5 Beloved Celebrities Everyone Forgets Did Terrible Things

The strange thing about celebrity scandals like the recent Paula Deen racism controversy is how inconsistent we are with our outrage. We forever remember Michael Richards for screaming racial slurs, and Charlie Sheen will always be a punchline, but the vast majority of the world has forgotten that ...

#1. Sean Penn Tied Up and Then Beat the Crap Out of Madonna


Sean Penn is known for two things: acting and taking regular shits on right-wing politics. When the phrase "Hollywood liberal" gets tossed around, Penn is often one of the first examples mentioned. The Iraq War was perhaps his finest moment, as he spared no expense in letting the world know exactly how he felt about young people dying for oil. Over and over again.
So it's easy to think of him as a Bono type, a guy who might be annoying, but only because he cares about the suffering in the world too much.

The Incident:

While married to Madonna, Sean Penn pulled a Chris Brown that out-Chris Browned Chris Brown before there even was a Chris Brown.

The two then-rising stars were married in 1985, although nobody really knows why, since the whole thing was a mess from the start. Sure, Penn was a ragehead who dealt with annoying paparazzi by shooting at them, dangling them upside down from balconies, and smacking them with rocks. But that's not what we're talking about here; his knack for doing the same kind of stuff to Madonna, however, very much is.

Penn and Madonna would get into violent arguments all the time, and it probably didn't help that Penn drank so much every night that even Andre the Giant would've told him to slow it the fuck down. Finally, in 1988, after Penn flew into a rage over Madonna's supposed affair with Warren Beatty, she called the marriage off. Penn responded by turning his abusive nutcase dial up to 11.

In June 1987, Madonna went to the Cedars Sinai hospital for an X-ray after Penn apparently hit her across the head with a baseball bat. At the time, they had been having a heart-to-heart talk about reconciling.

Madonna did not make an official complaint because Penn was about to serve a short jail term for attacking a film extra. He served 33 days of a 60-day sentence in the Los Angeles County jail (23 hours a day in solitary) for violating the probation he'd been given for punching a fan.

It was a decision she would come to regret. In the late afternoon of December 28, 1988, Penn scaled the wall surrounding the Malibu house and found Madonna alone in the master bedroom.

According to a report filed by Madonna with the Malibu sheriff’s office, the two began to quarrel. Penn told her he owned her ‘lock, stock and barrel’. When she told him she was leaving the house, he tried to bind her hands with an electric lamp and cord. Screaming and afraid, Madonna fled from the bedroom. What followed was a nine-hour ordeal which left her deeply shaken.

Penn chased her into the living room, caught her and bound her to a chair with heavy twine. Then he threatened to cut off her hair.
According to the police report, Penn was ‘drinking liquor straight from the bottle’ and the abuse went on for several hours, during which time he smacked and roughed up his victim.

He went out to buy more alcohol, leaving Madonna bound and gagged. Some hours later, he returned and continued his attacks.
Madonna said that he untied her after she agreed to perform a degrading sex act on him. She then fled the house and ran to her car.

Penn ran after her and was banging on the windows of her Thunderbird while she spoke to police on her mobile phone. Fifteen minutes later, she staggered into the sheriff’s office.

Lieut Bill McSweeny said: ‘I hardly recognised her as Madonna. She was weeping, her lip was bleeding and she had obviously been struck.


Why You Forgot About It:

While Penn was arrested, the charges were dropped because Madonna didn't want to generate a media circus, which may have been the one and only time in her life that Madonna actually wanted the press to go away. A couple of decades of political activism and two Oscars later, and the world barely remembers an incident that would turn most people into a pariah. But hey, can we really blame him for the immature mistakes he made when he was only, uh, 25 years old?

#2. Jimmy Page Kidnapped a 14-Year-Old Girl

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Jimmy Page is basically the reason you think guitars are awesome. His run with some rinky-dink garage band called Led Zeppelin set the benchmark for all hard rock and metal to come, while simultaneously pissing off any amateur guitarist who thought "Stairway to Heaven" didn't sound too difficult.

And sure, he was no slouch in the deviant rock star department either, with tales of the band's outrageous behavior still being talked about today ("I heard they once used a live shark as a dildo!"). But that's par for the course, right? We like a little debauchery with our rock stars.

The Incident:

Of course, debauchery has its limits, such as kidnapping a 14-year-old girl, having sex with her, and keeping her behind closed doors for years so as to avoid jail time. Which, as you probably already figured, Page totally did.

In 1972, Page was hanging around a nightclub and laid eyes on 14-year-old Lori Maddox. He liked what he saw and didn't give a shit that she was underage by, well, a lot. Why should he, after all? The club clearly didn't.

"In a certain kind of light, she clearly looks probably 18. Close enough."

As the young, handsome lead guitarist in the biggest rock band in the world, Page was probably very shy and awkward around girls. So, instead he sent roadie Richard Cole to Maddox's table with the message, "Jimmy told me that he's going to have you whether you like it or not." The roadie then grabbed her and chucked her in the back of a limo, saying, "You fucking move and I'll fucking have your head."

From there, they drove back to Page's house, where he and Maddox proceeded to have lots and lots of dirty illegal sex. Of course, Page knew this was incredibly wrong, and if word got out, he was screwed. So he did the only responsible thing he could think of: for three long years, Maddox was for the most part kept behind closed doors so the relationship with Page wasn't discovered and he wouldn't end up in jail.

Why You Forgot About It:

It was a different time, we guess? Obviously Page never went to jail or got arrested, and Maddox actually stayed with him for years afterward, calling him "romantic." We're going to guess it was classic Stockholm syndrome. We'll just quote Maddox's own words from the book Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga: "It was magnificent. Can you believe it? It was just like right out of a story! Kidnapped, man, at 14!"

Yes, right out of "a story," the type that usually ends with Liam Neeson chopping the kidnapper in the throat.

Malcolm Taylor / Stringer / Getty
He actually looks like more of a sex offender now than he did when he was a sex offender.

#3. Motley Crue's Lead Singer Killed Someone While Drunk Driving


Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin were plenty outrageous, but Motley Crue may well have had them beat. Known and loved as the hardest rocking (and hardest partying) band on the planet, Motley Crue have sold 90 million albums over their 30-year career. More importantly, their off-stage antics helped put the children of every cocaine dealer in Los Angeles through college.

Their shenanigans were so over-the-top crazy, it almost made them caricatures, lovable parodies of the hedonistic '80s. Of course, not everything they did was lovable. Like the time one of them killed a man.

The Incident:

On December 8, 1984, lead singer Vince Neil was having a party at his house. The party was on day three, and booze was running low, so Vince jumped in the car to drive himself and his rocker friend Razzle to the liquor store. You know where this is going.

A drunken Vince was speeding the entire time, not because the liquor store was about to close, but because "over the limit" was basically Motley Crue's catchphrase, and he was all but contractually obligated to be a crazy idiot all the time. Naturally, he soon lost control of the car and collided head-on with a Volkswagen coming the other way. Razzle was killed instantly, and the two people in the other car were hospitalized, with one comatose for a month.

Why You Forgot About It:

Money and fame have their benefits.

Neil was convicted of DUI and vehicular manslaughter, which could've brought him up to 10 years in prison. This didn't happen; in fact, almost nothing happened. Being a superstar, Neil had enough money to pay for the weaseliest lawyer available. Said lawyer managed to talk down the sentence to 30 days in jail, five years' probation, and $2.5 million in fines. Oh, and Neil only served 20 of those 30 days because Motley Crue had a tour scheduled and, as any criminal will tell you, the courts are very understanding of this sort of thing. Next time you're in this situation, tell them you can't go to jail because you'd miss your overnight shift at Walmart.

Even Neil himself recognized that he got off scot-free, saying, "I wrote a $2.5 million check for vehicular manslaughter when Razzle died. I should have gone to prison. I definitely deserved to go to prison. But I did 30 days in jail and got laid and drank beer, because that's the power of cash. That's fucked up."

Neil would prove his repentance by continuing to be wealthy and successful forever.

Not so fucked up that it's stopped Neil from driving under the influence several times since then, of course. But at least he admitted it that one time.

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