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10 Celebrities With Criminal Pasts That No One Ever Remembers

Celebrities With Criminal Pasts
Monica Schipper / Alberto E. Rodriguez / Angela Weiss, Getty Images

The bad thing about being famous is that when you screw up, the whole world can know about it. The good thing about being famous, though, is that when you screw up, you can hire a team to make sure people forget all about it, too. Case in point: these stars, whose box office success, good looks, charity efforts and charm helped us forget all about their shady and often silly pasts.

Well, for the most part.

Mark Wahlberg: Hate Crimes + Thug Life

When Mark Wahlberg was growing up, he was, to put it nicely, a really bad kid. The actor was in trouble with the law 20-25 times as a minor for various offenses (usually related to gangs and drug dealing). However, Wahlberg narrowly avoided an attempted murder charge after two hate crimes on Vietnamese men, one of whom Wahlberg left blind in one eye. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of criminal contempt and was released after serving 45 days of a two-year sentence. Once he was behind bars, he decided to leave his gang … and start a Funky Bunch.

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Pacific Coast News

Sean Penn: Assault (And Assault of Madonna)

Before he was a self-appointed hero and do-gooder, Sean Penn did a lot of really bad things. He’s racked up six arrests (so far). Penn assaulted a photographer in 1986 and was sentenced to 60 days for violating his probation, then nabbed a misdemeanor vandalism charge following a scuffle with another photog in 2009. Then there was that whole Madonna thing.

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Pacific Coast News

Will Smith: Getting Too Fresh

Back in 1989 when he was still the Fresh Prince (but not yet of Bel Air), Will Smith was arrested following an argument that escalated into a physical altercation. The ‘Men in Black’ star was charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault and criminal conspiracy for not only allegedly attacking record promoter William Hendricks, but also for asking his security guard at the time, Charles ‘Charlie Mack’ Aston, to beat him down. The charges were later dropped, and the public forgot about it … must have used a neuralizer.

Pacific Coast News
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Carmen Electra: Singling Out Her Ex

Carmen Electra — known on the books as Tara Patrick — was arrested in 1999 for allegedly assaulting her then-husband, NBA star Dennis Rodman, in Miami. The charges (and her hubby) were later dropped, but her stunning mugshot remains.

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Mark Davis, Getty Images

Martin Sheen: Presidential Protests

Martin Sheen has been arrested a whopping 66 times — and yet some of us still wish he could be President in real life like he was on ‘The West Wing.’ Still, even his arrests are pretty noble: His handcuff incidents are mostly related to protests, including Ronald Reagan’s “star wars” initiative in 1986 and trespassing at a nuclear plant in 2007.

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Pacific Coast News

Tim Allen: Heavy Traffic

Tim Allen (then known as Tim Allen Dick — no, really) was almost never Buzz Lightyear because he almost spent infinity and beyond behind bars. In 1978, Allen was arrested for trafficking after he was caught in an airport with 650 grams of cocaine. To avoid a life sentence, Allen turned over the names of 21 (!) individuals who he dealt drugs with, getting his sentence down to five years. Allen credits his prison time with inspiring him to try comedy — which eventually led to ‘Home Improvement’ and ‘Toy Story,’ so we’re glad it worked out.

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Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Robert Blake: Just, You Know, Murder

Hey, remember when Robert Blake was arrested for shooting and killing his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, in 2002? Then acquitted? Then lost a wrongful death case from her kids? Then lost the appeal for it? No? You were probably distracted by his cowboy hat. We understand.

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Pacific Coast News

Steve-O: Assault + Swallowing Gross Stuff

Steve-o (real name Steven Glover) has the distinction of having been in trouble with the law not only in the United States, but also in Sweden. In 2002, the ‘Jackass’ star was arrested and charged for obscenity and assault and sentenced to one year of supervised probation. The next year, he was arrested in Sweden for possession of marijuana and ecstasy … which he swallowed inside of a condom. (Yecch!) That stunt cost him a hefty $6,700 fine. In March 2008, Steve-o was cuffed once more for vandalism and possession of a controlled substance. It comes as little surprise — though a pleasant one — that he’s been in rehab getting clean since then.

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Mark Davis, Getty Images

Woody Harrelson: Dancing in the Street

Woody Harrelson has what may be the most adorable criminal charge ever. In 1982, the then-21-year-old future ‘Zombieland’ star was arrested for dancing in the middle of a busy street … then running from cops. He paid a fine to avoid jail time, but really, is this a real life ‘Footloose’ or what?

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Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Matthew McConaughey: Bangin’ on Bongos … and a Bong

Matthew McConaughey had the most fun arrest we’ve ever come across. He was booked in Austin, Texas, in 1999 for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a neighbor called complaining about noise coming from his home. Cops arrived to McConaughey dancing around naked and playing bongo drums. The ‘A Time to Kill’ star pleaded guilty to violating Austin’s noise ordinance, paying a $50 fine; the drug charges were dropped as fast as his pants.

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Pacific Coast News

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