celebrity

Celebrities who've faced extortion attempts, from Kevin Hart to John Stamos

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment & Lifestyle

Kevin Hart isn’t the only celebrity who has been the victim of an extortion attempt. Here are other stars who have allegedly been blackmailed for money.

Kevin Hart

The FBI is reportedly investigating the woman who attempted to blackmail Kevin Hart. The woman in question allegedly demanded an eight-figure sum to stay quiet or else she would release a sexually suggestive videotape starring herself and a man who resembles the actor. Hart apologized to his pregnant wife for making “a bad error in judgement and I put myself in a bad environment where only bad things can happen and they did.” Reps for the actor confirmed someone tried to set Kevin up “in a failed extortion attempt” but didn’t provide more details. (Photo: Leon Bennett/FilmMagic)

Rob Lowe

Lowe preemptively sued one of his former nannies, Jessica Gibson, in 2008, alleging she was trying to blackmail him and his family unless they paid her $1.5 million. Within days, Gibson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the actor and his wife, claiming he “groped and exposed himself” multiple times during Gibson’s seven-year employment. Both sides eventually requested their lawsuits be dismissed. (Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

Bill Cosby

In 1997, a woman named Autumn Jackson claimed to be Cosby’s illegitimate daughter and demanded $40 million from the actor to stay quiet. Jackson and two others were ultimately convicted of extortion, conspiracy, and crossing state lines to commit a crime. (Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Adrienne Bailon

Even Cheetah Girl’s aren’t immune to an occasional extortion attempt. In 2008, Bailon’s laptop was stolen at JFK airport, and the perpetrator demanded $1,000 for its return. The singer paid and got her computer back; however, several “semi-nude” photographs she had taken for then-boyfriend Robert Kardashian were missing. The photos were shopped around to the highest bidder. (Photo: Lucianna Faraone Coccia/Getty Images)

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise

Two men were found guilty of extortion for demanding $1 million from the couple after stealing photographs from their 2006 wedding day. The pictures were stolen when one of the men worked on a computer belonging to the wedding’s authorized photographer. After the request for money was made via Cruise’s representatives, the actors contacted the FBI and the two men were swiftly caught. (Photo: Mark Sullivan/WireImage)

David Letterman

The late-night host shocked many when he confessed to having sexual relations with female staffers, including his longtime assistant. It turns out his admission was prompted by a CBS employee who was attempting to blackmail the Late Night host for $2 million. Letterman apologized on-air to his wife and their son after admitting his infidelities in 2009. “My response to that is, yes I have. Would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would,” he said on his show. “I feel like I need to protect these people. I need to certainly protect my family.” (Photo: Joey Foley/WireImage)

John Travolta

As if losing his son, Jett, in 2009 wasn’t hard enough, a first responder at the scene attempted to exploit the actor’s grief even more. A paramedic was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion after allegedly demanding $25 million from Travolta. The man (and his attorney) threatened to release private medical information surrounding the incident. The paramedic was allegedly shopping around a one-page “refusal to transport” document the actor signed, which police said was irrelevant to Jett’s death. (Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

John Stamos

A Michigan couple attempted to extort $680,000 from the Full House star by alleging they had photographs showing him with cocaine and strippers. Stamos vehemently denied the allegations and took the blackmailers to court. He tweeted, “There was no hot tub, no drugs, no nudity and nothing sexual in nature involved in my friendship with this woman. They lied about everything from a pregnancy to compromising photos.” The pair — who later admitted no such photos existed — were both sentenced to four years in prison in 2010. (Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey

A former employee attempted to blackmail Oprah Winfrey for $1.5 million. The FBI got involved in 2007, after Keifer Bonvillain approached the TV mogul and threatened to release potentially damaging recorded phone conversations. He was ultimately arrested; however, Bonvillain wasn’t done yet. He then sued Winfrey for $180 million, claiming she and an attorney made false statements that led to his arrest by the FBI. (Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Cameron Diaz

Photographer John Rutter took topless photos of Diaz before she was a star and tried to sell them back to her before supposedly threatening to make them public. Diaz testified in court that he approached her ahead of the 2003 release of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and wanted $3.5 million for the shots. Rutter was arrested but maintained his innocence, claiming he never meant to blackmail Diaz and was simply offering her the right of first refusal on the images. A judge disagreed and he was found guilty of forgery, attempted grand theft, and perjury. (Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)

David Boreanaz

After an extortion attempt, the Bones actor and his wife of nine years were forced to go public about his infidelities and their private battle to save their marriage. Boreanaz told People a woman he had a relationship with “was asking for six figures and would go to the media if we didn’t pay. I felt threatened.” The actor’s wife, Jamie Bergman, added, “She believes David loved her. … She feels entitled to something. … It’s not going to work with us.” (Photo: JB Lacroix/ WireImage)

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