Court cases are held in the U.S. daily, but we only hear about a handful of them. Unsurprisingly, we all pay attention when trials involve major celebrities, from the Kardashians to Alec Baldwin. Some cases are lawsuits over minor incidents, while others are murder trials.
As much as people love to see celebrities in movies and on TV, they seem even more fascinated when stars appear in court.
1. The People v. O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson's murder trial might be the most famous celebrity court case ever. If you haven't watched it already, The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story is a well-done drama series that chronicles the trial and is mostly accurate. The worst part is that the evidence strongly shows he did murder his ex-wife, but he was found innocent in criminal court.
2. The People v. Snoop Dogg
We all love Snoop and his friendship with Martha Stewart, but he's not as cool as he seems. He stood trial for conspiracy to murder a man named Philip Woldemariam, who was shot by Snoop's bodyguard in 1993. The rapper was acquitted of the crime a few years later, but the evidence is disconcerting.
3. Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard
The formerly married stars went to trial against one another for defamation, among other allegations. We were all captivated by the trial proceedings as they took place, but the Depp v. Heard limited series shed even more light on this he-said-she-said trial that had people divided and taking sides.
4. Alec Baldwin v. Halyna Hutchins' Family
In 2021, Alec Baldwin shot and killed a woman on the set of the movie Rust. It was an accidental shooting that occurred because Baldwin did not know the prop gun was loaded with live rounds. It's still unclear if he will be tried in criminal court for the accidental death, but the victim's family is determined to hold him accountable.
5. Sofía Vergara v. Nick Loeb
Sofía Vergara called it quits with her most recent husband in 2023, but she was ensnared in a legal battle with a former ex for several years. The custody battle was for Sofía's frozen embryos. In 2021, a judge ruled in favor of Sofía, bringing this complex legal saga to an end.
6. Gwyneth Paltrow v. Terry Sanderson
Terry Sanderson sued the famous actress for $300,000 following a skiing accident. The two crashed into one another on the slopes at a ritzy Utah ski resort and Sanderson felt Paltrow was responsible for his injuries. The lawsuit was big news, but they were both cordial following the verdict.
7. Travis Scott v. Astroworld Victims
Tragically, 10 people died at Travis Scott's Astroworld music festival, and hundreds of fans were injured. More than 500 lawsuits were filed against the rapper and Live Nation, who put on the show. Victims' families wanted justice, claiming that Scott did nothing to protect people in the crowd and may have even egged on the madness.
8. Angelina Jolie v. Brad Pitt
Angelina and Brad were Hollywood royalty for years, but their divorce has been messier than expected. In addition to their child custody battle, a point of contention was their shared vineyard property, Miraval. Brad said Angelina “vindictively” sold her stake in their winery.
9. Taylor Swift v. David Mueller
In 2017, Taylor Swift took David Mueller, a former DJ, to court, alleging assault. Originally, Mueller had sued Swift, claiming her comments about him groping her at a meet-and-greet were the reason he lost his job. Swift countersued him and won. This case occurred when Taylor Swift wasn't widely loved in the media, but this trial was taken very seriously by all.
10. The People v. Harvey Weinstein
At this point, we all know that Weinstein is a disgusting creep, but none of us knew how awful he was until the trial proceedings. He wasn't prosecuted by “the People” but by his many victims, who include Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan. His multiple trials revealed the heinous and violating behavior that he'd gotten away with for years.
11. The People v. Michael Jackson
Many fans don't like to acknowledge the pop star's criminal trials, which highlighted Jackson's alleged assault on two young boys at his Neverland Ranch. While some people see his legacy as tainted by what he allegedly did to Wade Robson and James Safechuck, others have turned a blind eye to this atrocious miscarriage.
12. The People v. Danny Masterson
In the wake of Weinstein's fall from grace, Danny Masterson, best known for playing Hyde on That '70s Show, was charged with assault. He was found guilty and received a lengthy and fair sentence of 30 years in prison. More so than the trial, people have been outraged by the support he's received within the industry.
13. Nirvana v. Spencer Elden
This ongoing legal battle is fascinating and raises complex questions about what can be defined and protected as art. Nirvana's iconic 1991 album Nevermind features a naked baby in a pool. Spencer Elden, who appeared on the album cover, is suing the band for inappropriate image use. A district court judge dismissed the lawsuit, citing a statute of limitations, but the recent re-release of the album has given Elden a chance to fight again.
14. Britney Spears v. Jamie Spears
The story of Britney's conservatorship is a tragic and disturbing one, as it seems she had zero autonomy over herself and her life for years. “Free Britney” was a years-long movement where her fans fought for her freedom. In 2021, she was finally freed from the legal restraints of her father, Jamie, much to the glee of her fans.
15. Kesha v. Dr. Luke
Dr. Luke was Kesha's producer and owned the record label she was signed to. After years of abuse from him, she finally got out and sued him for assault, harassment, violence, and more. The messy court proceedings involved lawsuits from both parties and while things were mostly settled, many feel Kesha did not get the justice she deserved.
16. Kate Middleton v. Closer Magazine
Being photographed is an expected part of being in the public eye. However, Closer Magazine crossed a serious boundary in 2012 when they used a telephoto lens to capture photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing on private property. She won the suit and the court ruled it was an unlawful breach of privacy.
17. Meghan Markle v. Associated Newspapers
Meghan Markle also took a stand against the media's lack of respect for privacy. She participated in a three-year legal battle with Associated Newspapers, which includes The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, and Mail Online in the UK, for infringing on her copyright and misusing private information. She won the suit and the newspapers had to pay substantial sums to her.
18. The People v. Phil Spector
While the lawsuits can be wild, it's still crazier to hear about celebrities committing murder. Phil Spector, a famous music producer, was convicted of murdering Lana Clarkson in 2003. The trial was shocking, and Spector's girlfriend even testified against him, sealing his fate of a lengthy prison sentence.
19. Mia Farrow v. Woody Allen
The relationship between Woody Allen and Mia Farrow has always been riddled with controversy and mystery. You can learn more about the charges in the documentary miniseries Allen v. Farrow, but the gist is that Allen was assaulting their children and behaving inappropriately with them.
20. The People v. Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski is right beside Woody Allen as one of the most disgusting people in Hollywood. He pleaded guilty to charges involving inappropriate acts with a minor. However, he was wholly unwilling to go to prison for his crimes. Instead, he fled to Europe, where his citizenship status protects him from extradition, and he's still there today.
21. Kendall Jenner v. Gregory Messer
Kendall Jenner participated in promoting the infamous Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival that was anything but what was advertised. U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Gregory Messer sued her for her involvement in the scam in 2019. This lawsuit sent a powerful message to influencers about how they will be held accountable for what they say and promote.
22. Exchange Commission v. Billy McFarland
In reality, Kendall Jenner was a minor player in this disastrous event. Billy McFarland was the mastermind behind Fyre Festival. He was charged with and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and related charges. He received a six-year sentence and had to pay over $25 million. This was a pleasant outcome because McFarland was reckless and didn't think he'd be held accountable.
23. The People v. Aaron Hernandez
The successful NFL player was found guilty of first-degree murder after shooting Odin Lloyd. He was also suspected of being part of the drive-by shooting in Boston that resulted in the death of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu. While he was convicted, he took his own life before serving substantial time.
24. Commonwealth v. Bill Cosby
For many, the reveal that Bill Cosby was a disturbing man was a tough blow, but it also ignited the Me Too Movement. While he was found guilty of assault in 2018 and received a lengthy sentence, his conviction was sadly overturned. Cosby was released from prison in 2021 and remains a free man despite his crimes.
25. Kardashians v. Blac Chyna
The Kardashians are no strangers to lawsuits, but the one with Blac Chyna is a doozy. Blac Chyna sued the entire family, blaming them for the cancelation of her reality show and claiming they made false statements about her. The Kardashians were victorious, however, and did not pay a dime to Blac Chyna.