What Life Behind Bars Is Really Like For These Celebs

Prison is never a walk in the park, but if you're a celebrity who's slipped up, you might just find yourself in a plush facility that inspired your favorite Netflix show. These white-collar prisons, affectionately dubbed Club Fed after the famed chain of resorts, have been home to plenty of stars who swapped out their country club memberships for some hard (okay, not that hard) time. But that's just if you're lucky.

For many celebrities, being incarcerated is a harrowing experience — even if you're in one of America's cushier joints. Disgraced stars such Jared Fogle and C-Murder have reportedly faced some extremely tough conditions, and other big shots, like Bill Cosby and Suge Knight, seem to be cruising right through their time in the clink. From oddly light-hearted stories to decidedly darker ones, here's what it's really like to be a celebrity in the slammer.

Suge Knight claims he was spied on in the slammer

For famed music mogul Suge Knight, prison is anything but sweet. In April 2018, the star used his get out of jail free card to pay a visit to the local hospital. According to TMZ, Knight was hospitalized for at least two days in 2018, and health issues have been an ongoing issue since he was arrested in connection to a hit-and-run death in 2015. The Mirror reported that Knight has blamed prison conditions for his failing health. In 2015, he collapsed during a court hearing. Two years later, he was supposedly treated for blood clots. 

Though Knight has reportedly been held in solitary confinement and banned from having phone calls and visitors, that doesn't necessarily mean he's been totally alone. According to TMZ, Knight alleged that law enforcement and prosecutors secretly listened in on meetings he had with his lawyers, and that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to jailhouse drama. The New York Times reported that two of the star's 15 attorneys (yes, he went through 15 attorneys) were indicted for witness tampering. 

In September 2018, Knight was sentenced to 28 years in prison after accepting a plea deal. Less than a year later, his son, Suge Jacob Knight, told People that his father's "health is getting better," and that he's actually "happy" behind bars. Previously, Suge Jacob told BET that his father was being mistreated by prison staff who were attempting "to break his spirit."

Phil Spector has become 'very frail'

Music producer Phil Spector was known for creating the "wall of sound," but today, he sits in silence. According to the Mirror, the music mogul lost the ability to speak and was transferred to the California Health Care Facility, which houses some of the sickest inmates in the state. Spector was sentenced to 19 years to life in 2009 for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, reported CNN. The producer's health has allegedly deteriorated to the point that he communicates with his lawyer, Chuck Sevilla, through hand-written letters. Savilla admitted Spector is "very frail." 

"I believe he is able to walk, he's lost a lot of weight, he's been unable to speak for nine months due to polyps in his throat which they keep telling him they're going perform surgery on, which they have not done," Sevilla told the Mirror in 2014. "That's just one of his many maladies."

Spector's decades-younger wife, Rachelle, whom he married while incarcerated during his murder trial, apparently took the vows "in sickness and in health" very seriously, telling the Los Angeles Times in 2010 that she visits him "every single weekend." It's unclear if she's still dropping by on the regular, considering he filed for divorce in 2016, after she blew through a huge chunk of his $35 million fortune, reported Page Six. Perhaps that's why, in May 2019, Spector successfully petitioned to reduce her spousal support payments. Hey, at least he's keeping busy, right? 

Bobby Shmurda is in good spirits despite prison attack

In 2016, Rolling Stone reported that rapper Bobby Shmurda was sentenced to seven years in prison after accepting a plea deal for conspiracy and weapons-related charges. (Shmurda claims his attorney forced him to accept the deal and unsuccessfully advocated to have it overturned.) Though his ride in prison hasn't been easy, the star is reportedly "maintaining great spirits" — at least if you ask his mom. As of this writing, Shmurda has a parole hearing set for August 2020.

According to TMZ, Shmurda's time behind bars has been fraught with friction. The star has allegedly tallied 11 violations, including "drug possession, fighting, and having a shank." Bossip also reported that an inmate tried to stab the rapper, but Shmurda managed to escape the attack. After the incident, he was reportedly transferred to a facility near Canada affectionately dubbed "Little Siberia" because it's cold and remote. The "Hot N**ga" rapper will reportedly stay in protective custody for the rest of his sentence. According to a family spokesperson, "lowlives" targeted Shmurda because "they think they can score brownie points if they get a star." 

It's not easy being famous.

C-Murder is hungry for justice

In 2009, The Associated Press (via MTV) reported that rapper C-Murder (real name Corey Miller) was sentenced to life in prison for the 2002 nightclub murder of 16-year-old Stephen Thomas. According to The Hype Magazine, the rapper has always maintained his innocence, and a whopping 16 years after his initial arrest, he may be getting a second chance. In the spring of 2018, C-Murder was reportedly transferred to a "transitional facility," which could mean he's preparing for an early release. C-Murder's publicist Tammy "Ty" Page told All Hip Hop (via the Daily Dot) that an inmate incarcerated in Georgia confessed to Thomas' murder. On top of that, the two key witnesses, who testified against C-Murder, have both recanted their statements, citing police coercion, according to The Times-Picayune

"I want him to know I'm not upset with him," C-Murder told WSDU of one of the witnesses. "I'm proud of him." 

C-Murder's time in prison has not been easy. All Hip Hop reports the star went on a hunger strike with his fellow inmates after they were "treated inhumanely" and "denied proper healthcare." Page claimed her client was "placed in handcuffs for nearly 24 hours" during a 2017 incident, and his hands swelled up so much they "had to cut the handcuffs off of him nearing amputation."

Here's hoping Bill Cosby still likes pudding

It's going to take a long time for Bill Cosby to pay off his reported $282,000 of unpaid legal bills — at least if he's planning to use his prison earnings. According to TMZ, the sitcom star was once the world's highest-paid actor, raking in a total of $84 million in 1986 and 1987. Today, he'll be lucky to pull in a meager $0.45 per hour at the Phoenix State Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania, where he's serving a three to ten-year sentence. Cosby began his stay in September 2018, after being convicted of drugging and assaulting a Temple University employee in 2004, CNN reports. Though Philly.com claims the actor is currently flying solo in his own cell "adjacent to the infirmary," he's expected to eventually join the general population. 

USA Today reported that Cosby's defense team was already working to secure his release "as soon as possible." Meanwhile, both prison officials and Cosby's spokespeople have adamantly denied reports that the octogenarian has gotten into altercations with other inmates, including "a gang fight" and something about a banana and/or a chicken patty being thrown at his face. Cosby is said to be "in good spirits" and enjoying daily phone calls from his wife, Camille. Alleged food fights aside, the star of '80s Jell-O commercials should be able to look forward to mealtime ... as long as he isn't sick of pudding. The sweet treat is sometimes served as a dessert, though the prison reportedly doesn't carry Jell-O brand.

Did Felicity Huffman enjoy her stay at 'Club Fed?'

Felicity Huffman began her 14-day prison sentence for her role in the college admissions bribery scandal on Oct. 15, 2019. Huffman pleaded guilty to paying $15,000 to scam mastermind William "Rick" Singer to have a test proctor correct answers her daughter's SAT. In addition to her term in Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin (FCI Dublin), Huffman also had to pay a $30,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service.

Nicknamed "Club Fed" and "Chateau Dublin" for its relatively cushy nature (for a prison), The San Francisco Gate reported that FCI Dublin, located in the Bay Area of California, boasts gardens, tennis courts, knitting, and meditation courses. Sources told Radar Online that inmates are free to walk around and can order whatever they want from the prison commissary list, wear what they please, enjoy private rooms with televisions and Internet access, and receive personal effects and gifts from visitors. However, Warden Constance Reese told The San Francisco Gate that it wasn't exactly a resort: "They come here as punishment, not to be punished ... This is an opportunity for them to turn their lives around, and hopefully when they return to the community they won't return to a life of crime."

Sure, Huffman's time behind bars saw Martha Stewart quip that "she looked pretty schlumpy" after photos emerged of the actress in her prison uniform (um, ouch?), but she was released a bit early on the 11th day of her sentence. Time served.

Julian Assange is sitting in solitary

WikiLeaks' infamous editor-in-chief Julian Assange is wanted all around the world. According to The New York Times, the activist is being held at Belmarsh Prison in London after "jumping bail" by going into hiding at Ecuador's Embassy. Though he was meant to be released in September 2019 following a 50-week jail term, The Guardian reports that the editor is considered a flight risk, so he's being held while he awaits extradition to the United States where he's facing 18 charges including "computer misuse and the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information," according to the BBC.

Assange's jail stay doesn't seem pleasant, but then again, what jail stay is? The Independent Monitoring Board (via the Evening Standard) reports that there are 120 gangs in the prison, and attacks have risen by 50 percent in 2019. Some of these attacks used makeshift weapons crafted from things like bedding, cutlery, and pencil sharpeners. Sixty of the 500 assaults that occurred in the 12 month period of review were said to be "serious." 

Nonetheless, Assange probably doesn't have to worry about prisoner-on-prisoner violence because he's reportedly not getting a lot of human interaction. Following a preliminary extradition hearing, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson revealed, "Since he was arrested, he has spent 23 or 24 hours a day in his cell ... That is what we call, in general terms, solitary confinement. That's unacceptable." It seems like either option is a poor one for Assange.

Tekashi 6ix9ine is rapping like a canary

As of this writing, Tekashi 6ix9ine is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to nine separate charges, including racketeering conspiracy. According to the The New York Times, the Brooklyn-based rapper and associate of the notorious street gang, Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, faces a minimum of 47 years in prison. However, he lobbied for a lighter sentence by snitching on everyone and anyone who's ever been allegedly involved with the gang, including fellow rappers Cardi B and Jim Jones. Seriously, his lips were so loose that even Snoop Dogg posted a meme about it which contrasted Tekashi with Martha Stewart, a "true baddie" who "kept it 10 toes down and ate that prison sentence by herself." 

Since snitched don't tend to fare well in prison, Tekashi got himself out of Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center, where he was reportedly threatened. He transferred to a federal facility that's known for housing cooperating witnesses (though his attorney told TMZ that the star didn't "request" removal and wasn't "scared"). The rapper is allegedly in a unit that has neutral inmates (i.e. people who aren't in gangs), and it seems like he's doing pretty well. 

According to TMZ, Tekashi scored a massive record deal with 10K productions worth $10 million — and it's not even clear if he'll be able to record music for the next 47 years. TMZ also reports that he rejected the witness protection program, which would have probably required a hefty laser tattoo removal bill, anyway.