15 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Had Been Arrested

Rough as the imagery may be, celebrity mugshots still provide a fascinating look at some of our most famous faces. The mugshot, taken by a police photographer whenever a person is ‘booked’ for arrest, can shatter any PR-managed veneer of celebrity respectability.


15 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Had Been Arrested

Mugshots allow us a glance at the real person underneath the brand, portraying people at their most human, vulnerable, and surprising. That surely is the appeal of the celeb mugshot for most people: the reminder that even the most rich and famous are, like the rest of us, human.


Here are 15 of the most shocking, notorious and quite frankly hilarious celebrity mugshots.

15. Shailene Woodley


Who?

26-year-old actress and lead heroine in the Divergent movies. Also Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated star of HBO’s Big Little Lies.


What did they do?

Woodley was arrested in 2016 for ‘criminal trespassing’, after joining the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, a proposed oil pipeline set to run through an Indian reservation. She was sentenced to a year of probation.

14. Vince Vaughn

Who?

Comedian, actor, member of the Frat Pack, star of comedies including Wedding Crashers and Dodgeball, and lately dramatic lead in the likes of True Detective and Hacksaw Ridge.

What did they do?

During production on the 2001 film Domestic Disturbance, Vaughn and his co-star Steve Buscemi were involved in a bar fight. Vaughn got off relatively lightly: while he was arrested for assault, Buscemi was put in the hospital after being repeatedly stabbed during the brawl.

13. Robert Downey Jr

Who?

Tony Stark. As much as Downey wouldn’t want to be reduced to a single character after such a long and varied career, Iron Man has made him the highest-paid actor of all time, and arguably the biggest movie star alive. So being known to the world as Tony Stark probably isn’t so bad, especially considering how his life used to be.

What did they do?

This is just one of several mugshots taken of Downey during a drugs-heavy lost period from 1996 to 2001. The above photo, from 1999, arrived after Downey missed a mandatory drugs test. He subsequently served close to a year in jail.

12. Bill Gates

Who?

Microsoft founder and one of the richest people who ever lived, philanthropic multi-billionaire Bill Gates is one of the biggest names in business, tech and charity today.

What did they do?

Even tech geniuses need to unwind, and for the young Bill Gates a reliable pastime was driving at high speed in his Porsche around Albuquerque, New Mexico. This 1977 mugshot documents just one of three separate occasions in which Gates was arrested for speeding in the 70s.

11. Jay-Z

Who?

Hip-hop star and husband to Beyonce, Jay-Z is a full-time rapper and part-time businessman worth $900 million at the last count. He and P Diddy are currently in a race to see who becomes the first rap billionaire.

What did they do?

In 1999, the man born Shawn Carter allegedly stabbed record executive Lance Rivera, while they were both attending an album release party at the Kit Kat Klub in New York’s Times Square. Carter served three years probation for misdemeanour, and later settled with Rivera for somewhere between $500,000 and $1 million.

10. P Diddy

Who?

Jay-Z’s biggest competition in the world of rap-business crossovers, Diddy is a fellow hip-hop musician with a career stretching back to the 90s. He is worth $825 million.

What did they do?

Hard to tell what exactly went down, but after Diddy fled a 1999 nightclub shooting with a gun in the boot and J Lo by his side, the rapper was arrested on four different weapons-related charges, and stood accused of bribing his driver into claiming ownership of the gun. He was found not guilty on all charges.

9. Armie Hammer

Who?

Lantern-jawed actor, best known for The Social Network, Call Me By Your Name and The Lone Ranger. Sounds like Jon Hamm, only with even more baritone.

What did they do?

There’s a good reason why Armie Hammer is looking so pleased in the mugshot above. Back in 2011, Hammer was arrested in Texas after he was found in possession of a pot brownie and three marijuana cookies. Hammer paid a fine and went free after a day in jail to think about his outrageous crime.

8. Jane Fonda

Who?

Oscar-winning actress, celebrity workout video pioneer, daughter of Henry, feminist, activist, hair goals since 1965.

What did they do?

It was in 1970 that Jane Fonda, then known in the press as ‘Hanoi Jane’ for her anti-Vietnam activism, was first arrested on ‘drug smuggling’ charges whilst in the middle of a speaking tour of the US. According to Fonda, she was arrested on orders from the Nixon White House, with the pills she was arrested for ‘smuggling’ turning out to be vitamins.

7. Matthew McConaughey

Who?

Possibly the most Texan actor who ever lived, Matthew McConaughey is famed for his drawl as much as his acting, for which he has won both an Oscar (Dallas Buyer’s Club) and an Emmy (True Detective).

What did they do?

It’s the most Matthew McConaughey reason ever for getting arrested: it was 3am one early morning in October, 1999, and a stoned, naked McConaughey was playing the bongos while dancing around his Austin, TX home when a neighbour complained about noise. Police found marijuana, and McConaughey paid a $50 fine.

6. Shia LaBeouf

Who?

Child comic-turned-scary method actor Shia LaBeouf may have started his career as a protege of Steven Spielberg’s, appearing in the Beard’s Transformers movies and Indiana Jones 4, but he’s best known today for being ever-so-slightly unhinged in his private life and intensely dedicated on-set.

What did they do?

In short, LaBeouf got drunk, was refused a cigarette by a stranger and promptly blew up. The incident took place in Savannah, Georgia, where LaBeouf was arrested in the early hours of the morning in 2017 for being “disorderly” and “using profanities and vulgar language in front of the women and children present”.

5. Hugh Grant

Who?

Posh Englishman, perennial rom-com actor, reformed playboy, grumpy interviewee, reluctant celebrity, advocate for media reform.

What did they do?

Of all the mugshots on this list, this one has to be the most famous. In an incident that almost derailed his career (but which somehow seemed to just make him even more in-demand than ever), Grant was arrested in LA after being found having ‘relations’ with a prostitute in his car. He got a fine, two years’ probation and an order to attend an AIDS education programme.

4. Michael Jackson

Who?

The King of Pop, whose later years were marred by controversy and increasingly bizarre behaviour. A member of a globally famous family band as a child, then quite possibly the biggest solo musician of all time as an adult, such was Michael Jackson’s scrutiny that he famously became an eccentric recluse later in life.

What did they do?

We still don’t really know what happened (Jackson preferred to settle out of court), but in 2003, after Martin Bashir’s infamous documentary Living With Michael Jackson aired to give a rare look at Jackson’s private life, Jackson was arrested on seven counts of child molestation. He was later cleared, but rumours dogged him until his death.

3. David Bowie

Who?

Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, sometime actor and producer of bangers. His 1983 song Let’s Dance subsequently soundtracked every party in the 80s.

What did they do?

1976 was the year of the creepy yet always stylishly-dressed Thin White Duke, so Bowie was looking pretty damn fly when he got busted in March of that year for possession of cannabis. He had company, at least: Iggy Pop was also arrested, along with two other men, with the same charge.

2. Gary Coleman

Who?

From 1978 to 1986, Gary Coleman was the child, then teen star of the NBC sitcom Diff’rent Strokes. The show made Coleman a global sensation, but for the last years of his short life, Coleman was anonymous and broke.

What did they do?

What you talking about Willis indeed. Coleman earned the above mugshot for getting into an altercation with his wife, with police arresting Coleman on suspicion of domestic violence having taken place. He would be fielding accusations of domestic violence up until he died, aged 42, in 2010.

1. James Brown

Who?

Dubbed The Godfather of Soul, James Brown became a music legend after constant innovations over five funky decades. Also played an exuberant preacher in The Blue Brothers.

What did they do?

Sadly, this was just one of many occasions in which Brown ended up on the wrong side of the police portrait photographer, and almost always for domestic violence. On this occasion in 2004, Brown was taken into custody for pushing his wife to the floor. He paid a $1,087 fine and got off scot free.