We all know the rags to riches stories of stars like Jewel who went from sleeping in a van to singing to packed audiences, or Shania Twain who ate mustard sandwiches growing up to become one of the biggest names in country music. But what of the big names that went from posh to poor?
There have been many celebrities and athletes that were given huge contracts only to see the money slip through their fingers and be lost through bankruptcy or lawyer fees. From risky investments, extravagant spending and refusing to pay taxes, to helping out loved ones and friends, these rich and famous names fell from the top into a hole of debt.
In this slideshow we’ll encounter some of the biggest names that found themselves wondering where all their riches went and how to regain their former lives of opulence and wealth.
What money saving tips can you provide to these stars and how can they prevent going so far into debt in the future?
Aaron Carter filed for bankruptcy in November, 2013 to take care of over $2 million in debt. Most of the debt is from unpaid taxes from his superstar days.
Pictured: Aaron Carter attends the Lionsgate and IM Global with The Cinema Society present the New York Screening of ‘Safe’ after party at PH-D Rooftop Lounge at Dream Downtown on April 16, 2012 in New York City.
This is no joke: Sinbad is broke. The comedian has recently filed for bankruptcy after back taxes and thousands owed to banks caught up with him.
Sinbad is pictured here in happier times as he arrives at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 22, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The self-proclaimed first supermodel in the world is in some serious financial trouble. Janice Dickinson has racked up nearly $1 million in debt, the bulk of which comes from unpaid taxes.
She also owes thousands in unpaid medical bills to doctors who were trying to help her look younger.
She’s gone from The Fugees to the poorhouse. Maybe. Singer Lauryn Hill was sentenced to serve 90 days in prison after failing to pay back taxes. She told the judge she was going to pay, she just wasn’t sure when.
We’re not sure if this is a question of money or sanity – Lauryn dropped out of the spotlight years ago after she claims her family was receiving threats.
Singer Lauryn Hill performs at L.A. Rising at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on July 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
The “Game of Thrones” actress was allegedly hit so hard in her recent divorce that she only has $5 in the bank. She is currently battling ex-husband, Peter Loughran, over their joint $46,000 tax return from 2011.
One must wonder how this famous lady’s income isn’t subsidizing her lifestyle in the mean time.
Fraser has been struggling since the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The actor was trying to remove a tree from his home with a chainsaw when it fell on his back causing serious injury. He has since undergone surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
As a result, Fraser is no longer able to pay the $110,000 a month in alimony and child support to ex-wife, Afton Smith, and has been forced to plead poverty to the courts to get the payments reduced.
Just 7 years after football player Vince Young received a $26 million guarantee he is now broke.
Did he lose his money on elaborate mansions, opulent vacations and a few yachts?
Nope. On expensive vacations and food and drinks.
In fact, it was even reported he had a $6,000 tab at T.G.I.F and spent $5,000 a week at the Cheesecake Factory. It was also reported that he constantly paid the restaurant tabs of his teammates. Hopefully, they return the favor and help Young with his money woes.
Donald Trump and all of his different corporations have filed for bankruptcy 4 times.
The Donald has built casinos and hotels from Las Vegas to New York and has been estimated to be worth $2.7 billion. Not all of his business ventures have been successful, however. In 1991, his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City was completed but because of the country’s economic slump, Trump was left with $3.4 billion in debt.
Then in 1992, Trump owed $550 million on the Trump Plaza Hotel and in 2004 his entire Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts Inc. filed for bankruptcy for being $1.8 billion in debt. 2008 saw the Donald in bankruptcy court yet again and he ended up with only a 10 percent share of the company that bears his name.
We can only guess what his next business venture will be.
Iron Mike Tyson was reputed to be worth $400 million at one point. Now, that money is gone and the boxer has been banned from entering the ring after he bit Evander Holyfield’s ears during a fight.
But considering the fact he spent all of his riches on an opulent lifestyle of mansions, jewelry, Bentleys, and yes, even Bengal tigers, we can’t say we’re too surprised by his current financial straits. Tyson, however, claims that managers and promoters have cheated him out of more than a $100 million and he’s hurting for some cash. In fact, he now claims he’s totally broke and just trying to make it week to week.
While Nicolas Cage never technically went through bankruptcy he was very close. The IRS hit him with charges after he failed to pay taxes. He owed more than $6 million. And that was just for 2007 alone!
Who could have seen this coming? It’s not like he spent massive amounts of money on outrageous purchases like dinosaur skull bones, a funeral pyramid, yachts and even a personal island.
To pay off the enormous debt he had to sell most of his possessions, including his island in the Bahamas and some mansions.
Michael Vick saw his wealth disappear because of the legal fees he incurred after he was caught operating a dog fighting ring. It was also reported that he spent lavishly on his family and friends.
Due to his lack of a salary during his time in the slammer, the loss of endorsement deals and his previous financial mismanagement, Vick had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008.
Even now that Vick is back in the NFL and has earned $31 million, the majority of that money has gone creditors, lawyers and accountants.
Kim Basinger learned the hard way that you don’t back out of a verbal contract for a movie.
When she reneged on starring in ‘Boxing Helena’ the actress had to sell her share of the tourist attraction of Braselton, Georgia. An amount to the tune of $8.1 million. Too bad the property was only worth $1 million.
As a result, she had to file for bankruptcy. But she did appeal the judge’s ruling and the case was settled out-of-court.
Despite a contract worth nearly $1 billion in his career, Michael Jackson filed for bankruptcy in 2007.
In 2005, a child abuse lawsuit and trial revealed that Jackson had been spending $20 to $30 million more a year than he was actually earning. He even nearly lost his famous Neverland Ranch after he took out a $25 million loan on the house and couldn’t pay it off. Foreclosure proceedings started but his celebrity status prevented the loss of the home. It’s rumored that his remaining debt could be as high as $500 million.
M.C. Hammer went broke in 1996 with $13 million in debt.
The rapper and dancer had an entourage of 200 people and a mansion worth $30 million. That’s a lot of Hammer pants and rooms to clean!
It only took 6 years after he made his fortune from his best-selling record, ‘Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em’ that he found himself in bankruptcy court. He has since recovered financially.
Child star Gary Coleman had to file paperwork for bankruptcy protection after his family spent all the earnings he made for his role on ‘”Diff’rent Strokes.”
While his fortune reportedly was as high as $7 million, a bitter legal fight with his adoptive parents and medical problems drained him of his riches.
Now that’s ironic!
Actor Randy Quiad and his wife Evi were forced to file for Chapter 11 in 2000 after they made a movie called ‘The Debtors’ that was a total flop.
But their woes didn’t stop there. The decade saw the star get banned from stage acting and the pair were even arrested for allegedly defrauding an innkeeper.
No one likes to pay their taxes, but Wesley Snipes became the poster boy for what happens when you don’t give Uncle Sam his due.
In 2006, the ‘Blade’ actor was charged with not only failing to pay his taxes, but for filing multiple fake tax returns when he did. How did he do it? He included valueless bills of exchange instead of checks.
His financial finagling landed him 3 years in jail.
After Stephen Baldwin hit his acting peak in the mid-1990s, the movie offers and royalties starting drying up. And we all know that some stars have difficulty accepting that they’re expensive lifestyles must change.
Stephen was no different.
To get back on his feet he and his wife had to default on a $800,000 home in New York. He then filed for bankruptcy and tried to sue Kevin Costner, claiming Costner cheated him out of profits from the sales of oil spilling machines. The jury sided with Costner and Baldwin didn’t get his cash.
A few years after Annie Leibovitz published her autobiographical book “A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005” she found herself financially strapped and in need of a loan.
To avoid going broke she borrowed millions of dollars against her own photographs and real estate. When she couldn’t make good on the payments however, the Art Capital Group she made the deal with hit her with a lawsuit. Luckily for the photographer, the company withdrew the suit and extended the due date for the repayment of her $24 million loan.
Under this agreement she maintains control of her work and her real estate.
CNN talk-show host and millionaire Larry King was dealt a serious financial blow when his former business partner accused him of stealing money. King’s career was nearly finished by the scandal and it forced him to file for bankruptcy.
He bounced back though with some smart financial planning and his wealth is estimated to be about $50 million.
Superhero creator Stan Lee was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2001.
While his comic book titans provided Lee with success and riches, his dot-com move was a total flop. Like other other companies that didn’t survive when the tech bubble burst, his Stan Lee Media company went through its capital too fast to remain solvent.
We don’t think it helped that his business partner was also accused of securities fraud.