Whether it’s a teen idol or a celebrated pop star, these stars have ruined their reputations with their involvements in shockingly disgraceful scandals.
No one is perfect, not even a highly respected public figure or a beloved celebrity. Despite this commonly acceptable statement, fans often worship their idols and make them their role models. But sometimes the fact doesn’t come in accordance with the expectation. Behind their picture-perfect lives, some of these celebrities may harbor dark secrets that are waiting to be exposed. It is more shocking when the individuals involved in such scandalous issues are those who were known for their clean reputations prior to the expose.
The cases range from the light ones such as cheating or fraud to the more serious ones like battery or sexual assault that could bring them to a brush with the law. In the last several months alone, we were taken aback several times by the turns of development in Jussie Smollett‘s alleged hate attack case and the college admissions cheating scandal involving Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Not only these kinds of crimes bring risk of severe punishment in they’re proven guilty, but also these cases could put their careers and future in jeopardy, not to mention that they may never regain their reputations back in public.
To refresh your memory of similar news in the past, here are a number of celebrities who ruined their good images with infamous scandals, including the most recent ones.
1. Lori Loughlin & Felicity Huffman – College Bribery
After their heydays were over, “Full House” alum Lori Loughlin and former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman lived relatively quiet lives. Not ones who caused troubles on sets or in their private lives during the peak of their careers, these two celebrity moms were more than willing to go great length to ensure the future of their children, though not in the most respectable ways.
Last March it was revealed that they cheated their daughters’ ways to colleges as part of the nationwide college entrance cheating scandal. Lori and her husband Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000, disguised as donation, to get their daughters accepted into the University of Southern California. Felicity, meanwhile, allegedly paid $15,000 to improve her daughter’s SAT score. Currently free on bails, they are awaiting trial for the case, which involved 48 other individuals.
2. Tim Allen – Drug Trafficking
Tim Allen‘s career in comedy has spanned over forty years with a long list of movie and TV credits, but that was almost over decades ago when he was arrested at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport in Michigan for possession of over 650 grams (1.4 lb) of cocaine. Ha faced a possible life imprisonment, but managed to avoid it by providing the names of other dealers. He eventually served two years and four months in a federal prison in Minnesota, before he was paroled in 1981.
Reflecting on his time in prison, the 65-year-old actor told Closer in 2017, “It was a watershed moment. It put me in a position of great humility, and I was able to make amends to friends and family and refocus my life on setting and achieving goals.” His life wasn’t completely out of trouble after that, though. He was charged with a DUI in 1999. He was sentenced to one-year probation and entered rehab for alcohol abuse. In the same interview, Allen claimed, “I’ve been sober for almost 20 years. I’m much more present.”
3. Jussie Smollett – Fake Attack
Jussie Smollett is no saint to begin with. But people barely knew his history of petty crimes including DUI and misdemeanor for providing a false name during the DUI stop in 2007. Years later, he is widely known for his role as Jamal Lyon on FOX’s groundbreaking drama series “Empire“, but the 36-year-old singer/actor brought the downfall of his own career when he allegedly faked an attack in January of this year. Initially treated as a victim, he was later named a suspect with police accusing him of paying two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack.
With several leaked evidences hinting at him as the mastermind of the fake attack, he was indicted on 16 felony counts of “false report of offense” on March 8. The 36-year-old actor was subsequently removed from the final episodes of “Empire” season 5 while awaiting trial. Much to everyone’s surprise though, all charges against Smollett were dropped on March 26, prompting strong reactions from Chicago police chief Eddie Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel who were convinced that Smollett was guilty. The unusual situation surrounding the dismissal led to FBI investigating why the Cook County State’s Attorney made such decision.
4. Rob Lowe – Sex Tape With Underage Girl
Back when YouTube wasn’t a thing, Rob Lowe found himself in a sex tape scandal in 1988. Making matter worse, one of the girls in the video was only 16 years old, though the “A New Kind of Family” alum didn’t know it before having a sexual intercourse with her. The girls, whom he met in a nightclub before the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, stole some money and the videotape, which was later leaked and sold. The age of consent in Georgia was 14 at the time, so Lowe never faced a legal issue for it.
Still, the scandal damaged his reputation. Rising to prominence as a teen idol, he was a member of the Brat Pack, a group of young, attractive actors who dominated the cinematic scene in the 1980s with roles in films like “The Outsiders”, “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “About Last Night…”, at the time. His career stalled after the sex tape scandal, though it slowly rebounded in the following years. Only two years later, the 55-year-old actor poked fun at the incident during his appearance as host on “Saturday Night Live“.
5. Tom Brady – Deflategate
Hailed as a hero by the Patriots’ fans for the team’s numerous victories, Tom Brady suddenly became the object of criticisms on various media outlets for his involvement in the scandal, which is later known as Deflategate. In 2015, he was accused of ordering the deliberate deflating of footballs used in the New England Patriots victory against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game of the 2014-15 NFL playoffs. After an investigation, NFL ruled that the quarterback was at least aware of the intentional deflation. He was suspended for four games, while the Patriots were fined $1 million and had to forfeit their first round pick in the 2016 NFL draft as well as their fourth round pick in the 2017 NFL draft.
The NFL Player Association appealed the suspension to the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, who decided to upheld the four-game suspension, citing Tom’s destruction of his cell phone as a critical factor. Initially insisting that he was innocent and planning to fight back, he eventually accepted the punishment. “Just too much anxiety,” he said of why he gave in. “I realized I couldn’t win. It was divided attention and I was tired of that.” Fortunately for him and his team, the scandal didn’t compromise their performance in the 2016 season as they won their fifth Lombardi Trophy and the 41-year-old athlete had his fourth Super Bowl MVP award.
6. Hugh Grant – Caught With a Sex Worker
Hugh Grant just shot to stardom, thanks to his lead role in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994), when he brought himself such a disgrace by receiving oral sex in a public place from a prostitute in Los Angeles, California in June 1995. It couldn’t get uglier as he was still in a relationship with his then-longtime girlfriend, actress Elizabeth Hurley, when he was arrested for the lewd conduct. He was fined $1,180, placed on two years’ summary probation, and was ordered to complete an AIDS education program.
Speaking publicly for the first time about the scandal, Hugh, who at the time was on promotional tour for his latest film “Nine Months”, said on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno“, “I think you know in life what’s a good thing to do and what’s a bad thing, and I did a bad thing. And there you have it.” He also asked viewers for forgiveness and praised Liz for being “amazing about it,” claiming that “she’s been very supportive, and we’re going to try to work it out.” The pair split in 2000, but remain good friends. More than twenty years later, Hugh admitted he survived the scandal because he never made an excuse for it. “I was just an idiot. I didn’t try to say, ‘I’ve got this psychological problem.’ I just said, ‘I did it,’ ” he said of his public apology.
7. Mark Wahlberg – Attempted Murder
If he could turn back the time, Mark Wahlberg would probably go back to the time when he was a vicious, racist teenager. Being a part of a street gang, the Boston, Massachusetts native would’ve hurled insults at non-white people on the streets and physically attacked them. It got uglier one day in 1988 when he hit a middle-aged Vietnamese man named Thanh Lam in the head with a large wooden stick, knocking him unconscious while calling him a “Vietnam f***ing s**t.” On the same day, he punched a second Vietnamese man named Hoa “Johnny” Trinh in the eye without provocation.
He was arrested later that night and was charged with attempted murder. The Oscar-nominated actor ultimately served 45 days of his sentence, but carries a permanent felony record. Believing that he had left Trinh permanently blind in one eye, Mark met with his victim in 2016 and apologized “for those horrific acts” during the process of requesting pardon for his prior convictions. His status as a Hollywood star sparked a debate about whether he was suitable for a pardon. His petition was eventually closed as he stated that he regretted his attempt to obtain a pardon.
8. Michael Jackson – Child Molestation
One of the most successful singers of all time, Michael Jackson was met with cheers and applause wherever he was. But that changed in 1993, when a family of a 13-year-old boy filed a suit against the “Thriller” hitmaker for repeated sexual battery on their son. The allegations fizzled out because the “primary alleged victim” declined to testify. A decade later, another accusation of child molestation followed suit. But even after it went to trial in 2005, Michael was never proven guilty.
Almost a decade later, after the King of Pop’s death in 2009, he was sued for child molestation again, this time by Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who testified in defense of Michael in the 2005 trial and the 1993 investigation, respectively. The case was dismissed by a judge, but the two accusers brought forward their claims in 2019’s HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland“, gaining more attention nationwide. Various versions of opinions about the singer were shared by his acquaintances as Michael no longer lived to defend himself, leaving it up for debates whether people should still consider him a legend or stop listening to his music.
9. Chris Brown – Battery
A former church choir boy, Chris Brown had his religious upbringing to thank for keeping him away from street gangs. At 16 years old, he already enjoyed the success of his self-titled debut studio album. He continued to rise to a new level of fame in the following years, but his life hit a major bump when a sudden lapse of judgement caused him to do the unthinkable. The “With You” hitmaker beat the hell out his then-girlfriend Rihanna in February 2009, leaving the Barbadian singer with nasty facial injuries that required hospitalization.
Chris subsequently turned himself in to the police and he was charged with felony assault and making criminal threats. Despite the severity of the injuries he caused, the “Run It!” singer managed to avoid prison sentence and accepted a plea deal of community labor, five years of probation, and domestic violence counseling. This was believed to be partly due to Rihanna’s testimony at the trial, during which she defended her ex-boyfriend. Rih, indeed, has forgiven Chris and they briefly rekindled their romance in 2012-2013, but her fans never forget what he has done to their idol and never approve of seeing them together again.
10. O.J. Simpson – Accused of Murdering Ex-Wife Nicole Brown
Dubbed the Trial of the Century, the trial on the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson received worldwide coverage that stole headlines. It was because the man accused of the brutal murder was none other than her own ex-husband, O.J. Simpson, who was a retired professional football player. O.J. was tried on the murder of his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman, who was also found dead outside her home in June 1994.
After the highly-publicized trial that spanned eleven months, Simpson was acquitted on two counts of murder, a decision that was controversial up until now. No additional arrested related to the murders have been made and the crime remains unsolved to this day. Despite his acquittal, Simpson was found liable for both deaths in a civil suit in 1997 and ordered to pay $33.5 million in punitive damages to the Brown and Goldman families. A series of legal woes followed in the following years and in 2007, he was arrested for a robbery in Las Vegas. He was found guilty in 2008 and was sentenced to thirty-years in prison, with the possibility of parole after nine years. He was released on parole in 2017.