12 Stars Whose Parents Committed Horrible Crimes

If you think that all celebrity families are perfect, you need to think again. Some celebrities actually come from really chaotic homes and, in spite of this, they found ways to get past it and succeed in Hollywood. From drug smuggling to contract killings, some celebrities come from families where the parents had no respect for the law – which landed them in prison. While some of these parents were able to get back onto the straight and narrow, others weren’t so lucky. We have compiled a list of twelve celebrities whose parents committed some shocking and horrible crimes – check it out!

12. Terrence Howard

While unfortunately, actor Terrence Howard has had his own issues with law including multiple domestic violence incidents, it turns out that his childhood was also violent. Howard has admitted that his father was physically abusive when he was growing up, and while his father beat him, when he was only two years old he witnessed his father stab another man.

Terrence and his father Tyrone were in line waiting to see Santa Claus when another man accused them of cutting in line which began an argument between the man and Tyrone. Tyrone stabbed the man multiple times and he later died causing Tyrone to spend 11 months in jail for manslaughter.

Photo by Broadimage/REX Shutterstock

11. Charlize Theron

Before she became one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses, Charlize Theron’s childhood was something more likely to be seen on Dateline. Theron was born in Benoni, South Africa to Gerda and Charles Theron but it was not a loving home. Theron’s father was an angry alcoholic who threatened both Theron and her mother, but nothing serious happened until one night when she was 15.

Theron’s father reportedly grabbed his gun while drunk and began threatening both his daughter and his wife, before he eventually attacked Gerda. In response, Charlize’s mother grabbed another gun and shot and killed him. She was deemed innocent by self-defence and no charges were laid.

Dee Cercone/Everett Collection

10. Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj, born Onika Tanya Maraj, has been open about her trouble childhood, including that her parents would often fight which would include physical abuse towards each other. Police often visited their home and her father who was addicted to drugs and alcohol would often fly into rages, but it went too far one night.

When Minaj was only 5 years old her father became incredibly angry when her mother would not give him any money. He then attempted to burn their house down while her mother was still inside. Aside from that incident of attempted murder, Minaj has also detailed a time when her father pulled her mother out of a car and dragged her for two blocks.

Photo by David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

9. Judith Barsi

Many may not remember the name Judith Barsi, but they certainly remember her voice! Barsi was a child actress who was best known for voicing the character of Duckie in the Land Before Time films, before her untimely death at the hands of her father.

Barsi’s father Jozsef was a known alcoholic with many drinking and driving charges, but as his daughter’s fame increased, so did his drinking and temper. It became so bad that Barsi’s mother Maria finally reported him to the police for his threats of physical violence in 1986, but after they found no signs of physical abuse, it continued in their home. Then when Judith was only 10 years old, her father shot both her and her mother before burning their bodies. After doing so he shot himself a few days later.

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8. Hope Solo

Hope Solo has become known for being one of the most disliked athletes in the world, but her childhood still receives much empathy. After her parents were married for a short time, her father Jeffrey was arrested and imprisoned for embezzlement and during his time behind bars, Hope was conceived during a conjugal visit. From a young age, her father was in and out of her life following her parent’s divorce until one day he took both her and her brother to a baseball game.

Instead of going to the game, he drove them over three hours away to Seattle where they were for several days before police caught up to them and Jeffrey was arrested for kidnapping.

Broadimage / Rex Features

7. Demi Moore

Demi Moore’s upbringing was anything but rosy. Her parents split up before she was born, so she was raised by her mother and stepfather, who both drank heavily.

Her stepfather ended up committing suicide a couple of years after he separated from her mother while her mother went on to have a number of problems with the law. She was reportedly arrested on a number of different occasions for crimes including drunk driving and arson.

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6. Leighton Meester

Leighton Meester’s parents served time in a federal prison for their involvement in a drug ring that smuggled 1,200-pound shipments of marijuana from Jamaica to the U.S.

When Meester was born, her mother was in the process of serving her 10-year prison sentence. While she was given special permission to give birth in a hospital and nurse her daughter for three months in a halfway, she then had to go back to prison and finish her sentence.

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5. Dylan McDermott

In 1967, Dylan McDermott’s mother was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend/Dylan’s step father, John Sponza. Since Sponza was the only witness and denied any wrongdoing, her death was classified as an accidental shooting for four decades.

In 2012, police reopened the case and determined that she had been murdered. Police then revealed that they had enough evidence to press charges years ago, but in 1972 Sponza was found dead in the trunk of a car.

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4. Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson’s father – Charles Harrelson – was a well-paid hitman who, despite serving a prison sentence, continued to kill for money.

In 1973, he served five years out of a 15-year prison sentence for the murder of Sam Degelia Jr.; however, in 1979, he killed again for money. This time he murdered a Federal judge and was sentenced to two life sentences. Charles ended up dying in prison of a heart attack in 2007.

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3. Tobey Maguire

Tobey Maguire’s father reportedly robbed a bank across the street from the family’s house. He must not have been thinking clearly because he did in broad daylight without a mask or a weapon.

He was arrested an hour after he committed the crime and served two years in prison. He said that he felt the need to turn to robbery because his sister died and left him her two children to support. Since the incident, Maguire’s been a model citizen.

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2. Hayden Panettiere

Hayden Panettiere’s father was arrested for felony domestic violence back in 2008 after he struck her mother three times in the face with a closed first. According to police, a visible mark was left on her cheek.

Panettiere’s parents had been at a party at Eva Longoria’s restaurant, Beso, earlier that evening and police say that he felt disrespected by his wife, which led him to hit her a few times. Her father was charged with spousal battery and was placed on probation for two years.

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1. Kellie Pickler

Kellie Pickler’s childhood was anything but easy. Growing up, her father struggled with drug and alcohol addictions and he served a succession of prison stints. Her mother had her own legal troubles. She was convicted for prescription forgery and was charged with writing bad checks.

While her mother has stayed out of trouble, her father hasn’t. He served a three-year, nine-month prison sentence at Florida State Prison for aggravated assault and battery stemming from a 2003 stabbing incident.

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Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.