No doubt being famous comes with a lot of attention and, of course, money. Unfortunately, this fame and wealth can often be overwhelming, leading to poor spending habits and financial choices. Bad investments, lavish spending, and extravagant lifestyles are usually common factors contributing to celebrities going broke.
Many musicians, athletes, fashion icons, and actors have fallen victims to bankruptcy at some point.
Many of these cases are most times kept under wraps. In this article, we will be covering a list of the top 10 celebrities that became insolvent.
- Nicolas Page
The prestigious American actor was one of the highest-paid Hollywood actors ever, earning an estimated $40m in 2009. His net worth of $150m placed him in the Forbes’ Top 10 until 2014. Unfortunately, although Nicholas is involved in many charitable causes, his imprudent spending drove him into a series of debts. By the end of 2009, he filed for bankruptcy. So how did the Golden Globe award winner find himself in such a mess? Well, Nicolas Cage had a penchant for purchasing castles, exotic houses, and items in different parts of the world.
In his filing in 2007, Nicholas’ entire spending in the previous years had accumulated to a total of $33million. This estimated total comprised the purchase of a private island in the Bahamas, 12 purchases of jewelry worth over $5million, 22 vehicles with a fraction of them being Rolls Royce, 47 pieces of Artwork, and exotic objects. However, his spending spree didn’t stop there. At some point, he purchased more seemingly weird unknown artifacts. These items included a pet octopus and strange, shrunken pygmy heads. He even outbid fellow veteran actor Leonardo DiCaprio on a dinosaur skull which he eventually submitted to Mongolian authorities after discovering it was a stolen piece. He also owned the “Most haunted house in America,” among other properties, which led to significant tax issues.
Luckily, he could clear his debts through the sale of the houses he had acquired over the years. As a result, his net worth is now $25 million.
- Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson certainly made a name for himself in the boxing industry, making the ranks one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. During his time in the ring, “Iron Mike” amassed a total of $400million. However, he ended up squandering a great deal of it on cars, mansions, limos, exotic motorcycles, and various articles of clothing. Tyson’s extravagant spending habit would eventually catch up on him. He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy later in 2003. Tyson might be 54 years old, but he’s still pushing for rematches with famous YouTube star Paul Logan. With his present net worth only about $3million, it is probably understandable why the Iron mike has his gloves back on.
- Curtis Jackson “50 Cents”
Curtis Jackson, also known as 50 Cents, is probably not one name you were expecting on this list. However, in July 2015, the successful American rapper had to demand financial insolvency after procuring a debt of over $32million.
He later had his bankruptcy case approved for resolution, paying $22million instead. After this case, 50 Jackson decided to get back on track, primarily focusing on movie production and acting. He is the executive producer of the successful crime drama series “Power.”
- Michael Jackson
Famously regarded as the King of Pop, Michael passed on in 2009 but left a debt of over $400million behind. In the later stages of his life, Jackson became a controversial figure due to his lifestyle, constant changing of appearance, failed relationships, and behavior.
Despite selling over 61 million albums (a record in the Guinness Book of Records), the iconic singer still entangled himself with borrowing and spending. This continued without reimbursements and eventually led to several legal battles and financial problems. Amid his economic issues, in March 2009, Jackson announced he would have back-to-back tours. He stated that the concerts’ proceeds would go towards offsetting his debts before retiring. Sadly, he passed away just a few days before the commencement of his shows following a poorly administered drug by his personal physician.
However, after his death, the family of Michael Jackson sold many of his properties to pay off his debts.
- Lisa Marie Presley
Being the only Daughter of legendary singer Elvis Presley and actress Priscilla Presley, Lisa inevitably had some riches to her name. She is also set to inherit her father’s luxurious estate. Nonetheless, she still managed to incur debts following her divorce.
Lisa has been in several relationships, including one with the famous singer Michael Jackson. However, after ten years of marriage to musician Michael Lockwood, Lisa filed for divorce, leaving her in debts of over $16million to pay.
- Chris Tucker
Tucker was hugely successful in the movie industry, leading him to become one of Hollywood’s most paid actors. He has also received several accolades for his performances. However, in 2014 Tucker procured a debt of over $2million in tax violations. He blamed his tax evasion charges on poor management and financial accounting on his agents. He has since struggled to find his feet following the debt settlement, having had fewer acting roles in recent years. In November 2021, the IRS filed a lawsuit against Tucker, citing a debt of $9.6 million in back taxes. It looks like Tucker’s financial woes are back again.
- Lena Headey
The English actress is popularly known for Cersei Lannister in the Emmy award-winning series, Game of Thrones. Although Lena earned a lot of money from the series, she appears to have gone broke following her divorce. With her husband demanding alimony and child support, Lena has difficulty recovering financially.
- Lindsay Lohan
The stunning actress was one of the most sought-after actresses earlier in her career. At 18 years old, Lohan’s net worth was about an estimated $30million. However, recent calculations estimate her net worth around $800,000, a staggering financial decline.
In an interview in 2020, the Mean girls’ star stated that she lived in Dubai for six years and had barely stepped foot in the US. One can only imagine she’s trying to get back to her feet.
- Aaron Carter
Aaron Carter, brother of popular band Backstreet Boy, Nick Carter followed his brother’s steps and garnered success early. He had become a pop star before he turned 18, with most of his audience being teenagers and Nickelodeon fans.
In 2013, Carter went bust and filed for bankruptcy after owing $3.5million in tax-related offenses. Carter eventually managed to settle his debts in the summer of 2014 but has since struggled to remain financially stable.
- Kim Basinger
This list will not be complete without mentioning America’s sweetheart, Kim Basinger. Popularly considered a sex symbol in the early 1980s and 1990s, Kim came to the limelight in 1983 and remained a prominent actress. Her only mistake was accepting the advice of her family members would put her in a financial mess. Kim bought a large portion of land in Braselton, Georgia, for $20million with plans of transforming the place into a tourist center for non-natives. However, these plans fell through as Basinger encountered financial setbacks along the way. She eventually had to sell off large parts of the property to try and regain her investment. Unfortunately, as Basinger herself stated, nothing good came out of the investment as it only resulted in hostility towards her family members.
Basinger’s financial problems only aggravated when she backed out from starring in the movie Boxing Helena. As a result, the movie firm sued Basinger and won the case with the verdict requiring her to pay $8.1million. Although she appealed the jury’s verdict at a higher court and won, Kim Basinger still had to pay $3.8million to the movie studio.
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