The Most Infamous Celebrity Mugshots

It might sound surprising, but mugshots have actually been around for quite a while. The oldest cameras date back to the early 1800s, and by the 1850s, some police departments in the United States were already using them to keep track of arrested people. Some, like the New York City Police Department, would even publish books of criminals' mugshots for the public, who could then be on alert about various local thieves and ne'er-do-wells. Still, it took a few decades into the 1880s to formalize what most would consider today to be the standard mugshot, consisting primarily of an individual's upper half.

Over the years, countless people have had their mugshots taken after being arrested, including some of the most important people in history. Famous (or infamous) former leaders like Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Benito Mussolini all had their mugshots taken as young men, as did gangsters like Al Capone. 

With the growth of mass media and improvements in communication technology, celebrity mugshots are now like gasoline for the media fire. In some cases, these mugshots will stick with the celebrity for years, haunting them as ugly reminders. Looking back, from Donald Trump to Tim Allen, these are some of the most infamous celebrity mugshots.

Donald Trump

On August 24, 2023, former President Donald Trump once again made presidential history. That Thursday, he became the first U.S. president ever to be arrested and have a mugshot taken. The charges stemmed from allegations related to the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to President Joe Biden. Though he served his presidency in Washington D.C., Trump turned himself in for arrest in Fulton County, Georgia, which is where state charges against him were filed.

Trump's arrest took relatively little time, and he was in and out in under a half-hour. In addition to getting a booking photo, he also had his fingerprints taken, and there was actually a crowd of supporters waiting at the jail for him when he showed up. Following his arrest, Trump's mugshot was displayed on virtually every major newspaper and news program, and Trump even posted the picture to X (formerly known as Twitter) — the first time he had even used the service in over two years.

Trump's photo was undoubtedly historic, but for all the wrong reasons. With his arrest, Trump joined a pretty horrendous list of former world leaders to have been booked and charged criminally after their term ended, including infamous dictators Manuel Noriega and Augusto Pinochet. For his part, prosecutors charged Trump with 13 felonies, and he was one of just 19 co-conspirators accused of trying to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. A week later, on August 31, 2023, Trump officially pleaded not guilty to all charges.

James Brown

Widely known as the "Godfather of Soul," James Brown had a night he probably regretted on January 28, 2004. That evening, he found himself under arrest after an incident between him and his wife, Tomi Rae Brown. James and Tomi Rae had been married since 2001, but were reportedly separated in the summer of 2003, though it seems by that January they were living jointly again. They had a son together who was two and a half years old at the time of the incident, James Joseph Brown II.

The charges facing James were for domestic violence against Tomi Rae. James was 70 years old when the arrest occurred, while Tomi Rae was less than half his age at 34, and it was alleged that he pushed her to the ground. James' 2004 charges were not his first relating to domestic violence, as he was previously arrested in 1988 after allegedly hitting his former wife Adrienne Brown, though she would later recant her accusations.

While certainly not as troubling as the charges, James' appearance in his mugshot was quickly mocked and ridiculed by the media. It was jolting to see him so bedraggled in the photo, and The Washington Post described his hair as being in "utter disarray" and "like a mound of carved statuary dislodged from its base." James later pleaded guilty and forfeited over $1,000 in bond but did not go to jail, and claimed he had not tried to hurt his wife.

Randy Travis

In the summer of 2012, legendary country music singer Randy Travis found himself in trouble with the law, resulting in one of the most infamous modern celebrity mugshots. Earlier in the year, in February, Travis had run into problems when he was arrested for public intoxication in Sanger, Texas, and he was still serving his 90-day deferred sentence when he was again put behind bars on August 7, 2012. What really makes Travis' arrest and mugshot stand out is that apparently, Travis was not only under the influence of alcohol when officers found him, but he did not take well to being put into custody. 

Officers were called to investigate someone lying in a roadway, when they found Travis, who had just crashed his car. For some inexplicable reason, Travis was completely naked when police arrived at the scene, and by the time his mugshot was taken, he was also suffering from several cuts and a black eye. In addition to being charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), he was also charged with felony retaliation against the arresting officers after allegedly threatening to kill them.

More unfortunately for Travis, the entire arrest was captured on a police dash cam, which was later released in 2017. Travis unsuccessfully tried to keep it from becoming public, and it showed him praying for the arresting officers to get cancer. Travis would later plead guilty to DWI and receive a suspended jail sentence and two years of probation.

Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn has certainly played a lot of roles in his career, but for a few hours on the morning of April 12, 2001, he found himself trying on a new act: jail inmate. Prior to his arrest, Vaughn was shooting a movie with Steve Buscemi, and the pair decided to go out to a local bar in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, with screenwriter Scott Rosenberg. At some point, Rosenberg and Vaughn got into a violent altercation and were arrested, and Buscemi was also a victim of multiple stab wounds.

The stabber, Timothy Fogerty, was placed under arrest and faced a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He was later sentenced to two years in prison, though most of it was suspended. According to reports, Fogerty was threatening Buscemi with the knife before stabbing him. This led to Vaughn getting into a physical altercation with one of Fogerty's friends, resulting in Vaughn's arrest for misdemeanor assault. At some point, Vaughn was also maced by police during the fight.

The news of Vaughn's arrest quickly made the news, and it disrupted the filming of the movie after Buscemi had to leave the state to get plastic surgery. About two months later, Vaughn appeared in court on the assault charges, where he entered into an Alford plea — meaning he did not admit guilt — and was banned from going to any more downtown Wilmington bars for an unspecified length of time.

Paul Reubens

As a beloved children's star, Paul Reubens' 1991 arrest on exposure charges was one of the most shocking in Hollywood history. For years, Reubens had made a name for himself as the titular character Pee-wee Herman on the kid's show "Pee-wee's Playhouse," where he played the zany and lovable host of the program. Yet, just as the show was ending, Reubens' infamous arrest happened, putting a pretty big damper on his career.

The police claimed that Reubens was engaged in a sexual act while watching an explicit film at an adult movie theater in his hometown of Sarasota, Florida, and they charged him with indecent exposure. Though he denied the allegations, Reubens was booked and photographed, leading to his now ignominious mugshot. Immediately, press outlets jumped on the news, quickly juxtaposing Reubens' real-life arrest with the child-like nature of his character on the show. Some of the commotion came over Reubens' appearance, with long hair, a goatee, and thick glasses, which completely contrasted with the straight-laced and makeup-covered Herman that fans were used to seeing on TV.

Reubens was not the only person that police arrested that day at the adult theater, but he was the only one who was famous. A few months later, he pleaded no contest and received a small fine. Reubens always maintained his innocence, but his career never recovered, and the mugshot and arrest always followed him. He died in July 2023 at the age of 70.

John Gotti

While not a celebrity in the traditional sense, John Gotti was one of the most infamous mobsters and criminals in American history. Gotti was a longtime mafioso who, by the 1980s, was one of the most visible and powerful gangsters in New York City. With nicknames like the "Dapper Don" and the "Teflon Don," Gotti was known for his ability to evade justice, despite his many arrests. There were even exposes written on him in newspapers that highlighted his so-called celebrity status and seeming popularity among the public.

However, all of that changed on December 11, 1990, when federal agents arrested Gotti while he was eating at a restaurant in Little Italy. The next day, Gotti's name and picture were all over the front page of The New York Times, again, this time showing him being dragged out of the restaurant by FBI agents. His official mugshot showed him smiling, looking supremely confident in beating the charges once again, but he would turn out to be very wrong.

December 11th would be the last time that Gotti was ever arrested, and he was convicted less than two years later in April 1992 on charges including murder and racketeering and later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His final mugshot is the most infamous, as he never needed another, and his false confidence was to be betrayed by the final verdict. Gotti died in 2002 of cancer while still in prison.

Heather Locklear

While it's bad enough to have one infamous celebrity mugshot, Heather Locklear has the distinction of having two pretty notable ones. What's worse, they both happened within a few tumultuous months of each other. Locklear's first arrest occurred in late February of 2018, when she kicked numerous deputies who had been dispatched to investigate an argument. Her second arrest took place at the end of June, and once again it seems like she had gotten into some sort of physical altercation with police.

For the first incident, police charged Locklear with felony domestic violence and three counts of misdemeanor battery of an emergency worker. Her June arrest led to two more misdemeanors for battery of an emergency worker, and both situations required a substantial $20,000 in bail before she was released. Locklear's arrests quickly made headlines on different news stations, and both of her mugshots started circulating around. Locklear later pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from both incidents, and eventually both cases were merged, resulting in Locklear facing a total of eight misdemeanor charges relating to battery and resisting arrest.

Locklear ended up pleading no contest in the end, and served 30 days in a residential treatment program. The arrests were bad enough, but with them both involving battery on an emergency worker, Locklear put herself in a poor and rarified light. Since her arrest, Locklear's career in Hollywood has largely stalled, and she has since appeared in just one made-for-TV movie.

Stormy Daniels

At the time of her arrest in 2018, adult film star Stephanie Clifford, widely known by her stage name Stormy Daniels, was already one of the hottest names in the media cycle, but her brief incarceration sent things into the stratosphere. Clifford came to widespread attention earlier in 2018, when it was reported that she was a former mistress of then-President Donald Trump. The report claimed she had allegedly been paid to keep secret about an affair they had together before he was elected, which Trump denied.

The circumstances of her arrest were that Clifford was working at a gentleman's club in Columbus, Ohio, when Columbus police cuffed her for illegal sexually oriented activity. However, even though her arrest and mugshot quickly went viral, the police dropped the charges a day later, claiming they had made a mistake. Unfortunately, the arrest had already been made, and the police officers' flimsy evidence for making it would come back to haunt them. 

Daniels filed a lawsuit against the police department, saying they specifically targeted and arrested her based on her negative association with Trump and their support for him. She later settled the lawsuit for $450,000, and four of the vice officers involved in her arrest were later reprimanded. Two of them were fired, the other two were suspended, and the vice unit was subsequently disbanded.

Justin Bieber

On January 23, 2014, Justin Bieber was making headlines for his actions in Miami Beach, but they had little to do with his music career. Just 19 years old at the time, Bieber found himself under arrest for multiple charges, including DUI and resisting arrest. According to police, Bieber and another accomplice were racing their high-end luxury cars when a police officer spotted them and pulled them over. Bieber was not exactly cooperative with police when they started questioning him, using profanities and becoming somewhat belligerent.

Bieber then failed a roadside sobriety test before being taken into custody, along with the other driver, Khalil Sharieff. Bieber was allegedly going nearly double the 30 mph speed limit when he was pulled over, and was released on bond later that day after seeing a judge. At the time, Bieber seemed relatively unbothered by the fact that he was in custody, including smiling in his mugshot, though it would turn out that he was under the influence of marijuana, Xanax, and alcohol at the time, none of which were legal due to his young age.

Prosecutors later reduced the charges against Bieber after he pleaded guilty, but the arrest and mugshot still haunted him for years. In 2021, on the seven-year anniversary of the incident, Bieber posted to his personal Instagram account, reflecting on how far he had come since that night and expressing remorse over his behavior.

Vince Shlomi

While most people know Vince Shlomi as the guy from the Shamwow! and Slap Chop infomercials, it was his 2009 mugshot that really earned him headlines worldwide. Shlomi found himself under arrest back in February 2009, after getting into an altercation with an alleged sex worker in Miami, Florida. An Israeli-American, Shlomi had come to prominence a few years earlier, on the back of his idiosyncratic infomercials hawking his products, and by 2009, he was getting big enough that he was able to start hiring more employees. However, the ensuing downtime inadvertently led to his arrest.

That February, Shlomi allegedly paid a female sex worker named Sasha Harris a substantial amount for her time, but at some point things went wrong, which may have been the result of a drinking binge. Shlomi and Harris started fighting after Harris was said to have bitten Shlomi, and his mugshot showed him with blood on his face and lips. When news about the scandal broke, the press quickly latched onto Shlomi's fame as a salesman, making jokes about using the Shamwow! to absorb the blood from his fight.

Neither Shlomi nor Harris ended up facing charges over the incident, but the mugshot has followed him around like a bad habit for years. Since then, Shlomi has made amends, taking responsibility for his actions and cleaning his life up to avoid any more bad arrests.

Tiger Woods

When police arrested professional golfer Tiger Woods back on May 29, 2017, it took barely a few hours before his mugshot was already headline news on major websites. Woods was arrested at 3 a.m. that morning, and by 10 a.m., news outlets were reporting the details. Reports indicated that Woods was driving in Florida when he was taken into custody, and he immediately blamed his predicament on prescription medications he had been on. Woods was at least cooperative with police and did not try to fight them, and he immediately expressed remorse over the incident.

While Woods' reputation had by then already been diminished, due to the scandal over his extramarital affairs a few years earlier, the mugshot and arrest were still pretty shocking for the public and went against Woods' relatively clean image. As reported by NBC, when the toxicology report later came out, it revealed that Woods was not just under the influence of prescription medications like Xanax, Zolpidem, and Ambien, but that he also had marijuana in his system.

Woods pleaded guilty to DUI a few months later in August, avoiding jail time, but getting fined $250 and sentenced to community service and diversion. Still, that didn't stop his mugshot from being widely circulated to the masses, forever etching it in the minds of sports fans everywhere.

Mel Gibson

On July 28, 2006, famous actor Mel Gibson was arrested for suspicion of DUI, and it turned into one of the most infamous incidents in his entire life. According to transcripts of the police report originally released by TMZ (via the Los Angeles Times), police found an open container of tequila in his car, and Gibson became agitated and concerned once he realized that he was going to be placed under arrest. He started to act unruly and belligerent, directing copious amounts of profanity against the officer, and somewhat bizarrely making several antisemitic remarks.

Not only did the news about Gibson's arrest and mugshot quickly make the headlines, but his outrageous comments were media fodder. Various outlets accused him of being racist and antisemitic, and the seemingly nonchalant expression in his mugshot drew further ire. He later apologized for the incident and his comments, but they were met with a tepid reaction among most of Hollywood. Gibson pleaded no contest and was fined when he returned to court, but he avoided serving jail time.

In an interview with Variety in 2016, Gibson reflected on his arrest, calling it an "unfortunate incident." He also called his vilification in the press unfair, and blamed the police officer for allegedly illegally recording him. He also denied that he was antisemitic and said he had moved on from the incident — even if the press hadn't.

Robert Downey Jr.

Looking at Robert Downey Jr.'s incredible success today, it's hard to imagine that at one time, he was an inmate in a California state prison. The saga began back in 1996, when police arrested him for having illegal drugs and an unloaded handgun in his car. Already in a pretty bad predicament, Downey continued to misuse drugs and was arrested again a few weeks later. He also repeatedly did not comply with the terms of his probation, which is what eventually landed him a three-year prison sentence in 1999.

While Downey is shown smiling in his mugshot for prison, it was a pretty stark contrast from his behavior in court, when he pleaded with the judge not to sentence him to the big house. In the end, Downey only served 15 months, a fraction of the three-year sentence, and after a few more tumultuous years he was able to resurrect his faltering acting career. While some people credit prison with helping them turn their lives around, Downey called his time in prison "the worst thing" in his life, and said he could "feel the evil in the air" (via CNN).

Years later, on Christmas Eve 2015, Downey was lucky enough to receive a pardon for his arrest and prison sentence from then-Governor of California Jerry Brown. In the years since, Downey has turned his life around, but the mugshot still pops up from time to time — a sad reminder of his past.

Bill Cosby

At one point, well before his public fall from stardom, it would have been inconceivable that the now-disgraced actor Bill Cosby would be pictured behind bars. Known as one of America's most lovable TV dads for so many years, Cosby's 2015 mugshot is still one of the biggest reminders of the many abhorrent allegations levied against him. Allegations surrounding Cosby first surfaced in 2005, but it was not until 2014 that they made headline news, and led to his ostracization from the majority of Hollywood.

When the news went viral, Cosby's reputation was immediately shattered, and soon more and more women were accusing him of sexual improprieties. Yet, it was not until his December 2015 arrest that he faced legal charges and his now-infamous mugshot, the image becoming a symbol of all the numerous allegations made against him. Cosby was later convicted in 2018, and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for rape.

However, in 2021, the verdict was thrown out upon appeal due to a previous agreement Cosby had made with a prior prosecutor, and Cosby remains free as of 2023. In all, more than five-dozen women have made allegations against Cosby, but his 2015 mugshot is the closest he has become to being held responsible.

Snoop Dogg

Widely known today as one of the greatest rappers of all time, Snoop Dogg's career almost never got off the ground, and he has his 1993 mugshot to prove it. On August 25, 1993, a young man named Philip Woldemariam, an Ethiopian immigrant, was shot to death in Los Angeles, California. While Snoop, who was still going by Snoop Doggy Dogg at the time, was not alleged to have killed Woldemariam himself, he was driving the car that the shots were fired from. This caused the police to file murder charges against Snoop, in addition to the shooter and one other, and he turned himself in a few days later.

At the time, Snoop was just barely beginning his rap career, and he released his debut album "Doggystyle" later that year after his arrest. One of the tracks was appropriately titled "Murder Was the Case," which was about a young man in prison facing murder charges, but Snoop later said that he wrote that song before he was involved in the Woldemariam rap.

The case would not be resolved for another two and a half years after his arrest, in February 1996, when he was acquitted on both murder and accessory to murder charges. A mistrial was also declared when the jury could not agree on a manslaughter charge. Snoop would later pay Woldemariam's family an out-of-court settlement after they filed a lawsuit against him, but he was never convicted of any criminal wrongdoing.

Tim Allen

Well before Tim Allen became a famous comedian, he faced serious legal problems back in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The year was 1978 and Allen was in his early 20s, and he had a unique profession: smuggling cocaine. No small-time pusher, Allen had more than half a kilogram of cocaine on him when he was arrested at the airport, and it seemed like his life was going to be over. Facing life in prison over the incident, Allen flipped on his distributors and got a reduced sentence, finally leaving custody in June 1981.

Looking relatively young in his booking photo, it's a pretty far cry from the Allen who would later become one of TV's most famous dads through his longtime stint on "Home Improvement." Allen first began his acting career years after his release in 1988, and started "Home Improvement" in 1991, and he has never looked back since. 

In 2021, he talked about the incident on WTF with Marc Maron, saying that the passing of his father played a role in his succumbing to that kind of lifestyle, but he also noted that he was 23 years sober from drugs and alcohol. Thankfully, Allen put his smuggling days behind him, though his mugshot still occasionally crops up.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, may be the victim of domestic abuse, or a victim of sexual assault, contact the relevant resources below: