Celebrities who became criminals – When it comes to the law, there’s no shortage of celebrities with a history of playing it fast and loose. They may feel like the same rules that apply to us mere mortals don’t necessarily apply to them. It could be that they expect their celebrity status to get them off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
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Perhaps those same emotions they’re so good at controlling for stage and screen get the better of them when the limelight’s not shining. Or maybe it just demonstrates that celebrities are human, prone to scrapes with justice just like the rest of us.
Of course, human or not, that doesn’t mean the media will treat them with the same disinterest and indifference as the next guy. Quite the contrary. When stars commit crimes, the news cycle is utterly relentless in its coverage, counting on viewers who want the guarded personal lives of celebrities demystified. Celebrities are used to riding the gravy train, so you can always count on the public to slow down and watch the trainwreck. While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are 15 celebrities who found themselves operating on the wrong side of the law at one time or another (some more than once).
12. Winona Ryder
In December of 2001, Ryder was caught trying to shoplift $5,000 worth of clothes, hair products and a handbag from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. Clerks had caught her ripping off tags and stuffing the clothes into a shopping bag she was carrying. While she beat a burglary charge, she was convicted of vandalism and grand theft, which ultimately lead to $3,700 in fines, 480 hours of community service, and restitution to Saks.
During the arrest, she was also found carrying painkillers without a prescription, but denied being under the influence. While she was not charged with any drug-related crimes, she was ordered to attend drug counseling. Following a five-year hiatus, Ryder returned to acting in 2006, appearing in Richard Linklater’s adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novel A Scanner Darkly. Many fans were shocked as to why a wealthy celebrity would have to steal clothes. However, those who later saw the prices at Saks quickly found their confusion alleviated.