A-list celebrities and professional athletes are best known for their performances and talents. Some are even known for their looks or fashion sense, and many for acts of philanthropy. Though many are remembered for scandal, and some for even worse…
Because with power and fame comes a lot of other things and not all of them are good. Things like jealousy, envy, and greed often feature in the lives of famous people, and sometimes things take an even darker and unexpected turn for the worse. We’re taking a look at 10 of the most famous Hollywood stars who murdered or allegedly murdered their spouse.
We’re kicking off our list today with the story of Earl Hayes. Back in 2004, this upcoming and much-loved rapper made news headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. Hayes, who was born in 1980 in Detroit, Michigan, became famous as an actor to a degree for his role in Rock the Paint as well as a movie called 30 Days in May. But things between him and his wife Stephanie Moseley were all but good.
Fast forward to 2004, and things certainly took a turn for the worse for this couple. Moseley was a professional dancer and a good one at that, having appeared regularly on VH1’s Hit the Floor. On that fateful day though, after gunshots were heard coming from the apartment, the police were called and were stunned when they arrived at the residence. Hayes shot his wife to death and then committed suicide.
Spade Cooley was a big deal in the early 60’s in his capacity as a musician, big bang leader, and actor. He was also a regular feature on TV networks at the time. His career ended suddenly and tragically when he was arrested after his wife, Ella Mae Cooley, was brutally murdered.
It was no secret that Cooley had a temper about him, but no one believed he would ever commit murder. Being the jealous type, Cooley suspected his wife of having regular affairs, and in March 1961 she even admitted to having an affair some years earlier. When she admitted as much to Cooley one day and asked for a divorce, he flew into a rage and beat his wife’s head against the floor, in front of his three children, until she died.
Gig Young, who was born back in 1913, was an American film, stage and TV actor who enjoyed great success during his career. By 1969 he had won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? But Young was a ladies man, and his five wives were a testimony to that. What happened to his fifth wife was the biggest shocker though.
Young famously said about his first wife Sheila Stapler, who he was with for seven years, “We were too young, it couldn’t have lasted.” But he then went on to marry four more women over the next few years. Young’s fifth wife was a German magazine editor called Kim Schmidt who was married to Young for just three weeks before disaster struck. The couple was found dead in an apparent murder-suicide in their auspicious Manhattan apartment.
You may remember today’s next celebrity killer from his time in the R&B quintet Hi-Five. The band, based in Waco, Texas, enjoyed brief glory with a number one hit on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the early 1990s with, “I Like the Way (The Kissing Game.)” The band’s members included Tony Thompson, Roderick “Pooh” Clark, Marcus Sanders, Russell Neal, and Toriano Easley.
Fast forward to 2014 and the band’s previous glory would end in tragedy; at least for band member Russell Neal. Neal showed up one day at his local police station to confess that he had just murdered his wife. The police only believed Neal’s story after they found his wife dead from multiple stab wounds in the couple’s apartment. Their two children were given to Neal’s mother-in-law after the murder.
We wouldn’t want you to assume that it’s only the men that do the killing when it comes to celebrities. Take the tragic story of Claudine Longet and her boyfriend, former Olympic skier, Spider Sabich. Longet was a French singer, actress, and dancer who rose to fame and then to notoriety in the 1960s and 1970s. However, no one assumed she was a killer.
While the precise details remain unclear to this day, Longet’s boyfriend at the time died when he was shot by a gun she was holding. Longet claimed at the time that the gun discharged accidentally while Sabich showed her how to use it, but the presence of cocaine in her blood made prosecutors highly suspicious of her story. She was only convicted of negligent manslaughter and given just 30 days in jail for the crime.
Rae Carruth’s rise to fame was a fleeting one even though he was a great wide receiver for the Caroline Panthers of the NFL for some time. But when things went bad with his girlfriend Cherica Adams, who was pregnant at the time, her life would end as would that of her unborn child. But Carruth wasn’t the one to pull the trigger.
Not wanting to get his hands dirty or go to jail, Carruth allegedly hired a hit man to kill his girlfriend and unborn child. According to the police reports at the time, Carruth blocked Adams’ car with his vehicle while another man shot her in the driver seat. Following the murder, Carruth went on the run but was caught hiding in the trunk of a car and sentenced to 18-24 years behind bars.
Chris Benoit enjoyed an illustrious career during his time wrestling at the WWF, WWE, WCW and even at Extreme Championship Wrestling. The Canadian-born professional wrestler was considered “one of the top 10, maybe even the top 5, all-time greats,” according to Dave Meltzer, a well-known wrestling journalist. But something snapped inside this man, and the results were devastating.
At the time when Benoit murdered his wife and son, most people put it down to depression caused by brain damage having taken one too many hits to the head while wrestling. Two days after he committed the murders, Benoit hanged himself in his home in Georgia. It turned out Benoit had shot his wife and strangled his only son.
In the interests of fairness, we meet another famous female killer, although this one was far more brutal than the first and turned out to be an act of self-defense. Fay DeWitt was born in 1934 in New York City and is renowned for her work on Red Dead Redemption and the movie Circle. But it’s her first husband, Ray Allen, who took the brunt of her brutality on a tragic day back in 1965.
Having only been divorced for a month when the incident occurred, DeWitt was accused of stabbing Allen to death with nothing other than a letter opener she had in her house. The charges against her were eventually dropped after it was determined that Allen was drunk at the time he broke into DeWitt’s home. When he started banging her head into the wall, she felt she had no choice but to reach for that letter opener.
No one was surprised when Sid Vicious was accused of murdering his girlfriend in cold blood in the bathroom of their hotel room. Sid Vicious, who was born with the rather less impressive name, Simon John Richie, was a British bassist and singer. He enjoyed years of fame and success during his time with the punk rock band The Sex Pistols during the 1970s.
When poor Nancy Spungen was found dead on the floor of the hotel bathroom from multiple stab wounds, Sid Vicious was hauled in for questioning. He explained to police at the time, “I stabbed her, but I never meant to kill her.” He also claimed that the couple had a death pact in a letter discovered by his mother after he died from an overdose before the trial could be completed. That letter stated: “We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye.”
Oscar Pistorius, an Olympic runner from South Africa, first became famous for competing in the Olympic games using two prosthetic legs. But it was in 2013 when Pistorius made headlines again but for the wrong reasons. When he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, claiming he mistook her for a home intruder, most people bought his version of events at the time.
As it turned out, Pistorius was ultimately found guilty for intentionally killing Steenkamp by a jury of his peers and sent to jail for his crime. The case was a controversial one as Pistorius claimed that due to having no legs he was extra paranoid of home intruders and that he had no reason to kill his girlfriend. The jury found that story hard to swallow due to some compelling evidence, although Pistorius maintains his innocence to this day.