Celebrities make millions of dollars for acting, singing, producing, and sometimes for just making an appearance at a party. So you’d think that they have money to spare, but that’s not always the case. A huge payday can sometimes inspire an ill-advised impulsive purchase instead of doing the smart thing and investing. We’ve all been there, but probably not to the extremes that celebrities have.
After spending all their money on trips, cars, designer clothes, and extravagant parties, some celebrities find themselves closer to broke than rich. They might think, “oh well, I’m famous, I’ll make back all that money and more in no time.” Unfortunately, fame is fickle. They could be an A-lister with no end to the success in sight one day, and a sex tape, trip to rehab, or tabloid scandal could land them on the do-not-hire list the next.
So what does a celebrity do when they find themselves with less money in their bank account than they thought and no job prospects in sight? They do what anyone else would do: either try to write a book, or just accept the inevitable and file for bankruptcy. Here are 10 celebs who lost all their millions.
10. Mike Tyson
We all know Mike Tyson as the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world who bit half of opponent Evander Hollyfield‘s ear off during a match. He also served 3 years of a 6 year sentence on a rape charge, and has had multiple run-ins with the law regarding his drug use.
Although he made around $300 million during his career in boxing, he wasn’t able to pay off his debts to the IRS and he filed for bankruptcy in 2003 citing $27 million worth of debt.
9. Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton was one of the best-selling female artists of the 90s, earning her the title of the “Queen of R&B” at the height of her fame. Her song “Un-Break My Heart” even earned her a Grammy award.
She first filed for bankruptcy in 1998 and has blamed it on the insignificant royalties she earned on her first album, and her admittedly out of control spending habits. She filed for bankruptcy again after she had to pull out of her Vegas show because she was diagnosed with microvascular angina, and was told she wouldn’t be able to do long, strenuous shows anymore. Luckily, she’s still pretty popular in Europe and is able to do smaller, private shows for fans to make money.
8. Wayne Newton
Wayne Newton, also known as Mr. Las Vegas, found himself in some legal and financial hot water due to his part ownership of the Aladdin Hotel on the Vegas strip. In 1992, Newton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to reorganize his finances and take care of an estimated $20 million in debt.
Newton was also dealing with a lawsuit against NBC for libel because he claimed they reported he had partnered with the Mafia in order to purchase the Aladdin. In 2005, the IRS filed a lawsuit against Newton claiming he owed them over $1.8 million in taxes. Despite his long, successful career, Newton has never been very good with his money.
7. MC Hammer
MC Hammer‘s hit songs “2 Legit 2 Quit” and “U Can’t Touch This” helped him sell over 50 million records worldwide during the height of his rap career. Forbes magazine reported that Hammer’s net worth was around $30 million at one point, but that didn’t last.
He overspent on personal luxuries, private staff members, and supporting his friends and family, and found himself $13 million in debt. With no way to maintain his lavish lifestyle because of dwindling album sales, he had to file for bankruptcy in 1996. In 2007, there were reports that he still owed the IRS $700,000 in back taxes, but Hammer claimed he’d already paid that off.
Comedian Sinbad (born David Adkins) made appearances on shows like The Redd Foxx Show, A Different World, and The Cosby Show during the 80s and early 90s. He also had his own show, The Sinbad Show, a variety of comedy specials, and a few film roles.
Despite his success, he had a problem with paying his fair share of taxes. In 2007, he was placed in the Top 10 of the 250 worst tax debtors for the state of California for owing the state $2.5 million in personal income tax. In 2009, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is the type that requires you to liquidate all your assets.
5. Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger is well known for her Bond Girl status, her Oscar-winning role in L.A Confidential, and her role opposite Eminem in 8 Mile. In 1989, at the suggestion of her family, she bought 1,691 acres of land in the small town of Braselton, Georgia, for $20 million. She planned on developing the land into a tourist attraction, but that never happened.
Because of financial difficulties, she was forced to sell the land, which caused rifts in her family. She also had to pull out of the movie Boxing Helena in 1993, and was sued by the studio for $8.1 million. She ended up filing for bankruptcy and settled with the studio for $3.8 million instead.
4. Aaron Carter
He released four studio albums, has appeared on Dancing With the Stars, and is reportedly working on a fifth album. At the end of 2013, he filed for bankruptcy in order to deal with the $3.5 million in taxes he owed from money he made while he was a teenager. He has since settled his tax debt.
3. Larry King
These days, CNN host Larry King is worth an estimated $150 million, but he had to hit rock bottom before he got in the right track towards where he is today. He worked as a radio announcer in the 1960s which wasn’t exactly a lucrative career at the time. But things really went downhill when he was arrested in 1971 and charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing $5000 from his business partner.
Although the charges were eventually dropped, he lost his job, and was in over $350,000 of debt. He declared bankruptcy in 1978, but that same year he was offered a late-night talk radio show which was the first step towards his iconic CNN show.
2. 50 Cent
Rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) is the latest celebrity to file for Chapter 11. This version of bankruptcy will allow him to remain in control of his business ventures, and attempt to come up with a plan to reorganize his assets in order to avoid liquidation.
A jury recently ordered Jackson to pay a woman $5 million for acquiring a sex tape she made with her boyfriend, adding his own commentary, and posting it online without her consent. But $5 million should be pennies for a guy who reportedly made $100 million out of his investment in Vitamin Water in addition to his successful rap career. According to him, he just needs some time to get his finances back on track, because as always it’s “get rich or die trying”.
1. Donald Trump
Like 50 Cent , Donald Trump has filed for Chapter 11 on a number of his Vegas casinos. He claims he did it as a strategic way to reorganize the business assets, and use bankruptcy laws to his advantage, which is actually common for large companies.
Of course, losing a couple of businesses along the way is no big deal to someone like Trump, since he always has plenty more ventures to replace the ones that flop. He has clarified that it was select businesses that went bankrupt, not him as an individual.