5 Celebrities Who Have Done Real Time in Prison 

Celebrities Who Did Time

Every so often, we're reminded that celebrities get special treatment, but they aren't immune from the law—at least not for long. The latest celebs to run into serious legal trouble are Todd and Julie Chrisley, stars of the reality show Chrisley Knows Best. The husband and wife were recently convicted of bank fraud and sentenced to twelve and seven years, respectively, in prison. "This sentencing serves notice that no matter a person's celebrity status, there are severe consequences for defrauding the American tax system," said an IRS investigator after the Chrisleys' sentencing. 

The list of other celebrities who've run afoul of the law and been sentenced to time behind bars isn't long, but it's definitely notable. Read on to find out more about five celebrities who've done real time in prison. 

1
Martha Stewart

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The homemaking expert was convicted of several felony charges related to insider stock trading in March 2004 and sentenced to five months in federal prison. Stewart served her sentence at a prison camp in West Virginia called "Camp Cupcake." Stewart has displayed a sense of humor about her imprisonment, tossing off R-rated jokes about it during a televised roast of Justin Bieber and showing off a nativity set she crafted behind bars. But it hasn't been all fun and games—Stewart was denied a visa to visit the UK because of her felony record. 

2
Robert Downey Jr.

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In 1999, the actor was sentenced to three years in prison for violating probation on drug charges. After serving a year in a California prison (where he earned eight cents an hour washing dishes), Downey qualified for early release. "Prison culture is really something that's hard to explain. It's opened my eyes to a lot," he said. "You see razor wire fences, you see a lot of correctional officers. Some armed, some not. All of whose job basically, is to protect society from you for the time being. And that sends a message."

3
Felicity Huffman

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The Desperate Housewives star pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the 2019 college entrance exam cheating scandal—she paid to have someone pose as her daughter to take the SAT. Her guilty plea resulted in a sentence of 14 days in prison, a fine, and one year of supervised release. She served 11 days and has lain low since. Full House star Lori Laughlin was sentenced to two months in prison in the same scandal. 

4
Lauryn Hill

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In the mid-'00s, the former Fugees frontwoman failed to pay nearly $3 million in state and federal taxes, which she said was done intentionally to "resist a system intentionally opposing [her] right to whole and integral survival." In 2013, she was sentenced to three months imprisonment out of a potential three years. Hill was released early for good behavior from a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut.

5
Tim Allen

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Home Improvement and Last Man Standing star Tim Allen almost torpedoed his own career before it started: He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in 1978 and served two years and four months in prison. "I just shut up and did what I was told," Allen said of his time in confinement. "It was the first time ever I did what I was told and played the game. I learned literally how to live day by day. And I learned how to shut up. You definitely want to learn how to shut up."

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