Tim Allen Speaks Out About Jail Time for Cocaine Charges in 1978

by Chris Haney
(Photo by FOX via Getty Images)

On Monday, actor Tim Allen opened up during a podcast appearance about his time in jail in the ’70s stemming from cocaine charges.

Allen joined the WTF with Marc Maron podcast where he spoke about his troubled past. He talked candidly about his youth and what led him down the wrong path on the way to jail. When the former Home Improvement star was only 11, a drunk driver killed his father in a car accident. In fact, around the same time and at an early age, Allen began having issues with alcohol himself.

“I was an eff up,” Allen acknowledged, according to a FOX News report. “After my old man died, I really just played games with people. Told adults what they wanted to hear and then stole their booze.”

“Really I was Eddie Haskell [from Leave it to Beaver]: ‘Yes, Mrs. Cleaver. No, Mrs. Cleaver,'” Allen explained. “I knew exactly what adults wanted — make your bed, be polite, use a napkin — and then I’d go steal everything in the house.”

In 1978, his wild behavior finally caught up with him. During his college years, police arrested him with more than a pound of cocaine at Michigan‘s Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport. At just 23 years old, Allen pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges. He’d spend the next two years and four months of his life in a federal prison.

“We were a bunch of college kids — a bunch of the kids who overdid it,” Allen said. “Two of us took [the punishment] for about 20 guys.”

Tim Allen Feels ‘Grateful’ Today, Been Sober Nearly 23 Years

Following his arrest, Tim Allen felt true remorse for his years of delinquency. He called the life he lived at that time a “terribly stressful existence.” Although it took jail time to get his act together, the Last Man Standing star began to set goals for his future while incarcerated.

Allen didn’t expect to be in jail for more than two years. However, he learned to follow directions while serving his time, which helped him adjust to a normal routine.

“I just shut up and did what I was told,” Allen said. “It was the first time ever I did what I was told and played the game… I learned literally how to live day by day. And I learned how to shut up. You definitely want to learn how to shut up.”

The actor said that he adjusted to prison after eight months or so. In addition, he was better off when he got out of jail. However, he continued to drink and looks back on certain times with regret. For example, the time he got blackout drunk and decided to drive his car.

“I look back on those things, this is sober guy stuff, I had so much shame at the things that I did … especially driving people around,” he said. “Coming from a dad that was killed that way, it’s difficult to get past it.”

For nearly 23 years, Allen has remained sober. After serving his sentence in prison, Allen’s goals eventually became a reality. He went on to star in multiple hit television shows and movies, and became a bona fide film star in the ’90s. He starred in the Toy Story series, The Santa Clause, Galaxy Quest, and many more fan favorites.

These days, Tim Allen says he feels “grateful” for the way his life has played out.

“I love my life. I’m not any more mentally stable, I have the same issues I had,” Allen admits. “Now, I can’t hide from them.”