Yep, it's true. Tim Allen (born Timothy Alan Dick) did indeed do time in prison for drug trafficking.
In October 1978, Tim “The Toolman” Taylor and Buzz Lightyear voice actor, Allen (who was only 25 at the time) was stopped by an undercover cop at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport in Michigan.
The arrangement, as Allen understood it, was to receive $42,000 for the risk, but he and a partner were caught in possession of over 650 grams (1.43 Ib) of cocaine and subsequently arrested.
Facing up to life in prison Allen pled guilty to drug trafficking charges and provided the names of other drug dealers in exchange for a shorter sentence of three to seven years behind bars. He ended up serving two years and four months in a Federal Correctional Institution and was eventually paroled on the 12th of June 1981.
Thankfully he managed to turn his life around and has since become a household name, particularly on the comedy and family movie scene.
In an interview with Esquire he had this to say about his time in prison:
“When I went to jail, reality hit so hard that it took my breath away, took my stance away, took my strength away.
I was put in a holding cell with twenty other guys — we had to crap in the same crapper in the middle of the room — and I just told myself, I can’t do this for seven and a half years. I want to kill myself.”
In another interview he said:
“It was a watershed moment. It put me in a position of great humility, and I was able to make amends to friends and family and refocus my life on setting and achieving goals.”
As they say, everyone deserves a second chance.