As much as they try to keep a clean slate, celebrities sometimes slip up. And when they do, the entire world pretty much learns about it. No one wants a criminal record, but even the rich and famous can sometimes fall victim to impaired judgment. Here’s a list of famous celebrities who have spent time in prison.
1. Mark Wahlberg
Although he’s known as one of the most decent actors in Hollywood today, Wahlberg has done some pretty nasty things in the past. When he was a teenager, Wahlberg attacked a Vietnamese man and knocked him unconscious. Later the same day, he attacked another Vietnamese man. Both attacks were unprovoked and Wahlberg was sentenced to two years behind bars for aggravated assault and attempted murder. He, however, spent only 45 days in prison.
2. Sean Penn
This Oscar-winning actor is infamous for his violent outbursts. In 1987, when Penn was filming the movie Colors, he apparently lost his temper and punched an extra. He was given a sentence of 60 days while he was still on probation from two earlier assaults. He was also known to have assaulted his then-wife pop queen Madonna, but she never pressed any charges.
3. Tim Allen
Allen had become an American favorite thanks to his comedies, but in 1978 he was caught trying to traffic more than 650 grams of cocaine. He gave the police information on other drug dealers and received a reduced sentence, avoiding spending the rest of his life in prison.
4. Danny Trejo
Known for his villainous roles, Trejo lived a similar life in the 60s. He has had several stints in prison for various charges, including drug possession, assault, and burglary.
5. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. spent time behind bars between years 1996 and 2001 for drug possession. After failing to appear for a drug test ordered by the court in 1999, he was sent to a state-run substance abuse facility in California for three years. He cleaned up his act after he met his now-wife Susan Levin.
6. Amanda Bynes
Child actor Bynes was slated for big things, but her life went on a downward spiral after she was arrested for two hit-and-run cases. In 2012, she spent a day in prison after she was charged with driving under the influence.
7. O J Simpson
In what has been one of the biggest scandals of all time, the football star turned actor Simpson was embroiled in the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. In 2008, Simpson was found guilty and charged with kidnapping and armed robbery in Las Vegas. He faced a 33-year sentence. He received parole on a few charges and was later released in 2017.
8. Lauryn Hill
The singer from The Fugees was gaining all the fame she could before she was found guilty of not filing her taxes on $1 million in income. She pleaded guilty to three charges. She served three months in prison.
9. Wesley Snipes
One of Hollywood’s most prominent black actors, Snipes was found guilty of tax evasion in 2009. His conviction included three counts of failure to file tax returns. He served two years in prison.
10. Martha Stewart
America’s sweetheart Martha Stewart’s career has been far from perfect. She was found guilty of insider trading. She faced felony charges of lying to investigators regarding stock sales and conspiracy. She faced a sentence of five years but was released after serving a year behind bars. Stewart was sent into home confinement after being released from prison. She also served probation for two years.
11. 50 Cent
Rapper 50 Cent faced prison time after he was caught in possession of crack, heroin, as well as a gun. He was sent to shock incarceration boot camp for six months. He received his GED while serving the boot camp.
12. Lil’ Kim
In 2005, rapper Lil’ Kim was found guilty of lying to the court and federal grand jury in order to protect her friends who were involved in a shooting that occurred outside a radio station in Manhattan. She faced a sentence of one year and one day, but she was released after 10 months behind bars.
13. Lindsay Lohan
Unfortunately, child actor Lohan has seen the inside of a prison cell too many times. Her offenses were primarily related to drug and alcohol use. She was also charged with violating probation when she failed to turn up for alcohol education classes that were mandated by the court.
14. Paris Hilton
Socialite and heiress to the Hilton empire, Paris was found guilty of violating probation. She was serving probation for reckless driving under the influence of alcohol. She was given a 45-day sentence in 2007. In 2016, Hilton found herself facing possible prison time for alleged possession of cocaine, but she was released soon after.
15. Matthew McConaughey
In 1999, McConaughey was arrested for possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia. When cops arrived on the scene, he was found naked and dancing around. He was released later that day on a bond.
16. Michelle Rodriguez
Before she rose to fame with the Fast and Furious franchise, Rodriguez was found guilty of violating probation she was serving for a DUI. She faced a six-month sentence in 2007 but served only 18 days.
17. Mike Tyson
In the 90’s, famed boxer Tyson was found guilty of raping an 18-year-old girl. He went to jail for three years. During his sentence and after being released, Tyson claimed that he was wrongly accused.
18. Phil Spector
Music producer Spector was found guilty in 2009 for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. He is still serving his life sentence for the murder that happened in 2003. He is one of the famous people in jail.
19. James Brown
In 1988, the late singer failed to stop for the cops during a car chase. He became the subject of the car chase after police received a tip that Brown was displaying dangerous behavior and was also carrying a gun. His lack of cooperation led to him spending six years behind bars.
20. Paul McCartney
In January 1980, the former member of the Beatles, McCartney was arrested in Japan after officials found marijuana in his luggage. He was sent to a local jail where he spent nine days, after which they released him. He was deported to England after his release. The concerts scheduled in Japan were canceled, and McCartney had to cough up £1 million as compensation.
Although they live high-profile lives, celebrities are prone to making mistakes just like any regular person. However, their mistakes are well-documented and put on display. These celebs did their crime and served their time and learned their lesson in the process. Some of them became even more successful than before after serving time in prison. They have gone on to continue with their lives and careers. Some celebs have even become advocates against the very crimes they committed when they were younger.
It’s good to know they have turned new leaves and learned from their bad choices and experiences. This way, they can be true idols and continue to serve as an inspiration to people who look up to them.