To be a celebrity is to be in the public eye. On the beach, going to the supermarket, picking up your dry cleaning is, in this day in age, caught on camera. As intrigued as we are by the daily triviality of our favourite stars, when word of a celebrity crime get out, we watch with heightened intrigue as our silver screen Gods and musical idols are captured red-handed and shame-faced. Our reactions range and fall down the spectrum between outrage and sympathy. We laugh, perhaps masking a shock that the stars aren’t immune to the long hand of the law.
Reactions to these celebrities’ shame can sometimes, in fact, enhance their career. As the arrest is splashed across front pages, fans of these celebrities react, retweet and seemingly continue to revere their idol. This isn’t always the case, of course. Britney Spears‘ public breakdown and arrest did lead to a very public downfall. The media chronicled the whole affair. However, the whole debacle played nicely into her heroic re-emergence – eventually.
The public humiliation of an arrest can be a landmark of a celebrity’s career; it can make them, break them or taint them. Some of the celebrities on this list are forever remembered for their arrest – while some have nicely paper over the cracks since.
This list has been collected to portray the five richest celebrities who have had their mugshots slashed across the screens. The effect of their career has done something for them thereby done something to their money. Something, you ask, let’s find out.
5. Reese Witherspoon ($80 million)
Reese Witherspoon could be described as something similar to an underdog. After having huge success through films like Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde, she was far from a ‘serious’ actress. Then she shocked many when in 2005, she received worldwide acclaim for Walk The Line, a biography of Johnny Cash where she played his mistress and later wife, June Carter Cash. She won an Academy Award for her performance. To date, Witherspoon is worth $80 million.
It was in 2013, however, that Ms. Witherspoon’s mugshot was splashed across the news for disorderly conduct. When her husband, Jim Toth (above) was being escorted by the police for DUI charges, Witherspoon took it upon herself to ‘protect’ him, interfering with the arrest. If her career is anything to by, Witherspoon is full of surprises. Her arrest put a new spin on her character. No longer was she the shy and quiet, American girl, she was a woman with a criminal record. This didn’t prove to be particularly pivotal in Witherspoon’s career but so far, there have been no more Academy Awards on Ms. Witherspoon’s shelf.
4. Robert Downey, Jr. ($85 million)
Today, we know him as Iron Man but between 1996 and 2001, Robert Downey, Jr. was arrested numerous times for drug-related charges, including marijuana, cocaine and heroine. His addiction to drugs ruined his career at the time; he was fired from productions and only completed others because he was half way through them.
In 2001, however, Downey made a huge career comeback, bravely addressing his addiction under the public eye. His first gig was The Singing Detective – which was made possibly only because Mel Gibson, a close friend of Downey, agreed to pay his insurance bond for the film. At this point in his life, Downey wasn’t rich at all but by pushing forward, he managed to score himself lead roles in huge films such as Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes and The Avengers. To date, Downey is worth $140 million. This figure says much about his worth ethic and his desire to change.
3. Charlie Sheen ($125 million)
Although, well known for his role as Charlie in Two and a Half Men, one of the other notoriously well known facts about Charlie Sheen has been his substance abuse. This led to his arrest and a sum of his fortune being spent on legal bills. In 2009, Sheen was arrested for assaulting his wife. He was released the next day after paying a $8,500 bond. Even with his release, he was later charged with the attack and had to spend 30 days in a drug rehab centre.
The bills of the situation were a mere drop in the ocean to Sheen who, in 2010, was the highest paid actor on television when he earned $1.8 million per episode for Two and a Half Men. His arrest, however, caused him to be fired from the show. He began a nationwide tour on the strength of his media personality and the high demand for Sheen – even with a criminal record – was huge. It was a year later that he landed a lead role in the show, Anger Management. To date, Sheen is worth $125 million.
2. Justin Bieber ($130 million)
Forbes called him the third most powerful celebrity in the world which, as it turns out, aided him when it came to his arrest only a month ago in 2014. Justin Bieber, the famous singer-songwriter, is only 19 and was arrested on January 23rd 2014 for DUI, driving with an expired driving license and resisting arrest without violence. Six days later, Bieber was charged with assaulting a limousine driver in Toronto the December before.
Bieber is already worth $160 million and to have an arrest so early on in his career would, one would think, be damaging. Not so. Bieber’s arrested has, in fact, changed his image from the “boy next door” to a “bad boy”. Already a heart-throb to young girls, he’s now got an edge. Even though his arrest is relativity fresh in the news and it’s hard to predict how exactly it will affect his career overall, it has, for the time being, enhanced it. Thereby, enhancing his net worth.
1. Mel Gibson ($800 million)
Our richest mugshot celebrity is Mr. Mel Gibson who was arrested in 2006 for DUI. His arrest is interesting to note as it was the beginning of Gibson’s becoming a controversial figure. When he was arrested he was caught saying, “F*****g Jews… the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?” Although he apologised, years later he went on to make homophobic comments which added to his questionable reputation.
How, therefore, did Gibson continue to make money? The answer simply is, through his controversy. He used this for his 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ, which depicted the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life. Graphic, bordering on gratuitous, the film was immensely controversial to the point of being almost taboo. People wanted to see the film because of the outrage and it made a huge $600 million, adding to Gibson’s fortune which, to date, stands at an estimated $800 million.
Celebrities will continue to be human and they will continue to make mistakes, how this affects their fortunes, we have to wait and see.
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