Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the strangest celebrity legal scandals and lawsuits from over the years, starting with the college admissions scandal that rocked Hollywood in early 2019. In March, police arrested Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and the "Full House" actress's husband, Mossimo designer Mossimo Giannulli — along with 47 other individuals — for allegedly paying massive bribes to get their children into prestigious universities like Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California. Lori and her hubby were accused of fraud for paying $500K to have their two daughters admitted to USC as women's rowing team recruits — even though they'd never participated in crew before. (According to TMZ, Mossimo sent photos of the girls working out on rowing machines to pad their fake recruitment profiles.) Felicity, meanwhile, pleaded guilty after paying $15K so that the older of her two daughters could have twice the allotted time to take the SATs. A bribed proctor then secretly corrected her daughter's answers. Keep reading for more wild celebrity legal scandals…
In 2015, Katy Perry found herself at legal odds with an order of nuns, the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when she attempted to buy their aging convent in the Los Angeles area. The pop star reportedly offered $14.5 million to the Los Angeles Archdiocese for the property, but because the nuns disapproved of what they saw in her music videos, they went around the archdiocese and sold the property to restauranteur Dana Hollister for about $10 million. The archdiocese, which claimed the nuns didn't have the authority to sell the property, then took the matter to court to block the sale to Hollister, whom they accused of taking advantage of the nuns and of committing fraud by cutting them a bad deal. Ultimately, a judge sided with the archdiocese, clearing the way for Katy to purchase the property. By June 2019, however, the convent was back on the market — this time for $25 million. The archdiocese told the New York Post that Katy is still interested in the property, though only time will tell if she ever gets to call it home.
In April 2019, the City of Chicago sued Jussie Smollett for failing to fork over $130K for the overtime incurred during the police investigation into his claims that he was the victim of a hate crime just a few months earlier. Police came to believe that the "Empire" star staged the attack as a publicity stunt, and a grand jury indicted him on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. Those charges, however, were dropped. The city also asked that the actor hand over $1,000 for each "false statement" he allegedly made. Jussie, who's maintained his innocence throughout the bizarre ordeal, has refused to comply.
RELATED: Celebs react to Jussie's arrest
In 2010, Lindsay Lohan sued E-Trade for $100 million over the financial services company's Super Bowl commercial, which she believed "used her name and characterization" without her permission: In the advertisement, a female baby asks a male baby if he bailed on her because he was hanging out with another female baby — "that milk-aholic Lindsay." The singer-actress argued that because she's widely recognized by just her first name (á la Madonna, Oprah, Beyonce or Adele), the company clearly meant for the commercial to serve "as a parody of her life" and well-chronicled troubles with alcohol. Ultimately, LiLo and E-Trade reached a confidential settlement.
In 2009, a Los Angeles-based woman named Lucie Kim sued Miley Cyrus for $4 billion over a racist photo in which the singer-actress and some friends are seen posing while squinting and pulling back their eyelids. In a class action lawsuit, Kim alleged that the pic violated the civil rights of Asian Pacific Islanders, and as such, asked the court to order Miley to fork over $4K to every Asian Pacific Islander in Los Angeles County (about 1 million people) to compensate them for the harm they suffered when they saw the offensive shot. The former child star, who claimed she was "simply making a goofy face" and that the photo was taken "out of context," issued an apology, and ultimately, a judge dismissed the case. The court, however, stopped short of ordering Kim to pay tens of thousands of dollar in legal fees — as Miley's team requested — indicating that the court felt her lawsuit wasn't totally without merit.
In late 2018, a woman named Kimberly Thompson filed a restraining order against Beyonce for allegedly using "extreme witchcraft" and "dark magic" to ruin her life. Here's how the musician — who worked as a drummer for the superstar's all-female backup band for several years — claimed in handwritten legal documents that Queen Bey harassed her: Beyonce used "magical spells of sexual molestation" on her. Beyonce murdered her pet kitten. Beyonce used magic spells on her lovers — leading to "numerous broken relationships." Beyonce caused her to experience extreme exhaustion. Beyonce made her lose out on money and jobs. Beyonce stole her home, property, computer, hard drives and more. According to The Blast, Thompson also accused the singer-actress of tapping her phones. Ultimately, a judge denied her request for a restraining order. But it's not the only time a woman has sued Beyonce over some pretty outrageous claims…
In 2014, a woman named Tina Seals filed a lawsuit alleging that she's the biological mother of Beyonce and husband JAY-Z's firstborn child, Blue Ivy Carter. In the lawsuit, which fueled a longstanding conspiracy theory that the couple secretly used a surrogate, Seals asked to be compensated for her "services" — providing an egg to the couple. She also asked for DNA testing and "mandated mediation pending test results." Wrote Seals, "I desire to preserve this relationship as these are great people!" The court ultimately dismissed the claim as frivolous.
In 2015, aspiring singer Kristina Karo sued Mila Kunis for $5K for stealing her pet chicken, Doggie, back when they were childhood friends in Ukraine. The singer claimed she suffered emotional distress that "prevented her from pursuing the American dream" following the theft and asked that the actress cover the cost of her therapy bills. Kristina quickly dropped the lawsuit — apparently a publicity stunt to promote her song "Give Me Green Card." Mila, meanwhile, released a video with husband Ashton Kutcher in which they joked about countersuing the singer for $5K for making them watch her music video.
How far would you go for the perfect selfie?! In 2017, Snaplight sued Kim Kardashian West for publicly endorsing their competitor, LuMee — both brands make cell phone cases that light up to create the perfect lighting for selfie taking. In their $100 million lawsuit, Snaplight argued that "it has been extremely difficult for Snaplight to compete in the selfie case market" because of the reality star's relationship with LuMee. Ultimately, she was able to strike a settlement with the company, though it's unclear whether or not any cash was exchanged.
In 2007, Charlie Sheen settled a lawsuit with Ursula Auburn after she sued him for using her as the basis for a character on "Two and a Half Men" without her permission. The character in question? The fictional Charlie's wacky neighbor and stalker Rose, whom Ursula claims looks and talks like her. She also claimed that certain plot points involving Rose reflected real-life encounters she had with the actor.
In mid-2018, Luann de Lesseps' ex-husband, Count Alex de Lesseps, and their two children sued her for failing to fork over millions of dollars to the kids as part of a stipulation in the former couple's 2009 divorce. When the duo split, a judge ordered Alex to hand over the deed to their marital home in Bridgehampton, New York, so Luann could put the house in a trust for their son and daughter, Noel and Victoria. Instead, she sold it for $8 million and used the money to buy another home for $3.1 million. The kids should've then had an ownership interest in the new house, but instead, Luann reportedly threatened to sell it to buy yet another house. (Noel and Victoria filed the lawsuit to block their mom from selling the second house.) In April 2019, the star of "The Real Housewives of New York City" said that her kids dropped the lawsuit and that everything between them was "great."
In 2009, a personal chef sued Simon Cowell and ex-girlfriend Terri Seymour for failing to return her running shoes, which were equipped with $500 orthopedic insoles, after they asked her to remove them when she entered their home for a job interview. According to TMZ, the chef claimed in her $661.59 lawsuit that she made several attempts to reclaim her footwear — she even drove back to the house, where Terri's assistant tried to help her locate her kicks. Ultimately, Simon settled with the chef … and forked over the shoes, $75 in court fees and $9 to cover the cost of gas for the woman's extra trip to his home.
In 2018, Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop shelled out $145,000 to settle a false advertising lawsuit filed by the California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force over three products the company sold online: a $66 jade egg and a $55 rose quartz egg, which they claim benefit women's sexual health, and a flower essence blend that allegedly "assists in the clearing of guilt, shame, self-criticism and blame." Goop was also ordered to reimburse customers who previously purchased the products and to refrain from representing that various goods or services "have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses or benefits which they do not have."
In her 2008 memoir "Send Yourself Roses," Kathleen Turner accused Nicolas Cage of dognapping: "[He got] arrested twice for drunk-driving and, I think, for stealing a dog. He'd come across a Chihuahua he liked and stuck it in his jacket," she wrote of her former "Peggy Sue Got Married" co-star. When the actor caught wind of his former on-screen love's remarks, he promptly sued her for defamation, libel and slander. Ultimately, the iconic actress issued an apology to Nic, paid his legal fees and made a sizeable donation to a charity of his choosing: The National Adult Protective Services Foundation, which benefits victims of elder abuse.
In 2011, a woman sued Diddy for a whopping $1 trillion for refusing to financially provide for a child she claimed he fathered, her son Cornelius, and for stealing a casino chip that she alleged was, in her words, "worth over 100 zillions of dollars." In handwritten legal docs, she accused him of physically abusing her and her kids. She also accused the music mogul, his ex-girlfriend, the late Kim Porter, and Rodney King of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. In her lawsuit, she asked for $900 billion in child support and $100 billion for loss of income. She also requested a restraining order against him.
In 2008, 50 Cent sued Taco Bell for $4 million for using his name for advertising purposes without his permission: The fast food company issued a press release asking the rapper-actor to change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent in honor of their new menu prices. According to Time, Fiddy found out about the promotion when blogs started calling him a sellout over the perceived endorsement deal. Ultimately, he came to a confidential settlement with the restaurant. It wasn't the first time he sued a company for using his name or likeness without his permission…
In 2007, 50 Cent filed a $1 million lawsuit against the digital advertising company Trafix after they launched a game called "Shoot the Rapper" — in which players aim and shoot at an unnamed animated 50 Cent avatar by clicking on it — to lure consumers to an e-commerce website. (Yikes.) According to the New York Daily News, the ad featured "a muscular black man posing for photographers on a red carpet, along with the words, 'Shoot the rapper and you will win $5,000 or 5 ringtones guaranteed.'" Fiddy's lawyer said that the animated character was modeled after his client's "classic look, with the baseball cap and the muscles" and that "any reasonable consumer would know it's him."