A prison sentence is a harsh reality for anyone, no matter if they are an Everyday Joe or a multi-millionaire celebrity. Jail time affects different people in different ways: some crumble, while for others it acts exactly as the wake-up call their messy existences need. While almost certainly no one enjoys it, prison has helped numerous people rebuild their lives and here are fifteen actors, actresses, musicians and sportsmen whose time behind bars went a long way in in them getting their act together.
1. Lil’ Kim (1 year, perjury)
The rapper revealed, “When I first got to prison, I slept so good for the first three weeks. I was greeted with open arms by a lot of wonderful, wonderful girls at FDC Philadelphia. I met a lot of good people in there who are still my friends to this day.”
Source: Instagram | @lilkimthequeenbee
2. Teresa Giudice (11 months, fraud)
“I mean, there was mold in the bathrooms. There was not running water constantly. The showers were freezing cold… I mean, the living conditions were really horrible. It was — it was hell,” the Real Housewives star said.
Source: Instagram | @teresagiudice
3. Robert Downey Jr. (1 year, drug charges)
The actor spoke about how reality clashed with his expectations upon entering the correction facility: “I thought it would be a lot smaller and tame. I was like, ‘Oh my God — what the f***?’ I thought it was going to be, like, the Corcoran State Prison and Theme Park, and I was f*****g speechless.”
Source: Instagram | @robertdowneyjr
4. Ja Rule (2 years, arms possession and tax evasion)
The rapper/actor explained, “I read a lot of books, got my GED while I was in there, and worked out every day. It kept me sane a lot of days when it was stressful, I didn’t get in any fights when I was there.”
Source: Instagram | @ruleyorkcity
5. Martha Stewart (5 months, conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and false statements)
The queen of home explained how she “made jam out of the crabapples on the trees,” since all the food at the facility was past its expiry date. She also taught her fellow inmates how to make ceramics!
Source: Instagram | @marthastewart
6. Mark Wahlberg (45 days, assault)
The rapper-turned-actor explained, “When I went to jail, that was a wake-up call. Over my lifetime I’ve known a lot of unsavory characters. I made a lot of mistakes in my own life, too, but thankfully I was able to learn from them.”
Source: Instagram | @markwahlberg
7. Lindsay Lohan (2 weeks, drunk driving)
The actress revealed that during solitary confinement, “You leave your cell for one hour a day, and you don’t go outside. The other girls in the other cells were in there for murder. The weirdest part for me was I finally had silence in my life.”
Source: Instagram | @lindsaylohan
8. Lil Wayne (1 year, weapons possession)
While behind bars, the rapper worked the suicide-watch circuit before being sent into solitary confinement. He was to patrol the other inmates and notify guards if any of them seemed to be in danger of committing self-harm. Wayne also had a musically productive year that included writing an album of love songs while incarcerated.
Source: Instagram | @lil____wayne____
9. Tim Allen (2 years and 4 months, drug trafficking)
“It was a watershed moment. It put me in a position of great humility, and I was able to make amends to friends and family and refocus my life on setting and achieving goals,” the actor admitted.
10. Michelle Rodriguez (48 hours, DUI, hit and run, suspended license)
“It was so cool. It was an amazing experience. I wouldn’t take it back for anything. I have a really good belief in destiny. It’s, like, if i’m gonna be killed in there, I’m gonna be killed in there. But people were cool,” the 39-year-old said about the two days which were followed up by community service and a three-month alcohol program.
11. T.I. (11 months, weapons charge)
When asked if he had gotten into a fight while behind bars, the rapper admitted that he had. “Guys from your side and guys from their side,” he said. When asked who would throw the first punch in a fight, he said, “Hopefully you.”
Source: Instagram | @troubleman31
12. Paris Hilton (4 days, DUI and suspended license)
The socialite explained, “At first, I went through so many emotions. It’s a learning experience I’m going to grow from. Just being away from everything… you know, the craziness, the paparazzi. I’ve had a lot of alone time to think and read and write.”
Source: Instagram | @parishilton
13. Mike Tyson (3 years, rape)
“I was having so much sex that I was too tired to even go to the gym and workout I’d just stay in my cell all day,” the former heavyweight world champion who was never the same boxer after prison once revealed.
Source: Instagram | @miketyson
14. Lauryn Hill (3 months, tax evasion)
The singer explained, “Although it has taken some adjustment, I cannot deny the favor I have encountered while in here, and general warm reception from a community of people who, despite their circumstances, have found unique ways to make the best of them.”
Source: Instagram | @ms_laurynhill
15. Gucci Mane (2 years, possession of a firearm)
“Life in prison was hell,” the rapper admitted. “People were dying every week. But I think it helped me to get to the point I’m at now. It gave me time to reflect, it made a lot of relationships that were toxic in my life just fall away.”