Robert Downey Jr.
The Crime: The future superhero and crime fighter spent much of his time between 1996 and 2001 in the slammer for drug use and possession. The actor explained his substance abuse was down to his father, also an addict, who had fed him drugs from the age of eight.
"It's like I have a loaded gun in my mouth and my finger's on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal,” he once said of his addiction.
The Time: In 1999, after failing to turn up for a drug test, Downey Jr. was sentenced to three years imprisonment in California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran, California. He spent a year there before being released.
What Happened Next? Only one of the most unlikely comebacks ever. Having been fired from numerous jobs (including Ally McBeal), Downey Jr. became a born again celebrity thanks to low-key jobs that re-established him as a man that could be trusted again.
He’s now one of Hollywood’s most beloved kooky characters.
The Crime: Famously acquitted in 1995 when put on trial for the murder of his wife, Simpson evaded jail at that time. Two years later he was charged $33m in damages for battery, then in 2007 he admitted raiding a hotel-casino for sports memorabilia.
The Time: First jailed for violating the terms of his bail, Simpson was then condemned to 33 years in jail, with the possibility of parole in just nine.
What Happened Next? Love springs from the most unlikely of places, and now it appears that Simpson has found love again – he’s set to wed his pen pal. Who he’s never met. Described as a young blonde, she looks spookily like his late wife Nicole.
The Crime: A catalogue if driving offences led to the socialite-turned-actress being hurled into the slammer. In 2006 she was caught driving under the influence and had her license suspended. Just four months later she was caught driving anyway, then a month after that she was apprehended doing 70mph in a 30 zone.
The Time: Having been found to be violating the terms of her probation, Hilton was sentenced to spend 45 days in Lynwood Jail. A campaign was started beseeching Arnold Schwazenegger to pardon her. Eventually, she went into prison the same night as partying up at the MTV Movie Awards.
What Happened Next? Hilton served just 23 days before she was released, then dragged before a court hearing, and ordered to serve the rest of those 45 days in jail. She eventually emerged happy to have lost 10 pounds – see, at least she learned something…
The Crime: Gibson has had a long history of alcohol abuse, which he states stems from the fact that he’s a manic depressive. Though he has been charged and fined numerous times for his bouts of drunkenness, he has never served time.
Just last week, however, an investigation was launched after Gibbo’s former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva claimed that he assaulted her. RadarOnline report that his tirade included him screaming "You look like a f******* pig in heat and if you get raped by a pack of n****** it will be your fault" at Grigorieva.
The Time: The case is ongoing, but if the allegations are proven, Gibson could see himself banged up for domestic abuse.
What Happened Next? The LA Sheriff’s Department confirmed that an investigation was opened last Monday. “I can confirm there is an investigation,” they say, “It was brought to our attention by the alleged victim.” Stay tuned…
The Crime: Child star Culkin proved he was no longer the adorable little Home Alone pup when, in 2004, he was arrested in Oklahoma City for possessing 17.3g of Marijuana as well as prescription drugs. He also proved he was a cool cat: he was listening to Huey Lewis And The News when he was caught.
"Everything that I do for some reason becomes this big crazy thing, you know, even though any normal person does it. Like, yes I'm a kid, I had a beer, I smoked a joint. Big deal," Culkin said at the time.
The Time: Culkin got himself out of jail pretty sharpish by posting a $4,000 bond.
What Happened Next? In 2005 he was awarded a deferred sentence and ordered to pay a $940 fine because he was not an “abuser”. Culkin is dating Family Guy ’s Mila Kunis, and recently appeared in an ad for Orange Broadband as an actor in a prison drama.
The Crime: Carrying a concealed weapon, according to the official police report. Pacino, aged just 21, was apprehended on 7 January 1961 and banged up for said concealed weapon. He was with two others, wearing a black mask and gloves, and had been circling the neighbourhood “looking suspicious”.
He told police that he was on the way to an acting job and needed the weapon for his performance.
The Time: Al spent three days behind bars; the charges were later dropped.
What Happened Next? Um, an Oscar win, a further seven nominations, and one of the most celebrated acting careers this side of Robert De Niro.
The Crime: Another load of DUI arrests led to bad girl Michelle becoming a bag girl. First up, though, came an assault charge in 2002, when Michelle’s roommate had the star arrested for battery. The charges were later dropped.
It was a year later in 2003 that Michelle’s first DUI arrest came, as well as a hit and run charge. She pleaded no contest, served 48 hours in jail, and completed community service in two New York morgues (ick).
Two years later, more speeding fines caused havoc with Michelle during her time shooting Lost …
The Time: In 2006, Michelle was sentenced to spend 60 days in jail, attend a 30 day alcohol programme and complete 30 days of community service, thanks to her latest DUI charge. She spent one day in jail thanks to overcrowding, and was banged up for a further 18 in 2007 – a fraction of the 180 she was sentenced to, again thanks to over-stuffed jails.
What Happened Next? Michelle’s bad girl reputation only got her more Hollywood roles – she played tough in Avatar and will next be seen in Machete . Evidently crime pays.
The Crime: Rourke exudes cool at the worst of times – which means when he was arrested for a DUI offence in 2007, he was of course atop a Vesper in Miami Beach. Dang, he’s just too cool.
"I'm not drunk. I didn't even drink that much," he told the arresting officer when he was apprehended at 4am. "I think I made a bad left turn and then I guess I said the F-word," he later told the news. "He got pissed off and, because of who I am, they kind of sandbagged me."
The Time: Barely even 12 hours – Rourke posted a $1,000 bond and skipped all the way home (we assume).
What Happened Next? Another remarkable career comeback; Rourke is now even more in demand than he was in the ‘80s. Proving he’s not afraid of the big house, Rourke even visited a Russian prison as research for his role in Iron Man 2 .
The Crime: Ryder was caught red-handed when she decided to thieve expensive goods from Saks 5th Avenue in Beverly Hills. She pinched $4,000 worth of threads – and remained adamant that she was doing it as research for a role.
A guard witnessed the actress cutting security tags off clothes while she was in the changing room – and she was found to be carrying eight different types of prescription painkillers when she was apprehended.
The Time: Ryder escaped jail, the judge instead demanding she atone for her sins by doing charity work. 480 hours of the stuff. We bet she’d rather have hone to prison.
"If you steal again you will go to jail. Do you understand that?" said judge Elden Fox.
What Happened Next? The year after her arrest, Ryder appeared in her most commercially successful movie ever, Mr. Deeds alongside Adam Sandler. She's kept a relatively low profile since, though appearances in Star Trek , A Scanner Darkly and The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee show she's still got it.
She should make waves with Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan when it's released later this year.
The Crime: "I'm still young and I'm still learning but that doesn't mean that what they say is true, that I'm getting messed up and all this crazy stuff and that I'm constantly partying or whatever."
Okay, Linds, if you say so. Party animal Lindsay Lohan has a catalogue of run-ins with the law so big that you could cut windows into it and make it into a house. Frankly, it would take too long to go into all of them (and really, we don’t care enough), but suffice to say she’s spent the last five years drinking, driving, not appearing for court hearings and generally being a right nuisance.
The Time: Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail for not attending alcohol rehabilitation classes and testing positive for alcohol consumption nine times. Clearly the judge was tired of her mediocre performances in court.
“It’s like someone who cheats but doesn’t think it’s cheating if they don’t get caught,” the condemner said.
What Happened Next? We expect Lohan will be released after nine days for good behaviour. Hopefully she’ll do the right thing and give former wild child Drew Barrymore a call for some advice. More likely she’ll meet up with Paris Hilton, share jailbird tales and continue on her tragic downward trajectory.