While celebrities are immune to many of the trials and tribulations that we have to deal with (speeding tickets, working jobs we hate, not being able to afford certain things), when it comes to personal tragedies, celebrities pay the same emotional price that we all do. No amount of money or fame can make the pain lessen. Some of the things the celebs on this list have been through are so traumatic, you’ll wonder how they went on to become or stay successful. Though maybe it’s easy now to see how some of your favorite stars on this list are able to act so wonderfully when it comes to sad scenes, by drawing on their personal experiences no doubt.
While their particular level of innocence may differ, all the celebs on this list have one thing in common: they were not charged with the crime. Some of them just happened upon a crime scene while others have a little more involvement and may have been considered suspects at some point. A few of these stories made headline news while others you may not have heard of at all. And you’ll see why as some of these painful experiences are ones that you’d want to keep in if you were them. Here are fifteen celebrities innocently connected to terrible crimes.
15. Ashton Found His Girlfriend’s Crime Scene After She Had Just Been Murdered By A Serial Killer
Ashton Kutcher was just beginning to climb the steps to major Hollywood success in 2001 with his spot on That ’70s Show and the movie, Dude, Where’s My Car? His love life wasn’t looking too shabby either as he was seeing pretty fashion student Ashley Ellerin. They’d been on a few dates before but now Ashley wasn’t answering her phone when Ashton called her. Confused and thinking that she was possibly upset with him, he drove over to her bungalow apartment located behind Grauman’s Chinese Theater. When she didn’t answer the door, Ashton looked in the windows but found only a big stain of red wine on the floor. Of course, that wasn’t red wine but Ashton had no reason to think otherwise. After her body was discovered, Ashton cooperated fully with the police and they were satisfied that he wasn’t involved. It was later discovered that Ashley had become the unfortunate third fatal victim to serial killer Michael Garguilo.
14. Sofia Vergara Dealt With A Murder In Her Family
Back in 1994, Sofia Vergara was a young single mother looking towards a bright future. Not that she could even begin to imagine the level of success that she enjoys now but after being offered the chance to host a Miami-based travel show, she was more than happy to take it as a sweet income opportunity plus as her ticket out of Barranquilla, Colombia that was run by guns and gangs. Her family knew this too, which is why they hired bodyguards to accompany their 27-year-old son and Sofia’s big brother, Rafael, around the violent town. The Vergara family was wealthy and it was known that Rafael would have been a good kidnapping for ransom candidate. When he failed to use the bodyguards one day in 1998, he was shot dead when an attempt to take him hostage went wrong. She was heartbroken but her tragedy train ride wasn’t over yet. Just two years later, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which thankfully, she beat. That same year, her mobster boyfriend, Chris Paciello, went to prison for murder. Good thing for Sofia, now her days seem happy and carefree.
13. Roy Orbison’s Wife Died In His Arms From A Horrific Motorcycle Accident
“Pretty Woman” and “Only The Lonely” singer Roy Orbison was no stranger to heartbreak. When he found out his lovely wife whom he adored (the lyrics for “Pretty Woman” were based on her) had cheated on him, they eventually separated in 1964. But he couldn’t stand to be away from her so a year later, the two remarried. One thing of many the couple had in common was their love for motorcycles. They had planned a long motorcycle trip and not far into it, a truck pulled out in front of her, causing Claudette’s motorcycle to crash. She died in her husband’s arms. The young mother and wife was only 25 years old. Roy’s heart was crushed and he wrote the song “Claudette” in her honor. Though perhaps today, some legal action might be taken against a driver who caused a death in such a manner, no action was taken on the truck driver back in 1964.
12. Reality TV Villain Turned White House Worker’s Brother Was Murdered
For all of you youngins out there, Omarosa Manigault was the one that we all loved to hate back in 2004 as she made enemies left and right on Donald Trump’s first season of The Apprentice. One enemy she didn’t make was Trump himself as she is now the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison for President Trump’s administration. But sadly, she turned into a grieving sister in 2011 when Omarosa’s younger brother’s former lover broke into his new lover’s house (which he was sleeping in) and shot him. The reality star/White House Director of Communications said that it was an especially tragic death seeing as how he had gotten his act together as of two years prior and was doing well in life. He had previously been arrested for assault in 1999 and possession in 2003.
11. Roman Polanski Lost His Wife And Unborn Child To The Madness Of Charles Manson And His “Family”
Director Roman Polanski is as famous for his hit movies such as Rosemary’s Baby starring Mia Farrow, Chinatown starring Jack Nicholson and The Pianist starring Adrien Brody as he is for the unfortunate and senseless murder of his late wife, Sharon Tate who was murdered in 1969 by Charles Manson’s “family” under direction of Manson himself. He lost the son he never got a chance to meet and his true love. Of Sharon, he has said, “Even after so many years, I find myself unable to watch a spectacular sunset or visit a lovely old house or experience visual pleasure of any kind without instinctively telling myself how much she would have loved it all. In these ways I shall remain faithful to her till the day I die.”
10. Taryn Manning Gets Accused Of Abuse By Her Fan Turned Friend Turned Makeup Artist
It would seem that Taryn Manning has learned a lesson. Per her Twitter feed as of January 29, 2016: “People ask my advice about how to make it…well I know how not to make it harder. Use discernment when befriending a fan.” There’s little doubt to anyone who has been following her story that she was referring to Holly Hartman, her fan turned friend and makeup artist turned liar and accuser, at least according to Manning. The accusations against the celeb are bizarre to say the least.
Hartman said that Manning sprayed Windex solution in her eyes and mouth, headbutted her in the face and whipped her with a wet towel. It could have been that Manning was just doing some character research for her role on Orange Is The New Black or it could be that Hartman is lying. Manning’s lawyer says that Hartman has been stalking Manning. All of this seems crazy but this is apparently nothing new for the two frenemies. Back in 2012, Manning spent one night in jail for charges of strangulation after she and Hartman got into a fight. But as of the more recent charges, a judge tossed them out.
9. A Look Inside The Many Crimes That Have Plagued Kelsey Grammer’s Life
Though he’s achieved fantastic levels of success throughout the years in Hollywood as well as on Broadway, poor Kelsey Grammer has had more than his fair share of heartbreak and tragedy within his family. Starting off, Kelsey was mostly raised by his mother and grandfather following his parents’ divorce. Sadly, his grandfather passed when he was just eleven. A few years later, his father was murdered in front of his stepmother. In the seventies, his sister Karen who was just eighteen at the time, was raped and murdered by a local serial killer. The details of Karen’s death could make even the toughest of the tough weep and it was Kelsey, then only twenty, who ID’d her dead body. Still not tragic enough for you? Hold on, there’s unfortunately more. In 1980, his twin half-brothers both died in a freak scuba-diving accident. Though the passing of his grandfather and half-brothers are accidents/natural deaths, his father and sister’s murders are more than enough to send anyone into a tailspin.
8. Mary-Kate Olsen Was Considered A Person Of Interest In The Death Of Heath Ledger
In 2008, millions of people mourned the tragic and untimely passing of Heath Ledger, who was at the top of his game during the time of his death. Although he overdosed and everything seemed to be accidental, there were certain circumstances that seemed awfully suspicious and all signs just happened to be pointing in the direction of Miss Mary-Kate. The one half of the giant twin-built empire led and still leads a notoriously private life but still, some people (and police!) couldn’t understand why she wasn’t eager to help investigators fill in the gaps, seeing as though she was romantically connected in some way to Ledger at the time of his death. When his masseuse, Diana Wolozier, found his dead body, which she later claimed she thought was just unconscious, she curiously called Mary-Kate instead of 911 and then MK curiously called a private security company to check out the situation. Thanks to the ME ruling the time of death before Wolozier arrived, nothing came down on her or one of the richest twins in the world except a whole lot of public scrutiny and raised eyebrows in her direction.
7. Charlize Theron Witnessed Her Mother Kill Her Father
Charlize was just fifteen years old when she saw her mother aim a loaded gun at her father and shoot him right in front of her. But she had already been traumatized up until that point and the death of her father may have saved her life and her mother’s life as well. You see, he was extremely abusive and happened to be bipolar. He used his words and his fists with his wife and young daughter to express how he felt. One day, he attacked them both and promised to shoot them right then. Out of self-defense and without a doubt scared out of her mind, Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz grabbed the gun and fatally shot her husband to protect their lives. It’s very possible that Charlize’s father could have carried out his threat and murdered both her and her mother had she not taken action. Today, the mother and daughter enjoy their close bond.
6. Marlon Brando’s Son Went To Prison For Murdering His Sister’s Boyfriend
According to Christian, he shot Dag Drollet, his half-sister Cheyenne’s boyfriend and the father of her child, based on claims that he was abusive towards her. Dag was murdered in Marlon Brando’s Hollywood home. Later, Christian said that he wished he hadn’t believed Cheyenne’s claims and implied that she used him and lied or at least, exaggerated the claims. Cheyenne committed suicide not too long afterwards. Christian was Marlon’s beloved baby boy, his first child and his trial did a number on him, stress-wise. But he stood by his side and remained a staunch supporter of Christian’s, who served five years in prison for the murder. But Christian’s legal troubles were far from over after his release. Ironically, he faced accusations of spousal abuse from his own wife, Deborah, and his name was brought up at the Robert Blake trial. Christian died from pneumonia in 2008. He was just forty-nine.
5. Jennifer Hudson’s Forever Linked To A Triple Murder Case
On October 24, 2008, Jennifer Hudson‘s sister Julia came home from a day of work to discover a bullet hole in the front door of the family home. Confused and scared, she entered the home only to see her mother dead with a bloody head wound before rushing out of the house and calling 911. She didn’t know then that not only was her mother dead but her son, Julian “Juice Box”, only seven years old and her brother, Jason, had been killed as well. The murderer? None other than her ex, William Balfour. Perhaps the most tragic detail of this case following the trial is that it was discovered through Julia’s testimony that Balfour made many murderous threats against Julia and anyone else near her following their break-up. On the stand, she said that she “didn’t believe him.” For the rest of her life, Jennifer Hudson will remain connected to this awful and so tragic triple murder. In an unrelated matter, the judge that proceeded over the trial was shot and killed recently and the details of his murder and still coming to light.
4. Woody Harrelson’s Father Was A Hitman
Woody‘s dad, Charles Voyde Harrelson, accepted money to murder a grain dealer named San Degalia Jr. in 1973 and served time in prison – just five years. After a break like that, you’d think most people would think about walking on the right side of the law from then on, right? But the Senior Harrelson instead decided to accept another sum of money to murder another contract hit. This time a U.S. District Judge! He was arrested one year later for the murder of Judge John H. Wood. Woody cut off contact with his dad for several years, around two decades, but finally got back in touch with him. He started visiting him in prison and unsuccessfully tried to get him a new trial before Charles’ death in 2007. It’s ironic that Woody has gone on to play several “hitman” type characters – or is it?
3. Kevin Spacey Allegedly Comes From Psychopath Stock And Was Raised By A Child Molester
According to Kevin‘s brother, Randall Fowler, that is. Randall has said that their father, Thomas Fowler who died in 1992, was a sadist, a child molester (Randall being the victim) and a Nazi enthusiast. It’s important to note here that Kevin Spacey denies these allegations. But nevertheless, Randall has said that Thomas enjoyed keeping personal grooming habits that would allow his moustache and hair to resemble Adolf Hitler’s unforgettable-in-a-bad-way look. He even said that their father was a member of the American Nazi Party. Furthermore, Randall claims that their father not only molested him but physically abused him as well. He said that he saved Kevin from being hit, beaten and sexually abused because he was the one to take the suffering on. It’s got to be hard being a celebrity in the sense that certain family members who might want a piece of the pie, so to speak, will come out of woodwork with a bizarre and often times, made up story for some cool hard cash that comes with an interview. But then there are times when the bizarre info is true but understandably, stars don’t want people knowing about their private life. Who do you believe?
2. Dylan McDermott Helped Solve His Mother’s Murder
The air was frigid and the wind was unforgiving on a particular Connecticut winter day in February 1967 and even though he was just five years old, Dylan (who then went by his given name, Mark) now won’t be able to forget a single, horrible detail. He had just been booted from the house by his mother’s gangster boyfriend, John Sponza, when he heard a blast. He later found out that blast killed his mother, Diane McDermott with a gunshot wound to the head. But only much later did these details arise. For one year after Diane’s death, Dylan was told that his mother was in the hospital by his well-meaning grandmother. It wasn’t until decades later that police were reexamining the case and it came to light that Diane’s death (which unbelievably was classified as an accidental shooting) had homicide clearly written all over it. There is talk of police cover up and corruption thanks to inspector Henry Byrnes who was on the case at the time but nothing has been confirmed. Dylan was later able to say that he heard shouting then a loud blast after he was kicked out of the house, helping to strengthen the manner of death as murder.
1. Nonsensical Murder In The Jordan Family
Michael Jordan‘s fondness and love for his father got him killed, in a way. This is a heartbreaking story of a strong father and son relationship and a senseless crime. In 1993, James R. Jordan was driving back from a trip he had taken to attend a funeral when he realized he had better pull over to take a nap before continuing along. Two crooks with violent pasts, Larry Martin Demery and Daniel Andre Green, spotted the new shiny red Lexus SC400 with personalized plates on the side of the highway. They probably didn’t expect to find a sleeping man inside of it. They dealt with the situation by shooting him and pushing his body into a swamp. Only later as they dug through the car, they realized they had just murdered the father of a basketball legend. Luckily (but stupidly for them), they used his cell phone and police were able to capture both of them and they were promptly sentenced to life in prison. Good riddance to bad rubbish.