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Top 10 Celebrities Known More For Their Crimes Than Their Career

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Sadie Perkins

Just because you’re famous, doesn’t always mean you go free. From Chris Brown to Lindsay Lohan and R. Kelly, these stars’ crimes have completely overshadowed their work. WatchMojo is counting down the celebrities who are primarily known for their crimes.

Special thanks to our user WHoopes311 for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Celebrities%20Known%20For%20Their%20Crime%20Instead%20Of%20Their%20Career


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Script written by Sadie Perkins

Top 10 Celebrities Known More For Their Crimes Than Their Career

Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you get off scot-free. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrities Known for Their Crime Rather Than Their Career.

For this list, we’re looking at celebrity crimes that severely damaged or completely overshadowed the careers of those who committed them. And to be clear, the celeb must have been convicted of at least one crime.

#10: Chris Brown

For a while, it looked like the only direction Chris Brown was heading was up. His debut album sold over three million copies, and his singles regularly topped music charts around the world. But in 2009, the singer/songwriter’s reputation was damaged when it was revealed that he had physically assaulted his then-girlfriend, pop star Rihanna. Brown turned himself in, and even enlisted the help of a crisis management team to protect his image. However, after Brown pled guilty to felony assault, even his biggest fans had trouble forgiving him. Though he’s since released several albums, he hasn’t been able to escape the shadow of his crimes.

#9: Gary Glitter

This British glam rocker was well known in the 70s, especially for his song “Rock and Roll,” which became a radio and sporting venue mainstay. However the song, and Glitter himself, fell out of favor in 1999 when the musician received a 4-month prison sentence after being convicted of downloading child pornography. Years later, in 2006, Glitter was sent to prison again for child sexual abuse, but was released in 2008. Then, in 2015, his career was buried for good after an attempted rape conviction landed him prison for the third time, this time for 16 years. Needless to say, his rocking days are over.

#8: DMX

This rapper has a criminal track record as long as his discography. With charges ranging from tax evasion to animal cruelty to drug possession, DMX has almost spent more time in a courtroom than he has in the studio. It almost seems as though DMX has become a case study on celebrity crime rather than a rapper and songwriter. Considering he allegedly owes almost $2 million in back taxes and is facing fraud-related charges that could land him 44 years behind bars, it doesn’t look like “X” will be givin’ it to ya anytime soon.

#7: Lindsay Lohan

Plagued by issues with alcoholism and drug abuse, this former child-star’s life seems to have spiraled out of control on more occasions than one. Bouncing in and out of rehab and battling charges for an infamous jewelry theft, DUI, and drug possession, Lohan’s on-camera breakdowns have almost become synonymous with her name. However, in recent years the young starlet has seemed to be a little steadier than normal… fans can only hope her legal troubles have faded as she’s matured.

#6: R. Kelly

Though he’s considered one of the most successful R&B singers of his time, the horrific allegations and charges laid against R. Kelly cast a dark shadow over his fame. Charged with battery at a nightclub in 1996, Kelly’s rap sheet also includes more serious allegations, including marrying an underage girl in secret and having sexual relationships with other young girls. Troubles for Kelly continued when an alleged sex tape of him urinating on and having sex with yet another underage girl surfaced. In the end, the musician was found not guilty of all child pornography charges, but even so his rep is tarnished in the eyes of many.

#5: Oscar Pistorius

A former Paralympic champion, Pistorius made headlines across the globe after the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. After claiming he’d shot and killed her because he thought she was a burglar, the sprinter was found guilty and sentenced, first to 5 years in prison, then later to 6 after a re-trial, and eventually to 15 years less time served. Rumors began to fly about the once-successful and well-liked athlete after South African police admitted they’d had dealings with him before the murder, smudging his golden boy reputation. No longer solely known as an inspirational sprinter, Pistorius now wears the label of “murderer.”

#4: Aaron Hernandez

In another case of pro-athlete turned murderer, former New England Patriots tight end Hernandez experienced his fair share of run-ins with the law before his death in 2017. Labeled as a person of interest in several shootings and murders before his ultimate conviction, it wasn’t until the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013 that Hernandez was found guilty. With the Patriots issuing a statement and releasing Hernandez only 90 minutes after he was arrested, his NFL career was over. 5 days after he was convicted, Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell.

#3: Jerry Sandusky

A convicted child molester and serial rapist, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky had his once positive reputation blown out of the water when one of his victims had the courage to speak up. When a former student of Sandusky’s came forward with allegations of sexual abuse, it prompted many more of the former coach’s victims to come forward with their own stories, launching a scandal. Sandusky was sentenced to 60 years in prison and was classified a sexually violent predator, for many destroying any memory of what he’d done in the football world.

#2: Phil Spector

Formerly working with huge names in music like the Beatles, Leonard Cohen, the Ramones, and the Crystals, Phil Spector isn’t remembered today for the music he made – he’s remember for the murder he committed. Killing actress Lana Clarkson in his home in 2003, the gun-obsessed Spector vehemently denied all blame for the incident, citing it as an “accidental suicide”. However, after being convicted of the murder, Spector was sentenced to 19 to life in state prison. He may’ve been talented in a recording studio, but now the hits he produced are simply no longer his claim to fame.

#1: O. J. Simpson

Though he walked away from his infamous double murder trial a free man with a not guilty verdict, O.J. Simpson will forever be remembered for his time in court, not his time on the football field. Despite the fact that he was once one of the best running backs the NFL had ever seen, a popular spokesperson and even an actor, O.J.’s internationally sensationalized criminal trial meant that a large portion of the population saw him as a criminal who’d escaped justice. But that changed when he broke into a hotel room in 2007 and threatened its occupants with a gun. Simpson was arrested again, charged with kidnapping and armed robbery, and sent to jail – until he was granted parole in 2017.

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