The behavior of people in show business is probably no worse than that of people outside of it, but sometimes certain entertainers are deluded into thinking they are not only bigger than “ordinary people," but also exempt from the laws of the land.
And some just make stupid mistakes. (Don’t we all!)
Who could ever forget MILLI VANILLI, the duo consisting of Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan, that had a string of major hits in 1989 and 1990 and even won a Grammy Award as Best New Artist. But in 1990 it was learned that someone else had sung on all those songs, and the disgraced duo had to give back the Grammy.
Songstress FAITH EVANS married hard-core rapper the Notorious B.I.G. in 1994 and it was widely known to have been a turbulent union. Also known as BIGGIE SMALLS, he had plenty of affairs, including one with fellow hard-core rap star LIL’ KIM. And as if that were not enough, Evans, through her connection with Biggie, found herself involved in the dangerous East Coast/West Coast hip-hop feud.
In the early morning hours one day in the spring of 1997, superstar comedian/actor EDDIE MURPHY was driving around in a West Hollywood area known for prostitution and other seedy activities. He got pulled over when he picked up a transvestite hooker. Few people believed Murphy when he said he was just being “a nice guy,” offering a lady a ride.
CHRIS BROWN is still trying to get beyond the fallout from that infamous night in early February 2009 when he got into an argument with then-girlfriend RIHANNA, which quickly escalated into violence on his part.
The physical attack resulted in the songstress having to be hospitalized. Brown, known for his hot temper, was charged with felony assault and making criminal threats. He was sentenced to community labor, five years probation and violence counseling.
There have been several incidents since then, though not involving Rihanna.
Back in the day, the great actress/singer DIAHANN CARROLL and iconic actor SIDNEY POITIER were going together, even though both were married. The plan was to get a divorce from their respective spouses, then get married. Carroll got divorced. Poitier did not.
Although he sang songs about Black power, Black pride, staying in school and other such positive things, JAMES BROWN got into plenty of trouble with the law, resulting in substantial jail time. Charges have included possessing an unlicensed gun, assaulting a police officer, possession of illegal drugs and on four occasions his wife had him arrested for domestic abuse.
R. KELLY sang that he "believed he could fly,” but he was also into some other things far less inspirational. Plenty of people saw that videotape featuring Kelly sexing it up with a 14-year-old girl, including what is known in the porno industry as “watersports.” Amazingly, Kelly denied that it was him in the video.
The state of mind of comedian-actor MARTIN LAWRENCE is still unknown that fateful day in 1996 when he was arrested for cussing and screaming at oncoming cars. He was also brandishing a pistol, yelling, “They’re trying to kill me!” The spin doctors said Lawrence was suffering from “exhaustion and dehydration.”
What a odd trio they made. DIANA ROSS, widely known at the time as the lady in the life of BERRY GORDY, was pregnant by him, yet had gotten engaged to ROBERT SILBERSTEIN, known professionally as Bob Ellis, a publicist. The three were often seen together, as strange as that seemed to onlookers.
LA TOYA JACKSON, according to brother Jermaine, had always been afraid of snakes, yet she controlled her alleged fear long enough to pose topless for Playboy magazine — with a boa constrictor writhing around her body suggestively.
Speaking of Jacksons, the Super Bowl halftime show of 2004 will be forever etched in the public’s mind. JANET JACKSON was performing a high energy number with JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE.
At one point he reached for her top and ripped it off, as planned. But instead of an undergarment of some sort being there as it was supposed to, Janet's breast was exposed for a second or two. The lights went out. Subsequently, there FCC reprisals and thousands, perhaps millions, of irate viewers making complaints.
The whole thing, labeled a “wardrobe malfunction,” seems kind of silly now — just as it did then to a lot of people.
The trials, tribulations and foibles involving WHITNEY HOUSTON and BOBBY BROWN could fill the pages of a book. One of the lowest points was reached when, with evidence all over the place, Houston told Diane Sawyer on national television that she didn’t use crack cocaine because “crack is wack.”
In 2009, Evangelist JUANITA BYNUM, who is also famous as a “prophetess,” was attacked on a parking lot in Atlanta by her husband — Bishop Thomas W. Weeks! (Apparently some things can’t be “prophesied.”)
The heavy use of cocaine by RICK JAMES no doubt had nearly everything to do with an infamous incident in 1991 when he and his girlfriend, Tanya Hijazi, kidnapped a woman and made her do all kinds of things, sexual and otherwise. During the time he was out on bail from that crime he decided to do it again, but this time got a two-year jail sentence.
One of the dumbest and most dangerous things MICHAEL JACKSON ever did was dangle his son, who wasn’t even a year old, over the balcony on the fourth floor of a hotel. He held the child under the armpits. Jackson, sometimes labeled “Wacko Jaco,” almost immediately after said it was “a terrible mistake,” which was putting it mildly.
RONALD ISLEY and WESLEY SNIPES both served time for tax evasion, and by the time this is published, LAURYN HILL will have begun serving a three-month sentence for not paying taxes for three years. In addition to still having to pay those federal taxes, the judge ordered her to pay penalties and a $60,000 fine, plus there will be three months of home confinement and a year of supervised probation.
These cases beg the question: Why don’t these celebrities take care of their taxes? It probably has something to do with quickly going from having little or nothing to having a lot.
One former Motown recording star, who has been having fairly well publicized tax problems, said, “In the ’60s the money was coming in so fast I didn’t know what to do with it.”