Part (okay, mostly all) of the appeal of being a celebrity is the millions of dollars that often come with fame. After all, many celebs get to travel the world to promote movies, perform at their own concerts and have their hair and makeup done on a daily basis in order to look their best in front of the camera.
Of course, there are plenty of famous people who haven’t made the best decisions with their money. It’s pretty understandable that these celebs would get excited after seeing their first few paychecks. So, it’s natural for some individuals who have reached celebrity status to want the expensive cars, houses, clothes and vacations they weren’t able to afford before. However, it’s not long before the spending gets out of hand. Money problems also affect celebrities because of divorce or a chronic illness. In some cases, these celebs end up worse off than they were before making it big in Hollywood.
Some celebrities intentionally stay out of the spotlight when they go broke. Some make an effort to get jobs again that will restore their financial stability. There are even some who are able to make a comeback, but they still take a while to start implementing money management skills. Ironically, the money problems of some celebrities have helped to make them even more famous, even if it’s not exactly in a good way. Here are 10 celebrities with lots of fame—but no fortune.
10. Burt Reynolds
Dashing football player turned actor, Burt Reynolds has had a long career, spanning decades. His first public bout with money problems came when he divorced his wife, fellow actor Loni Anderson, in the 1990s. In 2011, financial reports revealed that Burt Reynolds owed over $1 million on his home in Hobe Sound, Florida. It was recently reported that the star was once again in debt, and owed $10 million because of his excessive spending habits. Reynolds, who is now 79 years old, denied the rumors that he was having financial problems, but later had to sell all the memorabilia from his movies, which is a clear indication that he’s not as rich as he’d like everyone to believe he is.
9. Wesley Snipes
Wesley Snipes has been acting for decades, and is known for his action movies. In the 1990s, Snipes was arguably one of the most famous black actors in Hollywood, next to Eddie Murphy. However, even after a long career in movies, Wesley Snipes filed for bankruptcy in 2006. He was indicted for tax fraud that same year, since he’d failed to pay $12 million in taxes over a six-year time span. Snipes had to serve three years in prison because of this, and was released in 2013. He is currently trying to revive his career, and starred in The Expendables 3, in 2014.
8. Evander Holyfield
Since he was regarded as one of the greatest boxers, many people never suspected that Evander Holyfield would have financial troubles. He was a boxer for over 20 years, and earned $200 million during his time in the ring. Fans got confirmation that Holyfield was having financial trouble in 2008, when his 109-room Atlanta mansion went into foreclosure. Evander was able to delay the foreclosure for a few years, but had to put the house up for auction in 2012 to pay JP Morgan Chase the $14 million he owed in mortgage payments. As of 2012, Holyfield also reportedly owes $200,000 in back taxes and $500,000 in child support.
7. Nadya Suleman
Suleman, also known as Octomom, is famous for, well, having eight babies at one time. Nadya Suleman also got a few plastic surgeries to look like her favorite celebrity, Angelina Jolie, but that didn’t go so well. She had children before her octuplets were born, so it’s no surprise that taking care of a house full of kids left her financially strapped. Suleman filed for bankruptcy. In an interview with E! News, she stated that she filed because she needed a fresh start, and she had to do what was best for her children. Her bankruptcy papers stated that she wasn’t able to pay her bills anymore, and that she had less than $50,000 in assets.
6. Terrell Owens
Handsome football player Terrell Owens made more than $70 million during his career with the NFL as a wide receiver, and is considered a football legend by many. By 2012, Owens had spent a good portion of his money, and was forced to sell several of the properties he owned. Much of his debt came from child support, which reportedly cost him up to $50,000 a month, along with a tax lien of $500,000. Owens went to court concerning his child support and was able to reduce the amount. He also sued some of his financial advisers for his money trouble, stating that they opened a bank account without his knowledge and forged his signature to authorize certain investments. After an NFL comeback didn’t work, Owens has decided to start modeling.
5. Pamela Anderson
Most people think of Baywatch or Playboy when they see Pamela Anderson; others immediately associate her with her marriages to (and divorces from) Tommy Lee and Kid Rock, respectively. You’d think that with those famous connections, Anderson would never run out of money. However, the IRS wasn’t too impressed with Anderson’s “accomplishments.” Apparently, Pamela wasn’t paying her taxes for quite some time. When she spent $1 million to renovate her house, the IRS questioned her about why her taxes were so past due, since it was clear she had the money to pay them. As a result, Anderson had to sell the home she’d just remodeled and file for bankruptcy.
4. MC Hammer
Virtually everyone remembers how huge MC Hammer was in the 1980s and 1990s. His oversized pants and electrifying dance moves were quite entertaining, but it wasn’t enough to keep him out of debt. Hammer was giving a significant portion of his money to friends and family, which left him with nearly nothing. The rapper also had to pay his entourage, which consisted of about 200 people. He even had to borrow $500,000 for his friend, athlete Deion Sanders. MC Hammer filed for bankruptcy in 1996, admitting that he didn’t have the money to support his lavish lifestyle. As part of his comeback, he has attempted to create WireDoo, his own search engine.
3. Toni Braxton
Award-winning singer and reality TV star, Toni Braxton has sold more than 40 million records during her career. However, the songstress has had to file for bankruptcy twice, even though she’s made millions. The first filing was in 1998, after she entered into a record deal with LaFace that wasn’t beneficial to her. In 2010, Braxton had to file for bankruptcy a second time, when she suddenly had to cancel her one-woman show in Vegas due to her health (she suffers from lupus). This bankruptcy reportedly left her $50 million in debt. Toni Braxton has since made a comeback with Braxton Family Values, the reality show in which she stars in with her sisters and mother.
2. Anna Nicole Smith
The late buxom beauty, who was a model and actress, was perhaps best known for marrying a man who was about 60 years older than her, Howard Marshall. When her rich husband passed away, Smith, who was told she would have a trust fund, was left with nothing. So, she did what any Hollywood widow who was married to a millionaire would do. Anna Nicole Smith sued her husband’s estate, claiming that Marshall’s son was trying to keep her money from her. She had to file for bankruptcy in 1996, and during this time she was also hit with a sexual harassment case from a housekeeper. Anna Nicole Smith never found out the results of the legal claims she made on Marshall’s fortune before she passed away.
1. Michael Jackson
That’s right. The King of Pop, who was arguably one of the most famous celebrities in the world, had some serious money problems before his tragic death. He was even named the most successful entertainer by the Guinness Book of World Records. However, Jackson’s home costs $10 million a year to maintain. After a few years, even a pretty well-off person could run into money problems. Jackson had to get a $25 million loan for his Neverland Ranch, and when he couldn’t pay the loan back, he was forced to throw in the (financial) towel. Sadly, Michael Jackson passed away two years later.