Celebrities Who Are Still In Prison
Even famous people break the law. Many celebrities have gone to jail over the years, including comedian Tim Allen, domestic guru Martha Stewart, and actor Kiefer Sutherland. A good chunk of these stars committed minor offenses involving DUI charges or financial crimes. They serve rather short sentences and are often (but not always) able to pick up their lives where they left off. Society can be very forgiving when it comes to those who do their time and repent their crimes.
Then there are the celebrities whose criminal activities are on an entirely different level, necessitating several years in prison. They’ve committed crimes that are so bad, it’s next to impossible for fans to forget what they did. The men and women in this list have been involved in sex crimes, trafficked huge amounts of drugs, and even committed murder. Some admit that they broke the law, while others continue to maintain their innocence. Either way, they’re stuck behind bars for a very long time.
It’s unclear what they will do when they’re released from prison. Some may die while serving out their sentences, while others may disappear from public scrutiny. Regardless, their legacies are forever linked to their poor choices in judgement.
The following article includes mentions of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Hip-hop star Marion Hugh "Suge" Knight Jr. was the CEO of Death Row Records, and in January 2015, he had an altercation with a man named Cle "Bone" Sloan, who worked on the biopic "Straight Outta Compton," according to The Cinemaholic. The fight got so intense that Knight ended up grazing Sloan with his vehicle and running over a man named Terry Carter, who died from his injuries. Knight initially claimed his actions were in self-defense and that he was being chased by two armed men.
Three years later, Knight entered a plea deal and was sentenced to 22 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter and six years for a third strike violation, which totaled 28 years behind bars. He has been serving time at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County, California, since 2018 and isn’t eligible for parole until 2037.
Not long after he was sent to prison, Knight claimed that Dr. Dre was behind a plot to assassinate him. He told The Blast it was a murder-for-hire scheme with a paper trail and proof that Dre was involved in a plan that would "get rid" of Knight.
You probably remember a man named Jared Fogle from the Subway sandwich commercials. When he was just 20 years old, he weighed over 400 pounds. He decided to change his life in 1998 by exercising and eating two sandwiches from Subway every day. He lost more than half of his body weight in less than one year, according to the Los Angeles Times. He then appeared in a Men’s Health article and soon became a spokesman for Subway, appearing in his first commercial for the sandwich shop in 2000. He had parlayed his weight loss into an income-earning gig.
A few years later, things took a very dark turn.
During a plea deal with authorities in 2015, he confessed to receiving child pornography and having sex with minors, according to NPR. He was involved in interstate travel to pay for sex and possessed 400 videos of illicit pornography. Even worse, many of the videos were sent to him by the head of his charity, according to prosecutors in the case against him. Fogle was sentenced to over 15 years in prison and won’t be eligible for parole until he’s served at least 13 years. Fogle was also reportedly ordered to pay restitution to 14 minors that he assaulted, to the tune of $1.4 million.
If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.
Michael Jace smiling
Michael Jace, who you may know for the television police drama "The Shield," shot his wife in front of their two children in their Los Angeles home in 2014. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder, reported CNN. The motive for the killing appeared to be jealousy. His wife, April Jace, wanted a divorce, and the 53-year-old actor was convinced she was dating another man.
When April returned to their home on May 19, 2014, Michael shot her several times while their sons, ages 8 and 5, looked on. He called 911 and his father-in-law after the incident and admitted to the crime. Michael had a history of violent behavior: A friend of his first wife revealed in a sworn statement during a 2005 custody case that he had choked and hit his wife and slammed her against the wall.
Michael’s acting career spanned two decades. He also appeared in the show "Southland" and played basketball legend Michael Jordan in the made-for-TV movie "Michael Jordan: An American Hero."
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.
Film mogul Harvey Weinstein is in prison based on the allegations of just two people, Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann, even though dozens of women (a whopping 87, according to USA Today) spoke out about the sexual abuse they experienced at his hands over the years. Weinstein was arrested in New York and charged with rape, committing a criminal sex act, sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct, in 2018, according to Biography. Investigators in California and London were also targeting the producer for sex crimes.
Before he went to trial, Weinstein posted $1 million bail and was ordered to wear an ankle monitor. He was later indicted on charges of rape in the first and third degrees, a first-degree criminal sexual act, and other felony sex charges. The entire time, Weinstein refuted the charges and indicated that the women were willing participants in his sexual conquests. At one point during the investigation, a spokeswoman told USA Today, "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."
In 2020, the producer was found guilty of committing a criminal sexual act against Haley and rape in the third degree. He was found not guilty of predatory sexual assault and rape in the first degree against Mann. Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison and is a registered sex offender.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
New Orleans rapper C-Murder, born Corey Miller, was convicted of second-degree murder for killing a teen named Steve Thomas in a nightclub in 2002. The rapper started serving a life sentence in Louisiana State Penitentiary in 2009, according to NBC News. However, there’s a twist in his case: Since his incarceration, two major eyewitnesses came forward to recant their testimony. Plus, an unlikely ally has come to his defense: reality star Kim Kardashian.
In April 2020, the Supreme Court determined that jury verdicts in trials involving serious crimes must agree unanimously. In Miller’s case, he was convicted 10-2. Kardashian, who was studying to be an attorney, tweeted at the time, "Since his trial, witnesses have recanted, new evidence of his potential innocence has come to light, and there are claims of jurors being pressured into voting to convict."
One witness, Kenneth Jordan, revealed that he was pressured to lie about C-Murder because he feared being imprisoned himself on unrelated charges. The other witness, Darnell Jordan, also claimed he felt pressured to lie under oath. Meanwhile, the convicted rapper has claimed he’s innocent of all charges.
Singer R. Kelly was arrested by the feds on July 11, 2019, in Chicago. He and a few associates allegedly recruited young girls for sexual encounters, isolated them from their families, and controlled them so they wouldn’t seek help, according to the Chicago Tribune. An indictment was filed in a U.S. District Court in New York City, and Chicago prosecutors also issued an indictment claiming Kelly paid off witnesses and victims in a 2008 child pornography trial.
Trial dates in New York were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Kelly was in a Chicago federal jail awaiting trial, he was attacked by Latin King gang member Jeremiah Shane Farmer in August 2020. Farmer beat the star up while he was in bed, and Kelly reportedly sustained a serious concussion during the incident.
In June 2022, Kelly was given 30 years in prison following his sex trafficking conviction the year before, as per Forbes, while in September he was found guilty of producing child pornography, with his attorneys requesting the sentence be limited to 11 years (via Vibe).
If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.
Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria, South Africa, on Valentine’s Day in 2013. Pistorius was arrested and charged with murder, even though he insisted he killed Steenkamp by accident, believing she was a trespasser taking cover in his bathroom, according to Radio Times. The jury found him guilty of culpable homicide, and he was sentenced to five years in prison. He also received a three-year suspended sentence for reckless endangerment.
Pistorius was released from prison after serving just one year. Authorities later overturned the verdict and issued a sentence for murder instead, bumping his prison time up to an additional 13 years and five months. The athlete could potentially stay behind bars until 2030; however, he is eligible for parole in 2023.
Pistorius is also known as the "Blade Runner." Both of his legs were amputated when he was an infant, and he started running as a teenager. He won a gold medal during the 2004 Athens Paralympics, according to Biography. In 2012, he started running against non-disabled athletes and was the first amputee to compete in Olympic track events.
In 2013, actress Shannon Guess Richardson, known for her role on "The Walking Dead," pleaded guilty to developing, producing, possessing, and transferring a toxin with the intent to use it as a weapon, according to the Texarkana Gazette. She mailed threatening, poison-laced letters to then-President Barack Obama and two other people. Richardson bought supplies for the plot using a credit card and account under her husband’s name, and she made the poison ricin using castor beans in the home she shared with her husband and four children. She was also pregnant while making the concoction.
She mailed the letters to Obama, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a man named Michael Glaze, who was employed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The FBI collected and examined all of the correspondence. Richardson wrote about gun control in the letters and tried to set up her husband for the crime by planting evidence in his car and lunchbox. Despite her attempt to frame him, she was arrested in 2013 and eventually given an 18-year sentence.
Richardson is serving time in a federal prison in Forth Worth, Texas, and could be released in 2029. She is not eligible for parole.
Nathaniel Glover, aka Kidd Creole, is a founding member of hip-hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. In 2017, Glover, 61, was arrested and charged with murder in the second degree after stabbing a man named John Jolly in the chest. Glover and Jolly, a registered sex offender, had an altercation in midtown Manhattan, according to The Source.
During an interview in March 2021, Glover was eager to tell his side of the story. He has previously been labeled as homophobic but insisted he merely acted in self-defense and disputed reports that he had problems with the LGBTQ community. Glover claimed he was minding his own business when Jolly aggressively pursued him and appeared to have harmful intentions. Glover initially thought Jolly was trying to pick him up before the latter began to follow him.
He explained, "I’m suffering. I’m locked in a room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, day in, day out, not knowing what my fate is going to be because my case is dragging on. It’s very difficult for me right now."
It wasn’t until 2022 that Glover went to trial, where he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in prison, reports The New York Times.
Many people may not remember Sam Hurd, who was a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. However, he was involved in some extracurricular activities that make him hard to forget. When he wasn’t playing football, the athlete was running a drug ring. In fact, he was moving a whopping four kilos of cocaine, which cost $100,000, each week, according to Sportscasting.
Hurd sold the drugs to make a profit, and he had a partner and a fleet of vehicles to move the cocaine wherever it needed to go. In 2011, he revealed to an undercover officer that he wanted to boost his supply by up to 10 kilos per week in addition to 1,000 pounds of marijuana, which would have given him an overhead of $2 million a month. The information he divulged was enough for an arrest.
In 2013, Hurd was sentenced to 15 years in prison for purchasing and trafficking drugs in Chicago. He was just 28 years old. Before his arrest, he had signed a $5 million contract with the Bears, so he gave up a lot of cash after he was busted for drug running.
Todd and Julie Chrisley
Todd and Julie Chrisley achieved widespread recognition for their reality show, "Chrisley Knows Best," which first debuted in 2014. The program follows the married couple and their children in the South as they go about their lives as a regular family -– that just happens to be incredibly rich. So how did the Chrisley clan get so wealthy? Well, Todd is a highly successful entrepreneur and real estate developer who applies his uncompromising business ethics to governing his family, leading to no shortage of drama. Despite Todd’s ever-watchful eye on the goings-on of his household, there’s always someone getting into trouble or causing some turmoil. "Chrisley Knows Best" was popular enough to lead to various spinoffs, including "According to Chrisley," web series "What’s Cooking With Julie Chrisley," and podcast "Chrisley Confessions."
Unfortunately, things got even more real for the reality TV family when Todd and Julie found themselves embroiled in a difficult legal problem. According to ET, the couple were charged with tax evasion, conspiracy, bank fraud, and wire fraud, on August 12, 2019. This culminated on June 7, 2022, with the both of them being found guilty on all counts, though with separate sentences. CNN states that Todd’s 12-year sentence is being spent at FPC Pensacola, as Julie spends her sentence of seven years at FMC Lexington, Kentucky.
Joe Exotic entered the public consciousness with the release of the massively popular 2020 Netflix documentary series, "Tiger King." It chronicled the bizarre world of big cat collectors with an emphasis on the even more bizarre Exotic who, in addition to running the G.W. Zoo in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, also dabbled in guns, cultivating a career in country music, and running for political office. The docuseries shone a spotlight on the cast of eccentric characters that populated the world of big cat collecting and the madcap antics they got up to. However, the highlight of the show was Exotic’s intensifying clashes with Carole Baskin, an animal rights activist, which culminated in his attempt to eliminate her -– for good -– by hiring a hitman for $3,000.
Of course, Exotic’s murder-for-hire scheme didn’t go unnoticed by the authorities, nor did his other unlawful actions. According to CNN, his other crimes included the killing of five tigers, selling baby lemurs despite filing them as donations, and other wildlife violations. In 2020, the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Oklahoma handed Exotic a 22-year prison sentence, in addition to three years of supervised release after he served his sentence. Bloomberg Law states that, while he managed to reduce his sentence by one year previously, Exotic’s 2022 appeal to decrease it by another 8.5 years was shot down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Josh Duggar’s claim to fame is one of 10 sons (among 19 total children) of the Duggar family, the focus of the reality TV series, "19 Kids and Counting." Because the family is so devoted to their Baptist faith, parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have been open about not using birth control, which is why they have so many offspring. While a big part of the show’s fascination lies in seeing how the two parents deal with raising so many kids at once, it’s the strict religious manner with which the family functions that has made "19 Kids and Counting" so interesting to watch. In the Duggar household, the children are only allowed to watch family-friendly TV shows, modest clothing must be worn, and chaperoned courtship is practiced.
Unfortunately, those rigid religious beliefs didn’t prevent the Duggar’s oldest child, Josh Duggar, from engaging in various crimes. Newsweek states that Josh first attracted controversy in 2015 when word spread of his supposed molestation of multiple young girls, among which were several of his sisters. His legal troubles got worse when he was charged with possession of child pornography, to which he pleaded not guilty. As stated in 40/29 News, Josh was found guilty on the charges of receiving and possessing child pornography in 2021, resulting in a prison sentence lasting 12 years and seven months. Josh and his legal team are set to appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2023, notes 40/29 News.
Ryan Grantham was a young Canadian actor whose career once held so much promise until he threw it all away with a terrible mistake. Throughout his relatively brief acting stint, he appeared in almost 40 movies and TV shows. His acting debut was in the 2007 television movie "The Secret of the Nutcracker," which was followed by a role in the big-budget sci-fi action film, "Jumper," in 2008. Grantham was seen in a variety of other film and TV projects before showing up in some higher-profile movies as Little Anton in Terry Gilliam’s "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" and Rodney James in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." The rest of Grantham’s career largely consisted of TV shows such as "iZombie," "Supernatural," and "Riverdale," his final acting credit.
However, Grantham’s auspicious career in Hollywood came to a tragic end when, on March 31, 2020, shot his mother in the back of the head, reports The New York Times. Long after his brutal crime, Grantham made a video confession and even planned to kill Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He decided not to, ultimately turning himself over to the authorities the following day. Grantham was given a lifelong prison sentence with the possibility of parole after 14 years. His attorney Chris Johnson recently revealed to TMZ that the imprisoned actor "advised me that he’s doing well, getting the help he needs, and has gained some insight into what happened and why. He regrets what he did to his mother."
Tory Lanez (whose real name is Daystar Shemuel Shua Peterson) was a rapper who first garnered widespread attention with the release of his 2013 mixtape, "Conflicts of My Soul: The 416 Story." Three years later, after signing to Benny Blanco’s record label Mad Love Records in a collaboration with Interscope Records, Lanez released his first full-length album, "I Told You." The album was a considerable success, largely due to its hit singles "Say It" and "Luv," the latter of which received a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Song. Lanez capitalized on his popularity in 2018 with two more albums, "Memories Don’t Die" and "Love Me Now?" The album of his that ranked highest on the Billboard 200 chart was 2019’s "Chixtape 5," which came in at number two.
However, what started out as the beginnings of a long and successful career as a hip-hop and R&B artist was cut short when, in 2020, Lanez shot popular recording artist Megan Thee Stallion with an unregistered semiautomatic firearm, leaving her with minor injuries, as stated in AP News. He was found guilty of multiple charges and could face up 22 years in prison. Lanez’s defense attorney Jose Baez told TMZ that, because of the celebrity nature of the trial, mistakes were made during the proceedings, which may tip the scale in their favor of winning an appeal. As LA Magazine reporter Meghann Cuniff posted on Twitter that sentencing has been delayed until February 2023. Until that can take place, though, Lanez remains in jail.
Amy Locane is an actress who got her first big break with a recurring role as Andrea Winger in the short-lived 1980s sitcom, "Spencer." She mostly stuck to television for the next few years, but it wasn’t long until she made her leap to the big screen in 1989’s "Lost Angels," which also starred Donald Sutherland and Adam Horovitz. Locane followed this up with an even higher-profile film, the 1990 comedy musical "Cry-Baby," alongside Johnny Depp and Ricki Lake. The rest of the 1990s saw the actress appear in a wide range of projects, including the hit TV series "Melrose Place," the acclaimed drama "Blue Sky," the biopic "Prefontaine," and more.
Locane’s acting career experienced a massive setback when, after leaving a wrap party for a theater production she was a part of in 2010, she had too much to drink and caused two car accidents, as per The Guardian. However, it was the second accident that really got her into trouble, as she crashed into the car of Fred Seeman, resulting in the death of his wife, Helene Seeman. The actress was found guilty of two charges and was given an initial sentence of five years in prison, which was brought down to three. But Locane’s legal battles didn’t end there; Despite being paroled, NJ.com revealed that she has been given multiple sentences since she was first convicted in 2012 on the grounds that her initial sentences were not harsh enough — the most recent sentence being eight years.
Allison Mack got started in acting from a young age, first appearing in 1989’s "Police Academy 6: City Under Siege" before she was even a teenager. From then on, she was seen in numerous TV shows and movies, with the occasional big screen appearance. Mack played Jenny Szalinski in Disney’s direct-to-video, "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves!," which she followed up with a portrayal of Nicole Jacob in the popular show, "7th Heaven." Soon after, she did a number of voice acting roles and can be heard in "The Ant Bully" and "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies." However, her biggest and most famous gig was playing Chloe Sullivan in "Smallville," a role that got her two Teen Choice Awards, as well as various other nominations.
Mack’s acting career came to an end in 2018 when she was arrested for her part in the self-help/sex cult, NXIVM, as covered by ET. The cult was led by Keith Raniere, and it was for him whom Mack recruited young women to be sex slaves. She was ultimately charged with sex trafficking, among other crimes. NBC New York reported that the actress pleaded guilty in 2021 and was given two three-year sentences, which she will serve at the same time. As part of her punishment, Mack must pay $20,000 and will be put on probation for another three years after she’s served her time in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Dublin in Dublin, California.