The line between famous and infamous is very thin, and it can be crossed at any time if the wrong intention or accidental gesture winds up with someone hurt.
They say celebrities are just “regular people”. They too, can commit crimes just like the rest of us and suffer the consequences. Or do they? Some charges get dropped without real justice, sometimes unfairly because of their status. Other times, however, they do serve time and pay for their actions accordingly. Here are a few celebrity crimes that might make you wonder why these stars’ names aren’t naturally associated with their felonies…
1. Mark Wahlberg
Charged With Attempted Murder!
He’s a well-known actor, with a reputation for playing the tough guy in most of his movies. Before acting, and his lesser-known days as a rapper, Mark Wahlberg was labeled a criminal. He was addicted to cocaine at 13 years old, dropped out of school at 14, and had a civil action filed against him at just 15 due to a racially motivated crime.
Wahlberg was accused of harassing African-American students two separate times, by throwing rocks at them and shouting out racial slurs. He had gotten himself in trouble at least two dozen times with the Boston Police Department, but the worst had not even happened yet. When he was 16, Wahlberg beat a middle-aged Vietnamese man and knocked him out in the middle of the street. Later that day, he attacked another Asian man with a metal hook, which left the victim blind in one eye.
The now-actor was charged with attempt at murder, but he only plead guilty to assault. It ended with him being sentenced to 2 years in prison, but served a mere 45 days. Even more, Wahlberg has now applied for a full pardon from the state of Massachusetts for his past crimes.
2. Will Smith
Charged With Aggravated Assault!
This A-list actor has delighted us with his charismatic performances. He’s a leading man in Hollywood, but there’s one thing he does not enjoy talking about. Back in 1989 in Philadelphia, Smith got into an argument with a record promoter by the name of William Hendricks. The actor told his bodyguard to beat up Hendricks, which ended up being so brutal that the man was left nearly blind in one eye due to a fracture to his eye orbit.
Smith was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangering of another person, and criminal conspiracy. However, the charges were later dropped, even though the actor spent a night in a cell where other cell-mates were constantly waking him up for autographs. Smith calls it the worst night of his life, and maintains his innocence to this day, stating in 2005 that his friend beat up Hendricks while he was just there, and had no involvement.
3. Snoop Dogg
Charged With Murder!
One of the most famous rappers in the world has a suspicious back story. He is plenty of financial & professional rewards and has quite a brand name, but things were not always so glamorous. In his school years, Snoop Dogg was often in trouble with the law on accounts of drug trafficking, particularly cocaine, and even spent six months in jail. It has even become known that he sold marijuana to an old high school classmate who has later become famous herself: Cameron Diaz.
However, drug charges were not the worse. Back in 1993, Snoop Dogg along with his bodyguard, was charged with the murder of Philip Woldemariam, shooting the man who was a rival gang member at the time. The bodyguard escaped the charges instantly by claiming it was self-defense, but the rapper was only acquitted three years later, in 1996.
4. Matthew Broderick
Charged With Causing Death by Dangerous Driving!
Our beloved Ferris Bueller has a dark spot in his past that is unfortunately marked with blood. Back in 1987, Broderick and his girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Grey, were on vacation in Ireland. Due to the fact that they were supposed to drive on the left side of the road, the actor accidentally took a turn into the wrong lane. That led to a major collision with another car that left two people dead. Anna Gallagher and her mother died instantly on impact while Broderick and Grey suffered injuries.
The actor was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and was faced around 5 years in prison. However, nothing of the sort happened. Broderick got off the charges with just $175 worth of fine and a reduced charge of careless driving. The victims’ family called it a true “travesty of justice”, and it’s difficult to disagree.
5. Vanilla Ice
Charged With Battery!
Ever since 1991, Vanilla Ice has been in trouble with the law. The first time he had been arrested was on a firearm charge after threatening a homeless man with a gun. Later on, in 2001, he was arrested for assault, after attacking his wife. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and admitted to pulling out some of her hair in the incident. As a consequence, he was sentenced to probation and family therapy sessions. However, it didn’t seem like it had done much.
In 2008, Vanilla Ice was once again charged with battery after being accused of hitting his wife, but was released a day later after she confirmed that he only shoved her. He was also demanded that he stay away from his wife from that point on, but that case was also dropped.
Charged With Attempted Murder!
Troubles began early for this rapper. When he was just 12 years old, Jay-Z shot his drug-addicted older brother in the shoulder after his sibling stole his ring. It bred the lyrics of You Must Love Me where he talks about how he “saw the devil in your eyes/high off more than weed, confused, I just closed my young eyes and squeezed”. Jay-Z was never charged with the shooting, but admitted in 2010 that he was scared that his life was over at that point.
However, a 1999 incident was more than a crime of youth and confusion. Jay-Z was charged with stabbing Lance “Un” Riviera in the stomach during an altercation outside a nightclub. The rapper pled guilty to misdemeanor and got off with just 3 years’ probation.
7. Tim Allen
Charged With Drug Trafficking!
Before he became an actor, Tim Allen faced serious charges regarding drug trafficking. In 1978, he was caught with over 650 grams of cocaine on him at the airport. Allen pled guilty to drug trafficking and initially received a life sentence. However, he requested to have it reduced in exchange for the names of other drug dealers in his niche. It worked.
After serving just 2 years and 4 months, Allen was paroled. Since then, his only problem with the law has been a DUI incident in 1997, where he once again evaded with just 1-year probation. It’s tough to imagine this family-friendly actor in such a harsh setting.
8. Marilyn Manson
Charged With Criminal Sexual Conduct!
Known for his crazy antics, Marilyn Manson was considered to have definitely crossed the line in 2001. The rocker apparently spat on a security guard and pulled his head up against his bare crotch during a concert, which ended him with a charge of misdemeanor disorderly. While the performer was known to shock his audience, it was another matter entirely to involve an unwilling participant.
Manson faced one account of assault and battery, along with criminal sexual conduct. The felony could’ve ended with the rocker to up to 2 years in prison, but got off with $4,000 fine.
9. R. Kelly
Charged With Child Pornography!
In 2003, R. Kelly made the headlines with an accusation that he has not escaped to this very day. The singer was arrested and indicted on 21 counts of child pornography, even though the number was later reduced to 14 counts. Kelly was accused of making a sex tape with a 12-year-old girl, who he was supposed to introduce into the world of stardom. However, the identity of the girl was never confirmed during the case and the fact that her testimony was lacking favored Kelly’s case.
The singer himself did not testify. The defense claimed that due to the quality of the tape, the jury could not even recognize the girl if she was standing in the room, they claimed that both Kelly and the girl could be models or prostitutes who resemble them, and that it was the jury’s duty to find the man innocent. The singer was found to be not guilty, though there are still doubts.
10. Sid Vicious
Charged With Murder!
Sid Vicious, bassist of the Sex Pistols, had become an icon throughout his life, even though he was well-known for being addicted to heroin. In 1978, Sid and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, were living in a hotel room when the base player called the front desk and said that “something” happened to his girlfriend. It turned out that Spungen was dead, stabbed several times in the stomach. Sid was arrested and accused of murder that day.
However, three months later, the base player was found dead on heroin overdose, so the New York Police Department closed the case before the man was officially prosecuted for his crimes. A movie in 2009 called “Who Killed Nancy?” fought the idea that Sid stabbed his girlfriend, claiming that he was passed out when she was killed, and around $24,000 were stolen from their room at that moment. However, even his former bandmates have spoken of Sid’s fall into the grip of heroin and how it likely led to the murder of his girlfriend under the influence of drugs.
There’s a big, dark stain on these stars’ image that should not be erased by their celebrity status. It may seem unfair how some of these celebrities didn’t pay the just price for their crimes. They may be in the past, but that doesn’t take away from the severity and devastating consequences of their actions.
What other celebrity criminals do you know of? Tell us in the comments below…