Have you ever messed up your life so badly that you think you’ll never recover from your mistakes? Do you look at your favorite celebrity and wonder how you could be more like them? Do your favorite celebrities seem so perfect in your mind that you can’t see them doing much of anything wrong let alone getting into trouble with the law? While it would be great if success equaled immunity from poor choices the truth is that no one goes through life without making mistakes from time to time. While most of us have the convenience of screwing up without an audience of millions of people judging and questioning our actions, celebrities unfortunately have to walk through their trials in the spotlight.
These fifteen celebrities have had widely successful careers, some that came after their criminal incidents, others who went through a rough patch with the law after they found success in their careers. While some of these beloved celebrities have been falsely accused and later removed from blame for their accused crimes, others have serious criminal records that may make you question how much you really know about your favorite celebrities. From robbery charges, assault, burglary, DUI, and even attempted murder, these fifteen celebs have all committed or been accused of crimes at one point in time, if not repeatedly. What their struggles show us is that celebrities are in fact human who make mistakes (and are not above the law), and that with the right amount of determination, anyone can overcome a dark past.
15. Michelle Rodriguez – DUI
From her roles in Avatar, The Fast and the Furious franchise and Lost, Michelle Rodriguez has had a successful acting career over the years. With adventurous and acton-packed features, Michelle seems to enjoy the fast life. But living in spotlight seems to have lead to a bit of poor judgement on Michelle’s part. In 2006, Michelle was arrested and plead guilty to DUI while in Hawaii. The actress faced a minimal jail time and community service for her crime. While Michele quickly put the mistake behind her, she proves that like everyone else, celebrities are human and make dangerous mistakes from time to time.
14. Will Smith – Assault
From a goofy kid on Fresh Prince of Bel Air to a respected actor in his roles in Men in Black, I am Legend, Concussion, and others, Will Smith is an entertainer who has proven his worth over the years. While Smith always appears to carry himself with a calm and humble attitude, what you may not know about the star is his police record. While the charges were later dropped, Buzzfeed notes that in 1989, Smith was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy. Will’s life is proof that even something as serious as criminal charges can be overcome with enough determination and focus to move forward.
13. Woody Harrelson – Disturbing the Peace
Actor Woody Harrelson has a long list of acting successes. From his iconic role in Cheers to the feature film No Country for Old Men and everything in between, Harrelson has had a long and healthy acting career. What you may not know about this beloved actor is that Harrelson has had his share of run-ins with the police. In the early 80s, Harrelson was arrested for disturbing the peace. In 1996, Harrelson was arrested for planting hemp seeds that were in his possession when questioned by a police officer. While not the most serious of criminal records, Harrelson’s habits suggest he’s nothing if not opinionated.
12. Amanda Bynes – Reckless Endangerment
From wholesome kid show stardom to a downward spiral of mental illness that was all documented on social media, Amanda Bynes has gone through a roller coaster of challenges over the past few years. Bynes acting career includes roles in Nickelodeon’s All That, The Amanda Show, and the film Easy A. If you followed Bynes’ Twitter feed during her more turbulent years, it may be easy to remember her troubled ways. Bynes has been arrested for drug possession, reckless endangerment, DUI, hit-and-run, just to name a few. Thankfully, it seems that in the past few years since getting professional help, Bynes has cleaned up her reckless ways.
11. Jane Fonda – “Drug Smuggling”
Jane Fonda has had an enormous Hollywood career as both an actress and producer. While Jane Fonda has no true arrest record, she has a history with the police. While traveling home in 1970, Fonda was accused of drug smuggling by an Ohio police officer. Fonda recounts the incident as evidence of the anxious quality of the times, as the Vietnam War was still going strong. The drugs that Fonda was accused of smuggling were in fact vitamins the Klute and Nine to Five actress had labeled for herself. Fonda’s lack of involvement with law enforcement since shows that even law enforcement officers can make bad judgement calls with affluent travelers.
10. Vanilla Ice – Burglary
Whether you know Vanilla Ice (real name Robert Van Winkle) from his “Ice, Ice, Baby” days, you saw him struggle to bring his music career back to life in the 2000s, or you’ve seen him on his home renovation show The Vanilla Ice Project on the DIY Network, Vanilla Ice is hard to forget. While the rapper and reality TV star seemed to be having a good streak with his career as the host of his The Vanilla Ice Project show, he can’t be doing that well as he was arrested in 2015 for burglary. Interestingly, Vanilla Ice robbed a foreclosed home across from a home he was renovating for his DIY channel show.
9. Shia LaBeouf – Public Intoxication
Seasoned Disney channel star Shia LaBeouf has practically grown up in the spot light. From his earlier days on Even Stevens to his more recent roles in the Transformers franchise films and Fury, LaBeouf has come to find himself on-screen. The pressures of fame, success, and growth in Hollywood are tremendous, particularly for a young star who constantly wants to improve their career. While relatively minor events, LaBeouf has a consistent record of arrests pertaining to misbehavior with authority, often mixed with drinking. Most recently, LaBeouf was arrested in 2015 for public intoxication. While LaBeouf has made several public claims that he regrets his behavior, he clearly has some work to do on his behavior when out partying.
8. Tim Allen – Drug Possession
Home Improvement and Toy Story star Tim Allen may be known for his funny antics on-screen, but Allen’s arrest history was nothing to laugh at. While it was a single arrest, Allen was in serious trouble with the law. In the late 70s, Allen was arrested for cocaine possession. Thanks to a plea deal, Allen spent just a couple of years in prison before being released. Far from his family-friendly funny guy persona that so many have come to know on-screen, the pre-fame Allen clearly kept dangerous company. Perhaps his short stint in prison helped give him a new perspective on life?
7. Orlando Brown – Assault
Orlando Brown got an early start on television with his roles in Family Matters and the Disney Channel’s That’s So Raven. As TMZ reported in February 2016, Bloom was arrested for physically assaulting his girlfriend. TMZ also notes that Brown was in possession of meth at the time of the arrest. While Brown may have been a beloved childhood star, his success shows that no one is immune to drug and abuse problems. While it isn’t completely clear what the extent of Brown’s problems are at this point, clearly he needs to get some professional help and make positive changes in his life.
6. Khloe Kardashian – DUI
Kardashian sister and reality-show starlet Khloe Kardashian has had plenty of time in the spotlight. While Khloe is often featured for family drama, her fashion choices, or her latest brand affiliations, or her love life, Khloe has been arrested in the past. In 2008 and more recently in 2014, Kardashian was charged with DUI. While drinking and driving is a common problem in the United States, we hope that Kardashian can continue her streak of good behavior to avoid the possibility of a tragic accident or injuries in the future. Surely Kardashian knows someone she can catch ride with post-party?
5. Mark Wahlberg – Aggravated Assault
Boston native Mark Wahlberg is a celebrity who has always kept ties to his hometown despite his success in Hollywood. While Wahlberg has had plenty of success on-screen with his roles in The Departed, the Ted franchise, and as an executive producer for his family’s show Wahlbergers, Mark has a troubled past. In 1987 at the age of 16, Buzzfeed notes that Wahlberg was charged with attempted murder for assaulting two Vietnamese men, causing one permanent injuries. However, the charges were reduced to an assault charge with a brief prison stint. Clearly, Wahlberg has changed his ways and has even created the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation.
4. 50 Cent – Packing Heat
Bad boy rapper 50 Cent blew up the rap scene in 2003 with his smooth voice and hardcore lyrics on his album Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Unlike some rap artists that rap about a life full of drugs, violence, and hardship without having first hand experience in those topics, 50 Cent has lived through it. Since the early 90s, 50 Cent has been arrested for charges including selling drugs, domestic violence, and gun possession. Real life experience may make for a more genuine and relatable artist, but in some cases, being relatable isn’t worth the risk of serving time.
3. Robert Downey Jr. – Drug Use
Think Iron Man can do no wrong? Think again. While critically acclaimed actor Robert Downey Jr. has been hailed throughout his decades long acting career, the Chaplin and Iron Man star has served time in jail for repeat probation violations in the early 2000s according to the L.A. Times despite having already had a successful acting career at that time. The star has a long history with drug abuse, which he notes began at a young age when he was introduced to drugs by his father. Today, Downey Jr. is successful, happy, and clearly has made peace with his past.
2. Lauryn Hill – Tax Evasion
From her soulful ballads in the hit 90s group The Fugees to her solo albums, Lauryn Hill quickly shot to stardom within the music industry. Confident, empowering, and gorgeous, Hill had the whole package. Then came her conviction for failing to file federal income taxes. As CNN reported, in 2013, Hill spent three months in a women’s prison in Connecticut before being released to have an additional three months of house arrest and a year of supervision for failing to pay federal income taxes over several years. Hill’s conviction reminds us to keep up with those pesky taxes to avoid serving hard time.
1. Piper Kerman – Drug Smuggling
If seeing this name makes you think of Piper from the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black, it’s for good reason. Piper Kerman may not have been a celebrity years ago, but today, she’s known for her 2010 breakout biography Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. With the success of the book, Netflix turned Kerman’s story into the hit series. As Publishers Weekly noted in their synopsis of the Orange is the New Black, the real piper was was sent to prison for her involvement in a drug smuggling ring and money laundering.