Earning a JD and becoming a celebrity aren’t quite as different as you might think. Both usually require that applicants pay their dues while flirting with homelessness, both place a heavy emphasis on monologuing, and both involve pretending to read manuscripts.
Maybe that’s why we love poking fun at actors and actresses so much.
Either way, there are a lot of celebrities with law degrees, and not all of them have been as well behaved as Chunk from the Goonies, who went on to graduate from UCLA Law School and become one of Hollywood’s Top 35 Executives Under 35.
Nope...these lawlebrities made it onto all the wrong lists…
Divorce Court’s sorest losers
John Cleese didn’t quite make it onto our list of celebrities with the most marriages, but his law degree from Cambridge combined with four marriages probably should’ve at least earned him an honorable mention.
For his third marriage, John Cleese and Alyce Eichelberger decided to call it quits after 16 years of marriage. In the divorce settlement, Johnny Boy was ordered to pay a $13 million lump sum and $1 million per year for eight years.
Supposedly unable to afford the payments, and definitely unable to take them in stride, Cleese tackled both problems by kicking off his Alimony Tour.
From ’09-’12 he traveled the world, selling tickets to a show that centered around how he was supposed to be enjoying retirement but couldn’t afford the $20+ million he was forced to “stimulate the botox industry” with.
Blame the court system all you want Monty Python, you’re the Cambridge lawyer that called prenuptial agreements “not romantic.”
The dumbest things celebrities have paid for with a check
Before America’s most depraved talk show egged on guests by chanting his name, Jerry Springer was a straitlaced attorney. Following that, he launched a successful campaign to get himself elected to Cincinnati city council in 1971.
Before he could finish his term however, a police raid on a brothel revealed that Jerry had paid for a prostitute...with a check. Cementing his fate, the cheeky note he left in the memo byline earned him a framed spot on the brothel’s wall.
Jerry came right out and admitted everything before resigning from his city council position. Supposedly, that honesty is what helped him become Mayor of Cincinnati just three years later.
If you ask us, anyone who pays for illegal services with a personal check isn’t even qualified to run to a reality TV show, less so a city of 300k people. But then again, we elected a president who was forced to settle a fraud case out of court for $25 million...
Musicians who skipped the bill
If you thought Enrique Iglesias had it all, you need to look into his father’s repertoire. In university, Julio Iglesias split his time between playing professional soccer and studying law.
And that was before he became an international superstar. In 1963, Julio was involved in a horrific motor vehicle accident that crushed his spine and almost paralyzed him. Stuck in the hospital and unable to play soccer or finish his degree, a nurse gave him a guitar to pass the time...the rest is history.
His parents did eventually convince him to go back and finish his law degree, and for that he should thank them.
It seems like everyone has taken him to court, from collaborators who were never paid royalties, to a handyman who worked 80-hour weeks for five years without overtime pay. Julio even managed to accept money to perform for Mediterranean separatists in Northern Cyprus before taking the money and running.
If Iglesias traded in his lawsuits for Grammys, he’d have 5x as many gold gramophones as he does now.
Actors with more time in the courtroom than on the red carpet
For an actor who achieved stardom by rocking a loincloth and flaunting his six-pack, Gerard Butler has a surprisingly academic background. Mr. 300 studied at the University of Glasgow School of Law and even practiced as a trainee lawyer for a time before being fired for never showing up to work.
Of course, when you give up a career in law because you “wanted very much to be famous,” you’re probably going to have plenty of opportunities to use that degree.
Butler has been taken to court for giving a Spartan beatdown to a member of the paparazzi, underpaying employees at his Korean BBQ restaurant and stealing the name of his production company...from another production company.
But then again, if he picked classes in law school the way he picks movie scripts, Gerard’s legal education might have been as informative as the plotline from Gods of Egypt.
Not everyone is lucky enough to turn their truffle shuffle into a thriving legal career.
Then again, maybe luck has nothing to do with it. We’d much rather be practicing family and personal injury law here in Renton than being sued by rogue nations and dishwashers.