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10 Huge Stars Who Spent Time Behind Bars

YouTube / Observer

You would think that having piles of money, a big house, and worldwide fame would be enough to keep someone on the straight and narrow.

But plenty of huge celebrities are known for their bad behavior.

In fact, a long list of them have spent time in jail or prison after breaking the law.

Most have changed their ways, some still have a rebellious streak, but all of these stars know what it's like to be locked up.

1. Sean Penn

Sean Penn
UN Climate Change - Flickr

The volatile star of hit movies like Dead Man Walking spent two months in jail after punching one of his costars.

An extra on the set of Colors tried to snap a picture of Penn and the actor lashed out.

Penn was already on probation for another pair of violent outbursts at the paparazzi.

He was also alleged to have attacked his ex-wife Madonna during their time as a Hollywood power couple in the '80s.

But the singer cleared the air in 2015, saying the allegations were "completely outrageous, malicious, reckless, and false."

2. Kiefer Sutherland

Sutherland being arrested in 2009.She Knows

The Designated Survivor star isn't known for acting presidential when the cameras are turned off.

He was arrested for drunk driving in 2007 after failing a sobriety test, his fourth arrest for the same charge since 1989.

Sutherland spent 48 days in jail after pleading no contest, but obviously didn't learn his lesson.

He turned himself in to police in 2009 after headbutting a fashion designer after a fundraiser.

Police dropped the charges after Sutherland and his victim released a joint apology.

3. Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney.
McCartney in police custody.Meet the Beatles for Real

The former Beatle may be a knight, but Sir Paul once lived a true rock star lifestyle.

He was caught smuggling half a pound of marijuana through the Tokyo airport in 1980.

"When the fellow pulled it out of the suitcase, he looked more embarrassed than me," McCartney remembered.

"I think he just wanted to put it back in and forget the whole thing, you know, but there it was."

The singer spent 10 days in jail and had to cancel 11 concerts, forcing him to pay out £1 million.

But he was lucky to avoid the usual sentence under Japanese law: seven years of hard labor.

McCartney was caught with marijuana again during a 1984 trip to Barbados, but was only fined $200 for that mistake.

4. Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg
The Boston Herald / Eva Rinaldi - Flickr

He plays a tough guy on the big screen, but Wahlberg was a real life villain in his teenage years.

The Transformers star was charged with assault and attempted murder after attacking a pair of Vietnamese-American men when he was 16.

Wahlberg was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to both counts, but only spent 45 days of his two-year sentence behind bars.

The movie star has since gotten to know his victims, and asked for their forgiveness.

"I want people to remember my past so that I can serve as an example of how lives can be turned around and how people can be redeemed," he said.

5. Wesley Snipes

Wesley Snipes
Nicogenin - Wikimedia

Did you notice that the action star known for his role in Blade seemed to disappear for a few years?

It's true. The actor was charged with failure to file tax returns between 1994 and 2000.

He pleaded guilty to the charges and spent three years in jail and on house arrest, but it hasn't slowed down his movie career.

6. Tim Allen

Tim Allen
The Smoking Gun / Wikimedia

The Last Man Standing star seems like a regular family man, but he has a dark past.

Allen was a drug trafficker before his career in show business started.

In 1978 he was caught trying to sneak 1.43 pounds of cocaine through customs at an airport in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Allen only avoided a life sentence by snitching on other dealers to the police, and wound up serving two years behind bars.

The actor called his arrest "a watershed moment" in his life.

"It put me in a position of great humility, and I was able to make amends to friends and family and refocus my life on setting and achieving goals."

7. Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.
The Smoking Gun / Gage Skidmore - Flickr

The Avengers star has been very open about his history of drug abuse, especially since his son Indio has also struggled with addiction.

Between 1997 and 1998, Downey spent 113 days in the Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail. He also spent 1999 in prison after violating his probation.

But meeting his future wife, Susan Levin, finally convinced Downey to sober up, and his career slowly recovered.

"I swear to God," Downey told Vanity Fair, "I am not my story."

8. Christian Slater

The Smoking Gun / Siebbi - Wikimedia

Slater came to fame as a teenager in hit movies like Heathers, but growing up in the spotlight can be difficult.

He was arrested for drunk driving and assault in 1989 after confronting the officer that pulled him over, but only spent 10 days in jail.

Next, he was ordered to do community service in 1994 after boarding a plane with a gun in his luggage.

Slater spent more time behind bars after assaulting his girlfriend and a police officer while under the influence. He was sentenced to three months behind bars and three more in rehab.

The actor's last arrest was in 2005, when he was charged with harassing a woman on the street. The charges were later dropped.

9. Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez
Gage Skidmore - Flickr

This actress was living Fast and Furious in 2008, when she was sentenced to 180 days in jail for violating her probation.

Rodriguez had a history of drunk driving, and kept up her bad habits while being monitored.

She also failed to do the community service assigned by a judge.

But after being released just 18 days into the sentence (because of overcrowding) Rodriguez says she's reformed.

"In my 20s, I used the excuse of adolescence to have enormous amounts of spontaneous fun," she said.

"I've avoided responsibility for the last 10 years, now it's time to get on it. I was a bad girl. I'm good now."

10. Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart
Peter Duhon - Wikimedia

It seems like a bad joke now, but the queen of cookbooks really did serve five months in prison for a laundry list of charges.

Stewart was convicted of insider trading and obstructing the investigation into her case.

While she admits a story like hers "can ruin you," Stewart says her "health" and "optimism" helped her bounce back.

She also credits the prison's chicken wings, which were the only thing she could stand to eat behind bars.

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I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com