Throughout the world people of all ages aspire to living a life of great material wealth and the freedom to enjoy the many luxuries that life has to offer. There are, however, celebrities who have shown us that having wealth is one thing but using it wisely is just as important.
Making large amounts of money does not protect you from the legal ramifications of the misuse of that money. Spend and invest it wisely and you will profit from it. Spend it frivolously, refuse to save, refuse to pay your taxes, and in our present economic system you will surely meet challenges. They say that blaming others is the first step on the road to failure, so if you choose poor financial advice against your better judgment, be prepared to take full responsibility.
Take a moment to read through this list of wealthy celebrities who have felt the heavy hand of the law, filed for bankruptcy, been just plain unlucky or otherwise experienced some of the harshness of poor choices in the financial arena.
Debt can even touch MC Hammer, despite his claims to the contrary. At the height of his game he was living in a $30 million mansion and had an adoring entourage following him around. Then, in 1996, he filed for bankruptcy when a combination of low record sales and lavish spending caught up with him. To help pay off the debt he sold the aforementioned mansion at a fraction of the original price. Over the years he has been subjected to much badgering from the media. Through it all has maintained his cool, proving that at least as far as his personal self-control is concerned, you really can’t touch it. When facing the shame of debt many celebs have crumbled, hiding from the world and drinking to bury it. It has taken great resilience for Hammer to keep his head high with all the media attention on his debts.
Known for movies such as The Mummy and Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Brendan Fraser has enjoyed reasonable financial success in Hollywood. Since going through the breakup of his marriage he has been put through the financial ringer and is doing his best to climb out of it. As part of his legal battle with his ex-wife he openly declared his expenses and it became evident that they were exceeding his income. Though he was making about $205,000 per month, much of that disappeared as a result of professional expenses and alimony payments, leaving him $87,000 in the red at the end of each month. It doesn’t seem like his Hollywood career is on the rise anytime soon, let’s hope he can clear up his issues in good time.
Over the years Nicolas Cage has earned vast amounts of money in the movie business. Cage has admitted that he did not pick the best business manager. Cage claims that his manager Samuel Levin filled his own pockets with money from films and sent Cage down a path with many financial challenges. Though he can blame others it is clear that he has spending issues of his own and his choice to evade taxes left him with several home foreclosures. In 2009, to pay off some of his debt, he began selling some of his 15 privately owned homes, 4 yachts, and other assets he had accumulated over the years of getting off tax-free. Thankfully for Cage, he still has Hollywood appeal, continues to act in high profile movies that offer big payouts.
Kim Basinger thought she had struck gold when she bought the town of Braselton, Georgia for $20 million in 1989. She planned on turning it into a tourist attraction. Unfortunately her purchase of said town happened at the same time that she found herself facing a lawsuit for pulling out of a movie contract for the movie Boxing Helena. In 1993 she had to file for bankruptcy after being handed a bill for $8.1 million in damages. She sold her shares of the town and had a tough time of it for a while.
After 2 1/2 years in a state prison, hopefully Wesley Snipes has learned to be more honest with his finances. While the actor was making successful movies he was not being honest with the payment and reporting of his taxes. He finally started to file them in 2006 after having made $38 million in the movie business. Between 1996 and 1998 it turns out he was even forging documents so that he could receive a $12 million refund from the taxman. This obviously did not sit well with the IRS who proceeded to take him to court, leading to a trial and a three year sentencing. He was also ordered to pay the IRS $17 million in back taxes, penalties and interest.
A few cameo appearances in The Hangover movie franchise may have helped Mike Tyson make a few extra bucks, but he is a far cry from his winning days. He claims that over the years his managers and promoters have consumed a whopping $100 million of the $400 million he was once worth. Some of it, however, must be a result of his lavish lifestyle and high spending but it is unlikely anyone has the guts to risk calling him on it. He has claimed on public TV that he is officially broke, so if anyone has any work for him it is likely that he will be up for the job.
Six Grammy’s won’t protect you from financial woes and unfortunately for Toni Braxton she has been through the ringer. Braxton has filed for bankruptcy twice, in 2008 she had to cancel a string of Vegas shows because of chest pain that she was experiencing. Her insurance company refused to payout to cover her losses. Some of the debtors were owed as much as $50 million so things were quite out of hand. Sometimes the debts are incurred by bad spending, other times it would seem that it might be hard for some people to learn from their mistakes.
If you have the same financial advisor that Wesley Snipes had, you better check your own finances. Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz did not, and ended up $24 million in debt. Not all the blame can be put onto the advisor though, she has some pretty crazy spending habits. She enjoyed trips to Paris, mortgages on homes and other lifestyle luxuries that were hard to maintain. She had many staff at her beck and call at her mansion. This included flying down helping hands from Vermont to fix her air conditioning when she needed it. Apparently she did not trust anyone closer to home. In order to secure a loan she sold copyrights to a lender. That lender is now suing her for nonpayment of the loan.
Lindsay Lohan has had many struggles off screen with addictions and to add to that burden she has also had to deal with major financial debts. Thankfully for her she made about $2 million filming some in-depth interviews with Oprah Winfrey at the end of 2013. The money from the interviews must have helped pay off taxes, rehab fees and IRS bills. In 2012 the IRS seized her bank accounts when they found that she had $233,000 in unpaid taxes to catch up with. With the cancellation of her show on the Oprah Winfrey Network , however, it remains to be seen how she will continue to pay her debts and enjoy the party life that she loves so much.
When Michael Jackson died in 2009 he was $500 million in debt, with 65 creditors coming forward to claim their piece. To this date his estate has generated $750 million and there was some money to give to family members, including momma Jackson. The executors of the estate have not been able to resolve the claims of all of the creditors and there is litigation pending from at least seven sources. To help settle further it has been announced that the 2700-acre Neverland Ranch, will soon be put up for sale. The executors made this decision out of the desire to be fiscally responsible for Jackson’s young children.