The Biggest Hollywood Scandals Over The Last 50 Years

The drama is not exclusive to the sets and stages of Hollywood.


1994–1995: O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ronald Goldman. He was acquitted after a 10-month trial that was widely televised.

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2003–2005: Michael Jackson is charged with child molestation. He was acquitted after a four-month trial that was a complete media spectacle.

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2005: Jennifer Aniston files for divorce from Brad Pitt after five years of marriage. Months later, he debuts his relationship with his Mr. & Mrs. Smith costar Angelina Jolie, who he was rumored to be having an affair with during filming.

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2009: Chris Brown was charged for assault in a domestic violence incident with then-girlfriend Rihanna. Photos of Rihanna’s injuries were leaked by someone close to the star.

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1973: Singer/songwriter Gram Parsons died at the age of 26 from causes that are unknown to this day. He previously expressed his desire to have his ashes scattered at Joshua Tree, but his family opted for a New Orleans burial instead. Phil Kaufman and Michael Martin, friends of Gram, were later arrested after stealing his body from LAX and driving it to Joshua Tree in a borrowed hearse. They attempted to cremate Gram by pouring gasoline all over the coffin, but the ensuing fire attracted police to the scene.

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2012, 2015: Whitney Houston is found dead in a bathtub during Grammy weekend 2012. Almost three years later, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown was found unconscious under eerily similar circumstances. Bobbi Kristina was in a coma for six months before her death. She was 22.

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1977: Elvis Presley is found dead in an upper room at his Graceland mansion. Officially ruled a heart attack, many believed drug abuse was involved.

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1995-1996: Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape was stolen and leaked on the early web. The couple would later sue Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione over the stolen tape.

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1992: Woody Allen admits he’s dating former stepdaughter, Soon-Yi Previn, amidst sexual assault allegations. The pair married in 1997.

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1997: Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match. Holyfield was rushed to the hospital for surgery, and Tyson faced a $3 million fine.

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2010: Sandra Bullock announces split from husband Jesse James after reports of infidelities became public, days after her Oscar win for The Blind Side. Later, it would be revealed the infidelities came out while the couple was in the process of adopting a son.

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1982: Ozzy Osbourne bit the head off a bat a fan threw on stage, assuming it was fake. It was not. People still debate whether the incident was real, fake, set up, or a total hoax.

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2007: Kim Kardashian and Ray J’s sex tape is leaked.

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1977: Roman Polanski, 43, was arrested and accused of drugging and raping 13-year-old Samantha Gailey during a photo shoot the previous night at Jack Nicholson’s Hollywood home.

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1989: Todd Bridges was arrested and charged with attempted murder. He was acquitted and later charged with assault with a firearm, of which he was also acquitted.

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2019–2022: R. Kelly is sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after being indicted on racketeering and sex trafficking charges.

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2006: Mel Gibson goes off on an anti-Semitic rant after being pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving. He was later charged with misdemeanor drunken driving, driving with an elevated blood alcohol level, and driving with an open container of alcohol in a car.

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1994: Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes is arrested after setting fire to boyfriend Andre Rison’s Atlanta home, leading to five years of probation.

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1978: Hogan’s Heroes star, Bob Crane, was found bludgeoned to death amid an extensive collection of explicit pornography.

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1984: Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father the day before his 45th birthday in an argument over insurance paperwork.

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2004–2005: Martha Stewart was arrested and charged with a number of felonies, including conspiracy and making false statements to investigators, resulting in a five-month stint in prison.

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1978: Sid Vicious attempts to die by suicide after being released from jail, when he was charged with the death of Nancy Spurgeon. He died of a drug overdose in early 1979.

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1994: Anna Nicole Smith marries 89-year-old oil baron J. Howard Marshall II at 26.


1996–2003: Robert Downey Jr. undergoes a number of arrests, including one for driving high and naked down the Sunset Strip throwing imaginary rats out of his car window. He does jail time and numerous rehab stints before meeting his now-wife, Susan Downey, and committing to sobriety.

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2019–2021: Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are charged with a massive college admissions cheating scam to get their children into the colleges of their choice. Both did federal jail time as a result.

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1984: Vanessa Williams resigns as Miss America after backlash for nude photos taken in 1982 that were later published in Penthouse.

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1972: Jane Fonda travels to Hanoi, Vietnam in the midst of the Vietnam War and implored members of the military to stop targeting farmland and civilian areas. She later apologized for insulting military members by insinuating they were exaggerating the conditions they faced in the country.

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2011: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver divorce after his affair with the family’s former housekeeper, Mildred Patricia Baena, came to light. It was revealed that Baena’s son was Arnold’s child, conceived while Shriver was pregnant with their youngest child and born just days apart.

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1977: Freddie Prinze dies by suicide in front of his manager at 22 years old.

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2012: Katie Holmes leaves Tom Cruise after five years of marriage.

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1987: Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey are involved in a fatal car crash in Ireland that led to the death of a mother and daughter. The accident took place just days before Dirty Dancing came out in theaters. Broderick was later convicted of careless driving.

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2009: Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift on stage as she accepts her MTV VMA, saying Beyonce deserved the award, beginning a very long, very weird feud.

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1975: Sonny & Cher announce their divorce after 13 years together and six years of marriage. Four days after it was finalized, Cher married Gregg Allman.

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1988: Rob Lowe’s sex tape with two Atlanta women, one who was underage at the time. Lowe denied having knowledge of her age and was never charged with a crime, but settled a lawsuit with her family.

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1992: Sinead O’Connor tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II while performing Bob Marley’s “War” on Saturday Night Live to comment on child abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

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2011: Charlie Sheen bragged about having “tiger blood” and #winning in a public meltdown.

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1988: Brenda Harvey Richie was arrested after allegedly catching Lionel Richie cheating on her with Diane Alexander and drop-kicking each of them. Police were said to have walked in on her assaulting Diane.

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1997: Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom was canceled after both the character and the comedian came out as gay.

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2018: Bill Cosby is charged with sexual assault after more than 50 women come forward with accusations. He was sentenced to a prison sentence that was later overturned.

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1974–1976: Elizabeth Tayor and Richard Burton get divorced (’74), remarry (’75), and split up again (’76).

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2014: Leaked security footage shows Solange Knowles assaulting brother-in-law Jay Z in the elevator leaving the 2014 Met Gala, with Beyoncé on board.

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1980: Paul McCartney was arrested in Japan for traveling with 7.7 ounces of marijuana. He was later released and deported.

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1989: Milli Vanilli were caught lip-synching in a live MTV performance and it was later revealed they weren’t the voices behind their biggest hits.

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2001: Winona Ryder is arrested for shoplifting at the Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

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1977: Farrah Fawcett leaves the hit series Charlie’s Angels after the first season and gets sued for breach of contract.

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2011: Kim Kardashian and Kris Humprhies get divorced after 72 days of marriage.

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