Celebrities are all about their image. They pay a lot of money to a lot of people so that we only see the very best side of them.
But when they go around breaking the law, that image gets a little more difficult to keep clean. Sometimes, the crimes happened before they found fame, but that doesn’t make it any easier on their PR person. Some of these stars succeeded at making us forget anything ever happened, while others… Well, they might have gotten off easy with their legal punishment, but their careers may never fully recover. Take a look.
1.) Bill Gates: Driving without a license and speeding.
The Microsoft billionaire was arrested twice in the 1970s for driving without a license. First in 1975 while speeding and again in 1977 when he failed to stop at a stop sign.
2.) James Brown: Theft, assault, possessing firearms and domestic violence.
At age 16, the “Godfather of Soul” was sentenced to 3 years in prison after getting arrested for theft. Later he was taken in 1988 when a high speed chase ended with the discovery of illegal weapons and drugs in his car, then assaulted the arresting officer. He spent 3 years in prison again. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, his third wife Adrienne Rodriguez had him charged with domestic violence four separate times.
3.) Vanilla Ice: Possession of a firearm, assault and battery.
The rapper has been arrested several times, first in 1991 after threatening a homeless man with a firearm, then again in 2001 for assaulting his wife where he was sentenced to probation and family counseling. He was brought in a third time in 2008 for battery, again in an altercation with his wife.
4.) Mark Wahlberg: Attempted murder and assault.
When the actor was 16, he attacked two Vietnamese men with a wooden stick and was initially charged with attempted murder before pleading guilty to assault. He served 45 days of his two year sentence.
5.) Hugh Grant: Soliciting a prostitute.
In 1995, the actor caused a stir after being arrested for lewd conduct in a public place with Hollywood prostitute Divine Brown. At the time, he was in a highly publicized longterm relationship with Elizabeth Hurley. He appeared on The Tonight Show the week following his arrest where he candidly (and affably) spoke about the incident.
6.) Will Smith: Aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy.
Smith was arrested in 1989 for being part of an assault that left one of the men practically blind. The actor was charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, and criminal conspiracy, but the charges were later dismissed.
7.) Tim Allen: Cocaine possession and drunk driving.
Long before he was grunting away on Home Improvement, the “Tool Man” was arrested in 1978 at age 25 for possessing over 650 grams of cocaine. He served two and a half years for that sentence, then ran into the law again in 1997 for driving under the influence. For that he served a year’s probation and attended rehab.
8.) Christian Slater: Drunk driving, assault, possession of a firearm, sexual assault.
The boyish charm started fading away in 1989 when Slater was arrested for driving under the influence. He was then arrested twice in 1997, first for assaulting his girlfriend while drunk and then again for attempting to board a flight while carrying a loaded gun. In 2005, he was arrested and charged with third-degree sexual assault after grabbing a woman’s behind on the street.
9.) Winona Ryder: Grand theft.
The actress decided to end a shopping spree one day without actually paying for any of the merchandise. She was sentenced to 3 years probation, but her career is still trying to resurface after the event.
10.) Wesley Snipes: Failure to pay taxes.
Snipes spent three years in prison after being found guilty of three misdemeanor accounts of failure to pay taxes. He was released in April 2013.
11.) Martha Stewart: Insider trading.
She only served five months of her sentence in prison before being allowed to finish the 2-year sentence at her home.
12.) Li’l Kim: Conspiracy and perjury.
At the peak of her career in 2005, it was discovered that the rapper lied in front of a grand jury regarding her friend’s involvement in a murder outside of a New York recording studio. She spent 366 days in jail and was greeted by fans upon her release in July 2006.
13.) Paris Hilton: Driving under the influence.
The hotel heiress has had several run ins with the law, but in 2006 she was arrested and served three weeks in prison for driving intoxicated.
14.) Khloe Kardashian: Driving under the influence.
Before her reality show, Khloe was arrested in 2007 for driving drunk and sentenced to three years probation. She then broke that probation and was sentenced to 30 days in prison, but only served 3 hours due to overcrowding.
15.) Kiefer Sutherland: Driving under the influence.
The actor has been brought in not once, not twice, but four times for driving intoxicated. First in1989, then 1993, 2004 and finally in 2007 when he was sentenced and served 48 days in prison.
16.) Jay Z: Assault.
In 1999, Jay was sentenced to three years probation after a fight broke out in a night club that ended with him stabbing a record executive in the stomach.
17.) Matthew McConaughey: Drug possession.
The actor was discovered in his home, naked, dancing and playing bongo drums after a neighbor called in a noise complaint. They searched his home and found marijuana and paraphernalia, but those charges were eventually dropped and he simply paid the $50 noise fine.
18.) Woody Harrelson: Disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Before everyone knew his name, the actor was arrested in 1982 for disorderly conduct when he was found dancing in the middle of a street. He then resisted arrest but was able to avoid jail time by paying a fine.
(H/T: So Bad So Good, Buzzfeed.)
I had forgotten about so many of these. This is going to make me feel different about going to the movies for awhile.