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Don't Worry, Michael Phelps!

 - Feb 2, 2009
Michael Phelps is in the hot seat after photos of him smoking marijuana out of a bong surfaced over the offseason, but he isn’t the first famous face to have the opportunity to use ‘bad’ to boost his career. Mischa Barton, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan, and Keifer Sutherland are all household names who’ve used less-than-legal extracurricular activities to propel them into superstardom--or just prolong their 15 minutes of fame.

Cheer up, Michael Phelps! At least you won’t get jail time like Paris Hilton, who parlayed her time in the clink into talk show appearances. Not long afterward, Hilton’s continued her dominance of the pop culture market with reality shows in two different countries and a number of international fashion lines.

Read on for more celebrities who’ve used their bad behavior as a jumping-off point for their career.