At this point, R. Kelly’s fall from grace has become worldwide news. During the peak of his career, the Chicago native was regarded as one of the best artists in the industry. Kelly’s accomplishments as a singer, songwriter and producer led to some dubbing him the “King of R&B.” Kelly won three Grammy Awards in 1998 for his hit song, “I Believe I Can Fly” — in total Kelly has earned 25 nominations.
Despite his professional success, Kelly’s career will be rightfully overshadowed by his legal problems. For more than two decades, Kelly faced accusations of sexual abuse. In 1994, a then-27-year-old Kelly married Aaliyah (who was 15). In 2021, Kelly was found guilty of racketeering and several sex-related crimes. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
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The younger sister of Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson saw her career come to a screeching halt on one fateful Saturday night. In 2004, the younger Simpson released her debut single, “Pieces of Me”. The single peaked at No. 5 on the charts, and her debut album — “Autobiography” — reached No. 1. Things appeared to be going very well for Simpson…
…until one catastrophic performance on Saturday Night Live. Simpson was caught lip-syncing during the ‘live’ performance and subsequently walked off stage as the network quickly cut to a commercial. Simpson has only had one other single break the top-20 since her SNL performance — and that was in 2005.
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Be warned, this is a dark slide. Born in Texas, Mark Salling began acting at an early age. It would take the Texan a few years to land a big role, but he certainly found himself with a good gig. From 2009-2015, Salling played the role of Puck on the hit-show Glee. However, Salling would soon become known for much more sinister acts. In 2013, an ex-girlfriend accused him of committing sexual battery. Two years later, Salling agreed to pay her over $2.5 million. In 2015, the former Glee star was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography. Two years later, Salling pleaded guilty. A little more than a month before he was due for sentencing, Salling committed suicide.
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The world was watching on February 1, 2004, as Janet Jackson’s nipple was exposed as a result of Justin Timberlake ripping off a piece of her top. 150 million people were watching Super Bowl XXXVIII when the incident occurred — an incident which still looms over Jackson nearly 20 years later. One of the greatest musical artists of all-time, Jackson was not allowed to attend the 46th Grammy Awards following ‘Nipplegate’. Additionally, Jackson’s subsequent album release, Damita Jo, was blacklisted and boycotted by many big radio stations and companies (such as CBS and Viacom). Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake’s star only grew brighter.
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Who doesn’t remember Jared Fogle? For 15 years, Fogle was known simply as Jared from Subway. Previously obese and weighing over 400 pounds, Fogle lost over 200 pounds thanks to the ‘Subway diet’. Fogle became the face of Subway following the spread of his story. What the public didn’t know, however, is that Fogle was the focus of an FBI investigation. In 2015, Fogle was arrested on distribution and receipt of child pornography charges. Fogle pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison.
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Depending on which film genre you prefer, you may recognize Jeffrey Jones (left) for one-of-two films: Amadeus or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Jones earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role in the former, and memorably played the role of the dastardly high school principal Ed Rooney in the latter. While Jones enjoyed a nice career-run in the 1980’s, his career fell off following his arrest for possession of child pornography and soliciting a minor in 2002. The first charge was eventually dropped, but Jones pleaded no contest to the solicitation charge. As such, he was required to register as a sex offender.
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Over the course of history, there have been many people who have committed heinous acts only to remain successful. Chris Brown is one of those individuals. One of the most talented singers and dancers of the past few decades, Brown’s career began with a slew of chart-topping hits. However, Brown’s reputation was forever tarnished in 2009. During an argument with his then-girlfriend Rihanna, Brown became physical — and left the superstar with facial injuries that required a trip to the hospital. Brown ultimately pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge. While Brown’s career has carried on, the singer has faced a few additional allegations in recent years.
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The three men pictured above were a big part of one of the greatest sitcoms of all-time. However, Michael Richards (left), has had a bit of a controversial run following his time on the show. Richards starred as Kramer on Seinfeld from 1989-1998. As a result of his stellar work, Richards won three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In 2006, Richards practically ended his career when he went on a racist tirade while performing at the Laugh Factory. The former beloved comic announced his retirement from stand-up comedy the following year.
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Another star from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Jennifer Grey is included on this list for a decision that harmed absolutely nobody. A year after her memorable performance in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Grey put forth the performance of her career in 1987’s Dirty Dancing — where she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. Then, Grey opted to get a nose job. In her memoir, “Out of the Corner,” Grey said, “It seemed that I had committed an unforgivable crime: willfully stripping away the only thing that made me special.” According to Grey, her career was never the same.
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Frauds. That is who Milli Vanilli turned out to be. On the heels of their standout debut album, “All or Nothing,” Milli Vanilli became global superstars. The German-French duo were incredibly popular in Europe and in the United States. In 1990, the duo won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Before the year came to a close, Milli Vanilli had their Grammy rescinded and the duo returned the hardware. Why? Because the duo, Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan, were exposed as frauds. The two didn’t sing any of the vocals on their music releases. From stars to outcasts, Milli Vanilli.
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Boy George has enjoyed a very successful career. As the lead singer of Culture Club, George helped introduce the world to hit songs such as “Karma Chameleon”, “Time (Clock of the Heart)”, and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”. George has also enjoyed a successful solo career for decades. However, George has a dark cloud looming over his career. In 2008, George was convicted of the assault and false imprisonment of a male escort. Sentenced to 15 months, George was released after just four months due to ‘good behavior’.
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Hailing from Wales, Ian Watkins was in the midst of living a rockstar life when he was found to be guilty of a horrific crime. Watkins was the co-founder and lead vocalist of the rock band Lostprophets. Between 2000-2012, Watkins helped produce five studio albums with the Lostprophets. On the surface, things appeared to be going well. However, Watkins was secretly a dark individual. On December 19, 2012, Watkins was charged with two heinous crimes — conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a one-year-old girl, possession and/or distribution of indecent images of children, and “extreme animal pornography.” Thankfully, Watkins was sentenced to over 29 years in prison (it should have been more).
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Teddy Sinclair has been a public figure since the 2000’s. Most fans may know her as Natalia Kills and Verbalicious. The England native has had a handful of hit singles, and even owns a Grammy Award nomination for co-writing Rihanna’s song “Kiss It Better”. In 2015, Sinclair and her husband, Willy Moon, joined The X Factor New Zealand as judges…and only lasted one episode. Sinclair verbally obliterated a contestant, leading the network to fire her and Moon the following day. Not a great look.
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If you are a fan of procedural television shows, there is a strong possibility that you know this man. From 2005-2016, Thomas Gibson starred on CBS’ Criminal Minds as Hotch. Gibson was an integral part of the franchise for 11 seasons. However, one poor moment from Gibson resulted in his departure from the show after just two episodes of Season 12. According to reports, Gibson was involved in an on-set altercation in which he allegedly kicked a producer. In the wake of his dismissal, more reports emerged which claimed Gibson had been combative on set for years prior to the fateful kick.
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For three decades, Charlie Sheen was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Known for his eccentric personality, strong acting ability and willingness to party, Sheen was often the center of attention. From 2003-2011, Sheen transitioned to television — starring in the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. Sheen’s tenure on the show came to an end when the actor made derogatory comments about Chuck Lorre (the creator). The aftermath was…wild. Tiger blood, anyone? Sheen’s acting career has slowed to a crawl following his fiery exit.
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Dating back to 1995, Natalie Maines has performed as the lead singer for The Chicks — formerly known as The Dixie Chicks. Maines and The Chicks have been incredibly successful over the years. In total, the band has won 13 Grammy Awards and 10 Country Music Association Awards. Maines has drawn some criticism over the years — with some finding it too hard to support her music in the aftermath. During a concert in 2003, Maines stated her public disdain for the impending invasion of Iraq — as well as President George W. Bush being a Texan. As a result, The Chicks were ‘shunned’ by some radio stations and fans. Their music sales and tour suffered as a result.
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Before The Rock became arguably the biggest movie star in the world, Hulk Hogan paved the way as the first professional wrestler to become a global icon. Even today, 40 years since his rise to fame, Hulk Hogan remains a household name. Unfortunately for the Hulkster, not everyone knows of him for his wrestling/acting career. In 2015, a sex tape featuring Hogan was leaked to the public. On the tape, Hogan can be heard spewing racist statements. As a result, the WWE terminated Hogan’s contract and removed nearly all traces of Hogan from their site. Hogan would be blackballed by the WWE for three years.
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Stephen Collins, as it pertains to his acting career, is best-known for his time on the popular show 7th Heaven. Collins was with the program from 1996-2007, and his career would end seven years later. Two months after the New York City Police Department began investigating Collins due to an audio tape of Collins discussing molesting a minor — and two years after the LAPD investigated the actor — Collins admitted in an interview with People that, “Forty years ago, I did something terribly wrong that I deeply regret. I have been working to atone for it ever since…On the recording, I described events that took place 20, 32, and 40 years ago.” In total, Collins claims he had three victims between 1973-1994.
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CeeLo Green has had two massive hits since the year 2006. In ’06, Green released “Crazy”. Four years later, the soul singer debuted “F**k You”. At its peak, the latter reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Green became a judge on The Voice (2011-2013), and even voiced a character in the 2013 film Hotel Transylvania. However, Green’s career took a turn for the worse when he was accused of sexual battery at the end of 2012. While the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined to file a rape charge, Green ultimately plead no contest to one felony count of furnishing ecstasy. After a string of terrible tweets related to the case, Green’s show on TBS — CeeLo Green’s The Good Life — was cancelled.
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Michael Vick had the world in his hands. A star quarterback at Virginia Tech, Vick was selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. Vick instantly became one of the most popular players in the league, and the Falcon was easily the most electric quarterback the league had ever seen. Vick reached three Pro Bowls and became the first QB to rush for 1,000 yards in a season — all by the age of 26. Then, in April 2007, Vick was indicted on federal felony charges for operating a dog fighting ring. In December ’07, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison. While Vick made a return to the NFL following his release, his legacy will always be tied to the despicable dog fighting ring.
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In 2013, Belle Gibson seemingly struck gold. Her app, The Whole Pantry, was deemed Apple’s Best Food and Drink app of the year. As a result of the success, Gibson signed a book deal in order to publish a physical cookbook to go along with the app. Gibson also had a story to tell — and it turns out it was all a lie. Gibson claimed that she was battling brain cancer (and other types), and that she was donating a ton of money to charities. Eventually, Gibson was outed for her lies and admitted on record that she was deceitful. Gibson is said to be in debt currently — and she still owes a good chunk of money in damages.
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Until just a few years ago, Kevin Spacey was recognized as one of the most talented actors in the world. In 1996, Spacey won his first Oscar — Best Supporting Actor (The Usual Suspects). For his work in 1999’s American Beauty, Spacey was awarded the Oscar for Best Actor. Beginning in 2013, Spacey played the role of Frank Underwood on the Netflix series House of Cards. One year later, Spacey won a Golden Globe — and would earn 10 Emmy nominations between 2013-2017. Then, it was all over.
Actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Spacey made a sexual advance toward him in 1986…when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. Spacey was quickly removed from House of Cards as 15 more people came forward with similar stories to Rapp’s. Two years ago, Rapp sued Spacey for sexual assault, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress under the Child Victims Act. On May 26, 2022, Spacey was charged with four counts of sexual assault against three men in the United Kingdom.
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The King of Pop is without a doubt the greatest pop star of all-time. His voice and dancing ability is unmatched. Jackson’s accomplishments in the industry can be discussed for hours, but we are here to discuss what led to his career slipping. Jackson found himself facing child sexual abuse allegations twice — in 1993 and 2003. Jackson was never found guilty of any of the accusations, but the allegations remain linked to his reputation even in death.
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Paula Deen formed a partnership with Food Network in 1999, and it lasted until Deen’s incident in 2013. In June of that year, a woman named Lisa Jackson sued Deen for racial and sexual discrimination. Before the case was even taken to court, Food Network ended its contract with the star cook. Additionally, Deen lost numerous sponsorships, endorsement contracts and publishing deals. Despite Deen making a slight comeback in recent years on Roku, her image and career hasn’t been the same.
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Jussie Smollett’s career was brief — all thanks to himself. In 2014, Smollett landed a role in the Fox series Empire. Smollett’s character was well-received and seen as a potentially groundbreaking character, as he was portraying a gay black man on television. Unfortunately, Smollett ended any chance of that character progressing. In 2019, Smollett staged a hate crime hoax — alleging that two men in ski masks beat him up and yelled homophobic and racial slurs at him. On December 9, 2021, Smollett was found guilty on five-of-six counts and 150 days in county jail.
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Tough look, Tonya. Before becoming an all-time villain, Tonya Harding was on the verge of superstardom. She was the U.S. Figure Skating champion from 1991-94, won a silver medal at the World Championships, and became the first American woman to land a triple Axel during a competition.
Unfortunately, Tonya’s name became synonymous with a terrible event. One day before the 1994 U.S. Championship, Tonya’s ex-husband orchestrated an attack on Nancy Kerrigan — Tonya’s chief rival — which forced her to withdraw from the Championship. Despite winning the Championship, Tonya was stripped of the title after the Kerrigan investigation was completed.
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The O.J. Simpson story is one that millions of people are familiar with. At one time, Simpson was one of the biggest celebrities in the United States. While attending college at the University of Southern California, Simpson won the Heisman Trophy, a National Championship, and was a two-time All-American. Simpson’s greatness on the gridiron continued in the NFL, as well. Simpson won an MVP and four rushing titles — solidifying his status as one of the greatest running backs of all-time.
Of course, Simpson made headlines away from the field for a horrifying reason. In 1994, Simpson was arrested and charged with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman. At the conclusion of the massive trial, Simpson was acquitted by the jury. Regardless, Simpson’s career/life was never the same. In 2007, Simpson was arrested and charged with armed robbery and kidnapping — he eventually served nine years in prison.
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Jerry Lee Lewis
At the height of his career, Jerry Lee Lewis was regarded as one of the greatest rock and roll artists in the world. In the late 1950s, Lewis released smash-hits such as “Great Balls of Fire”, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”, “Crazy Arms”, and “Breathless”. The incredibly skilled pianist has been married seven times — but one of those marriages is what severely tarnished his career and legacy. In 1958, a then-23-year-old Lewis married his 13-year-old cousin, Myra Gale Brown. The married cousins brought two children into the world during their marriage. It is easy to understand how Lewis’ career fell off.
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T.J. Miller was a familiar face in Hollywood for more than a decade. Born in Colorado, Miller made his acting debut in 2008’s Cloverfield. Over the next few years, Miller appeared in the comedies Get Him to the Greek and She’s Out of My League — as well as hit films Big Hero 6, How to Train Your Dragon, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Deadpool. However, Miller’s most notable role was that of Erlich Bachman in Silicon Valley.
In the late 2010s, Miller’s career largely fell apart. First, in 2016, the actor was arrested for allegedly assaulting an Uber driver. A few months later, Miller faced sexual assault allegations dating back to his college years. In 2018, Miller was arrested at LaGuardia Airport on federal charges related to a fake bomb threat.
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Before becoming an actress, Gina Carano earned respect as an elite mixed martial artist. During her MMA career, Carano amassed a 7-1 record — with her only defeat coming at the hands of the great Cris Cyborg in a bout for the Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Championship. At the conclusion of her career, Carano memorably appeared in Fast & Furious 6 and Deadpool. In 2019, Carano landed another big role — playing Cara Dune in The Mandalorian. After appearing in the first two seasons, Carano was fired. Why? The actress sent out a social media post that implied being a Republican today is like being Jewish during the Holocaust. Lucasfilm quickly severed all ties.
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During the mid 2000s, it appeared as if Emile Hirsch was destined to be one of the next big stars in Hollywood. The Los Angeles native earned his first credited role at the age of 11, and by the time he was 19 (2004) Hirsch landed his first big gig. Beginning with 2004’s The Girl Next Door, Hirsch starred in a string of popular films including Lords of Dogtown, Alpha Dog, Into the Wild, Speed Racer and Milk.
And while the actor appeared in Lone Survivor and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in recent years, his career hasn’t taken off like many expected. In 2015, Hirsch — who was attending Sundance — was charged with aggravated assault after attacking and strangling Paramount Pictures executive Daniele Bernfeld. Five months after the attack, Hirsch pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.
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It wasn’t too long ago that Brian Williams was recognized as one of America’s top journalists. Williams joined NBC News in 1993 as chief White House correspondent and anchor for Weekend Nightly News. In 2004, Williams replaced the legendary Tom Brokaw as the anchor of NBC Nightly News. Williams won 12 Emmys throughout his run at NBC, and in 2007 was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. As it turned out, however, Williams wasn’t always honest on air. In 2015, the star newscaster was suspended for six months for misrepresenting his experience and coverage of the Iraq War. Upon his return from suspension, Williams was demoted to MSNBC.
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Only 29 years old, Ezra Miller is seemingly at a career-crossroads. During their brief time in Hollywood, Miller has been involved with some pretty big projects. They starred in We Need to Talk About Kevin and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In 2015, Miller had memorable roles in Trainwreck and The Stanford Prison Experiment. Just one year later, the budding star landed a starring role in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Miller’s career reached new heights when they were cast as the Flash for Justice League and The Flash. Unfortunately, Miller has been in the news recently for a slew of negative reasons. They were arrested twice within three weeks related to two separate physical altercations in Hawaii. In June, Miller was the subject of a restraining order which includes frightening allegations.
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During his brief three-year NFL career, Aaron Hernandez became one of the league’s best tight ends. Catching passes from Tom Brady with the New England Patriots, Hernandez was one of the most promising young stars in the league and appeared destined for a memorable career. However, Hernandez’s career came to an end on June 26, 2013, when the footballer was charged with the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd. Nearly two years later, Hernandez was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. In 2017, five days after being acquitted of double homicide relating to a separate incident, Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell.
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Armie Hammer was the focus of a ton of media attention in 2021. An actor known for his roles in The Social Network, J. Edgar, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Call Me by Your Name — the latter for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination — Hammer faced allegations of sexual abuse, cannibalistic fetishism, and emotional abuse in 2021. While Hammer has denied the heinous allegations, the actor dropped out of multiple projects including multiple films, television shows and a Broadway gig. To date, no charges have been filed against Hammer.
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Vince McMahon is the latest star to face serious allegations. From 1982-2022, McMahon served as the chairman and CEO of WWE — the world’s top wrestling company. McMahon has long been the face of the business, both in its good times and bad. In June 2022, a Wall Street Journal report claimed McMahon paid more than $12 million to four women to cover up “allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity.” A month later, the WWE stated that McMahon paid $14.6 million in “unrecorded expenses” from 2006 through 2022. McMahon officially retired on July 22, 2022.
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During her peak, Roseanne Barr was one of the greatest stand-up comics in the world and was television’s foul-mouthed queen. As the star of the show Roseanne (1988-1997), Barr won an Emmy and Golden Globe for Best Actress. In 2018, the show was briefly revived and garnered a ton of attention. However, Barr’s own actions quickly led to its cancellation. On May 29, 2018, Barr posted a tweet that was seen as racist by many people.
ABC acted quickly and canceled Roseanne, with ABC president Channing Dungey stating Barr’s words were, “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.” A few weeks later, ABC announced a spinoff, The Conners, would be brought to TV — the show featured much of the same cast sans Roseanne, of course.
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Lance Armstrong was an inspiration to millions of people around the world. One of the top cyclists in the world in the early 1990s, Armstrong’s life was changed forever when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996. The cancer had spread to his brain, lungs, and lymph nodes — leaving Armstrong with a minimal chance of survival. Miraculously, Armstrong overcame his dire diagnosis and returned to cycling.
Then, Armstrong won seven-straight Tour de France titles from 1999-2005. He also started the Livestrong Foundation — which led to millions of people donning a yellow ‘Livestrong’ bracelet. However, Armstrong was later stripped of his titles when it was discovered that he had been using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.
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Between his work on That ’70s Show, Men at Work and The Ranch, Danny Masterson had carved out quite a nice career for himself. His solid acting credits will forever be overshadowed, however, by his arrest in 2020. On June 17, 2020, Masterson was arrested and charged with four counts of sexual assault. Four women filed sexual assault allegations against the actor — all of which he has denied. With trial set to begin later in 2022, Masterson is facing the possibility of spending up to 45 years in prison.
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