For most people, 2007 was a year of the typical ups and downs of life. For some celebrities, it has been a year of outrageous actions and incredible legal blunders.
More Fallen Athletic Stars
One of the people who lost the most is former NFL start Michael Vick. At the beginning of the year, he was one of the highest paid players in the league. By the end, he was a convicted criminal facing nearly two years in prison. The former Falcon's player ran a dog fighting ring and an operation set up to "train" dogs for fighting in which he allegedly knew animals were being mistreated and killed. He pleaded guilty to federal dog fighting charges and was sentenced to 23 months in prison. In addition, he ruined chances of getting a lighter sentence by being dishonest and failing drug tests after the original charges were brought. By the time he is released, any chance at restarting his career will have passed.
Then there was O.J. Simpson...the one-time subject of this generation's "Trial of the Century," O.J. Simpson has courted legal trouble off and on. However, his latest escapade may be the one that lands him in jail. On September 13, O.J. Simpson and five other men allegedly entered a room at the Palace Station Hotel-Casino with guns drawn. Simpson claims he was trying to recover photos and other memorabilia stolen from him by a former agent. He is charged with a number of offenses that carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Rounding out a year of outrage at the behavior of athletic icons are Barry Bonds and Marion Jones. She was the pride of the U.S. winning five medals at the Sydney Olympics and he made history with a record 755 home runs. Jones is reportedly broke and has been stripped of her medals after admitting to using a performance enhancer called the "clear" at points during her track career. In addition to pleading guilty to charges of lying to federal agents, she has filed for bankruptcy, had to sell property and may face related lawsuits.
Barry Bonds could be looking at 30 years in prison for allegedly lying to a grand jury. Bonds has been indicted on federal perjury and obstruction of justice charges. The Giants hitter told the grand jury that he did not knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs. Prosecutors claim to have evidence he tested positive for steroids and other performance enhancers.
Bad Words and Even Worse Judgment
Athletes were not the only celebrities courting disaster it the courtroom. Britney Spears has made one legal and public relations error after another. The head shaving and other inappropriate behavior are not only tabloid fodder, but have jeopardizes her claims for custody of her children. A stint in rehab followed by a number of driving infractions, including a hit-and-run, prompted the courts to order Britney not to drive with her two children in the car. After being ordered to submit to random drug testing and parenting classes, Spears now has only limited supervised visits with her children.
Alec Baldwin and Dog the Bounty Hunter let their tempers and tongues spiral out of control. Alec Baldwin's rant to his young daughter was replayed ad nauseum. He was recorded calling her a "thoughtless little pig" and other names. Baldwin said it was misdirected and borne out of frustration with his custody fight with ex-wife Kim Basinger. He since transformed the incident into a campaign for father's rights. However, the incident could still affect his custody case.
Dog the Bounty Hunter apparently did not learn from Mel Gibson, Michael Richards and Isaiah Washington that making derogatory remarks does not pay. The A&E reality star's son recorded him using the "N-word" roughly six times when referring to his displeasure at learning his son was dating an African-American woman. A&E stopped production on his show. The woman, Monique Slinnery is suing him for slander based on other remarks he made about her character.
After making a youthful misjudgment and posing for what she thought were "private pictures" and enduring a very public internet scandal, Vanessa Hudgens slipped again. The "High School Musical" star's former attorney is suing her for breach of contract. Before she became famous, Brian Schall said the teen contracted to pay him five-percent of her earnings. After making more than $5 million, he says she has not paid up. The first court hearing is set for that early part of what may be an interesting new year.