Thanks to the internet, the past never dies. Crimes that happened 20, 30 years ago that were swept under a rug are now being uncovered by internet sleuths who spend way too much time on Wikipedia. Although people expect celebs to have a D.U.I. or a drug charge in their record, most would be pretty shocked to learn their fave has been charged with attempted murder or a hit-and-run. And surprisingly, it happens more than you think. Below, some huge stars who have major crimes in their past.
1. Will Smith was arrested in connection to an assault that left a man blind in one eye.
Even during his rap days, Will Smith was never someone who had run-ins with the law. After all, he's so squeaky clean he doesn't even curse in his records. However, shockingly, he has one arrest in his history that he's desperately tried to keep under wraps. In 1989, the then-20-year-old rapper/actor was arrested on assault charges after an argument left a man severely injured. Allegedly, Will asked his bodyguard to "attack" record promoter William Hendricks. The assault left William with fractures around his eyes, causing him to lose his sight in one eye.
"Will had to spend a night in the cell at the West Philadelphia police station with other inmates waking him up all night long and asking for his autograph," the National Enquirer reported at the time. "It was the worst night of his life. He wants to forget it ever happened." The charges were later dropped, and the story was mysteriously never brought up again.
2. Sean Penn allegedly assaulted Madonna while they were married.
Madonna's tumultuous first marriage to Sean Penn all ended in 1988 after an alleged incident took place. Although there have been lots of conflicting reports, according to Christopher Andersen’s Madonna: Unauthorized, who interviewed the police officer who was there that night, Sean broke into her house and allegedly tortured her for hours:
"Gagged, tied up, and trembling with fear, Madonna waited for hours for help to arrive. Incredibly, Penn returned, swigging tequila from a bottle, and began tormenting her all over again.This time, she managed to persuade him to untie her. Once free, she dashed out of the house, jumped into a coral-colored 1957 Thunderbird Penn had bought her for her twenty-eighth birthday, locked the doors, and called the police on her car phone. She then sped off to the Malibu sheriff’s station to swear out a complaint against her ex-husband. There, bruised and bleeding, she told the horrifying story of her nine-hour ordeal to dumbstruck officers."
However, a week after the incident, Madonna decided not to press charges. Since then, she has denied the whole thing even happened, even though police who were there that night have said otherwise. “When Madonna staggered into the station, she was distraught, crying, with makeup smeared all over her face," Lieutenant Bill McSweeney was quoted in Madonna: An Intimate Biography. “I hardly recognized her as Madonna, the singer. She was weeping, her lip was bleeding and she was all marked up. She had obviously been struck." Sean still maintains that he didn't do anything.
3. Matthew Broderick killed two people after driving on the wrong side of the road.
As much as we love the Ferris Bueller star, Matthew too has skeletons hiding in his closet. One such incident took place in 1987 while he was vacationing in Ireland. While driving a rented BMW, he plowed head-on with a Volvo driven by two women, killing them instantly. As for Matthew, he broke his right leg and suffered a collapsed lung. "I don’t remember the day," he said at the time. "I don’t remember even getting up in the morning."
Despite accidentally killing two people, Matthew avoided being convicted and instead got way with merely paying a $175 fine for reckless driving. In 2002, Matthew promised to meet up with the family of the deceased for closure. But in 2012, the family revealed that the meeting never happened.
4. Halle Berry was involved in a hit-and-run.
In another car-related incident, Halle was accused of crashing her car into a woman and then leaving the scene of the accident. The other driver, Hetal Raythatha, alleged that the actress ran a red light and plowed into her car, then fled the scene. According to the LA Times, Halle pleaded no contest in court and was sentenced to three years probation and fined $13,500. According to Hetal's attorney, Halle was involved in two other hit-and-run incidents prior to that. Halle, surely you can afford to just take a cab?
5. Mark Wahlberg committed several hate crimes before he became famous.
He might be a big movie star now, but back in the '80s, Marky Mark was an angry kid with violent tendencies. More disturbingly, all his crimes were racially motivated. In 1986, he chased a group of young black kids while shouting, "Kill the n----r!" In 1988, he approached a Vietnamese man named Thanh Lam and bashed him over the head with a wooden spoon, knocking him unconscious. That same day, he punched Hoa "Johnny" Trinh in the eye for literally no reason. When cops showed up to arrest him, Mark boldly declared, "You don't have to let him identify me, I'll tell you now that's the mother-*&^*@ whose head I split open."
Although he was sentenced to two years in prison, he only served 45 days of his sentence. Today, Mark's worth $225 million. As for Johnny, the man who got punched unprovoked, he's now blind in one eye.
6. Naomi Campbell used to routinely beat up her assistants.
Naomi and her infamous temper is pretty well-known and has been treated as a cutesy joke among fans. But the severity of her assaults against her assistants, housekeepers, and staff are actually worse than you think. In 2004, a housekeeper accused Naomi of "slapping, kicking, and scratching" her. Another assistant that same year accused the model of holding her hostage in a Los Angeles hotel. Two years later the accusations rolled in again, with one assistant accusing Naomi of physically abusing her and even throwing her passport into a hotel pool.
Naomi was eventually sentenced to community service, but she hardly took it seriously. She showed up in designer outfits, fedoras, and furs while working at a sanitation garage. The whole thing was turned into a cutesy photo spread for Vogue and quickly swept under a rug.
7. Tim Allen spent two years in prison.
It's hard to imagine him as anything other than a lovable TV dad, but back in 1978, he was arrested for dealing cocaine. He pleaded guilty and served two years and four months in federal prison. Today, he doesn't talk about his past much, but in 2011 he opened up to Esquire. "I was put in a holding cell with twenty other guys — we had to crap in the same crapper in the middle of the room — and I just told myself, I can't do this for seven and a half years... The comic in me showed up, the purest form, and saved my life."
8. Dr. Dre reportedly beat up a television reporter and tried to throw her down the stairs.
There have always been rumors about the rapper's violent nature against women, but when his biographical film Straight Outta Compton came out in 2015, many wondered why the movie skipped over his many assault charges. One such incident involved Pump It Up host Dee Barnes. According to a statement issued by Dee, Dr. Dre didn't like how he was portrayed on her show. When he saw her at a record party, he did the unthinkable, as Rolling Stone reported:
"Dre picked her up and 'began slamming her face and the right side of her body repeatedly against a wall near the stairway' as his bodyguard held off the crowd. After Dre tried to throw her down the stairs and failed, he began kicking her in the ribs and hands. She escaped and ran into the women’s restroom. Dre followed her and 'grabbed her from behind by the hair and proceeded to punch her in the back of the head.' Finally, Dre and his bodyguard ran from the building."
Dr. Dre didn't even deny the allegations and seemed to think beating up a woman was completely justified. "It ain’t no big thing," he said at the time. "I just threw her through a door.”
However, after much backlash, in 2015 he released a statement to The New York Times where he apologized.
9. Jay-Z once stabbed a guy.
The rapper's gang past is no secret, but the fact that he tried to murder someone is. In 1999, he stabbed a record producer and pleaded guilty to it three years later. Besides getting three years probation, the crime went largely unnoticed.
10. Christian Slater assaulted his girlfriend in a drug-fueled rage.
The 49-year-old actor has always struggled with drugs but is currently going through a career resurgence with his role on Mr. Robot. Back in 1997, he was convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend in a drug-fueled rage. According to police, Slater was found swinging his arms and yelling incoherently. When a man tried to stop him from punching his girlfriend, a fight ensued. He later told police that he had been taking heroin, cocaine and drinking for several days with no sleep. He later spent three months in jail and three months in rehab.
11. Brandy was involved in a fatal crash that killed someone.
Most people wouldn't expect the squeaky clean R&B singer to have anything suspicious in her past, but in 2006, she was involved in a fatal collision that took a woman's life. Brandy was driving her Range Rover at 65 mph without realizing the cars in front of her had slowed down. Her car then collided with the rear of the other driver's vehicle, causing a domino effect that involved two other cars rear-ending each other. Brandy got lucky and was never charged or arrested for her involvement, however, she has been sued multiple times by drivers involved in the crash, and all cases were settled out of court.
12. Sylvester Stallone was accused of assaulting a teen in 1986.
The action movie star has two sexual assault allegations against him that only recently have come to light. In one allegation, a 16-year-old girl accused him of assaulting her by forcing her into a threesome with his bodyguard. The actor vehemently denied the claims, however, in 2018, LA prosecutors announced that they were working on a sex crimes case against him, but they didn't provide any other details than that.
You hear that, celebs? Crimes never stay buried on the internet.