Celebrities Who Committed Major Crimes (But Got Off Easy)


Celebrities are people just like us, and while there are many famous individuals who are fine upstanding citizens and would never dream of committing a crime, there are plenty of others who think they are above the law.

In fact, there are so many celebrity criminals it is hard to choose just 10 of the worst. For that reason, this list excludes people like Mike Tyson and the accusations of rape that were leveled at him or O.J. Simpson who, well… you probably know all about the O.J. case.

You won’t find any simple drug possession, soliciting prostitutes, or shoplifting here, either. The crimes that follow nearly all feature a loss of life, some in absolutely horrific circumstances.

10. Sid Vicious Lived Up To His Name

Sid Vicious, bassist and vocalist with The Sex Pistols, was charged with murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, in a frenzied knife attack. Vicious admitted to stabbing Spungen, but claimed he didn’t mean to kill her.

Although it is widely believed he was guilty, he never faced a courtroom for his crime. While out on bail for Nancy’s murder, Sid died of a drug overdose

9. A Small Price For A Young Life

Jorge Cruz Jr. was struck by a car driven by actress Rebecca Gayheart as he crossed the road in Los Angeles. She swerved around cars who had stopped for the boy to cross and later admitted to being on her cell phone at the time of the impact.

Gayheart served no prison time, but was given three-year probation, a one-year suspension of her driving license, a $2,800 fine and 750 hours community service for vehicular manslaughter.

Gayheart is just one of the celebrities on the list who killed with their cars. Can you guess who else is here?

8. An Action Star Who Knew How To Fight Early On

Mark Wahlberg was only 16 when he was charged with one count of assault and one count of attempted murder for two separate incidents that occurred on the same day.

Both victims were Vietnamese men, one of whom was beaten unconscious and the other who lost the sight in one eye.

7. You Would Not Want Him Near Your Children

Jeffrey Jones, the principal who was desperate to catch Ferris Bueller in the act on his day off, would not be anyone’s choice for a principal in real life. 

In 2002, Jones was convicted of possessing child pornography and soliciting a boy aged 14 to pose for naked photos. 

He is now a registered sex offender and has twice been arrested for failing to update his sex offender status when he moved home.

6. Some Repeat Offenders Are Still Not Convicted

R. Kelly has repeatedly been investigated for having sexual relations with underage girls. First, he had a relationship with a 15-year-old girl when he was 24. Then he married his manager’s niece when she was 15, and he was 28.

Finally, there was the infamous sex-tape case where he was acquitted because jurors were unsure of the identity of the girl on tape, who was allegedly 14 at the time.

5. Money Does Buy Most Things – Including Freedom

Samuel Curtis Johnson II is a member of the family that runs the Johnson and Johnson business empire.

Johnson was fined $6,000 and sentenced to four months in jail after pleading guilty to child molestation charges. He had repeatedly sexually assaulted his stepdaughter from the time she was 12 until she was 15.

The judge claimed that as Johnson lived an otherwise productive life, he deserved a light sentence.

He did not even have to register as a sex offender.

4. Another Celebrity, Another Life Lost, An Even Smaller Price

While on vacation in Northern Ireland, Matthew Broderick collided with a vehicle head-on, killing Anna Gallagher, 28, who was driving, and her mother, Margaret Doherty, 63, who was in the passenger seat.

Broderick, who suffered a broken leg and some cuts and bruises, was charged with careless driving and fined the equivalent of $175.

We’re still not at the last killer driver – do you know who it will be?

3. The Killer Football Player

Brazilian football star Bruno Fernandes was released from jail on a technicality after being convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend who was trying to claim child support for their son.

Fernandes was also found guilty of hiding the body of Eliza Samudio and kidnapping their baby son. He admitted to knowing Eliza had been strangled and her body dismembered and fed to dogs.

2. A Double Killer

Known for his crazy hair, boxing promoter Don King has killed not once, but twice.

The first killing was in self-defense when King caught a man attempting to break into one of his gambling houses.

The second murder occurred when King stomped somebody who owed him $600 to death. For this murder, King served only four years in prison.

10. The Final Killer Driver

Former First Lady Laura Bush caused the death of a friend of hers, 17-year-old Michael Dutton Douglas, when she ran a stoplight and smashed into his car.

Bush and her passenger, Judy Dykes, were both treated for minor injuries. There were rumors that at one time Bush and Dutton were in a relationship, but this was denied.

No charges were ever filed against Bush despite the talk of drunk driving and criminal negligence.

The wealthy and famous may not be immune from committing crimes, but it would appear they may get preferential treatment in the criminal justice system.

Whether it is in front of a jury who just can’t believe that such a celebrity could be guilty or in front of a judge who may be inclined to hand down a lighter sentence because of the background of the criminal, being wealthy and famous does seem to equal getting off lightly.

Thankfully crimes of this magnitude are quite rare, but if you know of others, we would love to hear about them. Drop a link in the comments and share with your fellow celebrity crime fans.