: “I can tell you that this is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I testified falsely during the grand jury and at trial. in At the time, I thought it was the right thing to do, but now I know I was wrong.”
22. tupac shakur
arrested for sexual assault, involved in gang violence!
Although he is one of the most troubled rap artists, Tupac Shakur has been heavily involved with crime from a young age. his career took off in the early 1990s, getting involved with other artists like p. diddy and notorious big
It was in 1994 when Tupac was going to the studio—while still on trial for a sexual assault case—to record a song with the other two artists, but three men shot him five times in the lobby. he survived, went to court the next day for sexual assault, and was jailed immediately afterwards.
Years after he served his time in jail, Tupac joined Suge Knight’s death row records, where he accompanied him to a Mike Tyson fight. In the lobby, a fight broke out between the men from Deathrow Records (which is associated with the gang “The Bloods”) and a man who was part of their rival gang, the Crips.
Later that night, Suge Knight was driving with Tupac in the passenger seat, when a Cadillac pulled up right next to his car and shot Tupac four times and grazed Knight once. tupac died in the hospital six days later.
Clearly, there’s a big, dark stain on the image of these stars that their celebrity status shouldn’t erase. It may seem unfair that some of these celebrities have not paid the fair price for their unethical crimes. they may be in the past, but that doesn’t take away from the seriousness and devastating consequences of their actions.
What other famous criminals do you know? which ones surprised you the most? tell us in the comments below…
This article was originally published in May 2016.
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