Dark Secrets The Cast Of Breaking Bad Tried To Hide

The following article references substance abuse and sexual assault.

When it comes to racking up crimes and misdemeanors, AMC's slow-burning hit "Breaking Bad" must rank as one of the all-time most prolific. After all, Bryan Cranston's high school chemistry teacher-turned-drug kingpin Walter White was responsible for no fewer than 30 different serious offenses alone. And almost every character, major or periphery, broke the law in some way, shape, or form. 

You could say that creator Vince Gilligan chose his cast very well. Many of the nail-biting drama's key players had or have since experienced brushes with the law themselves, with rap sheets including armed robbery, gang violence, and vehicular theft. And even those who haven't served time have made some questionable decisions over the years, ranging from homophobic interviews to substance abuse issues. Here's a look at 14 damaging stories which its stars wish, like Walter White's barrelfuls of money, could be taken to the New Mexico desert and deeply buried. 

Bryan Cranston was once suspected of murder

Bryan Cranston may have played one of TV's ultimate antiheroes. But surely there aren't any real-life parallels between the Hollywood nice guy and "Breaking Bad" murderous meth kingpin Walter White? Well, how about the fact that the actor was once considered a suspect in the homicide of a "cantankerous" chef?

Cranston has often spoken about his very real brush with the law, such as the 2024 appearance on Jesse Tyler Ferguson's podcast "Dinner on Me." The misunderstanding began when he landed a pre-fame job in the 1970s alongside his sibling Kyle at a Florida eatery named the Hawaiian Inn: "There was just no way on earth you were ever going to get on his good side," he remarked about said chef. "We'd all discuss how rotten and mean Peter Wong is, and we'd all discuss, if one were to do away with Peter Wong, how would one do it?"

The Cranstons became the number one suspects; however, when they left the Sunshine State to continue traveling at the exact same time, Wong went missing and was subsequently found dead in a car's trunk. "Little did we know they put out an APB [all-points bulletin] on us and to find us, we were somewhere in the Carolinas, I think, at that point," he explained. Luckily, cops discovered who was really responsible — a man named Billy Wayne Waughtel — before the brothers were wrongly apprehended.

Bryan Cranston envisaged killing an ex

Bryan Cranston's rather unfortunate habit of murderous visions continued in the early 1980s when he essentially found himself in a real-life "Fatal Attraction" (minus the bunny boiling, obviously). The drama began following his divorce from Mickey Middleton when he hit the dating scene and had a "very hot and heavy romance" with an "assertive" woman. And he soon found out exactly how assertive she was when, after discovering her drug habit, he called things off.

The pair's split initially appeared to be amicable. In fact, they even reconnected as "friends" during Cranston's stint on "Loving." But during a meal out, the actor realized the lady still believed they were together. And when he set the record straight, she refused to take no for an answer. While appearing on the podcast "Dinner on Me," Cranston recalled what she said after unexpectedly turning up on his soap opera set: "You thought that you can just walk out on me. Is that what you thought? You thought you can just walk out and leave me alone?"

Cranston admitted her behavior induced some incredibly dark thoughts: "You know, they used to call it 'seeing red.' And all you see is emotion, and rage, and fear and anxiety ... and the moment that I snapped out of this, she was, in my mind, I had already killed her. And I was so afraid of myself. At that moment that I went, 'Oh my God, what is happening to me?'"

Bryan Cranston was accused of homophobia

During a 2009 interview with IGN, Bryan Cranston discussed one of his early pre-fame jobs, the voices of Twinman and Snizard in kid's favorite "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers." Not a subject that you'd particularly expect to draw controversy. But the actor subsequently found himself accused of being homophobic by one of the original show's castmates.

After revealing that the Blue Power Ranger, Billy Cranston, was named after himself, the "Breaking Bad" star remarked, "He's the fey one, that's the problem." This quip didn't go down particularly well, though, with the man who played the character. David Yost would only publicly come out a year later, and speaking to NBC News in 2016, he explained how Cranston's remarks hit him hard: "In his mind, he probably thinks he was being funny, but that's the kind of thing that's not funny, and that's the kind of thing I would hear while I was working on set. And when you hear stuff like that enough times, it gets to you — especially when [Cranston] says, 'That's the problem.'"

Cranston later issued a statement (per Pink News) in which he claimed not to remember making the remark but said sorry all the same: "To hear that my impulsive comment hurt someone's feelings, makes me contrite. I accept responsibility for the thoughtless remark and apologize to Mr Yost and anyone else who may have been offended."

Dean Norris was investigated for sexual assault

In 2018, news emerged that New Orleans police had investigated Dean Norris, best known for playing Walter White's brother-in-law Hank Schrader in "Breaking Bad," for sexual assault the year previously. In a statement from the Orleans Parish district attorney's office, it was revealed that a report was filed against the actor by a 32-year-old woman. But on reviewing the case, officials believed there wasn't enough evidence to justify a prosecution.

"The fact that the New Orleans police and D.A., after a full investigation, did not issue a warrant or press charges confirms that these allegations are unsubstantiated and not credible," Norris' attorney, Michael Holtz, told the press. But in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the unnamed woman who'd accused the actor insisted that she was telling the truth: "Even though I'm not some Hollywood star, I still matter; it still matters that this happened. I need to stand up for myself."

The anonymous individual relayed her version of events to the newspaper, claiming that during a night out, Norris had invited her and another woman back to his condo. The following morning, she woke up undressed and unable to recollect how she got there. She then alleged that Norris sexually assaulted her, adding, "I tried to block him, I told him no. What else can I do?" On her return to her Ohio hometown, she obtained a rape kit from her local hospital and filed a police report.

Steven Bauer fatally struck a man while driving

A year before he joined the season four cast of "Breaking Bad" as the fearsome drug cartel honcho Eladio Vuente, Steven Bauer was involved in a Malibu car accident in which a 24-year-old man lost his life.

In 2010, the actor was driving his SUV on Pacific Coast Highway when he reportedly struck student Brent Rosenberg, a Pepperdine University Student who'd stepped into traffic while walking to his parked car on the east side of the road. The man was transported to UCLA Medical Center via helicopter, where he was pronounced brain dead, and several days later, his life support was turned off.

Best friend Chris Garcia told The Malibu Times that Rosenberg was an organ donor who'd ultimately saved the lives of seven individuals: "Such a perfect demonstration of his generosity and kindness, his willingness to give of himself." No charges were filed against Bauer, who'd previously earned a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Manny Ribera in "Scarface," with police ruling out dangerous driving or intoxication as the cause of the accident.

Taryn Manning accused Raymond Cruz of abuse

Taryn Manning certainly wasn't holding back when it came to her social media output in September 2023. As well as calling out the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Terrence Howard, and Jenji Kohan for various wrongdoings, the actor also accused former co-star Raymond Cruz, best known for playing drug lord Tuco Salamanca in "Breaking Bad," of abuse.

The pair had previously worked together on "Cleveland Abduction," the 2015 Lifetime TV movie that dramatized the real-life kidnapping of three young women the previous decade. Cruz played the captor Ariel Castro, while Manning portrayed one of his victims, Michelle Knight. According to the latter, the film's leading man didn't have to dig too deep to inhabit such a character.

Referring to Cruz in a since-deleted Instagram post, Manning claimed (via CinemaBlend) that he was so abusive during its filming that she was given a bodyguard: "They didn't have to put bruises on me in the makeup trailer anymore cause I was COVERED from your abuse. You can legit burn in HELL since you loved talking about it daily anyway. Also traumatizing. Most evil actor I've ever worked it hands down."

Johnny Ortiz was charged with attempted murder

Just a year after entering the "Breaking Bad" universe as a busboy in spinoff movie "El Camino," Johnny Ortiz was arrested and charged with attempted murder. The actor, who'd also appeared in the likes of "McFarland, USA," "Peppermint," and "Ali," was taken into custody alongside Armando Miguel Navarro following the shooting of a man named Brian Duke in California.

Ortiz, who, if convicted, would have spent at least 25 years in prison, pleaded not guilty to the charge of "attempted willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder" and was held on a bail of $1.1 million. The actor's loved ones subsequently set up a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds for his bonds: "We want our beloved family member back with us," read the page in question (via Entertainment Weekly).

"He's a brother, son, and friend to our family. We lost our beloved mother with cancer and losing another family member breaks our heart. Please help us pay for Johnny Bail Bond to get him out." Unfortunately, the campaign didn't even reach the $1,000 mark, let alone the $100,000 target. News about the case has remained scarce since. But the fact that Ortiz appeared at the Inaugural Mexican-American Film & Television Festival in 2022 suggests that he still has his freedom for now. 

Stoney Westmoreland was jailed for enticing a minor

Stoney Westmoreland appeared in the second season of "Breaking Bad" as a member of the Albuquerque Police Department who investigates an alleged baseball card robbery before reprising his role of Officer Saxton in the third season to deal with a break-in at Walter White's house. But in 2018, he found himself on the wrong side of the law, resulting in a two-year jail sentence.

Westmoreland, who also popped up in spinoff "Better Call Saul," was first arrested for allegedly asking a 13-year-old boy to engage in sexual conduct and send nude photographs after they met on an online dating app. Investigators discovered the actor himself had also sent several pornographic snaps in the exchange and that he'd headed to an address in Salt Lake City with the sole intention of taking the child back to his hotel room.

Westmoreland struck a deal with prosecutors which reduced a possible ten-year prison term to just two. But the actor, who was sacked immediately from his role on the Disney Channel show "Andi Mack," will have sign on to the sex offender register and spend the following decade on supervised release.

Danny Trejo was a career criminal

We could easily fill this entire list with the various felonies Danny Trejo was convicted of during his early years. In fact, the man was essentially a career criminal until he finally turned his life around in the 1970s.

Trejo, who played cartel drug runner Tortuga in the second and third seasons of "Breaking Bad," got into drug dealing at the age of just seven and three years later experienced the first of countless arrests. A stint at Eastlake Juvenile Hall failed to put him on the straight and narrow, and the actor spent the entirety of the 1960s in and out of prison for offenses including stabbing a sailor in the face, striking a prison guard with a rock during a riot, and armed robbery.

Folsom, San Quentin, and Vacaville were just a few of the prisons where Trejo was sent to during this period. But the future action hero also used the time wisely, gaining a high school diploma, entering an addiction recovery program, and taking up boxing. He hasn't been back to prison since he left Pacoima in the summer of 1969, having served half of his 10-year sentence. "A lot of people in prison have redeemable qualities, if we can help them they can and will become productive citizens," he tweeted in 2021. "If I can make it, you can make it."

Christopher Ranney was accused of sexual abuse

Christopher Ranney appeared in the third season of "Breaking Bad" as an unnamed detective who questions cop Hank Schrader about his beating of Jesse Pinkman. But just like fellow bit-player Stoney Westmoreland, the actor fell foul of the law in real life in 2021 when he was charged with a sexual offense.

Ranney, who'd also appeared in the likes of "Justice," "Fright Night," and "Get Shorty," was arrested for various acts, including the sexual penetration of a child under 13 and the bribery of a witness after a young girl revealed to her mother that he'd been inappropriately touching her since the age of eight. The disgraced star admitted to and apologized for the crimes when he was first confronted about them, according to the arrest warrant affidavit that had been filed by the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court.

In a statement published by the Albuquerque Journal, Ron Wiesberg, the owner of the Sol Actors Studio Ranney helped to set up, expressed his disgust: "The allegations against Ranney involve abhorrent behavior which Sol unambiguously condemns. We have prided ourselves for years on providing a safe, nurturing environment for all ages, and will continue to do so. Should the allegations against Ranney prove true, he will have betrayed not just his family, but all of us here at Sol, faculty and students alike. Like the rest of the community, we are horrified and bewildered."

Luis Moncada was sentenced to 21 years in jail for theft

Prepare for your mind to be blown: the silent assassin twins Leonel and Marco Salamanca on "Breaking Bad" weren't played by twins. Indeed, although Luis and Daniel Moncada are brothers, the former is actually three years older! And that's not where the differences end, either.

Whereas Daniel has been a free man for his whole life, Luis was once sentenced to 21 years in jail for his involvement in a vehicle theft. The Honduran native, who, alongside his sibling, also reprised his villainous role in the spinoff "Better Call Saul," used to be a member of a gang, too. But thankfully, he eventually got on the straight and narrow on his release from prison and with the help of Suspect Entertainment, a talent agency that helps turn around the lives of ex-cons.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Luis said, "I tell my wife all the time, 'Wow, look at how far we've come.' I'm not thankful I went to prison, but after going to prison, that's when you really, really, really think, 'Wow, what a waste of time.' I had to change."

Cesar Garcia spent most of his youth in juvenile hall

Luis Moncada isn't the only "Breaking Bad" cast member whose life was turned around by rehabilitative talent agency Suspect Entertainment. Cesar Garcia, who played Tuco Salamanca's most talkative lieutenant, No-Doze, also appeared destined for a life of crime until he was encouraged to pursue his acting talents instead.

Garcia, who's also appeared in the likes of "True Detective," "Weeds," and the "Fast and Furious" franchise, spent most of his adolescent years in juvenile hall, a period in which he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and developed an addiction to PCP. But after losing his 19-year-old brother to a drug overdose, the heavily tattooed actor decided to abandon his criminal ways. "I knew my next step was either death or life in prison,” he told The New York Times.

Following an appearance in a Mary J. Blige promo, Garcia never looked back. He's even becoming something of a multi-talent, writing a short film, "Chuco," in 2005, carrying out stunt work on shows such as "NCIS: Los Angeles," and even serving as a sartorial advisor for certain gang-related projects: "'I try not to hurt people's feelings, but I kind of have to school them sometimes and say, 'I wouldn't wear this, I'd wear that.”'

Lavell Crawford goes on homophobic rant

It's fair to say that Lavell Crawford didn't exactly endear himself to the LGBTQ community in 2017 when he gave a hugely problematic interview to VLAD TV in which he complained about the power of the "gay mafia."

The stand-up, who played larger-than-life bodyguard Huell Babineaux on "Breaking Bad," was responding to the backlash over Tracy Morgan's admission that he would stab his son should he happen to be gay. "No matter how much they're getting accepted, it's still f***ing weird," Crawford said. "Now they're trying to get their own bathrooms and s*** [even though] it's still not the norm." The comedian, whose late father left the family for another man, also revealed he feared that being gay was hereditary and advised anyone under 25 to avoid coming out until they'd slept with a member of the opposite sex. 

Crawford later tweeted (via Out in Perth) a half-hearted apology for his remarks: "I am man and a man of God and it's not my job to hurt or condemn but to entertain and inform my way. but if you watch the video without judgment and not so quick to be offended you will see I respect everybody and it's none of my business what you do in your private lives. So I apologize not to save face or out fear but it's right thing to do."

Steven Bauer has been in and out of rehab

In 2019, Steven Bauer, who played drug cartel Don Eladio Vuente in "Breaking Bad," checked himself into a rehab facility to help deal with his long-standing addiction to alcohol. Only three years earlier, the actor had reportedly been encouraged to seek professional help again by his ex-wife Melanie Griffith after his substance abuse issues got out of control.

A rep for Bauer told InTouch Weekly (via the Daily Mail) that the star had voluntarily sought treatment in a bid to get clean once and for all: "In recent months, he realized he was starting to drink more than he was comfortable with. He preemptively wanted to take care of the issue. But in no uncertain terms does he take drugs, nor is he being treated for a drug-related addiction."

Bauer had also previously found himself in the tabloids for his age-gap relationship with Lyda Loudon, an activist nearly 40 years his junior whom he first met when she was only 18. However, the Golden Globe nominee told the same magazine that he didn't care what anyone else thought: "Lyda and I have faced criticism, but not from anyone interesting. My family loves her and she loves them."

If you or anyone you know needs help with substance abuse, child abuse, or sexual abuse, contact the relevant resources below: