Celeb Mugshots That Went Viral

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Is there anything the internet loves more than stories about celebrities behaving badly? Celeb mugshots were still splashed across newspapers and tabloids in the prehistoric days before computers, of course. But now, thanks to the power of Google and web users' penchant for voyeurism, washed-out photos of famous faces in prison jumpsuits take on new lives online, where the images are turned into memes and merch alike. 

For some celebrities, one bad mugshot is enough to launch them into viral infamy, while other stars are responsible for numerous internet-famous prison shots. Unsurprisingly, many of these notorious snaps followed stars' arrests for minor crimes, like DUIs and drug possession, though thankfully, no celebrities were harmed in the making of the below mugshots. And despite the fact that the majority of these arrests happened decades ago, the internet has a long memory, and these viral mugshots aren't going anywhere. Read on for the best, worst and most cringe-worthy celebrity mugshots that are cemented in fans' memories. 

Lindsay Lohan's cornucopia of mugshots

Lindsay Lohan doesn't just have one viral mugshot to her name — she has at least six. With each one, the tabloids and the internet went crazy over Lohan's changing faces and hairstyles over the years throughout her colorful array of arrests. Lohan has seen her Hollywood career tank since her troubles with the law started in back-to-back arrests for DUI in May 2007 and DUI and cocaine possession in July 2007 (top left) per CNN. Her second mugshot (top center) happened a few months later, upon booking for a 24-hour jail sentence, of which she served 84 minutes. Her second two mugshots (top right, bottom left) came in 2010, both for violating probation for her 2007 arrests. Lohan's hair appeared platinum blonde in her 2011 mugshot (bottom center), taken when her probation was revoked for failing to comply with a mandated community service order. Lohan's 2013 mugshot (bottom right), which Page Six then hailed as her "latest and greatest," followed Lohan pleading no contest for reckless driving following an incident in June 2012.

The internet has alternately praised and panned Lohan's mugshots, with the Daily Mail going for the low-hanging fruit, calling her "quite the Mean Girl" in her 2013 photo, in which she sported brown hair, a black jacket and a nonplussed expression. Meanwhile, Gawker ranked Lohan's mugshots "from 'Ooh, Child...' to 'Damn, Girl,'" dubbing her first 2007 mugshot "A Haggard Hazard" and her latest 2013 photo "I'm Sexy and I'm Over It."

Amanda Bynes' pink-haired pose

Would things have been different if Amanda Bynes just hired a driver in 2012? The beloved teen-movie star's downward spiral began in March 2012, when she allegedly fled the scene as a police officer was writing her a ticket. The following month, the actress was arrested on suspicion of a DUI after she allegedly side-swiped a police car with her BMW. The internet seized on her pink-haired mugshot, with gossip sites calling her look "Easter-themed" and TMZ going its usual pun-route, declaring that the photo was "to dye for."

After Bynes was charged in June 2012 for driving under the influence, she tweeted at President Barack Obama, asking him to help with her case. "I don't drink," she wrote in a since-deleted post (via The Hollywood Reporter), tagging the president's official Twitter account. "Please fire the cop who arrested me. I also don't hit and run. The end." In August 2012, Bynes allegedly rear-ended another car, and drove off without exchanging insurance information when she decided she didn't inflict any damage. The California DMV went on to suspend Bynes' driver's license in September 2012, but that was really just the beginning of Bynes' troubles.

According to her 2018 Paper interview, Bynes spent the next few years abusing drugs, "feeling adrift," "hanging out with a seedier crowd," and "isolat[ing] a lot." Thankfully, she got clean with the help of her parents, and began a new career path by enrolling at LA's Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. 

Justin Bieber's mugshot launched a thousand memes

Justin Bieber wasn't exactly living his best life in 2014, when he landed himself in controversy after allegedly egging his neighbor's house. That same year, a 2009 video of him surfaced in which he appeared to use the N-word, and sang about joining the KKK. Bieber's 2014 meltdown also included an embarrassing incident that came to characterize his bad-boy years, when he was arrested in a January 2014 incident in Miami, with the star failing a sobriety test after police pulled him over for "drag racing in a rented yellow Lamborghini," per E!. Bieber was charged with driving under the influence, and appeared smiling in his mugshot (above), in a photo that made the rounds on the internet for years to come. Bieber's mugshot spawned a slew of memes, including Photoshopped images pointing out the similarities between his jail face and Miley Cyrus' hairstyle at the time.

Bieber looked back on his mugshot in a 2017 Instagram post, comparing his photo in jail to a more recent black-and-white shot of his face, as he reminisced on how far he'd come since his arrest. "I love this because it reminds me I'm not exactly where I want to be but thank God I'm not where I used to be!" he wrote, adding, "The best is yet to come do you believe it?"

Paris Hilton's signature head-tilt mugshots

Paris Hilton (left, 2006 and right, 2007) has been extolled by the internet as an expert in taking mugshots. SheKnows described her as "the celebutante who knows how to work a camera better than anyone," while the Daily Mail proclaimed she refined her "poses down to a fine art." And the heiress-turned-DJ has had plenty of chances to practice her mugshot face, considering the number of times she's been locked up over the years. Hilton's first arrest came in 2006, when she was charged with driving under the influence. The day after her arrest, she told Ryan Seacrest's syndicated morning show (via E! News) that she wasn't driving drunk, but was only "was speeding a little bit...I was just really hungry and wanted to have an In-N-Out burger." A judge sentenced her to probation, which she subsequently violated in 2007, resulting in her second arrest, for which she was sentenced to 45 days in prison — but was released after just several days. "I've been through a lot, and it was a really traumatic experience that I've really grown from," Hilton told Larry King Live (via E!) following her release.

Hilton landed back behind bars in 2010, when she was booked in Las Vegas on suspicion of cocaine possession, smiling for the cameras in her mugshot. She took a plea deal and was sentenced to more probation. 

Mel Gibson's mugshot looked downright scary

In one of the defining incidents of his Hollywood career, Mel Gibson landed in jail in 2006 on a "misdemeanor drunken driving" charge, as well as driving with an elevated blood alcohol level and an open container of alcohol in his car,' per CNN. The case got messier when TMZ reported that the arresting officer claimed Gibson hurled anti-Semitic epithets at him, with Gibson allegedly telling the officer, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asking him, "Are you a Jew?"

Gibson's bleary-eyed mugshot was the world's first look at the newly disgraced actor, with the Ocala Star-Banner reporting at the time that "his booking mugshot has been plastered around the world in newspapers, television reports and on the internet and will likely be a lingering image from the incident." And while his mugshot made waves, his controversial comments were the public's main takeaway from the arrest, with Gibson's career never fully recovering from the fallout. "It was an unfortunate incident," Gibson told Variety's Playback podcast in 2016 about his arrest and comments. "I was loaded and angry and arrested." Gibson also criticized the police and press for their treatment of him, claiming he was "recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer," with the details of his "nervous breakdown" then "made public by him for profit, and by members of — we'll call it the press."

Shia LaBeouf's glassy-eyed mugshot smile

Shia LaBeouf's unconventional Hollywood career has included several controversial arrests — and, similar to Justin Bieber, one smiling mugshot. LaBeouf was picked up by police in 2007 for refusing to leave a Chicago Walgreens shortly after 2 a.m., resulting in the actor being charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing. Police told The Associated Press (via MTV News) that LaBeouf looked drunk when the Walgreens guard attempted to oust him from the store. LaBeouf's photo seems to have aged well online, with outlets including Business Insider praising his "bright smile with a little facial scruff," and LAist noting his fresh-faced "senior photo" look.

LaBeouf looked back on his Walgreens incident with humor, telling The Late Show with David Letterman, "I got really wasted ... I wound up celebrating in Walgreens," joking that "drinking and driving is one thing, but drinking and shopping (is) just as bad." LaBeouf recounted his arrest in the 2015 book Prison Ramen, which collected stories of life behind bars. "I was in Chicago and I wouldn't leave Walgreens, so I was taken to spend the night in jail," LaBeouf said, adding, "For some reason, I had the best sleep ever."

Nicole Richie's blank stare mugshot became iconic

Just like her former BFF and co-host of The Simple Life, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie was also arrested for a DUI in 2006, resulting in a similarly-viral mugshot that is still printed on posters and makeup bags for fans to purchase. Richie, who had previously been arrested in 2003 for possession of heroin and driving with a suspended license, landed in jail for driving under the influence, following a harrowing incident in which she was spotted driving the wrong way on a California freeway before stopping in a carpool lane. "She's very lucky," California Highway Patrol Officer Todd Workman told E! News at the time. "And we're very lucky nobody was killed today." Richie was sentenced to four days in prison, and spent under two hours in the facility before walking free "due to jail overcrowding," according to LA County County Sheriff's Department officials (per People).

Thankfully, Richie transformed into an upstanding citizen. She even reflected on her "reckless behavior" in a 2016 essay for Lena Dunham's since-defunct newsletter Lenny Letter, telling readers that she has no regrets about the "bad decisions" of her youth. "Being ashamed of your life is not OK," she wrote, adding, "I realized I am actually extremely thankful I was so beastly in front of the world for a few reasons. It's so bad in people's minds that there's nothing that can embarrass me now. I got a little surprise gift of freedom!"

Bruno Mars grinned for his mugshot

Add Bruno Mars to the list of celebrities who ... mugged for their mugshot. The "Uptown Funk" crooner showed off his pearly whites in 2010, when he was arrested for drug possession at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel, allegedly found with cocaine. The reactions to Mars' mugshot were all pretty similar, with BET declaring him as "cheesing," TMZ noting that he was "smiley," and The Guardian criticizing the mugshot's "uncertain smile and vacant gaze of someone who doesn't quite know how he found himself here, but suspects that they must, nonetheless, persist in attempts at ingratiation."

E! reported that Mars' record was cleared after he completed community service and drug counseling, and paid a fine. Mars recounted the incident in a 2013 interview with GQ, addressing the claims that he told police that the incident was his first time doing drugs. "I don't know where that came from," he said. "I was really intoxicated. I was really drunk. So a lot of that is a big blur, and I try every day to forget and keep pushing." Mars also called his arrest a formative moment that made him realize the stakes of his bad behavior. "That was the lesson," he said, adding, "You've slaved away for years and years and years. You've prepped your whole life. It's all you know how to do. You're a kid experiencing life in f***ing Sin City, and that was the lesson: It can all be taken away."

Nick Nolte had the ultimate bad hair day in his mugshot

What happened to Nick Nolte? The actor's fans must've been shocked when, in 2002, his mugshot showed him looking disheveled and disoriented, sporting wild hair and a Hawaiian shirt. Nick Nolte's famously-bad mugshot has made headlines following his arrest on suspicion of drunk driving. As Nolte wrote in his 2018 memoir Rebel (via People), he had taken the drug GHB before going to the gym, with its stronger-than-anticipated effects rendering him unable to drive. "I took GHB prior to going to the gym for a long workout," he wrote, adding, "A strong dose made me feel great, yet I knew I was repeating with GHB the addictive cycle I'd been in before ... I was a mess and driving on the Pacific Coast Highway."

In another Rebel passage, Nolte addressed his infamous mugshot, comparing his look to "an asylum inmate out for a lark." Perhaps Nolte was feeling nostalgic when paparazzi caught him in 2018 wearing what appeared to be the same Hawaiian shirt he wore in his mugshot, albeit with a few buttons left open. Decades later, fans are still fixated on the photo, with one man allegedly ordering a custom Capital One card in 2017 printed with Nolte's mugshot.

Macaulay Culkin went with a spooky stare for his mugshot

Macaulay Culkin shocked fans from his Home Alone days when he was arrested in 2002 for drug possession, and in the years since, his mugshot has been turned into memes and printed onto merch including posters and mugs. Culkin was booked when police searched a car he was riding in, resulting in the charges of "marijuana possession and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription," per CNN. The actor pleaded guilty, receiving a one-year deferred sentence, and successfully avoided jail time. 

"Yes, I consumed and imbibed in drugs in my life," he admitted in a 2018 Reddit AMA, adding, "Never as bad as people said. It's not really a thing in my life right now. I'm an adult. I like to drink." The rumors of his drug use would come flaring back in 2012, when tabloids suggested that he was "addicted to heroin," publishing photos of his gaunt-looking face. "No, I was not pounding six grand of heroin every month or whatever," the Richie Rich star told The Guardian in 2016, adding, "The thing that bugged me was tabloids wrapping it all in this weird guise of concern. No, you're trying to (sell) papers."

Tiger Woods had seen better days

T-shirtssocks and full-sized banners printed with Tiger Woods' mugshot are all available to purchase on various corners of the internet, thanks to the disgraced golf superstar landing in jail in 2017 for driving under the influence after police "found him unconscious in his Mercedes-Benz," according to Sports Illustrated. Woods, who was determined to have consumed prescription drugs and marijuana at the time of his arrest, entered a plea deal and was sentenced to probation. Following numerous cheating scandals, Woods' DUI was seen to be the ultimate embarrassment for the golfer, with The Denver Post calling the photo "the defining image of (the) golfer's downfall." 

And yet, Woods completed an unlikely, triumphant comeback, winning the Masters tournament in April 2019. The month before, Woods was confronted with his mugshot on the golf course, when a fan wore a shirt emblazoned with the photo to a tournament. Woods was spotted on camera seeing the fan's shirt and cracking a smile. "I'm a huge Tiger fan, I love Tiger, so thinking about it I was like, 'I need to wear it,'" self-described Woods superfan Thomas Wesling, the wearer of the shirt, told Golf magazine. "I knew if I could get any reaction out of it from him, it'd be priceless."

Bill Cosby's smirking mugshot got people talking

Back in the 1980s, few entertainers were as beloved as Bill Cosby, who boasted one of the highest Q Scores (which advertisers use to measure public trust in a celebrity) ever measured. Not only did his groundbreaking sitcom, The Cosby Show, spend five consecutive years as TV's No. 1 show, the comedian's TV commercials for products ranging from Jell-O pudding to Coca-Cola contributed to an estimated net worth of $400 million.

That public image disintegrated when about five dozen women accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting them, their allegations spanning decades. One of those women pressed charges; in April 2018 Cosby was found guilty and convicted of aggravated sexual assault. As CNN reported, the 82-year-old was sentenced to three to 10 years in federal prison.

In October 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections issued a new mugshot of Cosby, disheveled and unshaven as he smiles grimly, a disposable mask hanging from his neck (above). Fox News reported that the pic "divided social media, with some sympathizing with the aging actor," however, many were also quick to mock the disgraced comedian, including one colorful Twitter user who called him a "McRib looking a** ni**a." While that debate rages on, the AP reported that new mugshots are routinely taken of elderly prisoners in order to "document changes to inmates' appearance as they age." Cosby, by the way, has continually professed his innocence, describing his trial as "a set up" during a 2019 prison interview