Let’s face it: celebrities live the lives that we all want. Famous folks get to experience an abundance of professional opportunity, cash galore, recognition to spare, and also, plenty of chances to get arrested…
Yep, celebs are just like us–except they tend to get nabbed by the cops a heck of a lot more often, a fact that is brilliantly illustrated in the thousands upon thousands of celebrity mugshots posted to the Internet. We are all familiar with the usual suspects (did someone say “Nick Nolte?!”), but there are many other great ones out there that have long since been forgotten.
Here are 40 of the most shocking–and all-around surprising– celebrity mugshots of all-time, along with the fascinating tales behind each and every arrest.
Rock god Jim Morrison was no stranger to jail cells (he was put behind bars a total of 6 times in his life), but his most famous arrest occurred in 1969 in Miami, Florida. According to county records, The Doors frontman was performing in Dade County when he exposed himself and shouted profanities, all while appearing drunk in public. These charges amounted to a whopping five misdemeanors and one felony. A month later, the then 25-year old Morrison turned himself in, but he tragically died of an overdose before his case could be appealed.
Al Capone may be one of the most legendary American gangsters of all time, but when the FBI finally arrested him in 1931, his charges were shockingly minor. The mob boss was arrested in his home city of Chicago on felony charges of income tax evasion, a sentence that meant 11 years in federal prison for Capone. The criminal pleaded guilty, under the presumption that his jail time would be lessened with the admission. All in all, the gangster served 7.5 years for his crime in several different prisons including California’s infamous Alcatraz.
Before his 1995 arrest, British actor Hugh Grant was on top of the world–he had starred in a handful of successful Hollywood films and it was clear that his star was only rising. That said, his reputation was tarnished for a time when Grant was arrested for soliciting and receiving oral sex from a prostitute that he had picked up on Hollywood Boulevard named Divine Brown (née Estella Marie Thompson). The reporting and subsequent backlash of the actor’s arrest were swift–he quickly went on a media tour to apologize to both the public as well as his then-girlfriend, actress and model Elizabeth Hurley. Ultimately, Grant was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and attend an AIDS awareness program. Brown was given a 180-day jail sentence for violating the terms of her probation.
In 2006, Hollywood megastar Mel Gibson shocked the world when news of his late night arrest began to make the international news rounds. The actor and director was taken into custody in Los Angeles for driving under the influence, speeding, and riding in a car with an open container. He made the situation worse by hurling anti-Semitic insults at arresting Sheriff’s Deputy James Mee, an officer who just happened to be Jewish. According to LAPD transcripts, Gibson had this to say during his arrest: “F*****g Jews…the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?” The star later apologized for his words and enrolled in a substance abuse facility where he sought treatment for alcoholism.
Bill Gates may be one of the richest and most brilliant men in the history of the world, but that doesn’t mean he’s so hot at operating motor vehicles— or following the rules of the road for that matter. The software giant was first arrested in 1975 when he was 20 years-old for driving without a license and speeding. Just 2 years later, he was arrested again for driving without a license and failing to stop at a stop sign in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Though the official court records have been lost, it is said that he posted bail in both situations and never faced jail time.
Pop goddess and Academy Award winning actress Cher may seem like quite the upstanding citizen, but it turns out that she broke the law—and got caught for it!— when she was just a juvenile. Back when the singer was 13 years-old, she was arrested for driving without a license at a drive-in movie theater. According to Cher’s mother Georgia, her daughter was simply moving a car for a friend when the police pulled the then-underaged driver over. “[The police] called me at 3:30 in the morning and said we have your daughter down at the police station,” the mother remembers. At least the megastar walked away with a super cute mugshot!
The Black Dahlia
Elizabeth Short, the aspiring actress posthumously known as “The Black Dahlia” was arrested in 1943 for underage drinking when she was just 18 years-old. At the time, no one paid much attention to the unknown teenager’s brush with the law. It wasn’t until she was tragically murdered in Los Angeles in 1947 that Short’s stunning mugshot began to circulate. To this day, the identity of Short’s murderer still remains a mystery. It has since become one of the most iconic unsolved crimes in American history.
In 2016, former Backstreet Boy and all-around teen heartthrob Nick Carter was taken into custody for a Monroe County, Florida bar brawl. The crime occurred at a Key West watering hole called The Hog’s Breath. There, Carter allegedly drunkenly grabbed a bouncer by the name of Skylar Carden by the throat. Bar staff called the police and the boy bander was booked on a misdemeanor battery charge. Ultimately, Carter took a plea deal and was sentenced to 25 hours of community service and a payment of $298 in court-related fees.
Just like his big brother Nick, fledgling pop star Aaron Carter is no stranger to the law. In July of 2017, the singer was arrested alongside his girlfriend in Georgia on suspicion of DUI. The arrest came on the heels of a very public meltdown that was punctuated by bizarre behavior on his social media accounts. In fact, just days before his arrest he said this to celebrity site TMZ: “You won’t catch me getting any DUIs. I don’t have any DUIs.” The statement was reportedly in response to Shia LaBeouf’s (a law-breaking celeb who appears later on this list) many drunken arrests.
When former “Home Run King” Barry Bonds was first investigated for allegations of steroid use, fans and baseball aficionados alike were shocked by the news. The player was ordered to testify in front of a grand jury where he ended up lying to federal investigators about his connection in the scandal that shocked the sports world. In 2011, almost eight years after the initial investigation began, a U.S. District judge sentenced the baseball legend to 30 days of house arrest, two years of probation, and 250 hours of community service for his crime.
Reality star and daughter of singer Lionel Richie, Nicole Richie, was picked up by Burbank police in 2006 for a DUI charge. According to the California Highway Patrol, the star had entered a freeway off-ramp going the wrong way, putting both herself and other motorists at risk for a potentially deadly head-on collision. Upon taking part in a field sobriety test, Richie admitted to officers that she was under the influence of prescription painkiller Vicodin as well as marijuana when she decided to get behind the wheel. Though the arrest may have shocked the public, Richie was no stranger to the strong arm of the law—just three years earlier she was booked on felony heroin charges.
Nicole Richie’s The Simple Life co-star Paris Hilton followed in her friend’s footsteps when she too was booked for a DUI in the fall of 2006. At the time, the reality star and famous heiress blamed the arrest on drinking a margarita on an empty stomach. She got off with a $1,500 fine and alcohol education classes, but that’s not where her saga with the law ended. Just months later, Hilton began driving again, except there was only one problem—her license was suspended. This small detail didn’t slip past the LAPD officer who pulled her over for speeding in January of 2007. Once ordered back to court, Hilton was sentenced to 45 days, a sentence she served both at home and in an LA County jail.
Faith Evans, the R&B singer famous for wedding the late rapper Notorious BIG, faced some legal challenges in 2004 when she was arrested for possession of marijuana and cocaine in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville. The singer, who was booked alongside her husband, Todd Russaw, agreed to enter a 13-week pre-trial drug abuse prevention program in order to avoid a trial. When interviewed by MTV the following year, Evans revealed that the arrest was misreported by the media. “I can’t reply to half of the things out there. We did get arrested. We did have to spend the night in jail. We did have to pay a lot of bond money,” the singer admitted.
In 2003, funk music legend George Clinton was arrested and charged for drug possession in Tallahassee, Florida. It all went down when a police officer noticed Clinton sitting alone in the passenger seat of a car at a gas station at 2 am. Once the officer approached the car, he noticed that the singer was hiding something. After the cop told Clinton to get out of the car, the singer confessed to having a small amount of cocaine in his pocket, an admission which later led to a felony count of possession as well as a misdemeanor for drug parphenalia.
Country music pioneer Willie Nelson is a well-known fan of the medicinal powers of marijuana, but that doesn’t mean that his love affair with the drug has been a smooth ride. The singer has been arrested on several occasions for carrying the substance. That being said, the first-ever time he was arrested, all the way back in 1960, his charges had nothing to do with weed. The then 27-year-old was cruising through Pasadena, Texas when an officer pulled him over and discovered that Nelson did not hold a driver’s license. Though the mugshot still exists, it is unknown what kind of punishment the singer received.
When Guns N’ Roses frontman, Axl Rose, was at the height of his fame in October of 1990, reports of the singer being arrested for quite the confounding crime began to circulate. According to one of his former neighbors, Rose drunkenly threw an empty wine bottle at her, and later repeated the same act of battery with a piece of chicken. The rocker was taken into custody and released after posting bail. The charges were later dropped.
Representing the most recent arrest on our list is the former Melrose Place actress herself, Heather Locklear. Just last month, police were called to her Thousand Oaks, California mansion when her brother entered the home and saw that she was beating her boyfriend. When deputies arrived, Locklear got combative and allegedly struck three of them. TMZ reports that the actress has quite the sordid history with drug abuse and domestic violence. In 2011, she was arrested for another domestic violence incident when she and her then-boyfriend Jack Wagner were observed battering one another.
Vince Vaughn is known for playing bad boy characters, but it turns out that he is one in real life— and he has the record to prove it. Back in April of 2001, the actor was unwinding after a day of filming a movie in North Carolina when he, along with his co-star Steve Buscemi and screenwriter Scott Rosenberg, got involved in a bar brawl with a couple of locals. Buscemi ended up receiving a brunt of the abuse— the veteran actor was stabbed above the eye, in the jaw, the throat, and the arm— while Vaughn was maced and arrested. The charges were later dropped and Buscemi made a full recovery.
No stranger to controversy, Marilyn Manson was arrested for the first time back in 1994 for violating a rock club’s “adult entertainment code.” Though the details are hazy, it’s believed that authorities had heard that the singer might have performed a sex act on stage. Conflicting reports state the said “sex act” was simulated. That being said, Manson was still taken into custody and was eventually released without being charged with a crime.
If you’ve taken a good, hard look into the eyes of the rocker in the above mugshot, it’s likely not surprising that the shot was taken moments before Osbourne was arrested for public intoxication. Cops reported that the arrest, which took place on Memphis’ Beale Street, occurred when the Black Sabbath frontman was observed “staggering drunk.” It’s important to note that this wasn’t Ozzy’s most interesting arrest (though this one did produce the best mugshot)— just 5 years after this photo was taken, the rock star was arrested yet again for urinating on the Alamo!
Charles Manson, the late former cult leader, was no stranger to jail before his infamous 1969 arrest for his connection to the much-publicized Tate-LaBianca murders. Before that, Manson was known as a career criminal who spent his childhood in and out of disciplinary schools. Though he may have gathered up a veritable Rolodex of mugshots during his day, none is more famous than the one shown above. That crazed look in Manson’s eyes still causes nightmares to this very day…
Before Kurt Cobain was crowned the “grunge rock god,” he was just a Washington teen looking for a good time. Back in 1986, the singer was arrested by Aberdeen police for public intoxication and trespassing onto the roof of a local warehouse. The then 19-year-old was no stranger to the police station; earlier that same year Cobain was busted by police on misdemeanor vandalism charges. As the legend goes, the Nirvana frontman used to walk the streets at night, spray-painting phrases like “God is Gay” onto businesses and pickup trucks.
In 1938, when legendary crooner Frank Sinatra was just 23-years-old, he was arrested and charged with adultery. Apparently, the singer admitted to this lesser charge after being taken into custody for “seduction and adultery.” According to Bergen County Records, Sinatra had “sexual intercourse under the promise of marriage.” At first, deputies assumed his lover to be single, which amounted to the more severe charge, but once it was revealed that she was actually married and carrying on a consensual affair, “Ol’ Blue Eyes” got off the hook with the lesser charge.
This ultra-glamorous mugshot belongs to Ziggy Stardust himself, David Bowie. Back in 1976, the singer was arrested in upstate New York on a felony marijuana charge. Police records state that he deputies confiscated a whopping half-pound of pot from the performer’s Rochester hotel room. Interestingly, Bowie wasn’t the only rocker that night to end up in a police station—tourmate Iggy Pop was also charged in the incident. The musician was released just a few hours later and returned later that week for an arraignment and a mugshot photo shoot. Lucky for the singer, the charges were dismissed after a grand jury declined to indict him.
Before Janis Joplin become a soulful queen of psychedelic rock, the young woman was struggling to get by in Berkeley, California. In 1963, when Joplin was just 20 years-old, she was observed shoplifting from a local store and was subsequently booked for the misdemeanor. Just six years later, when the singer had gained her star, she was arrested again, but this time it was for using vulgar and obscene language in public. The City of Berkeley has put a small marker on the site of her first arrest, with the simple phrase: “1963 Janis Joplin Arrested” carved into a sidewalk stone.
Former child star and troubled actress Lindsay Lohan is one of the most prolific arrestees on our list. The New York native has been taken into custody six times for crimes including driving under the influence, shoplifting, battery and probation violations. Over the years, the actress has made multiple attempts to get clean at a handful of drug rehab facilities. These days, Lohan says that she has kissed goodbye her alcohol and cocaine days. She has been off probation and free from trouble since May of 2015.
Tiger Woods may have been heralded as the “golden boy of golf” in his formative years, but the last decade has been nothing but trouble for the golfer. He has withstood a very public cheating scandal that ended lucrative sponsorships, as well as his marriage, and has even suffered through a host of career-complicating injuries. To make things worse for the athlete, the public discovered yet another dark secret in May of 2017 when police found Woods passed out in his car in Jupiter, Florida. He was later found to have five prescription drugs in his system. The golfer ultimately took a plea deal that included a fine, community service, and an alcohol education workshop.
Longtime television host and presenter Larry King might be worth an estimated $144 million now, but that doesn’t mean that his bank account was always bursting at the seams. Back in 1971, when King was 38-years-old, he was arrested by police on grand larceny charges in Dade County, Florida. According to police reports, the future TV personality wrote a bad check to a financier that he could not pack back. Luckily for Larry, the judge ultimately threw out the case because it had passed the statute of limitations. He eventually pled no contest to the charge of writing bad checks.
This star of the hit Netflix show Orange is the New Black doesn’t just play a jailbird on TV, she has also had the real-life experience of being behind bars. In the mid-2000s the actress was struggling to survive in her home city of New York— she was battling a potentially fatal case of Hepatitis C as well as a nasty heroin addiction. During a particularly rough day, the star reportedly trespassed into a neighbor’s apartment and began to vandalize it. Since then, Lyonne has sobered up and has continued to have a busy career in Hollywood.
In 2014, pop star Justin Bieber was in the midst of a public meltdown— one that included rumors of drug abuse, the soliciting of prostitutes, and generally unprofessional behavior. That year, Bieber was nabbed by cops for drag racing in Miami, Florida. When he was pulled over, cops discovered that the then 20-year-old singer had been drinking. Though he was able to pass a field sobriety test, Bieber allegedly resisted arrest. He was later released from jail after posting a $2,500 bond.
In 1999, Tara Patrick, otherwise known as Carmen Electra, was taken into custody in Miami for allegedly battering her then-husband, NBA legend Dennis Rodman. It’s important to note that the Baywatch actress wasn’t the only one who got arrested that night; Rodman did, too, for a simple battery charge against Electra. Ultimately, the charges were dropped against both parties. The incident was relatively status quo for the outrageous couple; they had famously taken part in a quickie marriage before Rodman sought annulment just 9 days after he and Electra said their “I dos.” After reconciling, the couple finally filed divorce papers in April of 1999.
In 1969, when rock guitar phenom Jimi Hendrix was experiencing the height of his fame, the musician was busted at the Toronto International Airport on narcotics charges. According to police reports, customs officials discovered six bottles filled with illegal drugs that Hendrix was attempting to smuggle from Detroit into Canada. What makes this story particularly interesting is that the guitarist always maintained his innocence. Once the case went to trial on December 3rd of the same year, his defense attorneys claimed that the singer was unaware that he had been carrying the substances in his suitcase. Eventually, Hendrix was acquitted on all charges.
Before he was known as the host of “Tool Time” on the hit ‘90s sitcom Home Improvement, Tim Allen was an alleged drug trafficker. In 1978, when the actor was 25-years-old, he was taken into custody for possession of nearly a pound and a half of cocaine at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport. At the time, Allen was facing a maximum sentence of life in prison, but opted to name other local drug dealers in an exchange for a shorter sentence. He ultimately served two years and four months in the Federal Correctional Institution before being released in June of 1981.
When Jake Lloyd, now known as Jake Broadbent, was still in grade school, he was regarded as one of the most talented up-and-coming actors of his time. He starred as young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Epidose 1: The Phantom Menace, but his career was never able to recover after his much-publicized—and much-panned—performance. The child actor later quit the entertainment industry and wasn’t heard from again until his 2015 South Carolina arrest. According to police, Broadbent had taken deputies on a high-speed chase on I-95 which ended when the former child star drove into several trees. Lloyd spent time in jail on reckless driving charges, before being transferred to a psychiatric facility where he was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Although Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger may still be performing to this very day, he and one of his bandmates, Keith Richards, faced a near career-ending scenario after a 1967 arrest for drug possession. The story goes that West Sussex police, in accordance with The News of the World, had set up a sting at Richards’ recording studio. There, they reportedly confiscated a host of illegal substances including cannabis, amphetamines, and LSD. Jagger was eventually sentenced to 3 months in jail for the crime, but upon appeal, both he and Richards’ charges were overturned.
Back in 1965, when the “Man in Black” was 33-years-old, the singer was busted by U.S. customs agents in Juarez, Mexico for attempting to sneak hundreds of amphetamine pills and tranquilizers across the border. The legendary singer ended up spending a night in an El Paso jail and later took a plea deal for a misdemeanor drug charge. He received a 30-day suspended sentence and paid a $1,000 fine for his crime.
Anna Nicole Smith
Before the late Anna Nicole Smith earned her star as a Playboy playmate and Guess model, she was a Houston stripper known as Vickie Lynn Hogan. In 1989, she gave a coy smile in her mugshot after being pulled over by deputies for driving drunk. Smith was later charged with a misdemeanor DUI. At the time of the arrest, she was raising her son, Daniel, and living with her first husband. Just a couple years later, Smith would be a billionaire heiress and a houehold name.
Celebrated actor Woody Harrelson is no stranger to drama on the big screen, but when he was just 21-years-old, it seems that he liked to bring the drama offscreen, too. In 1982, the actor was taken into custody for allegedly dancing in the middle of a busy Columbus, Ohio street and charged with “disturbing the peace” when he attempted to flee from cops. Harrelson avoided jail time in the bizarre case by paying a fine.
Robert Downey Jr.
It’s hard to believe that Robert Downey Jr. was ever anything but a legendary actor, but back in the 1990s, the Iron Man star was battling a serious drug problem, one that landed him in jail six times. After violating the terms of his probation, the actor spent time at California State Prison Corcoran where he continued to conduct interviews to uphold his publicity contracts for projects that he had worked on before his imprisonment. These days, Robert Downey Jr. has been clean and sober for almost 15 years.
Like Robert Downey Jr. before him, former child star Shia LaBeouf has spent quite a lot of time in the back of police cars. The star was first arrested for stealing a pair of shoes back in 1996 when he was just 9 years-old. Since then, LaBeouf has been taken into custody another seven times for crimes that range from public intoxication, to stealing, to battery. His most recent arrest occurred in 2017 when the actor reportedly “grabbed a man’s scarf” at an anti-Trump art installation in Queens, New York.