Celebs get a lot of nice perks in life: private jets, limo rides, and being admired by complete strangers everywhere they go, but being rich and famous also seems to entitle you to some pretty questionable perks – like breaking the law and getting away with it, for instance. The legal system always seems to be a bit more forgiving to people in the limelight and this list is shocking proof of that. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can get you out of jail it seems.
If ordinary citizens had committed half the crimes of the following celebrities, they would undoubtedly face a lengthy jail sentence or else be made to complete weeks of community service. But none of this seems to apply to celebrities. Some of the famous faces below have managed to – quite literally – get away with murder, and it’s all thanks to some pretty expensive legal help. Unfortunately for the rest of us, stars can afford their own brand of justice and take on the best defense lawyers around.
The following celebs have been caught out doing everything from driving under the influence and repeated drug abuse to the more serious crimes of manslaughter and engaging in child pornography. It’s a pretty messed up world we live in when fame and fortune allow you to erase criminal charges and it’s even more disturbing for the families who will never get closure and justice for their deceased loved ones. Here are 15 celebs who did pretty despicable things and swerved the consequences.
15 Mark Wahlberg – Beating Up (And Nearly Killing) A Blind Man
Mark Wahlberg has never exactly had a huge fan base in recent years, thanks to his appearance in terrible films and his overall smug attitude, but some of you might be interested to know that there’s an even bigger reason to dislike the hammy actor. Before he became famous, the star of The Happening did something pretty despicable and never faced jail for it – he assaulted (and almost killed) a blind man. Now, how do you think the courts would treat this incident if a normal citizen was guilty?
An ordinary member of the public would be thrown in the slammer before you can say New Kids on the Block. But not Marky Mark, though. The then 16-year-old Wahlberg beat up a partially-sighted man in 1988 while shouting racial slurs at him. Wahlberg was supposed to serve a 2-year sentence for this but only ended up serving 45 days. The victim has since graciously pardoned Wahlberg for his actions.
14 Matthew Broderick – Fined $175 For Killing Two People In Car Crash
After an incident that would see most people spend a large chunk of their lives behind bars, Matthew Broderick managed to clear himself of any wrongdoing when a rented car he was driving killed a mother and daughter back in 1987. While on vacation with his then girlfriend Jennifer Grey, Broderick was driving a hired BMW down the wrong lane in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland when he collided head-on with a car driven by 28-year-old Anna Gallagher. Gallagher and her 63-year-old mother, Margaret Doherty were pronounced dead at the scene.
This shocking part of Broderick’s past remained a secret for many years, presumably to prevent his reputation from being ruined. The star of The Producers was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, but fearing this would end a promising career before it had even begun, Broderick’s lawyers helped him arrive at the lesser charge of a $175 fine and a caution for "careless driving." Unsurprisingly, the victims family labeled this a “travesty of justice.”
13 Justin Bieber – Avoided Multiple Vandalism And Assault Charges
Where do you start? The pop pipsqueak is only 23 years old, but he’s already managed to get in hot water with the police more times than most of us will in two lifetimes. Justin Bieber has managed to wheedle his way out of facing jail time for a lot of misdemeanors, including driving with an expired license and taking part in an illegal street race in Florida. But the most infamous of all Bieber crimes is when he egged his neighbor’s house – causing thousands of dollars in damage.
Most people will hold back from egging houses on Halloween if they have a brain in their head and those that do would certainly face consequences for it. Not Mr. Bieber though. Instead of doing time for his pathetic immature crime, Bieber worked out a sweet deal which involved him taking anger management classes ('cause that’s really helped since!) and two years of supervised probation. In the end, he was made to pay his neighbor nearly $90,000 in damages, but I think most of us would pay double that to see him locked up.
12 Caitlyn Jenner – No Charge Over Fatal Car Collision
There’s special treatment and then there’s ridiculous leniency in the name of wealth and privilege. The Kardashian clan are no stranger to law-breaking (Kim K recently got busted on social media for putting her son’s car seat the wrong way round and Khloe Kardashian reportedly served a measly 3 hours of a 30-day DUI sentence). But undoubtedly the most shocking example of a Kardashian family member escaping legal action is when Caitlyn Jenner (then Bruce Jenner) was involved in a fatal car crash in 2015 and faced no charges.
Jenner had reportedly been driving her SUV at an unsafe speed for the particular conditions on the road when her vehicle collided with two other cars – killing a woman instantly and seriously injuring 4 others. Jenner was found to have no alcohol in her system, but the reckless speed at which she was driving was apparently not enough to get her convicted. What should have ended in a vehicular manslaughter charge has since been branded as an accident and Jenner was cleared of any wrongdoing.
11 50 Cent – Served 6 Months Of 9-Year Sentence
It wasn’t too long ago that 50 Cent made the headlines for filing for bankruptcy and maybe this wasn’t entirely down to his lavish celebrity lifestyle. Sure, the rapper will have definitely splurged his earnings on fast cars and show-off cribs in his time, but by the sounds of his criminal past, his legal bills alone could be responsible for him going bankrupt! Like a lot of rappers, 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson) is no stranger to crime, but luckily for him, he has never had to face any real consequences.
Jackson reportedly spent most of his youth working as a drug dealer – selling crack as young as 12 to support his grandmother - so it was inevitable that he would get busted for this later in life. In 1994, the aspiring young rapper was finally arrested for selling coke to an undercover cop and faced up to 9 years behind bars. In the end, Jackson served only 6 months of his sentence in a boot camp.
10 Laura Bush – Never Charged Over Car Crash Death
The former First Lady (and the Bushes in general) have lived under a cloud of suspicion ever since it was discovered that she was responsible for someone’s death in her teenage years. In 1963, Laura Bush was leaving a high school party when she ran a stop sign and tragically caused a fatal car accident – 17-year-old athlete Michael Douglas was killed immediately upon impact. This horrific night has no doubt haunted the wife of George W. Bush, but the fact that she was never charged with vehicular manslaughter or even fined is unforgivable.
For a while, rumors circulated that the ex First Lady may have been driving under the influence, but this has since proven to be false. There’s no doubt that Mrs. Bush has since shown remorse for her actions, but this doesn’t change the shocking truth that this horrible incident has pretty much been swept under the rug. Accident or not, some small form of punishment could have been carried out, but never was.
9 Robert Downey Jr. - Sentences Cut Despite Endless Drug Possession Charges
Robert Downey Jr. is a renowned "bad boy" of Hollywood, but it gets even worse when you realize how little time he has actually served for any of his bad boy deeds. The Iron Man star may play someone clad in iron, but he has never spent much time behind bars made of the same stuff. Downey Jr. has been repeatedly arrested for substance abuse over the years and has always managed to squirm his way out of the handcuffs. An average Joe wouldn’t have a hope in hell if they were a repeat drug offender, but that’s justice for you.
The troubled actor was found to be in possession of drugs in 2000 but was only put on parole. For most this would be a warning, but Downey Jr. was found a year later under the influence and wandering barefoot in Culver City, California. Despite finding coke in his system, the authorities released him and dropped all charges. Sweet juicy justice.
8 Snoop Dogg – Acquitted Of Murder Charges
It’s no surprise that many rappers have a criminal record – they’d have no material if this weren’t the case, but few have gotten away with their crimes as easily as Snoop Dogg has. Snoop (real name Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.) was on trial in the early 90s in connection with the death of a rival gang member, Philip Woldermariam. Snoop had been driving around with his bodyguard McKinley Lee when Lee shot and killed Woldermariam back in 1993.
Despite literally being part of a drive-by shooting, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and his bodyguard Lee managed to evade any murder charge – all because they had the best criminal defense lawyers in town. The rapper struck gold with his defense attorney David Kenner who somehow concluded that the pair were acting in self-defense. Might have given Snoop’s next album more street cred if he’d done the time, but hey, if you’ve got money- use it, right?
7 Brandy Norwood – Never Charged Over Vehicular Manslaughter
The honey-voiced R&B singer Brandy Norwood is well-loved, but it might disturb some of her fans to know that she was once involved in a car crash more than a decade ago that claimed someone’s life. On December 30th in 2006, Brandy was driving home on the LA Freeway when her Range Rover collided with a Toyota belonging to a 38-year-old woman named Awatef Aboudihaj. The driver died from her injuries at the LA Holy Cross hospital the next day, but Brandy was never even arrested.
Norwood was neither arrested nor charged for Aboudihaj’s death on the grounds of “insufficient evidence.” It was reported that Brandy had been driving at approx 65mph and had failed to notice that the traffic had slowed down in front of her. On this evidence, Norwood’s attorney Blair Berk concluded that Miss Norwood “should not be charged with any crime whatsoever” regarding the incident. It seems that an alarming number of celebrities on this list have evaded fatal car crash charges.
6 Charlie Sheen – Special Treatment For Drug Abuse And Domestic Abuse
Charlie Sheen has become a figure of ridicule in recent years, sparking many memes about his bizarre quotes and his famous “winning” interview in which he appeared to be boasting about his drug addiction. But something that definitely isn’t funny about Charlie Sheen is his previous assault and drug abuse charges that he appears to have faced no consequences for. The ex Two And A Half Men star has had a long struggle with drugs, having overdosed on cocaine in the late 90s.
At the time of this incident (which saw Sheen hospitalized), he was already on probation for previous drug offenses, but this only saw his probation extended further. Fast forward to Christmas Day 2009 and Sheen was charged with third-degree assault after abusing his wife Brooke Mueller. Despite facing a slew of assault and misdemeanor charges that would see most people put away for years, the troubled actor was only sentenced to 30 days in rehab and recommended 36 hours of anger management.
5 R. Kelly – Swerved Child Pornography Charges
Child pornography is something the authorities rightly take incredibly seriously – well, where ordinary citizens are concerned at least. For a normal member of the public to have escaped charges for this kind of activity, there would be outrage, but this was just another day in the life of a celebrity for R. Kelly. In 2003, the singer was arrested on 12 counts of possession of child pornography, which included images and videotape evidence of Kelly performing indecent acts with underage girls.
Despite this disturbing discovery, the R&B singer managed to evade all charges, thanks to his dream team of criminal defense attorneys Sam Adam and Edward Genson. Even after finding this wealth of child pornography material in R. Kelly’s apartment (including the now infamous "pee pee" tape) the original charges were dropped on the grounds that there was a supposed lack of cause for a search warrant. Whatever Kelly paid his attorneys was probably enough to feed a small country.
4 Britney Spears – No Charge For Violating Child Car Safety Law
Oops, Brit did it again! Around the time of her much-talked about breakdown, Britney Spears committed her fair share of offenses, but none of them seemed to have tarnished her reputation or even made it onto her criminal record. The courts appear to be pretty sweet on Miss Spears because they have let her get away with quite a few serious infractions over the years without so much as a fine!
Back in 2007, Brit was charged with a hit and run incident after colliding with a parked vehicle and to top it off, she was found to be driving without a license. No charge. Spears got on the wrong side of the law again and beat it when she was found driving around with her toddler son on her lap without any kind of safety belt. A normal person would be looking at a $100 fine. For Brit? No charge whatsoever. Either the judges were Britney super-fans or the jury was hand-picked from a Britney appreciation group.
3 Paris Hilton – Out Of Jail Days After 45-day Sentence Passed
A few years back, you couldn’t pick up a magazine or watch a news report without hearing about Paris Hilton’s wild antics. To say the socialite party girl had a few brushes with the law is putting it mildly, but none of those unlawful activities actually came with any consequences. Famously, Paris was busted for violating her probation in 2007 when she was found to have been driving recklessly while under the influence.
Her punishment? She was forced to serve a 45-day jail sentence, but this sentence turned out to last a matter of days because her attorney believed she was only being “singled out because of who she is.” Hilton managed to tweak her original punishment of over a month behind bars to spending 40 days under house arrest while having to wear a tracking bracelet (knowing Paris, she probably had the probation officers encrust the bracelet in diamanté crystals to match her outfit).
2 Alec Baldwin – No Charge For Traffic Violations
When faced with trouble, a lot of celebrities like to try the old “Don’t you know who I am?” routine to get special treatment, and this is one that Alec Baldwin attempted when he was accused of violating a traffic law in New York. In 2014, Baldwin had been riding his bike against the oncoming traffic in Manhattan when he was busted by police officers. He apparently then began to throw a temper tantrum about it and was seen losing his cool by many eyewitnesses.
The 30 Rock actor reportedly launched into a foul-mouthed tirade about the whole thing and yelled: “How old are these officers? Don’t they know who I am?" For real, Alec? You know, it doesn’t matter if these officers were too young to remember Beetlejuice - they were following legal procedure and you should not be above that. Baldwin refused to apologize for the incident and escaped the violation with a slap on the wrist.
1 Vince Neil – 3 Weeks For Manslaughter
While the majority of celebs on this list appeared to have shown some remorse - or at least some degree of humanity in the wake of their crimes – the singer/songwriter Vince Neil definitely did not. The former Motley Crue frontman may have dabbled in illegal pursuits as all rock stars do, but at least most of these are a victimless crime. Vince Neil’s alcohol-fuelled car crash in December 1984 caused one death and life-changing injuries in two other passengers – a crime which Neil seems shockingly blasé about.
The former singer had a blood alcohol content of 17% (double the limit in California) when he went behind the wheel and crashed into another vehicle. Neil’s reckless driving killed his own passenger and left a couple in the other car with severe head injuries. Neil was charged with vehicular manslaughter and DUI, but served less than 3 weeks in jail, boasting disgustingly “because that’s the power of cash.” Sickening.