29+ Celebrities Who Once Had Run-Ins With the Law
| LAST UPDATE 10/20/2021
It can be easy to forget that celebrities are only human. While many are revered as role models, they’ve also found themselves in sticky situations before. Here are some famous names who once wound up on the wrong side of the law.
Bruno Mars is known for dripping with finesse, but his 24-karat reputation took a slight bruising back in 2010 as his career was taking off. Shortly before dropping his debut album, he was arrested in Vegas for possession of illegal substances.
The Leave the Door Open singer took full responsibility for his actions, including paying a fine and performing community service. When addressing the incident years later, Mars acknowledged that he had been young and foolish and that the experience taught him how easy it can be to lose everything he has worked for.
Shia LeBeouf’s acting career began at a young age — as did his run-ins with the law. By the age of 9, the Transformers star had been on the inside of a prison cell after being detained for stealing a pair of Nike sneakers. And his list of misdemeanors grew longer as his Hollywood fame rose.
LeBeouf’s relationship with illegal substances has contributed to many of his arrests, with the 35-year-old often intoxicated when engaged in disorderly conduct. Most recently, Shia’s former partner, FKA Twiggs, accused him of assault, prompting the thespian to take a hiatus from acting to receive treatment.
The People of the State of California vs. O.J. Simpson is regarded as one of the most famous criminal trials in history. Known for being a legend in the NFL, “The Juice” became the lead suspect in the homicides of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
After being charged with the crime, Simpson engaged in a car chase with authorities that had 95 million people tuning in on the news. The trial itself received even more coverage, but the athlete was ultimately acquitted. It was not the end of O.J.’s run-ins, however, as he later served time for robbery.
When it comes to the world of rock n' roll, it's all about the fast life. Kid Rock has had his fair share of it, as well as many exchanges that landed him behind bars. One such encounter, which occurred in 2005, involved Kid getting into a scuffle with a DJ and charged with assault.
A couple years later, police were called to a Waffle House in Atlanta when the All Summer Long singer got into a fight with a customer. Rock pleaded no contest to the charges and completed an anger management course. Despite the incidents, the Michigan native is known for being a rather chilled guy most of the time.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. is different things to different generations. Millennials and their Gen-Z counterparts know the Hollywood hero as the star of the Avengers franchise. But those born before will recall how Robert was a bit of a troublemaker in his youth.
A long history with substance abuse saw the Oscar nominee arrested numerous times and even having to serve a few stints behind bars. Since 2003, the Iron Man actor has been on the straight and narrow and has credited his family, meditation, and therapy with helping him stay healthy.
These days, Justin Bieber is a married man, born-again Christian, and mental health advocate. But a few years ago, the Peaches crooner was making headlines for quite different reasons. Propelled into the music scene at a tender age, the former YouTube star earned a reputation as the bad boy of pop.
Vandalism, driving under the influence, and assault are all charges that the Biebs has faced at various points during the past 7 years. But he has since turned his life around. Justin was never incarcerated for his misdemeanors but did visit inmates at a California prison in April 2021, calling it a life-changing experience.
The Plastics may have worn pink on Wednesdays in Mean Girls, but the film’s star found herself in an orange jumpsuit on more than one occasion. Lohan’s character Cady was known as the “good girl” - but off-screen, the starlet was gaining a detailed rap sheet.
The Herbie actress faced numerous arrests for driving under the influence and possession of illegal substances. Thankfully, the last 5 years have seen major improvement for the formerly troubled star, with Lindsay steering clear of offenses and even returning to acting.
This Californian native is not just an actress, but an activist as well. And it was her passion for the environment that landed Shailene Woodley a criminal record in 2016. At the time, an underground petroleum transport pipeline was being built in Dakota which concerned conservationists.
The Big Little Lies actress was arrested along with 26 others for peacefully protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Woodley was charged with criminal trespassing and sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation, meaning she never spent more than a few hours in the slammer.
Britain’s charming boy-next-door was not always as innocent as his suave hairdo suggests. In 1995, during the height of his career, Hugh Grant was arrested in Los Angeles for engaging in a lewd act with an escort in a public setting. The woman’s name was Divine Brown.
Although the incident in no way endangered anyone, it did come while the Four Weddings and a Funeral actor was dating his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Hurley. When asked about the event by Jay Leno, Grant said, "I think you know in life what's a good thing to do and what's a bad thing, and I did a bad thing."
Aaron Carter is not the first teen heartthrob to wind up on this list. The younger brother of Nick from the Backstreet Boys launched his own musical career when he was young. But despite releasing a successful album at the age of 9, Aaron’s first arrest came at 20.
When officers pulled over the I Want Candy singer for speeding in 2008, they also discovered illegal substances in his car. Nine years later, a similar incident occurred when the star was arrested for driving under the influence and possession. The crimes were considered misdemeanors, allowing Carter to be released on bail.
Snooki’s 2010 arrest made exciting content for her reality show, Jersey Shore. The pint-sized star was detained by police for partying too hard in the New Jersey borough of Seaside Heights. She was charged with disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and criminal annoyance of others.
Luckily for the reality star, two of the charges were dropped, leaving Snooki out of those style-cramping orange overalls. The 33-year-old was sentenced to a $500 fine and community service. A decade later, the now-married mother has changed her ways, but the debacle can still be viewed on season 3 of Jersey Shore.
On the hit series Gossip Girl, Chase Crawford played the good guy of the Upper East Side, Nate Archibald. During the show’s third year, Crawford’s real-life reputation took a slight knock when he was found in possession of marijuana, leading to his arrest in 2010.
At the time, the star of The Boys had been laying low in his friend’s parked car, so perhaps Gossip Girl had her eye on him. Chase was brought to the station, but managed to strike a plea deal with the authorities, enabling the charge of possession to disappear.
Children's television during the ‘90s was a colorful collage of cartoons, slime, and sketch shows on Nickelodeon. One of the channel’s most famous faces was Amanda Bynes, who graduated from starring on All That to her own series, The Amanda Show. But while her career was soaring, the starlet’s personal life was under strain.
Substance abuse led the 35-year-old to being arrested for driving under the influence in 2012, while another arrest for reckless endangerment and possession of marijuana followed the next year. Having been sober since 2014, the She’s the Man star has completed a fashion degree and plans to return to acting.
Another Nickelodeon star who has had his run-ins with the law is Drake Bell. In June 2021, the Drake & Josh actor was arrested on charges of attempting to endanger a child. The matter pertained to an incident four years prior in which Bell sent inappropriate messages to a 15-year-old.
During a Zoom trial, Drake eventually pleaded guilty to endangerment, as well as disseminating material harmful to juveniles. Jail time was avoided, but the Makes Me Happy singer was sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service.
Macaulay Culkin was introduced to audiences as an 8-year-old kid whose mischievousness protected his family home from being robbed during the holidays. Ironically enough, though, the Home Alone star’s troublemaking nature was not simply confined to the big screen.
In 2014, Macaulay found himself under arrest in Oklahoma City after the car he was in was pulled over for speeding. Although the actor was not driving, Culkin was soon discovered to be in possession of marijuana as well as two other illegal substances.
The Weeknd has admitted to shoplifting to support the substance abuse he faced in his youth. And his songs often make subtle references to exactly that. But the musician’s 2020 album, After Hours, drew attention to another incident from years earlier in which he found himself on the wrong side of the law.
The track Faith may be about the artist's on-and-off relationship with Bella Hadid, but the song features the sound of police sirens at the end. "That's me in the back of the cop car, that moment," said the Blinding Lights singer in reference to his 2015 arrest for punching a police officer at a Las Vegas hotel.
The heavyweight boxing legend is infamous for biting Evander Holyfield back in 1997 during a heated match between the two. But Mike Tyson is known for also getting into bouts of trouble when outside of the ring. Case in point: His sexual misconduct charges 5 years earlier.
Iron Mike was accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in his hotel room, which he later denied in court. Despite his plea of innocence, the professional fighter was found guilty and sentenced to 6 years behind bars. After serving half the time, Tyson was released and resumed his career in the ring.
Tiger Woods is familiar with landing a hole in one on the driving range. But when it comes to driving behind the wheel, past experiences have shown that he's, well, less adept. In 2017, the golfer was arrested during the early hours of the morning for driving under the influence.
Although the vehicle was actually stationary in a traffic lane at the time, the engine was running, and Woods was asleep in the driver’s seat. The PGA champion admitted to having taken prescription substances and pled guilty to reckless driving. Tiger avoided jail time, but was forbidden from drinking during his 1 year probation.
Heather Locklear was a household name during the ‘80s and ‘90s as she graced television screens in Dynasty and Melrose Place. But by the time the new millennium had rolled around, the actress was known to audiences for her legal troubles that involved several DUIs.
The Spin City star pleaded no contest following her 2009 arrest for reckless driving. But 9 years later, she was charged with battery against a police officer. Another charge of battery was presented in 2018, but Locklear is now doing well following time in a mental health facility.
The Beverley Hills heiress has done it all — from having her own reality series, becoming a world-renowned DJ, to spending time behind bars. The stylista got an opportunity to don a pair of orange overalls following a series of arrests that spanned between 2006 and 2007.
Alcohol was responsible for most of Paris Hilton’s run-ins with the law as she frequently found herself arrested for DUIs. The reality star was eventually sentenced to 45 days at a correctional facility, but ended up serving only half. Paris referred to her release as a new beginning and is making the most of it.
At one point, Matthew McConaughey considered attending law school before deciding that the career path was not for him. The Texan studied film at university instead, but a law degree could have come in handy years later following a particularly wild night in 1999.
The Dallas Buyers Club star became linked to bongo drums after police arrived at his home following a noise complaint to find the actor banging on the instruments - unclothed. McConaughey was intoxicated at the time and charged with possession and disturbing the peace, detailing the incident in his 2020 memoir.
The real Slim Shady was asked to stand up in court following an altercation that took place in 2000. Fans of Eminem’s music likely know about the tumultuous relationship he had with his ex-wife Kim. But on one fateful night, he spotted her lip-locked with a man named John Guerra in a restaurant parking lot.
The scene prompted the Lose Yourself rapper to, well, lose it. The hitmaker assaulted Guerra and was charged with possession of a concealed weapon and assault. Marshall Mathers pled guilty as part of a plea deal, resulting in the assault charge being dropped, him receiving 2 years probation and material for his next album.
Nothing binds cast-mates for life quite like being arrested together — just ask Nina Dobrev. A month before The Vampire Diaries premiered, the actress and four other stars of the hit series were held in police custody after authorities were alerted to reports of five females dangling from a bridge.
According to reports, Dobrev and her fellow residents of Mystic Falls were flashing their chests, which seemed to cause some alarm to those driving under the interstate overpass. The starlets were charged with disorderly conduct but were soon released, leaving the cops free from any vampiric wrath.
Scott Disick may be tied to one of the most affluent families in reality TV history, but he had a slightly shady past before becoming part of the Kardashian clan. When he was 18, the New York native crashed his car after partying too hard in the town of Riverhead.
The incident resulted in Lord Disick being booked for driving under the influence. And years later his sister-in-law decided to remind him of the event. Khloé chose to wish the father-of-three a happy 31st birthday on social media by addressing it to her “partner in crime” and using Scott’s mugshots. Gotta love family.
Speaking of Scott Disick’s partner in crime… Much like her fellow Keeping Up with the Kardashians star, Khloé Kardashian was once arrested for driving under the influence. The incident took place in 2007 and, like most aspects of her life, it made its way onto the reality series.
The judge sentenced the influencer to 30 days in the slammer, prompting Kris Jenner to shriek, "Kim, would you stop taking pictures of yourself? Your sister's going to jail!" Luckily for the then-24-year-old, overcrowding afforded her an early release, with KoKo serving less than 3 hours!
A word to the wise: don’t mess with Vince Vaughn, especially if Steve Buscemi is by his side! The pair of actors found themselves in a bar brawl with two locals while filming a movie in North Carolina back in 2001. The name of the flick? Domestic Disturbance. Ahem. Buscemi bore the brunt of the injuries, but both were arrested.
Years later, the Wedding Crashers star again found himself on the wrong side of the law when he was caught driving while intoxicated. Vince pleaded no contest to the charge of reckless driving and got off on 3 years probation and mandatory attendance of an alcohol awareness program.
Keanu Reeves has a reputation for being one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. But even he got in some trouble back in the day. Before introducing us to the mind-bending world of The Matrix, the actor was pulled over for reckless driving in 1993 while in Los Angeles.
Keeping true to character, the John Wick star immediately confessed to the crime, pleading guilty to driving under the influence. As a result, the 56-year-old avoided formal charges, and the incident was mostly forgotten about — no red or blue pill required.
The rocker is known for putting on a spectacle during his performances, but he currently finds himself amidst a scandal of a different kind. Marilyn Manson is facing charges of assault following an incident with a cameraman during a concert he held in New Hampshire in 2019.
The Rock Is Dead singer turned himself in back in July and was released on bail - but that’s not the only legal woe on his head. In February, Manson’s former fiancée, Evan Rachel Wood, accused him of abuse during their relationship, and a number of Marilyn’s exes came forward with their own claims. The case is still underway.
If there’s one person who has proven that technology can improve our lives, it is Bill Gates. But long before the tech guru was advocating for energy-efficient cars that are kinder to the environment, good ol’ Bill landed himself in trouble because of his driving.
The year was 1977, and the billionaire had allegedly been speeding in his Porsche without a license, leading to a charge of reckless driving. The Harvard dropout was bailed out by his Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen. Considering Bill is worth more than $131.6 billion, we’re sure he paid Allen back.
On Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman played one of the five titular characters who kept a slew of secrets. The actress’s own secret came to light in 2019 when it was revealed that she had paid a young woman to take university entrance exams on behalf of her daughter.
When the situation was exposed, the When They See Us actress was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, to which she pled guilty. Huffman’s willingness to co-operate resulted in a hefty fine, but only 14 days in prison, of which she served 12.
Jen Harley has a complicated relationship with her baby daddy, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro of Jersey Shore. The couple was on and off for the majority of their 3 years together, but all that passion resulted in an altercation that saw Jen being arrested for domestic battery in 2018. Similar incidents followed.
The latest occurred in June 2021, with Harley's new boyfriend. The pair apparently got into a heated argument whilst driving, and Jen eventually threatened him. Although it led to yet another arrest, the mother-of-one hasn't lost her sense of humor, joking that she wished she'd had a fresh set of lashes for her mugshot.
The 2009 Grammy Awards was memorable not for the music it included but the incident that made headlines a few hours before. Chris Brown and Rihanna had been dating for almost two years when an argument turned physical, and the Love on the Brain singer was left with visible injuries on her face.
Chris turned himself in and was charged with felony assault. Although he initially maintained his innocence, the Undecided artist ultimately pled guilty and accepted a plea deal that involved probation, community service, and counseling. A few years later, Breezy did end up behind bars for violating said probation.
Most people dislike Mondays, but August 1st, 2011 is a Monday that Samantha Ronson hates in particular. It was on this day that the DJ was arrested by police for driving under the influence in California. The time of the arrest was reported as 10:30 AM, meaning Sam probably had a super late night or a really bad morning.
The 43-year-old was primarily pulled over for speeding as her Porsche was zooming over the limit, but it was a failed balance test that led to being charged with two misdemeanors. Despite the unpleasant circumstances, officers at the scene recalled Ronson being friendly and talkative.
There has never been anything quite simple about Nicole Richie’s life (despite the name of the reality show she shared with former bestie, Paris Hilton). Despite previously being arrested for substance possession, Nicole found herself on the wrong side of the law (and the road) a few years later.
The fashion designer was booked in 2006 after her Mercedes was spotted on the highway going in the wrong direction. A combination of narcotics was responsible, and Ms. Richie was sentenced to 4 days in jail. The stars were in her favor, though, as overcrowding meant her sentence lasted all of 82 minutes!
There is an irony that one of Natasha Lyonne’s most famous roles was as an inmate in Orange is the New Black. While the actress herself has never spent long bouts behind bars, she has found herself in a holding cell on more than one occasion due to her history with substance abuse.
In 2001, the Russian Doll star was charged with driving under the influence following an incident in Miami in which she crashed her rental car into a stop sign. A few years later, a warrant was out for her arrest after she missed a court date. These days, however, Natasha is out of rehab, sober, and back to acting.
Some have argued that his wife Sharon is the only reason that Ozzy Osbourne is back on the straight and narrow path. But despite her best efforts, the rocker has still encountered bouts of legal trouble over the decades - mostly stemming from his struggle with substance abuse.
The rock ‘n roll lifestyle had Ozzy performing a number of lewd acts in public — not all of which he can actually remember. It was in 1982 that the Black Sabbath frontman urinated on a Texas war memorial, leading to his arrest. Unfortunately, he was again arrested 2 years later in Memphis for public intoxication.
Terrence Howard may rule the roost on Empire, but off-screen, the actor has been at the center of some legal woes. Contentious relationships with two of his ex-wives are the reason why the Hustle & Flow star has been arrested on more than one occasion since 2001.
A violent altercation with his estranged first wife led to Howard being charged with assault and harassment. Similarly, another incident involved his second wife years later. It was in 2000, though, that Terrence allegedly got physical with a flight attendant after he refused to return to his seat while the seatbelt sign was on.
This guy next door became the guy in the cell next door between 1979 and 1981. While at an airport in Michigan in 1978, the star of Home Improvement was found to be in possession of 650 grams of narcotics — a big no-no. As a result, he was charged with felony trafficking.
The serious offense carried a possible life sentence, but Allen’s willingness to cooperate with authorities and provide names of other traffickers earned him a sentence of 3 to 7 years behind bars. Even better for him, the comedian ended up serving 2 years and 4 months before being paroled.
The uncle of hip hop has never hidden his affection for Mary Jane. But he was discovered to be concealing a dangerous weapon before a flight from California’s John Wayne Airport back in 2006. Snoop Dogg claimed that the weapon was a prop for a music video, but airport security wasn’t buying it and cuffed him.
That wasn’t Snoop’s only airport arrest. In the years since, he’s been detained for possession of a firearm and illegal substances. Members of his entourage even got into a brawl with police after being refused access to an airport lounge. Due to his criminal record, several countries have barred the rapper at various stages.
Not only is Jane Fonda a multiple award-winning actress, she is also an experienced political activist. The Grace and Frankie star has been at the forefront of protests since the Vietnam War. But in 1970, she was arrested at the airport on suspicion of narcotic trafficking after bags of pills were found in her luggage.
The fitness guru was arrested — despite telling officials that the pills were vitamins, which lab results confirmed. Fonda’s mugshot went down in history as she was photographed raising her fist in solidarity. Over the years, the 83-year-old has been arrested at numerous rallies, most recently against climate change.