Crimes of the '80s

6 Stars From the '80s Who Got Into Legal Trouble, But Are Still Around Today

These 1980s media darlings got into legal issues that range from heroin possession to grabbing women to using a car alternator as a weapon. They're all still working today. 

Oxygen Digital is kicking off its first-ever themed month in June with Crimes of the '80s. We'll explore big trends (drug cartels), sensational cases ("The Preppy Killer"), the decade's most lethal and infamous serial killers (The Night Stalker, The Grim Sleeper) and more. 

These six 1980's stars have experienced some high-highs and some embarrassing lows. But, accusations and arrests aside, they continue to put out material.

1.  Paul Reubens

[Sarasota County Sheriff's Department]

This comedian skyrocketed to fame in the 1980s with by playing Pee-wee Herman. The child-like star started off as a stage act that blossomed into an HBO special in 1981. It was so popular that it became a movie: Pee-wee's Big Adventure in 1985. Reubens starred in the children’s series Pee-wee's Playhouse, from 1986 to 1991. Another film based on the character, Big Top Pee-wee, was released in 1988.

In 1991, though, Reubens was caught doing something very adult (and lewd). He was arrested and charged with exposing himself inside an adult theater in—where else?—Florida. The theater was showing movies like Nancy Nurse at the time.

Reubens’ lawyer, Dan Dannheiser, said in a 1991 report that the charge would wreck Reuben’s career.

"He does a lot of things with kids over the world and his career will be over when the story runs," Dannheiser told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The kids’ show was cancelled the same year. Reubens took a sabbatical from Pee wee and the arrest prompted Reubens to take a break from acting projects until 1999 when he starred in Mystery Men and Blow. From there on out, he got back on track. He even brought back Pee-wee. In 2016, Reubens helped write and star in the Netflix original movie Pee-wee's Big Holiday.

2.  Corey Feldman

[Getty Images]

Corey Feldman was one of the most famous child stars of the '80s. He kicked off his career by starring in a McDonald’s commercial when he was only 3 years old. From there, he had roles on dozens of television shows including Cheers, Mork and Mindy, One Day at a Time, and Eight is Enough. He was everywhere! As a child he was featured in films like Gremlins in 1984, The Goonies in 1985 and Stand By Me in 1986. But, by 1990, Feldman (then aged 19) was arrested for heroin possession, twice. He went to rehab in 1991. Feldman had already had his share of personal problems. At age 15, he was granted legal emancipation from his parents, who he claimed had abused him.

By 2002, he was creating again. He released a solo album entitled, Former Child Actor. He appeared on the first season of VH1's The Surreal Life and the A&E reality TV series, The Two Coreys alongside the late Corey Haim (another '80s child star.)

More recently, Feldman has been in the spotlight again but some could argue that it’s for stranger reasons than his 1980s prime. A VICE reporter attended his birthday party in 2013, exposing the bizarre lifestyle the actor indulges in: surrounding himself by “Corey’s Angels,” a gang of handpicked women, and calling his home "The Feldmansion.” His 2016 album Angelic 2 the Core has garnered a lot of attention. Most critics have argued that it’s one of those it’s-so-bad-it’s-good albums. His performance of songs from the album on the Today show have prompted articles with titles like Corey Feldman Lost His Damn Mind On Today by SPIN.

3.  Matthew Broderick


He was the star of the 1986 hit film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. What many don’t know about the iconic eighties star is that he also technically killed two people. Matthew Broderick was involved in a car accident in 1987 while hanging out in Northern Ireland with another '80s star: Jennifer Grey from Dirty Dancing. Broderick allegedly crossed into the wrong lane and collided head-on with another vehicle. The crash killed the driver and their passenger immediately.

Originally, Broderick was charged with death by dangerous driving. Later though, he was convicted of careless driving and was fined a mere $175. The victims’ family have labeled Broderick’s punishment, or lack thereof, a “travesty of justice.”

The car crash and its resulting deaths did not seem to affect Broderick’s career at all. He went on to star in later films like The Lion King in 1994 and The Cable Guy in 1996. His acting continues to thrive to this day. 

4.  Christian Slater


This actor kicked off his film career with a leading role in the 1985 film The Legend of Billie Jean and soon acted alongside Sean Connery in 1986’s The Name of the Rose. He became recognized for his role of J.D. in the 1988 cult hit Heathers, where he played a homicidal hunk that tried to blow up his school and encouraged Winona Ryder’s character to kill her classmates. But, he didn’t just play a bad boy (and arguably creep) in the movies.

Slater was arrested in 1989 for drunk driving. The critically acclaimed actor led sheriff's deputies on car chase that began when deputies spotted his Saab Turbo 900 going 50 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone, according to the Los Angeles Times. The chase ended with the Slater’s car crashing into two telephone poles. Slater, who was 20 at the time, pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. It was his second drunk driving offense.

Slater was arrested again in 1997 multiple times: once for suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon at a party that ended in him also getting into an altercation with police, a second time for assaulting a girlfriend while intoxicated and a third time when he attempted to board a plane with a loaded gun. In 2005, Christian was charged with third-degree sexual assault after grabbing a woman’s behind on the street.

Despite all his legal issues, he never stopped working. His career continues to be prolific and he is always juggling multiple acting projects. He was a somewhat regular voice actor on Archer and has been working on multiple television series and films over the past year.

5.  Anthony Michael Hall


He often played a “nerd” in many 1980s films, starring in Sixteen Candles in 1984, and the 1985 hits The Breakfast Club and Weird Science. He was also known for his role in National Lampoon’s Vacation in 1983. But, harmless nerd in real life he was apparently not. Hall has had some major issues with his neighbors, and faces potential prison time for it.

In 2011, Hall was arrested on suspicion of disturbing the peace after an alleged dispute with his neighbor.  Hall had allegedly frightened his neighbors by "screaming obscenities and challenging people to fights in the street."

In 2016, Hall was charged with felony battery with serious bodily injury for allegedly attacking his neighbor. The actor, who was 48 at the time of the incident, allegedly broke his neighbor's wrist and injured his back outside their condo development in Playa del Rey, California. He faces up to seven years in jail for the assault. He pleaded not guilty this year, but has not been sentenced yet. As of now, he is still a working actor.

6.  Adam Ant

[Getty Images]

This rocker had sold more than 15 million records as part of the pirate-themed new wave group Adam and the Ants in the 1980s. Hits included "Prince Charming" and "Stand and Deliver." Ant, born Stuart Leslie Goddard, was very influential in both the new wave and punk movements.

In 2002 though, he suffered some sort of public meltdown while living in his hometown of London. He freaked out at a pub after bar patrons taunted him about the cowboy outfit he was wearing that night. Ant threatened to shoot people with his father’s WWII-era pistol. He also threw a car alternator through the window of the pub, which hit and injured a local musician. The singer was placed under a year-long rehabilitation order and entered a psychiatric hospital after a judge determined that he’d suffered an episode of mental illness.

He suffered another episode again in 2003 when was arrested for suspicion of criminal damage for allegedly throwing rocks through a neighbor's windows. According to MTV, neighbors described his behavior as "out of control." The singer yelled about children and scrawled messages on a kitchen towel. Before he was arrested, he allegedly ran into a local cafe, dropped his pants and went into the cafe's basement stating that he needed to rest. After he was bailed from jail, he was transported to a psychiatric ward.

Ant seems to be doing better and is on a musical tour this year.

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