Just like normal people, celebrities have gotten in trouble with the law and have served time in jail as well. Some celebrities have served time behind bars for a variety of reasons, from drug-related charges, being under the influence, tax evasion, and/or committing perjury, to name a few.
The amount of time spent in jail for each of the celebrities on this list varies from a couple of days to several years. Some were incarcerated before becoming famous. Please note that all celebrities in this article are ones that are served some jail time and not overnight and/or for under 24 hours.
With that being said, here are 20 Notable Celebrities Who Went To Prison:
1. Felicity Huffman:
When the College Admissions Bribery Scandal came out earlier this year, a lot of people were stunned when two well-known celebrities were among the list of people charged (which is more than 50). Those two celebrities were Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
Unlike the latter, the former pleaded guilty for her involvement in the scandal. The Emmy-winner paid $15,000 for someone to cheat on a college entrance exam for her eldest daughter, something she expressed in the courtroom she has regretted doing. Huffman was the first parent to be sentenced after receiving 14 days in jail, a year of supervised release, 250 hours of community service and a $30,000 fine. She was released a few days before Halloween and is currently doing her community service (she plans on doing more even after the community service portion of her sentence is completed).
2. OJ Simpson:
While he didn’t serve anytime altering being suspected of the murders of his wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, the NFL Hall of Famer served time in jail for a different crime. In 2008, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years with a minimum of nine years without parole, for his role in a 2007 robbery that took place in Las Vegas. Simpson was granted parole in July 2017 and was released in October of that same year.
3. Martha Stewart:
The TV Chef served five months in FPC Alderson (located in West Virginia) conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators for insider trading in 2004.
4. Bill Cosby:
Over the years, the Hollywood Star has been accused of sexual harassment from several women. In the 2010s, several organizations have cut ties with Cosby, in addition to stripping him of various honorary titles and degrees. Cosby’s fall from grace was cemented when he was found guilty on three counts of felony sexual assault and sentenced to three to ten years in jail. Since the sentence, he has been incarcerated at the SCI Phoenix in Pennsylvania.
5. Teresa Giudice:
The Real Housewives of New Jersey Star and with her husband Joe (see #6 below) were both sentenced to serve time behind bars after being convicted for bankruptcy fraud in October 2014. Both received different sentences: Teresa got 11 months and Joe got 41 months.
However, the judge allowed the couple to serve their sentences separately so that one parent could remain with their four daughters while the other was behind bars. Teresa served her time first from January 2015 to December 2015 (she was released two days before Christmas).
6. Joe Giudice:
Along with his wife Real Housewives of New Jersey Star Teresa Giudice (see #5 above), Joe was also convicted for bankruptcy fraud in October 2014. While husband and wife got different sentences (11 months for Teresa and 41 months for Joe), they were serve allowed to their sentences separately.
Joe looked after his four daughters with Teresa as she served her time first. After his wife was released on December 23rd, 2015, Joe began his 41-month sentence in March 2016 and was released in March 2019. However, part of his sentence included him being deported back to his native Italy (Joe isn’t a US Citizen). The entire Giudice family recently reunited in Italy and is currently in the middle of a lengthy appeal process for the deportation part of the sentence.
7. Remy Ma:
Remy Ma spent six years in prison in 2008 after being convicted of shooting a member of her entourage (who she accused of stealing $3000 from her) in the stomach twice. She was also charged with illegal weapon possession, assault and attempted coercion.
After being released in 2014, Remy Ma cemented her comeback with “All The Way Up”, her latest collaboration with fellow rapper Fat Joe. “All The Way Up” received two Grammy Nominations at the 2017 ceremony.
8. Robert Downey Jr.:
From 1996-2001, the Oscar-Nominated Actor was arrested on numerous drug charges. In 1999, Downey Jr. was sentenced to three years behind bars after he missed a drug test while on probation. He ended up serving one year and finally got sober in 2003 after several more run-ins.
9. Lauryn Hill:
The singer is one of several celebrities featured on this list who have been in prison for tax evasion charges. Hill served her three-month sentence in 2013.
10. Lil Wayne:
Lil Wayne is another one of several celebrities to have been in prison after being caught with drugs. In 2010, the rapper spent eight months (he was originally sentenced to a year) behind bars at Rikers Island for having marijuana (in addition to illegal weapons) on his tour bus.
11. Lil’ Kim:
The singer spent a year behind bars after committing perjury in 2005. Lil’ Kim lied to the grand jury about her manager’s involvement in a shooting that took place four years prior right outside of a radio station in Manhattan.
12. Ryan Leaf:
For those of you who don’t know (sans football fans), Ryan Leaf is a former NFL Quarterback who is one of the biggest draft busts of all time. In the 1998 NFL Draft, Leaf was drafted second overall (behind fellow Quarterback Peyton Manning) by the San Diego Chargers. Unlike Manning, who won two Super Bowls and bound to be elected into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2021 (his first year of eligibility), Leaf’s NFL Career lasted only four years.
After retiring from the sport, the former NFL Quarterback has made headlines for getting in trouble with the law on burglary and drug charges. He was sentenced to serve time behind bars for those charges in May 2012. He was released in December 2014. Since his release, Leaf has dramatically changed his ways as he now works as Program Ambassador for Transcend Recovery Community. He also works as a college football analyst on television and has a radio show.
13. Abby Lee Miller:
The Reality TV Star is another one of several celebrities on this list who did time behind bars for fraud. In her case, Miller was sentenced in 2017 to a year behind bars for bankruptcy fraud. Eight months after she reported to FCI Victorville to begin her time in jail, Miller was transferred to a halfway house to serve the rest of her sentence.
14. Mark Wahlberg:
Wahlberg is one of several celebrities on this list who served time in jail before becoming famous. When the Oscar-Nominated Actor was 16 years old, he assaulted two Vietnamese men with a stick, blinding one of them. While attacking the two men, Wahlberg yelled out several racist things.
For his assault, Wahlberg was sentenced to two years behind bars at The Suffolk County Deer Island House of Correction. However, he was let go after serving 45 days of his sentence.
15. Lindsay Lohan:
The actress is one of the most notable celebrities who has had several run0ins with the law. She has spent various amounts of time in jail due to DUIs, hit and runs, and violations of parole. Lohan did about an hour in 2007, 2 weeks in 2010, and one month in 2011. She also spent another month under house arrest in 2011 as well.
16. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino:
Like Huffman, The Jersey Shore Star is one of the few celebrities on this list who have recently served time behind bars. The Situation served eight months in prison for tax evasion and was released on September 12th, 2019. He still has two years of supervised probation and 500 hours of community service from his sentence to serve though.
17. Michelle Rodriguez:
The actress was sentenced to six months behind bars for violating terms of her probation after her DUI arrest in 2007. However, Rodriguez was released after 18 days due to overcrowding (a reason that a lot of celebrities who’ve been in jail often get released early for).
18. Tim Allen:
Before he became famous, a then-25-year-old Tim Allen served two years and four months in prison for drug trafficking after being busted at the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport for cocaine possession.
Allen avoided a life sentence by pleading guilty and providing authorities with the names of other dealers.
19. Paul McCartney:
In 1980, the legendary singer did nine days behind bars in Tokyo after being busted with half-pound of marijuana while going through customs at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.
20. Jamie Waylett:
The British Actor, who’s best known for playing Crabbe in the Harry Potter films, was removed from the franchise’s last two films after his 2009 arrest for growing cannabis at his family’s home. Although he didn’t go to jail for that (Waylett was sentenced to 120 hours of community service) Waylett did serve two years behind bars for his participation in the 2011 England Riots.