Being famous does not give you protection from prosecution. If anything, with all the coverage that celebrities get from the media, they could barely sneeze and snort without anybody reporting it to the masses.

Therefore it is not surprising that crimes committed by big names in Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general rarely go unnoticed.

When even an infraction gets a much bigger exposure than it deserves, imagine the media frenzy that goes around a misdemeanor, let alone felony crimes associated with any particular celebrity.

Just because someone is famous and has been in popular films and TV shows, it does not mean they get a pass with everything they do.

No matter how rich and well-known they are, the rule of law applies to them just like it does to anybody else.

You might find it shocking that some of your favorite actors, musicians, comedians, and athletes have had their run-ins with the law.

From DUIs, assaults, drug-related offenses, sexual harassment, and manslaughter, here are just ten (of many) celebrities and the horrible crimes they’ve committed. This is not an exhaustive list.

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10 Robert Downey Jr.

Back in April 1996, Robert Downey Jr. found himself arrested for possession of illegal substances, including cocaine and heroin, as well as a .357 Magnum handgun.

The police discovered all those things after he had been pulled over for speeding on Sunset Boulevard.

Just about a month later, and still on parole, Downey Jr. trespassed into a neighbor’s home and fell asleep on a bed in that property.

It turned out he was under the influence of a controlled substance when he committed the crimes. He was ordered to undergo compulsory drug testing and received three years of probation.

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9 Amy Locane

On an evening in late June 2010, Amy Locane was involved in a car crash in Montgomery, New Jersey. She was driving at 53 mph in an area with a speed limit of 35 mph.

Speeding was the least of her problem at that moment because moments later, her vehicle crashed into the car driven by Fred Seeman, which was traveling at just three mph.

The incident killed Seeman’s wife. Following the accident, Locane’s blood-alcohol level was checked, and it came out at .23 percent, or three times the legal limit. She was indicted for assault and aggravated manslaughter.



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8 Mark Wahlberg

In June 1986, the then-teenage Mark Wahlberg and three of his friends chased down several black kids while yelling racial slurs and throwing rocks.

He did pretty much the same thing the next day on a beach. Two months later, a civil action was filed against Wahlberg, and the case was settled not long after that.

Wahlberg physically assaulted and fractured the jaw of his neighbor, Robert Crehan, in 1992.

Court document revealed that Wahlberg repeatedly kicked the neighbor in the face without provocation. The two parties settled the lawsuit without a criminal trial.

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7 Vince Neil

In 2002, Vince Neil was arrested for physical assault on record producer Michael Schuman. Neil punched Schuman in the parking lot of a nightclub. He underwent community service and was ordered to pay restitution for his crimes.

In 2003, Neil was arrested, but this time for a sexual assault he allegedly committed to a sex worker at the Moonlite BunnyRanch.

Neil reportedly grabbed the sex worker around the throat and threw her against a wall. He was sentenced to 30-day jail time, 60 days of anger management counseling, a $1000 fine, and a court fee of $132.

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6 Charlie Sheen

On Christmas 2009, Charlie Sheen was arrested for assaulting Brooke Mueller in Aspen, Colorado. Mueller was his wife at that time.

He was charged with criminal mischief, third-degree assault, and felony menacing. After posting an $8,500 bond, Sheen was released the same day.

About a year later, in August 2010, Sheen pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain. He was eventually sentenced to 30 days of probation, 36 hours of anger management counseling, and 30 days of drug rehabilitation.

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5 Jay-Z

Suspicious of record executive Lance “Un” Riviera bootlegging the “Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter” album, Jay-Z stabbed him in the stomach using a five-inch blade at the Kit Kat Klub in NYC in December 1999.

His associates were also accused of causing a commotion within the club. 

He surrendered to the police the following evening but was soon released on a $50,000 bail. Jay-Z pleaded not guilty when indicted in Manhattan Criminal Court in January 2000.

Later on, he changed his mind and pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and was sentenced to three years of probation.

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4 Tim Allen

Most famously known for his role as Tim Taylor on ABC’s Home Improvement, actor Tim Allen was a drug dealer before becoming a comedy star. His mug shot is probably as popular as the man himself.

In October 1978, Tim Allen was arrested for possession of more than 650 grams of cocaine.

His adventure in the criminal world ended that day in the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport. Facing life imprisonment, Allen pleaded guilty and decided to cooperate with the authorities.

He was later sentenced in federal court to three-to-seven years rather than possible life imprisonment in Michigan state court.

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3 Mike Tyson

One of the most recognizable boxers and athletes of all time, Mike Tyson, was arrested in July 1991 for the rape of an 18-year-old Desiree Washington in a hotel room in Indianapolis.

The trial took place in Marion County superior court from January 26 to February 10, 1992. 

Testimonies from Tyson’s chauffeur and emergency room physician corroborated Washington’s physical condition considered consistent with the victim of a rape.

In March, Tyson was sentenced to six years of imprisonment and four years of probation.

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2 Emile Hirsch

After attacking Daniele Bernfeld at Tao Nightclub in January 2015, Emile Hirsch was arrested in February and charged with aggravated assault. Hirsch came from behind and attempted to put Bernfeld in a chokehold. 

Hirsch claimed he could not remember what had happened because he was under the influence of stimulants during the attack. That said, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.

He was sentenced to 15 days of jail time, 90 days of probation, 50 hours of community service, and a $4,750 fine.

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1 Roman Polanski

About three years after making Chinatown, Roman Polanski was arrested for sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl named Samantha Gailey. The director agreed to a plea bargain in which he was sentenced to probation.

He soon found out that the judge was planning to disregard the plea bargain and sentence Polanski to 50 years of imprisonment. Polanski left the country one day before sentencing.

As of March 2021, he remains a subject of Interpol red notice issued in 1978. Charges are still pending in the United States.

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