5 Celebrities That Served Time in Jail

On this day in 2007, Paris Hilton was sentenced to jail for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case for which she served 23 days behind bars. Here are 5 more celebrities you probably didn’t know that served time in jail...


Bill Gates Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world and seems like the consummate nerd who'd never gets into any trouble. But long ago, Gates was incarcerated after one of his three traffic arrests. In 1975, Bill Gates was arrested for speeding and driving without a license. He was also arrested in Albuquerque in 1977 for running a stop sign and driving without a license. This is the incident that landed him in the slammer for a short time. In 1989, he was arrested for suspicion of driving drunk, but the charges were later reduced. Maybe crime doesn't pay, but it pays to have money.

James Brown "The Godfather of Soul” experienced some unwanted media attention in 1988. During a seminar in Georgia, James Brown entered the room armed with a shotgun and a pistol. After clearing the area, he sped off in a car with the police in pursuit. Three of the tires on his car were shot out, but Brown kept on driving on the rims, until he ended up in a ditch. Brown later said that he felt threatened by white officers. The judge sentenced him to six and a half years for aggravated assault and failing to stop for a police officer. He first went to jail at the young age of 15 after being accused of breaking into cars. When he was 70, he was arrested again for beating his fourth wife, so you can say that Brown’s life was full of ups and downs.


Paul McCartney Paul McCartney has always been considered the easy-going, wholesome type, but apparently he’s been a long-time fan of marijuana, whether it was legal or not. He reportedly began using marijuana around 1964 when he and the other Beatles were introduced to it by singer Bob Dylan in a hotel in New York. Sixteen years later, in 1980, McCartney had a run in with the law when he was caught with drugs at Tokyo airport. He was charged with trying to bring half a pound of marijuana into Japan. McCartney, or “Inmate #22” as he was known by prison guards, served only nine days, after which he was deported.

Tim Allen Allen is most recognized for his role on the sitcom Home Improvement, and for his voiceover work (Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story). The comedian and actor  pleaded guilty in 1978 to drug trafficking after being caught by an undercover agent with 1.4 pounds of cocaine at a Michigan airport. He ended up spending 28 months in prison for the offense. It could have been life, but Allen plea-bargained by giving the police the names of almost two dozen drug dealers in exchange for a lesser sentence.

Ozzy Osbourne You may not be surprised to learn that Ozzy Osbourne spent time in prison. But what's surprising is what he was actually arrested for.  In 1966, Ozzy was arrested for the theft of £25’s worth of items from a local store in England and sentenced to three months in an English prison.  Some of his other arrests have had to do with public intoxication and drugs. In 1982, he was picked up by police for urinating on the cenotaph that stands in front of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, which is something Texans didn't appreciate.