8 Celebrities Who Would Fail a Background Check

Celebrities seem to think they’re more or less invincible when it comes to the law, as most of the time, they get off without any real jail time. However, if their Hollywood careers were to crumble, they might find themselves in a pinch to get another respectable job. Background checks are often administered by companies during the interviewing process to determine whether or not the potential employee has any criminal history or bad credit. Many celebrities have criminal records, often dealing with drugs, violence, and even public indecency. These qualities don’t bode well when applying for a job. If they rake up too many charges, even Hollywood is less inclined to hire them, with the concern that their drug habits will compromise their ability to act.

  1. Mark Wahlberg

    Mark Wahlberg was quite the troubled teenager, and after bouts with a gang and attempted murder, was sentenced to two years in jail. Some of his crimes involve assaulting a group of black schoolchildren, assaulting a Vietnamese man, and assaulting a neighbor, all of which occurred without even being provoked. One of these assaults ended up earning him the charge of attempted murder; the beating was so severe. His frequent run-ins with the Boston Police Department likely didn’t help his case. All of this happened when Wahlberg was 16 years old or younger, and he has since transformed his life. He professes that prison changed him for the better, to a man of faith who takes full responsibility for his actions as a teen. However, he’s lucky that his talents earned him a career in acting, as most business career potential would have likely been completely unobtainable with such a record.

  2. Lindsay Lohan

    Lindsay Lohan has suffered several public DUI charges and has been charged with possession of cocaine a handful of times. The 26-year-old actress has been in and out of rehab more times than you can count. She’s also been to jail, albeit for very short stretches, on multiple occasions. She’s blamed her father for her drug usage, which isn’t particularly flattering for a grown woman to do. The starlet’s struggles with partying, illegal and prescription drugs, and alcohol have damaged her career considerably. Lohan has either started work on or been prospectively cast for several movies before dropping out of the role because of drug problems, and she’s becoming less and less desirable to hire. Why would directors want to hire someone who has proven themselves to be completely unreliable? To major film production companies, she’s untouchable. However, her career may be able to stay afloat via smaller production companies willing to take the risk for the press that comes along with hiring a complete train wreck.

  3. Wesley Snipes

    Actor Wesley Snipes will probably have a tough time passing a background check, as he was sent to prison in 2010 for tax evasion. Snipes’ sentence is for three years, and he was originally convicted in 2008, but spent several years unsuccessfully trying to fight the charges. He now resides in McKean Federal Correctional Institution in Lewis Run, Pennsylvania. There’s very little that is more irritating than a wealthy celebrity deciding they can forgo their taxes, especially when Snipe’s income for the tax-neglected period was an estimated $13 million. Reportedly, the prison that he was sent to is among the more luxurious prisons, which is no surprise considering Snipes’ celebrity status. For some reason, a career in Hollywood often equates to quite a bit of pampering, even in the most dismal times.

  4. O.J. Simpson

    The former football star and actor was first tried for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. The trial has been one of the most infamous, publicized trials of all time, and lasted more than nine months between 1994 and 1995. He was acquitted, but many people believe that he was indeed guilty. To make matters worse, Simpson released a book in 2006 entitled If I Did It, which explores the “hypothetical” way he would have committed the murders. Simpson may have not landed jail time for the murder case, but in 2007, he was imprisoned for committing armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel. He is currently in the process of serving his 33-year sentence with potential for life in prison. During the interim between his first famous trial and his eventual sentence to prison, one would think Simpson had a rough time finding any sort of employment. His record has been anything but clean.

  5. George Michael

    Pop star George Michael has had the unfortunate and embarrassing privilege of being arrested for masturbating in a public restroom and soliciting a police officer, carrying drugs in his car, and having drugs on him in a public restroom. If Michaels could simply quit taking his illegal activity to very public places, maybe his luck wouldn’t be so miserable with the law. But as it stands, he has served time for the habit and will likely live with some amount of public scorn for the remainder of his career. Like most celebrities who serve time for their self-indulgent, irresponsible actions, he’ll be able to continue to support himself because of his celebrity status and career as a musician, which is very forgiving of lawbreakers. However, in the real world, Michael would be blacklisted from most jobs that do any sort of criminal background check.

  6. Hugh Grant

    British bumbling heartthrob Hugh Grant was arrested in 1995 after being caught shacked up in his car with a prostitute. The star could not have been engaging in “indecent acts” in a much more public location, as the pair parked on Sunset Boulevard. While the charge was a misdemeanor with, at most, potential for six months in jail and a hefty fine, Grant’s reputation was hurt the worst. One also has to wonder why the star would need to solicit sex from a prostitute while dating the bombshell Elizabeth Hurley. A misdemeanor charge may not be the worst thing you can have on your record, but the nature of Grant’s crime would not be something I’d be too excited about showing up on a background check.

  7. Robert Downey Jr.

    In June of 1996, Robert Downey Jr. was arrested for drug possession, drunk driving, and possession of a weapon. Among the drugs he had on him were heroin, crack, and cocaine. He was sentenced to three years’ probation, but violated parole in 1997, which resulted in a six-month jail sentence. In 2000, Downey was arrested yet again for a DUI, as well as possession of cocaine and Valium. Subsequently, he received another DUI in 2001. With so many arrests in such a short span of time, it’s hard to take Downey seriously as an actor. Perhaps this is why he wasn’t in a whole lot of blockbuster hits in the late 1990s. The actor has been to rehab on various occasions, and has been refreshingly frank about his struggles with drugs and alcohol. In February of this year, his wife gave birth to his first child, Exton Elias Downey, who he hopes to be a better man for.

  8. Pee-Wee Herman

    Paul Reubens, also known as Pee-Wee Herman, was arrested in 1991 for indecent exposure while masturbating in an adult movie theater. Reubens plead no contest and didn’t serve any time, but the public scrutiny he received hit his career especially hard given that he worked in the child entertainment field. Reubens laid low for most of the 1990s, participating in mostly voice-acting roles that got less publicity. Then, in 2002, Reubens’ home was searched by police under a warrant and he was charged with possession of child pornography. These charges were dropped in 2004. Oddly, as of recent, Reubens is working on a comeback as Pee-Wee Herman, hoping to appeal to a generation that is not familiar with the show. It seems like a  strange choice, considering his multiple run-ins with the law over sexually explicit charges, but perhaps there’s not much else out there that Reubens can do. He certainly wouldn’t be my top choice for a new hire after running a background check.