Some people just can’t stay out of trouble, regardless of their DNA. Celeb kids aren’t always forced into good behavior due to the fact that their parents are rich and famous celebrities, who are all-too-often embarrassed by their bratty actions. In fact, there are plenty of celeb kids who have even done jail time for some pretty serious offenses. Some ne’er-do-well celeb kids have spent several years in the klink, while others have endured a mere hour-long stint in a jail. These celebrity offspring may have deep pocketed parents, but that didn’t protect them from the punishment doled out by the long arm of the law.
Michael Douglas’ son, Cameron, has seen plenty of jail time. In 2010, he began serving his five year sentence for heroin possession and selling methamphetamine. He then got busted smuggling drugs into the big house—with the help of his lawyer turned lover, no less—which earned him an additional four-and-a-half years, which, according to HuffPost, was "the longest-ever sentence imposed for obtaining a small amount of drugs in prison for personal use."
As a result, Douglas became an advocate for the reform of the sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug offenders. He even penned an open letter from…the pen (also via HuffPost), in which he stated, "Unfortunately, whereas the effective remedy for relapse should be treatment, the penal system’s ‘answer’ is to lock the door and throw away the key."
Douglas was released in August 2016. In November 2017, he told People that he is now enjoying spending time with his family and staying focused on his sobriety.
In the early aughts, Lionel Richie’s daughter was famous for being famous, for a reality show, and for hanging out with Paris Hilton. In 2007, she pleaded guilty to her second DUI, and was sentenced to four days of hard time in LA County. Fortunately for her—and thanks to the notorious "overcrowding" of the LA jail system that’s frequently cited as the reason for early celebrity releases—she was released after just 82 minutes of her sentence, according to People.
Richie later hilariously claimed in an interview with Diane Sawyer that doing the time was her way of "paying my dues and taking responsibility and being an adult." Of course that sounds ridiculous considering her stint in the klink was shorter than most toddler naps, but it actually must have been a Scared Straight moment for the onetime celebutante. She has since turned her life around, with two kids and a booming business, thanks to her House of Harlow fashion brand.
The troubled son of Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal went to jail for an extended period of time in 2015. It was the capper to a long string of drug-related offenses, and the result of a probation violation, the second in two years, both of which happened on account of O’Neal being in possession of drugs and not following court orders, according to People. Sadly, O’Neal has struggled for years with heroin addiction, including after his first multi-year prison sentence, which he started serving in 2008, and resulted in him being incarcerated when his mother passed away.
Speaking with People, O’Neal’s father attributed his son’s most frequent relapses with being unable to cope with the death of his mother. O’Neal’s half-sister, Tatum O’Neal, however, views her brother’s situation in much bleaker terms. "I love him, but I have never seen a more scary side of addiction," she told People, adding, "Nobody knows what to do with Redmond. From what I’ve seen, there is no way he’s going to survive."
As of this writing, O’Neal is already free man, having been released from prison in 2016 due to being given credit for time already served relating to his 2015 conviction. Let’s hope, for his sake, he can keep himself on the straight and narrow this time.
Action star Jackie Chan’s son was jailed on drug charges after a police raid of his Beijing home recovered 100g of marijuana, according to the BBC. He was charged with "sheltering others to use drugs" and placed under "criminal detention" for six months. Upon his release, Chan gave a press conference in which he said (via The South China Morning Post): "As a public figure, this incident has brought a negative impact on society. My supporters have been let down and my business partners have suffered losses. I do not have any reasons or excuses, I made a mistake. I am here to offer my apology to the public for my mistakes. I’m truly sorry. From now, I must live the life of a lawful citizen." Lesson learned.
Interestingly, Chan also revealed that his father did not try to leverage his fame for leniency and his parents did not visit him in jail. Jaycee was okay with that, as he wanted to "shoulder" his mistakes on his own, and did not want his family to see him "suffer."
Marlon Brando’s family has been fraught with tragedy. The legendary actor’s eldest son, Christian, was jailed for manslaughter in 1991 after he pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his half-sister Cheyenne’s boyfriend, Dag Drollet, according to The LA Times. Brando’s account of the shooting is that he did not intend to kill Drollet, he simply wanted to confront him over Cheyenne’s claim that Drollet had been abusive. But Drollet allegedly grabbed the gun Brando brought to the confrontation as Brando was trying to leave, and it accidentally discharged.
Brando ended up served approximately five years of his 10 year sentence, and was released in 1996. He had a few more subsequent run-ins with the law, including being implicated, but ultimately exonerated in the high-profile murder of Robert Blake’s wife, Bonnie Lee Bakely, whom Brando was dating at the time, according to ABC News.
Brando died of pneumonia in 2008 at the age of 49. An even sadder side note: Cheyenne hung herself in 1995; she was just 25.
Sean, the son of 70s rocker Rod Stewart, is a reality show veteran who fostered a bad boy reputation. In 2002, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail over an incident in which he kicked a man outside of a Malibu restaurant. He also went to court-ordered rehab—not just Celebrity Rehab—in relation to pleading guilty to "possession of a controlled substance" in a separate case at the time.
Speaking with Brandi Glanville on her podcast (via Us Weekly), Stewart reflected on his wild ways in pretty blunt terms. "Everybody likes to party. I’ve done my partying. I’ve done enough drugs to kill Hollywood," Stewart said, adding, "I’ll never go back to that."
James Brown’s daughter, Venisha, was arrested in 2012 for allegedly attempting to steal her boss’s car, then assaulting the woman during a confrontation. According to The Augusta Chronicle, Brown was making her getaway when her boss, Hope Ellis Campbell, caught her and attempted to get the keys out of the ignition. Brown then allegedly hit the gas and dragged Campbell across the hood of a nearby car and fled.
If that doesn’t sound crazy enough, according to The Jail Report, Brown, who was sentenced to five years in prison for the car theft and assault, has reportedly been arrested two dozen times in a period of 17 years for charges including, "theft by taking, theft by receiving stolen property, pointing a firearm at another person, failure to appear in court, giving false name to police, probation violation, and order to show cause and bench warrants." Yikes.
In 2007, wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan’s son, Nick Hogan, caused a horrific car crash that left his passenger, Iraq War vet, John Graziano, severely brain damaged. Hogan had been drinking prior to the crash, but his reckless driving wasn’t entirely been attributed to the intoxication, according to ABC News, who reported that the WWE scion was known to authorities to routinely race around his Clearwater FL hometown at over 100 miles per hour. In this particular instance, Hogan lost control of his Toyota Supra and spun into a tree.
Though he was technically a juvenile at the time—17-years-old—Hogan was tried as an adult, but received the very lenient penalty of eight months in prison. He served five months of it, mostly in solitary confinement. Two years after his release, Hogan told ABC that he still struggles to cope with the lasting effects the accident had on Graziano, who now lives in "a semi-conscious state."
"It’s hard to move on every day and be positive when there’s something that’s so horribly devastating," Hogan said, adding, "There’s days when I can’t even get out of bed. I pray every day that I will be able to deal with it. It’s something that I carry with me every day."
The Real Housewives of Atlanta star, NeNe Leakes, seems like she would be the kind of parent who takes absolutely zero guff from her kids. Which is why it’s so surprising the her son, Bryson Bryant, has repeatedly found himself in trouble with the law.
According to Radar Online, Bryant first found himself sentenced to probation and house arrest after a 2014 DUI. He then blew off probation meetings, didn’t pay his fines, tested positive for cocaine, and failed to show up for "mandatory DUI school." For all of that, he got bounced into the slammer for three months. The jail stint was followed by a six-week minimum rehab stay for Bryant, whose rap sheet also includes "shoplifting, marijuana possession, driving with a suspended license, and other probation violations dating all the way back to 2010."
Okay, so Conrad Hilton’s parents aren’t true "celebrities," but his dad is one of the heirs to the Hilton hotel fortune. Not to mention, one of their other offspring, Paris Hilton, is possibly the first "famous for being famous" celebrity to exist, so we’re including Conrad under the category of "close enough."
Anyway, Hilton got himself into trouble when he geeked out on a 2015 flight during which he allegedly smoked weed in the bathroom, threatened crew members, and had to be "restrained and handcuffed," according to E! News. Hilton also allegedly referred to the other passengers as "peasants" and claimed that his father would simply buy his way out of trouble, like he’d done in the past.
For that little performance, Hilton was placed on three years probation, which he repeatedly violated by failing multiple drug tests, earning him 60 days in prison. Upon his release, he completely learned his lesson and straightened up, except nope, he didn’t do that at all. In 2017, he was charged with grand theft auto and violation of a restraining order after he tried to break into his ex-girlfriend’s house—the one who had the PFA against him—and was found insider her father’s Bentley, according to TMZ. He was taken into custody and had his bail set at a combined $50,000 with the condition that upon payment, he would be sent to a psychiatric institution for evaluation. Sounds like a good idea.