It’s hard to imagine a glamorous actress or a beloved musician behind bars, but unfortunately, celebrity status and success weren’t enough to keep these famous felons out of the big house. Many actors, models, musicians, rappers, athletes, and TV personalities have be convicted of felonies. Celebrities convicted of felonies have to pay the price for their crimes, just like any other criminal. Some celebrities grew up surrounded by illegal wrong-doings, while others cite their felonies as a “one-time mistake.”
Who’s the most famous celebrity to get stuck in the pokey? Chris Brown tops our list. In December 2009, Chris Brown was convicted of assault and battery of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. Shockingly, Mark Wahlberg also committed a felony – when he was 16 years old, he was convicted for the racially motivated assault and attempted murder of two Vietnamese men. He beat one of them with a wooden stick, and punched the other in the face, knocking both of them unconscious.
As for famous female felons, Martha Stewart is well-known for her 2004 insider trading scandal. She was convicted of felony conspiracy charges, as well as lying to police and obstructing justice. Courtney Love has been charged with two separate felonies; one was a drug possession charge, and the other was for assaulting a woman with a bottle and a metal flashlight.
Are you surprised that so many celebrities are convicted felons? Let us know in the comment section below!
On September 25, 2018, Judge Steven T. O’Neill sentenced Bill Cosby to three to 10 years in state prison. Cosby was tried in Norristown, PA, for the 2004 drugging and assault of Andrea Constand in his Cheltenham home.
In 2017, Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the night with Constand. It was the second trial for Cosby concerning these charges – the first trial in June 2017 was a mistrial.
Cosby is the first celebrity of the Me Too movement to be sentenced to prison.
In 2008, Suge Knight was arrested for aggravated assault and drug charges. Police found him beating his girlfriend, Melissa Issac, and threatening her with a knife. He was reportedly on cocaine and ecstasy at the tile of the attack.
In 2014, Knight was arrested along with Katt Williams for second degree robbery after they stole a camera from a female photographer. He was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of running over two people with his car, and then fleeing the scene. The whole thing was caught on camera, and Knight says that his actions were in self defense.
In 2018, he pleaded guilty to murder for running over the two men in 2015. The court sentenced him to 28 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter. Citing his poor health, Knight told the judge he anticipates dying in prison.
Mark Wahlberg is an upstanding member of society now, but he definitely had a rough time growing up. Addicted to cocaine at 13, and involved in a civil suit regarding hate crimes committed by Wahlberg at 15, it was no surprise when he was charged with the attempted murder and assault of two Vietnamese men at age 16.
He attacked Thahn Lam first, knocking him unconscious with a large wooden stick while screaming, “Vietnam f*cking sh*t!” Later that day, he attacked Hoa “Johnny” Trihn by punching him in the face. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but only served 45 days due to overcrowding.
In 2014, Wahlberg began trying to get the attacks expunged from his record, claiming that he is a different man now, and would like to be pardoned for his crimes.
In 2007, Lil Wayne was charged with criminal possession of drugs and a fire arm, and was sentenced to one year in Rikers Island. In 2008, he was charged with four additional felonies (possession of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of dangerous drugs, misconduct involving weapons, and possession of drug paraphernalia) when his tour bus was stopped by Border Patrol in Arizona.
Police found cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, and $22,000 of undeclared cash aboard his tour bus.
50 Cent was charged with felony drug possession in 1994 after he tried to sell cocaine to an undercover police officer. Three weeks later, he was arrested again when police searched his home and found heroin, crack, and a pistol. He was sentenced 3-9 years in prison for his crimes, but was allowed to serve out his sentence in a 6 month bootcamp.
In 2004, he was charged with three counts of assault and battery after jumping offstage to assault a concert-goer who threw a water bottle at him.
In 2001, Yasmine Bleeth and her husband were arrested on felony drug charges when their car pulled off the highway and wound up on a median on I-94. A search of their hotel room and car produced several needles with cocaine residue in them, along with several vials of coke.
She was sentenced to 2 years of probation and 100 hours of community service.
In March 2004, Martha Stewart was convicted of felony charges of conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigators. She was accused of insider trading after avoiding a loss of over $45k by selling her shares of ImClone stocks.
She was sentenced to one year in federal prison, and two years of supervised release after she got out of prison in 2005.
In 2003, Sizemore was convicted of assault and battery against his then-girlfriend, Heidi Fleiss. He was sentenced to 7 months in jail for repeatedly failing – and trying to fake – his drug tests. In 2007, while he was still on probation following his previous arrest, Sizemore was found carrying methamphetamine outside of a Sheridan hotel.
In 2009, he was arrested again for an outstanding arrest warrant for drug charges. He turned his life around by appearing on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
In 1989, Christian Slater was arrested for drunk driving and assault, and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. In 1994, he was arrested for trying to board an airplane with a concealed weapon in his luggage. In 1997, Slater assaulted his then-girlfriend, Michelle Jonas while he was drunk and high.
He also assaulted a police officer that night, which harshened his sentence to 100 days in rehab and 3 months of jail time.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. was arrested several times on felony drug charges during the height of his drug addiction between 1996 – 2001. In April 1996, he was arrested for possession of cocaine, heroin, and an unloaded .357 Magnum while speeding down Sunset Blvd. He later broke into a neighbor’s house and fell asleep on in one of the beds.
He was sentenced to 3 years of probation, but unfortunately, he missed an appointment with his probation officer and was sentenced to 6 months in LA County jail. He was arrested again in 2001 after police found cocaine and Valium in his Palm Springs hotel room, and was sent to rehab and sentenced to 3 years of probation.
At age 16, James Brown was convicted of theft and served 3 years in juvenile prison. In 1988, he was arrested for possession of drugs and illegal weapons. He also served two years in prison after participating in a car chase that resulted in the police finding drugs and guns in his vehicle. He assaulted the police officer that pulled him over.
James Brown was also arrested several times between 1987 until his death in 2006 for domestic violence against several of his wives and girlfriends.
In 2009 Randy and Evi Quaid were charged with defrauding an innkeeper after failing to pay a hotel bill in Santa Barbara, but the charges were dropped against Randy due to lack of evidence.
Randy Quaid and his wife were charged with felony residential burglary for living in a guest house unbeknownst to its owner. They claimed that they had sold the property to Lance Armstrong, but were still maintaining it for him, but records showed that it was sold to the current owner in 2007.
In April 2007, Rip Torn was convicted of drunk driving after his car hit a tractor trailer. In 2009, he was convicted again for driving home drunk from a bar with a Christmas Tree tied to the top of his car. In 2010, he drunkenly broke in to the Litchfield Bancorp, which was in the same building as his home.
He thought that he was entering his own home, and was found carrying a gun. Torn was charged with carrying a firearm without a permit, carrying a firearm while intoxicated, first-degree burglary, second-degree criminal trespassing and third-degree criminal mischief.The court sentenced him to 2.5 years in prison and 3 years of probation.
Throughout the 1960s, Danny Trejo was in and out of various California jails, prisons, and juvenile detention centers. His first arrest was at age 10 for assault and battery, and his convictions just kept coming: drug charges, weapon charges, and assault.
Trejo cleaned up his act and got into show business after hitting rock bottom in 1998.
T.I. was first arrested for selling drugs at age 14. He would wear rubber bands around his wrists to show how much money he had made from his drug deals, which led to his nickname, “The Rubber Band Man.” In 2007, he was arrested for possession of two unregistered machine guns and silencers, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
In 2009, he was sentenced to a year in prison for federal weapon charges. After being released from prison, T.I. and his wife, Tiny, were arrested on drug charges.
When Allen Iverson was 15, he was involved in a racially-charged brawl outside of a bowling alley. A white man slurred a racial epithet at him, and Iverson and his friends attacked. Although no one was seriously injured, Iverson was sentenced to 15 years in prison for assault.
He managed to lessen the charges to serve only 4 months, but it could have completely derailed his basketball career if he had been sentenced to all those years in prison. The white men involved were not even arrested.
In 1999, Darryl Strawberry was convicted of an attempt to solicit a prostitute, who was actually a police woman in disguise. He had cocaine on him at the time of his arrest, and was sentenced to 21 months probation. In 2000, he took painkillers to relieve the symptoms of the cancer that had spread through his lymph nodes, and blacked out while driving. He rear-ended another vehicle and attempted to flee the scene. A police officer saw the whole thing, and he was sentenced to 2 years of house arrest and probation.
In 2001, he violated his probation by leaving his house to use drugs. He was sentenced to 40 days in jail. At his trial, he told a judge that he had lost the will to live, and had stopped doing chemotherapy. The judge sentenced him to carry out the rest of his sentence in a drug treatment facility. He was arrested several more times for similar felony drug charges until 2005.
David Carradine was arrested several times throughout his life for disturbing the peace and marijuana possession, but was not charge with a felony until 1974. At the height of his popularity in Kung Fu, he did a bunch of peyote, stripped naked, and decided to take a stroll around his neighborhood in Laurel Canyon.
He broke into a neighbor’s home, bled all over their piano, and assaulted a young woman he had deemed to be “a witch.” Police followed the trail of blood to his home where he was arrested and charged with mischief and assault.
Flavor Flav began committing crimes at age 11, when he set his own house on fire. He was in and out o fail for robbery and burglary as a youth, but managed to straighten up his act when he graduated from culinary school. In 1991, he was convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend, and spent 30 days in jail.
In 1993, he was charge with the attempted murder of his neighbor, and spent 90 days in jail. Later that year, he faced drug charges for marijuana, cocaine, and domestic violence. In 2012, he was jailed in Las Vegas on felony charges stemming from a spat with Trujillo, during which Flavor Flav threatened to stab her teenage son, Gibson, with a knife.
O. J. Simpson
In 2007, O.J. Simpson, along with three other men, broke into a Las Vegas hotel and stole a bunch of old sports memorabilia at gunpoint. He was charged with multiple felonies, including: criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and the use of a deadly weapon.
In October 2008, he was found guilty of all charges, and sentenced to 33 years in prison with the possibility of parole in 2017. He is serving time in the Lovelock Correctional Center.