There are some celebrities who seem drawn to trouble and who you almost know are destined for brushes with the law. But then again, there are those who you would never think would partake in criminal activity – mainly because their public profiles are relatively squeaky clean. But that’s where you’d be wrong: indeed, whether they’ve taken part in tax evasion, animal abuse or something just as law-breaking, it seems that some famous figures aren’t as innocent as they first appear to be. So with that said, here are 20 surprising stars who’ve done time behind bars.
20. Paris Hilton
Reality TV star and socialite Paris Hilton has been in the spotlight for quite some time now. What she probably didn’t want a light shone upon, however, was her brief 2007 stint in jail. The blonde bombshell was arrested and locked up for three days due to reckless driving, driving without a license and driving under the influence. Probably a good idea to use public transport from now on, Paris.
19. Michelle Rodriguez
Action movie star Michelle Rodriguez is known for her fiery and fierce roles in front of the camera – but she’s not afraid to bend the rules off screen as well. In the real world, however, breaking the law has consequences. And in 2007 the Fast and the Furious actress was duly jailed for 18 days for violating her probation for a previous DUI incident. She was originally sentenced to a full 180 days behind bars but was let out early because of overcrowding in the jail.
18. Michael Vick
Disgraced NFL quarterback Michael Vick got what was coming to him in 2007 when he was arrested for running an underground dog-fighting ring. Heinous beatings, hangings and executions of dogs were cited against the football player in court, leading to him spending 21 months behind bars. So much for sports stars being role models.
17. Kiefer Sutherland
As one of America’s most beloved actors, Kiefer Sutherland has no shortage of hit performances under his belt. However, he’s also no stranger to brushes with the law. Following a string of DUI convictions, in fact, the 24 and Lost Boys star was arrested in 2007 for drunk driving and received a sentence of 48 days inside as a consequence. We’re sure he would have, ahem, preferred 24…
16. Jake Lloyd
After appearing as Anakin Skywalker in the turgid Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace, child actor Jake Lloyd found himself subsequently bullied by schoolmates. But that was far from the end of Lloyd’s problems. In 2015, for example, the troubled star was arrested for driving without a license, leading to a dramatic car chase with the police. And following ten months locked up, he was moved to a psychiatric ward to be treated for schizophrenia. It seems, then, as if he has become another child star burdened by the dark side of fame.
15. Danny Trejo
Although Danny Trejo’s known for his badass character portrayals, you still might be surprised to learn that the tough guy persona isn’t all an act. Indeed, it seems as if he was quite a troublemaker in his youth, given his whopping 11 years in prison for murder, drug and robbery charges during the ’60s. The star of Machete has definitely since changed his ways, though.
14. Lauryn Hill
Former Fugees frontwoman Lauryn Hill set the music world alight in the late ’90s, both with her chart-topping hip-hop troop and as a solo star. Unfortunately, though, she became disillusioned with the industry and subsequently dropped off the map for much of the ’00s. Still, her name hit headlines again in 2012, when it came to light that she’d been sentenced to three months in federal prison because of tax evasion charges.
13. Mark Wahlberg
Ted star Mark Wahlberg has had quite a storied career, particularly due to his seamless transition from pop singer to movie star. It wasn’t always like this, though. Back before anybody had heard the name Mark Wahlberg, in fact, he was serving prison time for a violent attack on a Vietnamese man. The 1988 assault landed the then-aspiring 16-year-old actor behind bars for 45 days.
12. Nicole Richie
Nicole Richie followed her Simple Life co-star Paris Hilton all the way to jail when she was also arrested for DUI. Luckily for her, though, just 82 minutes locked up were deemed enough, due to overcrowding in the facility. And, strangely, she arrived just one month after Hilton had left the same prison. Best friends are hard to separate from each other, it would seem.
11. Martha Stewart
If you thought that queen of craft Martha Stewart would never break the law, you’d be wrong. In fact, she got into very hot water in 2004 for stock fraud, leading her to spend five long months locked up. They should’ve at least allowed her to bake in the slammer!
10. Floyd Mayweather
Floyd “Money” Mayweather can certainly back up what he says in the ring – but when it comes to the law, no amount of bravado can help him. And Mayweather learned this all too well in 2012 when he was put away for 60 days, due to domestic abuse claims from his girlfriend at the time. Because of his big-name status, moreover, the flash fighter was placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours each day.
9. Richard Pryor
Stand-up comedian, wacky actor and all-round funnyman Richard Pryor is best known for his hilarious,if decidedly edgy, routines. But taboos weren’t all that he broke during his life, given his run-in with the law in the 1974. That year, moreover, the popular trailblazer was charged with tax evasion; he subsequently spent ten days in jail as a consequence.
8. Charles S. Dutton
Charles S. Dutton, it’s fair to say, had a turbulent teenage life. After quitting school aged just 12, for example, the Alien 3 star got into an altercation when he was 17, killing someone he claimed had attacked him. And while serving over seven years behind bars for manslaughter, he was stabbed in the neck with an ice pick and locked in solitary confinement. What’s more, Dutton later returned to prison for another three years for possession of a firearm. Yeah, maybe best to stay in school, kids.
7. Will Smith
The men in black might not have come to Will Smith’s door, but the men in blue certainly did. The charge? Severely beating up a music promoter to the point where he was almost blind. Furthermore, the 1989 event led to the victim needing stitches to close the wound on his eye socket. As a result, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star had to settle for a cold night in jail while being allegedly irritated by inmates asking for his autograph.
6. Stephen Fry
British human encyclopedia Stephen Fry may have plenty of wit, but he didn’t have enough to evade the law. When he was 17, moreover, Fry was locked up for three months due to credit card fraud. The well-spoken know-it-all had found two credit cards tucked away in a coat pocket when he was at the pub; he then proceeded to live a life of luxury before his dirty deed finally caught up with him. Fry now talks about how to avoid going down the same road as he did.
5. Tim Allen
You probably weren’t aware that family-friendly actor Tim Allen was once a drug dealer who was caught at an airport with cocaine. But he was, being nabbed with 650 grams of the stuff. Facing a life sentence for the 1978 bust, Allen unceremoniously became a police snitch, turning over 21 contacts to the law enforcement. In return, they brought his term time down to two and a half years.
4. Johnny Cash
Country legend Johnny Cash was known for his dissatisfaction with the criminal justice system – a disdain, it seems, only exacerbated by his own run-ins with law enforcement. Indeed, the singer was arrested in excess of seven times, spending a night in jail for each of his crimes – which ranged from public drunkenness to, er, picking flowers. It seems, then, that Cash was a renegade in every sense of the word.
3. Shelley Malil
Don’t just assume that because an actor is featured in a comedy movie that they’re just as fun-loving in real life, too. One case in point, for sure, is The 40-Year-Old Virgin star Shelley Malil, who played Haziz in the 2005 flick. In 2008 things got all too serious, in fact, when he stabbed his ex-girlfriend 20 times. Thankfully, the woman survived the horrific attack – and Malil was given a sentence of life in prison for attempted murder.
2. Christian Slater
Of all the actors in Hollywood that you might suspect of being involved in foul play, perhaps the person who you would least expect it from is Christian Slater. However, his likable movie performances and personable appearance aren’t enough to mask the facts of a 1997 incident involving his former partner. And Slater served three months in jail for domestic abuse while under the influence of illegal substances, following prior arrests for drunk driving and possession of unlicensed firearms.
1. Judge Joe Brown
It seems only fitting to end this list with one of the most surprising imprisonments that you’re ever likely to hear about. That’s because television personality Judge Joe Brown found himself on the other side of the law in 2015 and was duly locked up for five days for it. His crime? Contempt of court after he partook in some verbal sparring with a court magistrate. Still, Brown maintains his innocence on that matter, so who are we to, ahem, “judge”?