When celebrities hit it big, they hit it really big. Like most working folks, they rely on their talents for their monthly paychecks. They’re just like the rest of us in this regard, but when their royalty checks and salaries amount to more than what a typical working man makes in 10 lifetimes, then they don’t seem pretty ordinary after all.
Being celebrities with fat wallets however doesn’t make them immune to the pitfalls of being financially reckless. In fact, those who are thrust into the spotlight and are paid extremely well for it are most of the time the ones who are prone to have financial troubles. These financial worries amount somewhere between hundreds of thousands to a whopping few million dollars in debt.
Debt is one cancerous thing to have on your finances, especially when you’re not doing too well. There are many forms and many sources of debt. If you’re wise, you’ll learn about them and avoid them like the plague. For those who are unfortunate enough to be overwhelmed by the looming debt they have incurred in the course of their careers, bankruptcy seems to always be an option. During desperate times, celebrities, both young and old, turn to bankruptcy as a sort of lifesaver that would allow them enough breathing room to reorganize their finances. Here are 12 stars you may not have known are broke
12. Mike Tyson
In his prime, Iron Mike Tyson could pulverize his strongest opponents with just a single solid punch to the face. Even when he was still an amateur fighting in the Junior Olympics, his power punch could knockout his opponents with ease. He honed this talent to perfection in his professional career as proven by his professional record of having 44 wins by KO. For his glorious fighting record, Tyson took home over $400 million dollars. Along with unmitigated spending on jewelry, cars, bikes and mansions, Tyson also needs to pay off child support, the IRS and the British tax authorities. He recently made a sort of comeback into the public’s eye with his Hangover cameos. Maybe his new Hollywood career will help him up from his financial knockout.
11. Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson, the orange wearing blonde hottie on Baywatch, is broke. In the 90s, Pamela Anderson was synonymous with being a sex-goddess. This is thanks to her skin-revealing role on Baywatch, her gracing the centerfold of Playboy, and her leaked sex tape with rocker Tommy Lee. Being one of the 90s hottest female celebrities made Pamela Anderson rich, so rich in fact that she was living a diva lifestyle. This proved to be her downfall, when she renovated her Malibu home and spending well over what she could afford. Even before the construction of her Malibu mansion was finished, construction companies came knocking with bills in hand.
10. Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser is a lovable comedy actor who is famous for his roles in The Mummy, George of the Jungle, Bedazzled and Blast from the Past. In the height of his success, Brendan Fraser received $12,500,000 for The Mummy Returns. Nowadays, Fraser’s movies hold a little less clout and his wallet is a little leaner. His latest live-action movie, Gimme Shelter, only managed to pull in $1.3 million in the box office, which is almost ten times smaller than his salary on The Mummy Returns. However, his latest comedy movie The Nut Job, a 3D animated heist comedy complete with squirrels, made it big in the box office grossing $120 million from a $43 million budget. This moderate success doesn’t seem to be enough though, since Fraser needs to pay $50,000 in alimony, $25,000 child support and over $40,000 in taxes each month.
9. Kelly Rutherford
Kelly Rutherford, the actress who played the rich socialite beautiful mother of Serena on Gossip Girl, is having some financial difficulties following her divorce and messy custody battle with German businessman Ex. Kelly Rutherford filed for divorce in 2009 and got it finalized in 2010, but soon had a globe spanning custody battle with former husband over their two children. This lingering nightmare has managed to siphon over $1.5 million from Rutherford’s wallet to pay for her legal fees – and it’s still ongoing. In 2013, she filed for bankruptcy. After 6 solid years, Gossip Girl aired its last episode in 2012, and her steady $486,000/month dwindled to just a little over $1,000.
8. Lindsay Lohan
The red head of The Parent Trap fame became a regular topic on celebrity gossip columns and shows when she let her alcoholism and recreational drug use get the better of her. It was in 2007 that she was arrested a few times for DUI and drug possession and had to go to rehab. Everyone can’t look away from a disaster and the world certainly sees one in Lindsay Lohan. It wasn’t only Lohan’s sobriety that took a hit. Her career also fell by the wayside. From 2007 up to 2013, she hasn’t had a steady TV or movie role, and movies that feature her only have her as a novelty or in a small role (such as in Machete). In 2014, Lindsay starred in her self titled reality program on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Her producers had to apparently give her an advance on her salary so that she could pay for her apartment. The show got cancelled after only 8 episodes.
7. Drake Bell
Drake Bell’s career took off when he became a regular on Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show. This was soon followed with him having a starring role in the Nickelodeon series Drake and Josh. In real life, Drake Bell is also a musician who has had moderate success in the U.S. and abroad. His most popular single, Bull, peaked at number 8 in Mexico. Drake Bell is still a hot commodity for Nickelodeon, recently reprising his role as Timmy Turner in a live action movie and for Disney through Marvel, providing voice work as Spider-Man. His success however has not been enough to stave off bankruptcy. He filed for bankruptcy stating that he is barely making $3,000 a month but his expenses exceed $18,000.
6. 50 Cent
50 Cent is famous for having survived being shot 9 times at close range. It would seem that he needs another miracle to survive the blows dealt on his finances. 50 Cent filed bankruptcy when he was unable to pay when two court decisions had him paying $25 million. The first court decision was for him to pay $7 million to a woman who sued him after he released a sex tape of her without her permission. The second court decision had him paying $18 million to the company, Sleek Audio, when their joint venture to produce and market headphones fell through.
5. Aaron Carter
Aaron Carter easily broke into the music industry because he was the younger brother of one of the Backstreet Boys. He actually opened for them in Berlin in 1997, with a cover of The Jets’ Crush on You. Nepotism allowed him to put his foot in the door but it was his talent that propelled him to stardom. With the release of his Crush on You single, girls were swooning left and right. His first album earned a gold status in Spain, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Canada. During this time, he also had a few more hits like Crazy Little Party Girl and I Want Candy. In 2013, Aaron Carter filed for bankruptcy to protect him from $3.5 million in debt. In the petition, it is stated that he owes the IRS $1.3 million which was from his earnings in the height of his fame. As of 2014, he has reportedly already paid off all his debt.
4. Wesley Snipes
In 2010, the courts decided to give Wesley Snipes the maximum 3 years imprisonment for tax evasion. Prior to his arrest, Wesley Snipes was one of the more popular action stars in the 90s with starring roles in Demolition Man, Money Train and Blade. Blade, arguably his most successful movie role, spawned a couple of sequels in the early 2000s and has managed to become a cash cow for the actor. Because of his lucrative movie career success, Snipes owed the U.S. government 12 million dollars which he didn’t want to pay. With the help of his accountants, Snipes filed false tax returns earning the ire of the IRS.
3. Janice Dickinson
Janice Dickinson, the world’s very first supermodel, and TV personality has filed for bankruptcy in 2013. In the legal documents it is stated that she is $1 million in debt and more than half of this is owed to the Internal Revenue Service. The bulk of the remainder is an accumulated list of unpaid medical bills owing to the fact that she is a cosmetic surgery enthusiast. Janice Dickinson has been a mainstay in various reality TV shows ever since her 50 episode stint as a judge on America’s Next Top Model. She is a very busy woman and in an interview regarding her bankruptcy she commented that “[she is]
an American and [is] born to work.” She was very much distraught about her financial troubles. In 2014, her luck changed when court ruling stated that she was discharged of her debt.
2. Nicolas Cage
The illustrious career of Nicolas Cage includes many critically acclaimed, as well as box office hits such as The Rock, City of Angels, Con Air, Windtalkers and Face/Off. In as much as he has been a part of great successful movies, he has also been starring in a bunch of other not so high profile movies. The sheer number of these low budget movies in his filmography is the center of criticism regarding his dedication as an actor. One speculation as to why he accepted roles in so many unflattering movies is that he had to make ends meet following his bankruptcy. It is reported that he squandered more than $100 million dollars of his hard earned money, landing him $13 million in debt to the IRS.
1. Lena Headey
Lena Headey, or more popularly known as Cercei Lannister from the hit HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, fell on hard times after she got a divorce. The divorce must have been really tough on her bank account because she claimed that she only had $5 left. During the divorce battle, she also had to sell off her $1.8 million house at a loss at a market price of only $1.35 million to make ends meet. Prior to this, she had already been living off of her credit cards. News of her bad financial situation had fans of the show shocked because one would assume that with her starring role in such a popular show, she would be as rich as a Lannister.