There’s an old saying out there that goes: more money, more problems. If you have a ton of cash in the bank, you have more to lose. You may have a fancy house that could be robbed, and expensive jewelry too, or a luxurious car that could be stolen. But most of all, you have your name. When you’re rich and famous, your name is your livelihood, and you have to defend it with everything you have.
This list is about the celebrities who encountered a conflict, which required serious litigation. This wasn’t just some silly beef they did for publicity on social media. These were the legal battles that carried career-ending consequences. These celebrities had to hire lawyers and spend hours and days in the courtroom, fighting for a powerful verdict.
Many of the celebrities on this list were the victims, while others were accused of some terrible acts. Some cases led to their own demise, while other times, successful careers were just beginning. Either way, you’ll be surprised by who appears on this virtual Santa’s list of naughty and nice.
15. Taylor Swift – Case Won Against David Mueller
Taylor Swift recently made news when she released her latest album, Reputation, on November 10th. In her first single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” Taylor is seen bathing in a bathtub full of diamonds. If you look closer to that scene, there is also a single one-dollar bill in the tub. This dollar is in reference to the court case she won against David Mueller, a radio host. She alleged that he groped her, which may have set the tone for the firestorm of harassment allegations across Hollywood. She didn’t want his money, only the truth. She won the case in June of 2013 after 4 days of testimony, when she said, “He did not touch my rib. He did not touch my arm … He grabbed my bare a**.” Did Taylor write about this song in her latest album? Not sure, but probably. Like most good writers, Taylor uses her life to fuel the subject of her art.
14. Oprah Winfrey – Lawsuit: Sued By The U.S Beef Industry
Many people have already forgotten about the biggest talk show star ever getting sued by the U.S Beef Industry. The lawsuit took place back in 1996 and revolved around Oprah’s commentary, saying she wouldn’t touch beef, due to the outbreak of Mad Cow disease. Her exact words were, “Just stopped me cold from eating another burger.” And that was all she needed to say. Her statements were not researched, and U.S beef wasn’t affected. It was only British beef that tested positive for Mad Cow. Her comment grossly affected the consumption of beef in America (a drop in $11M), and Oprah got sued for defamation. Later, after she won the case, she touted her freedom of speech and stated, “I’m still off hamburgers.” The rep for U.S. Beef, Paul Engler, was a fair loser and tried to look on the bright side, saying, “Obviously, we’re disappointed. At the same time, we do believe that we made one very strong point … that U.S. beef is safe.”
13. Michael Jackson – 14 Weeks In Court
Michael Jackson was no stranger to the courtroom and the serious allegations that went with it. In 2005, the legendary King of Pop sat in court for 14 weeks. The case was covered by 2,200 reporters, and he paid his lawyers $18M. He was charged with eight counts of providing alcohol to minors, four counts of molestation, one count of attempted molestation, and one count of conspiracy. Amazingly enough, he was acquitted, but the weird stigma around the star changed forever. We really saw how odd MJ was after this case. One day, he showed up to court wearing his blue pyjamas pants. Creepy stories surfaced about him licking kids’ hair and worse. Seventy police officers were used to search his expansive Never Land Ranch, where the star kept several life-sized dolls, some of which were anatomically accurate.
12. Kobe Bryant – Fierce Lawyers
Not too long ago, in 2016, Kobe Bryant retired, and many people, especially Celtics fans, weren’t afraid to restate all of his history, including some that proved that this guy was far from perfect. Kobe, the five-time NBA Champion and star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, was accused of r*pe back in 2004. Bryant was in Eagle, Colorado for some minor surgery, and the night before the operation, he invited the girl from the hotel front desk up to his room. She accused the NBA star of assault, a charge that carries a huge sentence of four years to life in prison. Kobe was animate that everything was consensual. He hired some fierce lawyers too. When the court case began, council destroyed the girl’s credibility. They mentioned that her lab test not only had traces of Kobe, but also another dude, and worse, she refused to testify, and the charges were soon dropped.
11. Martha Stewart – Convicted Of Four Counts Of Obstruction Of Justice
Many fans have already forgotten that the expert baker and master of interior design also went to prison in 2005. Before she made a career out of her hobbies, Martha Stewart was a model and even a part-time stock broker. That latter experience came back to bite her when she was convicted of four counts of obstruction of justice, concerning an early stock market trade, which involved some insider information. Even after her conviction, Stewart still denied the claims and even stated, “Dear Friends: I am obviously distressed by the jury’s verdict but I take comfort in knowing that I have done nothing wrong and that I have the enduring support of my family and friends. I believe in the fairness of the judicial system and remain confident that I will ultimately prevail.” She served five months in jail, and her career barely even noticed.
10. Snoop Dogg – Deadlocked Jury (Lawyer? Johnnie Cochran)
Many hip hop fans consider Snoop Dogg a class act. The guy has been around forever and has helped propel the careers of rap legends like Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre. Nowadays, Snoop can be seen everywhere from cooking on TV with Martha Stewart to hosting the TBS game show Joker’s Wild. But let’s rewind things here a bit. Remember his track, “Murder Was The Case That They Gave Me?” That song was actually based on truth. In February of 1996, Snoop, aka Calvin Broadus, was acquitted of manslaughter. The accusations centered on Snoop and his bodyguard. Gang member Philip Woldermariam was shot in the back and killed in Woodbine Park in Palms, Los Angeles. The jury was deadlocked and ultimately decided that Snoop had acted in self-defense. Snoop’s lawyer was none other than Johnnie Cochran.
9. Chris Brown – Time Behind Bars
Most of us know about Brown’s terrible incident with Rihanna. Back in February of 2009, he beat her and was arrested while Rihanna had to be hospitalized. Brown’s legal battles began, and he sat in court for hours, as lawyers pleaded for community service, rehab, and probation. For some reason, the judge agreed, and Brown never went to prison. Brown was back in court soon after, though. He threw a fit on Good Morning America, threatened producers, broke a window, and stormed out, shirtless. Then, there was the scuffle with Drake’s crew, and then Brown was accused of hitting Frank Ocean. But it doesn’t end there. He was connected with a hit and run and served time in Washington DC. Then in August of 2016, Brown was involved in a standoff with the LAPD. They had a warrant on domestic violence charges, and he refused entrance while ranting on social media, which later led to more jail time.
8. Lindsay Lohan – Has Met Four Judges & Has Been In Court 20 Times
If you guessed that this child star would appear on the list, then you were right. Lindsay Lohan never did anything malicious, which is the good news, but instead, the poor girl didn’t know when to say what. In 2007, the star was arrested twice for driving under the influence. What made matters worse was her negligence afterwards to show up to her court hearings. Court proceedings stemming from those two incidents lasted for over five years. And her reputation as an actress suffered greatly. By the numbers, Lohan has met four judges and has been in court twenty times. She’s been sentenced to six months in jail, yet was fortunate enough to only serve two weeks, which is her total after visiting the LA jail six times. She has also spent over 250 days in a rehab facility and has served 67 days of community service, most of which oddly took place at a morgue.
7. Robert Downey Jr. – A Judge Expunged Downey’s Record (2015)
Here’s another example of how short the memory of public opinion truly is. And it also goes to show that no matter how bad life gets, you can recover from anything. Robert Downey Jr, served three years in jail. The dude was a total wreck. His substance abuse had spiraled out of control in the late 1990’s. He was kicked off of the hit show Ally McBeal, and Sarah Jessica Parker dumped him. He was pulled over for speeding in 1996 and cops discovered a handgun and many other illegal substances. But the good news is, the actor has made a full recovery. He’s been drug-free since 2003. He admits that he needed prison and called it the safest place in the world. In 2015, a judge expunged Downey’s record, so that he’s clean in more ways than one. Sadly, in 2014, Downey’s son was busted for coke. Seems to be a tragic family pattern, since Downey admitted to using the drug with his own father.
6. Kesha Sebert – New York Judge Dismissed Kesha’s Statements, Then Kesha’s Legal Team Appealed
There are those court battles that involve drug use and drunken violence, and then there are others that involve even sadder issues of abuse and manipulation. Overall, celebrity law can get pretty awful. Here is our first court case that is still ongoing. Kesha versus Dr Luke has already seen hours and days of court time, and it isn’t over yet. This case is a sad mess of accusations, one party telling the other party that they lied. Dr Luke, the music producer, first sued Kesha for defamation, saying that she blamed him for ruining her album. Kesha counter-sued with serious allegations, saying that Dr Luke had drugged her several times and even r*ped her twice. As with most ongoing cases, details are rather vague. So far, in April of 2016, a New York judge dismissed Kesha’s statements as baseless and then Kesha’s legal team appealed.
5. R Kelly – Weeks Of Testimony
Do you remember the hip-hop era “Trapped in the Closet?” R Kelly should have been arrested and charged with extreme cheesiness, but unfortunately, cheese is not illegal. Back to the facts, however, and some serious accusations. In 1994, Kelly married Aaliyah, who had lied on her age on the wedding certificate. The marriage was annulled but set the precedent for a pattern of behavior for Kelly. In 1998, Kelly was charged with statutory r*pe of Tiffany Hawkins, among others. Her case was settled for $250K. Then in 2002, a tape was discovered and it featured Kelly in a compromising situation with minors. His home in Florida was raided, and police discovered child p*rn*graphy, which was later thrown out due to improper search procedure. He won that court case in 2007 after weeks of testimony. Just this past summer, Kelly was accused of running a cult, but a female “member” came forward claiming she was just fine.
4. Bill Cosby – Case Declared A Mistrial And Prosecution Promised To Retry
Oh, my goodness, the accusations keep getting worse. Oh, yeah, you remember all of the media circus that surrounded this case. Bill Cosby, the TV dad of a generation, was accused of s*xual misconduct by nearly 60 different women. In most cases, the women claimed to be drugged and then physically abused. Cosby was tried for three counts of aggravated indecent assault against ex-basketball player Andrea Constand. The offense took place in Cosby’s Pennsylvania home in 2004. The court proceeding involved some sympathy tactics, like declaring Cosby legally blind and bringing in his TV daughter, “Rudy Huxtable,” for support. The case was declared a mistrial and prosecution promised to retry. Gloria Allred, the legal council for many accusers, said, “We can never underestimate the blinding power of celebrity, but justice will come.”
3. Harvey Weinstein – Lawyers Currently Researching A Case
A few years ago, nobody even knew this guy’s name. Maybe if you’re a hardcore cinema buff, you may have recognized his name in the credits or have known that he headed Miramax. But even then, you probably couldn’t put a face on him. How times have changed for Harvey, the new face of Hollywood infamy. The number of allegations against Weinstein have mounted to over 80 women. There are also cases of international harassment, and worse, which increases the degree of the charges. In 2015, a beautiful model, Ambra Battilana, even wore a wire for the NYPD in an attempt to catch him in the act. Although Harvey has not been to court over the matters quite yet, he will surely be tried very soon. Lawyers are currently researching a case with solid proof that will fall within the statute of limitations.
2. OJ Simpson – “Trial Of The Century”
This one has been called the “Trial of the Century.” For those of you who are old enough, you may even remember where you were in 1995 when you heard the final verdict. Many of us also remember the day he rode in that white Bronco, on camera, across the freeways of California. OJ was painted as guilty from the start, and that’s why it was such a shock when he actually was found innocent. OJ spent a ton of time in court (11 months, in fact) after being accused of double murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and restaurant waiter Ron Goldman. The entire case was recently retold in the hit show, American Crime Story, starring an all-star cast. Much of the most incriminating evidence in the OJ case was thrown out, due to improper police procedure, which opened the door for appeals. Later, OJ served nine years for armed robbery and was just released in October.
1. Erin Andrews – Hours Of Agonizing Time In Court
Popular sportscaster Erin Andrews endured hours and hours of agonizing time in court over allegations involving peeping tom, Michael David Barrett. In 2008, at a Marriott Hotel in Nashville, Barrett attached a camera to the front door peephole of the then-up-and-coming TV reporter. Then Barrett tried to sell the footage to TMZ reporters. TMZ refused to do business with the creep and turned the evidence over to the police. After a long trial ensued, Andrews was rewarded $55M. Much of the money was paid by Marriott, while millions are still due from the bankrupted Barrett. Andrews says that, to this day, she still must face emotional issues every time she checks into a hotel.
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