When it comes to top Hollywood actors, the first things that come to mind when you think about them are the movies they’ve been in, their world class talents and, in some cases at least, their superstar good looks. Things that don’t tend to spring to mind are mindless crimes like assault, theft and drug dealing – but a surprisingly high number of actors have fallen afoul of the law for offences like those.
Some of the most talented, most versatile, funniest and well-known actors of recent times have, regrettably, been in trouble for doing the kind of things that don’t exactly make them great role models. Granted, in pretty much all of the cases listed in this video, the actors in question turned their lives around for the better and proved themselves to be decent human beings – but you can’t simply delete a criminal past.
On that note, here are ten amazing actors who committed horrible crimes…
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. is now one of the most successful, popular and highly-paid actors on the planet, but his career took a major downturn back in the late 1990s, after a succession of drug-related convictions that ended up with the actor in jail. He was sentenced to three years in the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in 1999, but was released after just one year, having proven that he had rehabilitated himself – although he did relapse with a further two drug arrests a year later. Having previously starred in movies like Chaplin, Natural Born Killers and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Downey Jr. is currently most famous for his flagship role as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
With one of the most clean-cut images in Hollywood, you’d be hard-pressed to believe that there has ever been a bad bone in Will Smith’s body. However, back in 1989, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star was supposedly involved in a violent crime. Smith was arrested after being involved in an altercation so ferocious that record promoter William Hendricks was almost blinded. Consequently, he was charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, and criminal conspiracy, and spent the night in a cell. However, the charges were later dismissed and Smith – who has gone on to star in movies like Independence Day, Men in Black and Ali – denies the crime completely, blaming the friends he was with instead.
Back in 1987, a year after filming the iconic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Matthew Broderick was vacationing in Ireland with his then-girlfriend Jennifer Grey – whom he had met on the set of the aforementioned movie. Whilst driving a rented BMW, Broderick forgot he was in Ireland and ended up driving on the wrong side of the road. He slammed straight into an oncoming Volvo, killing 28-year-old Anna Gallagher and her 63-year-old mother Margaret Dorothy on impact. Broderick suffered a few injuries, but was ultimately only charged $175 for careless driving – a punishment that the family of the two victims has called “a travesty of justice”. He has since gone on to star in movies like Godzilla, The Producers and The Lion King series, in which he voiced the adult Simba.
Prior to meeting his wife – Brazilian model Camila Alves – Matthew McConaughey openly admits to having been something of a wild and reckless guy. He drank heavily and used all manner of illegal drugs, which culminated in his arrest back in 1999. His neighbour heard commotion in his home and called the police. When the cops arrived, they found McConaughey playing the bongos naked, with marijuana and various other drugs laying around. Although he was later released, due to the police not having a search warrant when they entered his home, the night he consequently spent in the cells was a turning point for the actor. He has since starred in hit movies like Magic Mike, The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club and Interstellar.
The late Paul Walker, who passed away tragically in a high-speed car crash in 2013, faced felony charges back when he was 18-years-old – although the crime in question remains undisclosed. Walker did maintain that it didn’t involve hurting anybody, however, but we’ll probably never know exactly what it did involve. That being said, while Walker was alive, some people called for him to be charged with statutory rape, as he began dating his girlfriend Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell when he was 33-years-old and she was just 16. Walker starred in movies like Varsity Blues, She’s All That and Timeline, but he is undoubtedly best-known for his recurring role in the Fast and Furious franchise.