Celebrities in prison also end up in the headlines — although the busts don’t always get the coverage of a once-beloved public figure like Bill Cosby. In fact, plenty of stars who end up behind bars manage to bounce back. Others, though, find a stretch in jail or prison can be a death sentence with the public. Check out these showbiz figures who’ve heard the doors clang shut on their careers…
MARK WAHLBERG served 45 days in prison after being arrested for attempted murder and pleading guilty to assault for attacking Vietnamese man named Thanh Lam in a shocking hate crime. He only served 45 days of a two-year sentence — and then began to turn his life around, with the help of his brother Donnie’s showbiz connections.
DUSTIN DIAMOND had plenty of young fans as nerdy Screech on the syndicated teen series “Saved by the Bell” — and then got his revenge with a tell-all book that was blasted by his co-stars, followed by deciding to star in his own celebrity sex tape. The troubled star bottomed out with a 2014 Christmas Day arrest in Wisconsin for disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon. He did four months behind bars, and was later cleared of felony charges.
TOMMY LEE made porn history after he ended up starring in a celebrity sex tape with wife Pamela Anderson. The uglier side of their volatile marriage was exposed in 19998 — after the Mötley Crüe drummer did six months in prison for battering his soon-to-be ex-wife.
O.J. SIMPSON famously beat the rap for the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman — but the law caught up with the former film star and NFL hero after a Las Vegas court sentenced him in 2008 to 33 years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping. He’d serve nine years before getting released on Oct. 1, 2017.
TIM ALLEN was a rising comedy star in Detroit when his career was derailed over an arrest for drug trafficking in 1978. The future “Home Improvement” star started serving a prison stretch in 1979, serving two years and four months before finally getting a chance to head out to Los Angeles and get clean — although he was hit with a year of probation after a DUI in 1997.
JAMES BROWN went from being the Godfather of Soul to King of the Mugshots after he posed for a pic after being arrested for fleeing police on the Georgia/South Carolina border in 1988. It was less funny when he was convicted of carrying an unlicensed pistol and assaulting a police officer. He only served two years of a six-year sentence for multiple charges, although he’d be arrested for several more domestic abuse charges before his death in 2006.
MARTHA STEWART was mostly mocked when the “domestic goddess” and lifestyle personality was busted on charges of inside trading in 2001. It was still a serious matter when her business empire had to survive her being sentenced in July 2004 to a five-month term in prison — where, she later boasted, her nickname was “M. Diddy.”
WESLEY SNIPES got some seriously bad financial advice when the film star was told he didn’t have to file tax returns between 1994 to 2000 — when his career was peaking with hit movies like the “Blade” film that launched Marvel Studios. The star even tried to get back taxes he paid in 1996 and 1997. Wesley took a dapper mug shot, but was doing time between 2010 and 2013. Meanwhile the Marvel superhero film franchise was taking over Hollywood.
ROBERT MITCHUM was one of the first film stars to survive a scandal that landed him behind bars. The “Thunder Road” actor had already served on a chain gang at 14 years old. He was back behind bars in 1948 after being busted for possessing marijuana, and did a week in an L.A. county jail — which he famously described as “like Palm Springs, but without the riff-raff.”
SEAN PENN has spent his entire career making headlines for his volatile behavior, which has including often swinging at photographers — but he didn’t end up behind bars until 1987, for assaulting an extra on the L.A. set of the gang movie “Colors.” Sean was already on probation for two other assault cases when he was sentenced to 60 days.
CHRISTIAN SLATER had done ten days in jail on drunk driving charges in 1989, but Hollywood was particularly unhappy after the drunken actor was busted for assaulting his girlfriend and a cop in 1997. His three-month jail sentence started just when he was needed to promote his starring role in the action film “Hard Rain.” The hard-living actor then had to start rebuilding his career after the movie bombed.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR. also had to crawl his way back into Hollywood’s good graces after serving 12 months of a 3-year sentence for for violating probation from a 1996 conviction on drug and weapon charges. Robert would later be fired from “Ally McBeal” after another arrest for drug use in 2001 — and still come back with 2008’s “Iron Man.”
KIEFER SUTHERLAND was another star on probation when he was busted in 2007 on DUI charges — doing 48 days in jail after pleading no contest. The sentence included an alcohol education program and time with a therapist. Kiefer is still often found in bars all over the world, but the bad-boy actor seems to have learned to let others drive him home!
TOM SIZEMORE was shooting “Heat” with Robert De Niro when the actor had enough of his co-star’s drug addiction: “He said to me one day, ‘I know what you’re doing,’ and I said, ‘I’m not doing anything you’re not doing,’ and he went, ‘Oh yes, you are!'” A stint in rehab didn’t help, though, and Sizemore later served nine months in prison over possessing methamphetamine in 2007. The ENQUIRER caught the disgraced actor getting high again in late 2013 — and he was given probation on two charges of domestic abuse in 2017.
LILLO BRANCOTO, JR. turned his Robert De Niro impersonation into a starring role alongside the Oscar winner in 1993’s “A Bronx Tale.” He kept working steadily, including a splashy role on “The Sopranos” — but got involved in a 2005 burglary that ended with his cohort fatally shooting an off-duty police officer. He was originally sentenced to ten years in prison, and has been making low-budget films since getting out in 2013.