Tim Allen reflects on time in prison on drug trafficking charges: ‘I learned to shut up’

Allen was sentenced to two years and four months in federal prison aged 23

Annabel Nugent
Wednesday 03 March 2021 10:14
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Tim Allen has opened up about serving time in prison on cocaine charges.

In 1978, the Home Improvement star was arrested at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport in Michigan after one pound of cocaine (approximately 2.2 kg) was found in his luggage. 

At 23 years old, Allen pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and was sentenced to two years and four months in federal prison.

Appearing on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, Allen said: “We were a bunch of college kids, a bunch of the kids who overdid it.” He added: “Two of us took [the punishment] for about 20 guys.”

The Buzz Lightyear voice actor said that he was “very contrite” following his arrest, adding that the eight month-period between his charge and sentencing forced him to look at his life, which he called a “terribly stressful existence”.

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Speaking about his time in prison, Allen said: “I just shut up and did what I was told. 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 about how to shut up.”

The 67-year-old recalled how he quickly became familiar with life in prison, stating: “Eventually after eight months, I got used to it. There were ok times. Saturday we got better food. Eventually I went from a holding cell arrangement to my own cell.”

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The Golden Globe winner also spoke candidly about his earlier alcohol abuse at college, stating that he feels “shame” particularly over drunk driving.

“I had so much shame at the things that I did… especially driving people around. Coming from a dad that was killed that way, it’s difficult to get past it.”

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Allen’s father was killed in a car crash caused by a drunk driver when he was 11 years old.

Elsewhere in the interview, Allen – who is a vocal conservative and attended Donald Trump’s 2016 inauguration – spoke about politics.

"I just don’t like - once I started making money - I had this silent partner [the government] that took almost half of my money and never gave me anything for it. That was the taxes,” he said.

“I’ve never liked taxes. Whoever takes the taxes and never tells me what they did with it, I’m a fiscal conservative person with money. That’s it.”

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