We, regular people, look up to celebrities because those are the people with the talent, skill, money, and influence we all wish we had. Yet we sometimes forget that celebrities are just people like us, with many of the same flaws and shortcomings.
And in some cases, those flaws and shortcomings are the types of things that would land us in prison, but barely gets them a slap on the wrist. Actually, maybe celebrities aren’t that much like us after all.
Matthew Broderick is a pretty beloved icon of the 1980’s, the star of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and WarGames. He’s always seemed to be an extremely affable guy who saw a big career resurgence with his role in The Producers. He’s also one of the last people in showbiz you’d probably guess has actually killed someone.
It was accidental, let’s be clear, but back in 1987, he was in Ireland with his then-girlfriend Jennifer Grey when he got into a car accident, killing two people in the other car. He claims to have no recollection of the event, which seems awfully suspicious, but despite being initially charged with dangerous driving and facing up to five years in prison, he only had to pay a $175 fine.
No matter what people think about former President George W. Bush, people have always seemed to think pretty highly of his wife Laura. That’s why it’s kind of mind-blowing to realize that back in her teenage years, she actually killed one of her classmates.
Like Broderick, it was an accidental death via a car wreck, but the former First Lady apparently left a high school party and proceeded to run a stop sign, in the process smashing straight into the car being driven by 17-year-old Michael Douglas, who died at the scene. Bush doesn’t shy away from this tragedy, but despite rumors that it could have been a criminally negligent incident and there was suspicion of drunk driving, no charges were filed.
While you probably didn’t realize that Broderick or Bush has been involved in such tragic incidents over the years, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that singer R. Kelly has faced a jury of his peers before, and sadly, gotten away with numerous counts of statutory rape.
He’s always been a creepy guy, from when he married a 15-year-old to the times he videotaped himself having sex with, and peeing on, underage girls. Yet despite this overwhelming evidence of both statutory rape and child pornography, he was acquitted on all charges.
Back in 1972, Rolling Stones frontman, Mick Jagger found himself in some serious hot water while on tour in Rhode Island. It seems that Jagger, along with Keith Richards and a few others, got into a fight with a photographer, and pretty much just beat the tar out of the guy.
To make matters worse, Jagger and his crew resisted arrest and added obstruction to their laundry list of crimes on that particular night. Despite Jagger, Richards, and all pleading guilty to these crimes, the charges were suddenly dropped and nothing further ever came of the incident. Something tells us that if he was just some normal dude and not Mick Jagger, he wouldn’t have gotten away with it quite so easily.
Most of our readers are probably too young to remember Fatty Arbuckle, but there’s a solid chance a lot of you have at least heard the name. Arbuckle was a comedic actor in the early 20th century who, allegedly, savagely raped a young woman and left her in such bad condition that she died only days later.
It probably didn’t help that after the alleged attack she was not taken to the hospital, but Arbuckle was manslaughter and, after one trial ended in a hung jury, and the second came back as guilty, the third trial had the jury not only finding Arbuckle not guilty but issuing him an apology. The facts around the case are still a little foggy, but it’s hard to think something horrible didn’t happen that night when you read witness testimony.
It seems like you can’t have an American political scandal without involving the Kennedy family, doesn’t it? One of the most infamous incidents with the Kennedy’s took place in 1969 on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts, with Senator Ted Kennedy drunkenly drove his car off of a bridge, killing his young female passenger in the process.
To make matters worse, Kennedy swam to safety and left the woman to die, and did not report the incident for hours after the fact. Kennedy plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, faced no other charges in the death of this woman, and received only a two month suspended jail sentence.
Robert Blake is a former American television actor who most famously starred in the show Beretta, and in 2005, made huge headlines when he was acquitted of murdering his wife despite pretty much all evidence pointing to the contrary.
In fact, the evidence against him was so strong that despite not being convicted of the murder, which would have landed him a life sentence in prison, he was still found liable for her death in civil court and ordered to pay $30 million to his slain wife’s family. The Blake trial drew a lot of comparisons to a certain other celebrity murder trial that played out the same one. Gee, wonder who we could possibly be talking about there?
Oh, right, good ol’ OJ Simpson! The former Heisman Trophy winner and star of the Buffalo Bills, who would go on to gain fame in commercials and movies, remains the most famous case of a celebrity getting away with an atrocious crime.
It also remains one of the most stunning crimes in recent memory, with people remembering exactly where they were as the news broke in with OJ fleeing the police in that white Ford Bronco in 1994. Yet despite all evidence pointing to him killing his ex-wife and her lover, OJ was ultimately acquitted. He’s in jail at the moment for another crime, but it’s stunning to think he was never found guilty of murder.
And to put things in perspective how shocking his murder trial was for people too young to remember life before he was an accused killer, this is a guy who was turned down to play the Terminator because he was thought to have too much of a family-friendly, nice guy vibe.