7 Stars With Absolutely Nutso Backgrounds

Woody Harrelson's dad was a hit man

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted May 24, 2014 2:03 PM CDT

(Newser) – If you thought being an international superstar was about as crazy as your life could get, think again. Cracked and The Stir round up 15 celebrities with even crazier (and some of them very painful) backgrounds:

  • Woody Harrelson's dad, who walked out on the family in 1968, was a contract killer who probably got away with killing at least two people before going to prison. Then, when he got out early, he was hired to murder a judge, and he went back to prison. Woody tried to get him a retrial, but he died in 2007.
  • Kelsey Grammer first lost his mom and grandpa, whom he lived with. Two years later, his dad was shot to death on his front lawn by a crazed taxi driver. Then his younger sister was murdered by a gang of robbers in a Red Lobster parking lot. Then his two half-brothers died in scuba diving accidents. As if that's not all bad enough, a good friend was killed on 9/11, another good friend was murdered by his own wife, and one of his former wives tried to kill herself and ended up killing their unborn child.
  • Olivia Newton-John's parents fled Germany when the Nazis took over, and her dad ended up getting a job interrogating captured Nazi pilots—not over torture, but over dinner and drinks. One of his interrogations led to the capture of Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess. He later joined MI5's code-breakers and decoded German messages, including secret battle plans that helped the Allies win World War II.

  • Charlize Theron's father was verbally abusive, and while the actress was growing up in South Africa, he once came home drunk and started shooting at Charlize and her mother. Theron's mom managed to get the gun, and ended up killing her husband.
  • Jack Nicholson was born out of wedlock to a 19-year-old aspiring actress, so her parents raised him as their own and he grew up believing his mom was his sister.
  • Leighton Meester's parents and her aunt went to prison when the actress was just a baby, after getting busted smuggling 1,200 pounds of marijuana from Jamaica. Her aunt ended up escaping prison and got on the US Marshals' 15 Most Wanted List.
  • Tobey Maguire's dad robbed a bank across the street from his house—in broad daylight, without a mask. He was caught, not surprisingly, and went to prison for two years.
Cracked's full list here; The Stir's here.

This image released by Relativity Media shows Woody Harrelson in a scene from Out of the Furnace.
This image released by Relativity Media shows Woody Harrelson in a scene from "Out of the Furnace."   (AP Photo/Relativity Media, Kerry Hayes)
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