Being well and truly in the spotlight, celebrities are in the perfect place to act as decent role models for society. Unfortunately, not only is this not the case, but celebs worldwide seem to get in even more trouble than the rest of us, with almost any actor/singer/superstar you care to name having a series of arrests against their name.
We’re all familiar with some of these: Paris Hilton infamously served (tiny) jail time in 2007 after violating her probation for drink driving, Nicole Richie shortly followed suit (same year), and Lindsay Lohan couldn’t stand being left out and had several incidents of her own. However, it’s not only the celebrities with wild reputations that get into trouble. Remember cute little Haley Joel Osment, who ’saw dead people’ in The Sixth Sense? The young actor was charged with drunk driving after hitting a mailbox and flipping his car three months after turning 18. Other celebs charged with alcohol and drug-related offences include Macaulay Culkin, Nick Nolte, Mel Gibson, Keanu Reeves, Shannen Doherty, Tim Allen, Diana Ross, George ‘Dubbya’ Bush and his vice-president Dick Cheney (in separate incidents), Rip Torn and many, many others. (Dave Grohl even managed to get arrested in another country – done for DUI while in Australia.)
Some stars have left us with mug shots that almost make the fuss worthwhile. Matthew McConaughey looks positively cheerful in his 1999 mugshot, after a neighbour ratted him out for his one-man party (police found McConaughey dancing naked playing the bongo drums). Marilyn Manson was charged with criminal sexual conduct after doing the grind on the head of a security guard during a July 2001 concert, and is one of the few celebrities who looks worried or sorry to be there in his mugshot. Microsoft boss Bill Gates looks tooth-achingly cheerful in his 1977 mugshot after being arrested for a traffic violation. Michael Jackson, photographed after his November 2003 arrest for child molestation, bears an uncanny resemblance to an old-fashioned disapproving schoolteacher. Thriller, indeed.
Then there are our lovable rogues. Hugh Grant’s famously interrupted Divine moment produced possibly the most frequently shown mugshot ever, and a beautiful mugshot it is too. Robert Downey Jr, an old hand at mugshots, has left us with a number of pics, most of them cheerful and holding the slate at a jaunty angle.
Not all celebrity incidents are related to drugs, sex or rock ‘n’ roll. There’s also violence. Vince Vaughn was arrested in April 2001 for a brawl outside a bar while working, ironically enough, on the film Domestic Disturbance. Fellow actor Steve Buscemi was stabbed several times in the incident. Vaughn entered a no contest plea and the charge was dropped six months later. The charges were eventually dropped. Vanilla Ice was arrested 2001 after allegedly pulling hair out of his wife’s head during an argument and was ordered to attend family therapy as part of his sentence – hopefully it helped to ease the trauma of the hair helmet he sported in his mugshot.
Some arrests are more ignoble than others. Rush Limbaugh was arrested in 2006 after allegedly shopping doctors in an attempt to obtain multiple prescriptions of powerful painkillers, and Pee-wee Herman was arrested for possession of child pornography in 2002.
Not all celebrity arrests are tawdry, however. Actress Daryl Hannah was arrested in 2006 during an environmental protest, showing that sometimes celebrity powers can be used for good, not evil. Perhaps there is hope.