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From The Red Carpet To Behind Bars – Famous Celebrities Who Have Been To Jail

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With great power comes great responsibility. This famous quote cited in superhero movies and imparted as wisdom to men in power is designed to be a humbling factor for those entitled to the benefits of being influential. It is however a hard doctrine to follow and is often appreciated only in hindsight once the folly has already been committed. This feature assesses a few such individuals by evaluating famous celebrities who have been to jail at some point of their lives.

On March 28, 2013, Bollywood superstar Sanjay Dutt deeply shaken by the Supreme Court of India’s verdict broke down in front of the media in full view of a national television audience. Mr. Dutt was convicted for the illegal possession of arms relating to the 1993 Mumbai blasts case and sentenced to five years imprisonment. He was given a month’s time to surrender to serve the rest of his sentence of three and a half years as he had previously already served 18 months in custody when he was first arrested in 1993. Post getting an extension of another month to complete his work commitments, Sanjay Dutt returned to jail on May 16, 2013.

Born to a family of Bollywood megastars in Sunil Dutt and Nargis on 29 July 1959, Sanjay Dutt is a prime example of a privileged life gone wrong. Post his film debut in 1981 with the hit film Rocky, Sanjay battled through numerous issues such as drug addiction, possession of illegal substances and weapons. For the next three and half years till the end of 2016 Sanjay will suffer the repercussions of his mistakes proving that even the greatest of men can see hard times if they don’t act responsibly.

Mr. Dutt is however not the only celebrity to have been to jail during their lifetime. Surprisingly there are a number of famous media personalities in both Bollywood and Hollywood who have been to jail. These actors and actresses have suffered the ignominy of being viewed as bad role models after previously being considered as youth icons. Hollywood in fact has a very large number of such individuals owing to stricter laws, faster legal proceedings and higher number of industry members. The only other big name in Bollywood that comes to mind other than Sanjay Dutt is the indomitable Salman Khan who has also served jail time for his various skirmishes with the law.

Some of today’s most admired global icons such as Robert Downey Junior aka IronMan, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Tim Allen, Wesley Snipes and Mark Wahlberg have also been to jail for almost similar reasons.

Downey Jr. who at the age of 27 won an Academy Award nomination for playing the title role of Charlie Chaplin in the Richard Attenborough directed movie Chaplin, was arrested numerous times on drug-related charges including cocaine, heroin and marijuana from 1996 to 2001. During this period he went through unsuccessful drug treatment programs several times and many considered that his Hollywood career was over. Surprisingly in a manner quite similar to Sanjay Dutt, the actor made a comeback almost starting his career again in 2004 through a series of small roles. He finally hit the jackpot in 2008 when he played the title role of Iron Man and the rest as they say is history.

It may appear as if only male celebrities have been to jail and were found guilty of committing excesses. That is however not the case as evidenced by the life journey of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Highly successful and popular divas known for their meandering ways, heavy partying and highly indulgent lifestyle, they have both been to jail for cocaine possession, drug use and drunk-driving. Lohan’s life in particular is a showcase of what not to do after one become’s rich, popular and famous as she most often is in the news for breaking the law, going to jail, undergoing rehab or doing community service.

Famous Celebrities Who Have Been To Jail - Paris Hilton in 2007

Being born with a silver spoon, growing up in luxury, attending prestigious schools etc. should ideally keep one away from the confines of incarceration, that is however not always the case. A famous example of this was the arrest of heiress, model, actress, businesswomen and leading socialite Paris Hilton on June 7, 2007. Screaming and crying, Hilton, aged 26 at the time, shouted “Mom!” and “It’s not right!” as Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer ordered her returned to jail to serve her entire 45-day sentence for a parole violation in a reckless driving case.

‘”When he said, ‘You’re going back to jail,’ she started to cry,” legal analyst Royal Oakes told ABC News‘.

She started to wail, turned around, whirled, faced her mother and yelled “Mom!” at the top of her lungs three times. Very dramatic stuff.

The image of a simple looking Paris Hilton sitting in police patrol car post the above sentence is famously known as “Paris Hilton crying“, references to which are very easy to find on search engines. Even after serving close to three weeks in jail post Judge Sauer’s sentence, Ms. Hilton was arrested on several occasions for possession of drugs albeit for very short periods of time.

With great power comes great responsibility and great benefits. The rich, powerful and famous always have access to extra ammunition that helps them get off the hook more easily than common people. However, one must also remember that these people also have more to lose with getting arrested. Also their ability to do greater good for society is much more than what a normal person can hope to achieve. Cases involving celebrities therefore becoming much harder to solve which explains why they normally take longer than average to reach a judgement.

Do you know of any other well-known cases of famous celebrities who have been to jail? What are your thoughts on this matter? Share your opinion by leaving a comment.