From Jail Cells to Red Carpets: Celebrities Whose Parents’ Criminal Pasts Didn’t Define Them

By Krystal Brown

We know that celebrities are only human, and they are entitled to make mistakes. However, these celebrities have criminal parents and we’re just as shocked as you will be. 

Keanu Reeves

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Keanu has had a really tough life. His father, Samuel Reeves, was arrested whilst trying to sell heroin. He was subsequently sentenced to 10 years but only served two of those years. Keanu’s father admitted to struggling with a heroin addiction for 20 years. Keanu has very little contact with his father, which is probably best considering the circumstances. 

Charlize Theron

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Charlize’s father was an alcoholic and would become angry at times, however, nothing serious happened until Charlize was 15. Her father began shooting his gun one night and had threatened to kill both Charlize and her mother. Her mother then grabbed a gun, shot and killed Charles. 

Kellie Pickler

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Best known for her appearance on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, Kellie Pickler’s father has had a long battle with alcoholism, which ultimately led to his arrest in 2003. He was caught for assault and battering in regards to a stabbing. Kellie has remained supportive of her father and states that he isn’t a criminal, just had a few problems with alcohol. 

Terrance Howard

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At the tiny age of 2, Terrance and his father were in a line to sit on Santa’s knee. However, an altercation broke out between Terrance’s father and another man. What was alleged to have happened was that the other man had hit Tyrone (Terrance’s father) multiple times in the pelvic region which made him bleed. Tyrone then stabbed the man many times, and the man died. Tyrone served 11 months in prison for manslaughter. 

Leighton Meester

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Meester was actually born to a criminal in a hospital and then spent a few months in a halfway house before her mother went back to prison in order to serve her drug trafficking sentence. Leighton’s mom took part in a massive drug ring which was transporting marijuana from the US to Jamaica. 

Jackie Chan

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Best known as a martial arts expert, Jackie Chan had a rough bringing up. His mother was caught by police for selling opium in order to survive. The police who stopped her gave her the opium back after hearing her story and later became Jackie’s father. Jackie’s mom was then a gambling addict and had a string of wins, but when this went downhill, she resorted to pawning everything she owned. 

Woody Harrelson

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It is well known what Woody Harrelson’s father was like. Charles was a convicted hitman who murdered Judge John Wood. A drug lord hired Charles in order to murder the judge who was overseeing his trial. 

Drew Barrymore

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We know all too well that Drew was on drugs from a young age and had to grow up really quickly. However, this stemmed from her poor childhood with her father serving time in jail for multiple drink driving crimes and domestic abuse. He was also involved in street brawls and the possession of marijuana. 

Nicki Minaj

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Known for her confidence and power, Nicki has a troubled childhood which she has talked about in the past. Her parents would always yell and fight each other, which she would witness. Her father was addicted to crack and he would fly into a rage really quickly. Nicki’s father, Robert, tried to burn down their marital home with her mom still in there. He had also pulled her mom out of a car and dragged her on the floor for two blocks. 

Tobey Maguire 

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Tobey doesn’t speak out too much about his childhood apart from the fact his parents were young when he was born and there were custody battles ongoing. However, there are alleged claims that his father was arrested in 1993 for robbing a bank. For this, Vincent was jailed for two years. 

Lilly Allen

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Lilly Allen the famous British singer and who is married to David Harbour. Her father‘s life has been marked by a series of arrests and involvement in illegal activities, often linked to drugs, alcohol, vandalism, and violence. Notably, Keith served time in prison for his involvement in damaging the iconic Zanzibar club in the 1980s.

Lindsay Lohan

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Michael Lohan, the father of Lindsay Lohan, has a history of involvement in various criminal activities. He has been convicted of insider trading and violating probation, which resulted in a jail sentence. Additionally, he has faced charges for domestic violence, leading to his arrest at least once.

Hayden Panettiere

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Hayden experienced a difficult situation when she was 18, as her father Skip, was imprisoned for spousal battery. Subsequently, her parents ended up divorcing in 2012.

Hope Solo

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The goalkeeper, had a challenging journey to success. Her father’s presence was inconsistent during her childhood, as he frequently entered and left her life. Hope was conceived while her father was serving time for embezzlement in jail. Additionally, when Hope and her brother were young, her father abducted them from a baseball game.

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