While it’s true that the very rich are very different than you and me, as the old saying goes, sometimes the old truism is not always the case. That saying, of course, is from the infamous author F. Scott Fitzgerald, that guy who wrote The Great Gatsby and knew a thing or two about both making money and losing money. Knowing this brings me back around to my original point. The very rich elite celebrities of Hollywood, the sports world, and beyond may usually be very different from you and I when it comes to acquiring massive wealth, massive fame, and massive homes (there’s the kicker so pay attention gentle readers), but sometimes they are just like your average Joe Schmo, meaning that they can lose those massive homes- in a heartbeat. That’s right, there’s nothing out there that says your typical celebrity can’t make bad financial decisions just like any other person, or get suckered by shady financial “planners,” or even simply overspend their wads of cash and be left with a bunch of bills, bankruptcy and foreclosure notices.
The list of big time stars who have lost their “McMansions” (or in some cases, monstrous walled-off compounds) isn’t quite as long as the list of everyday people who lose homes all the time (especially during periods like the “Great Recession of 2008-12) but it’s still pretty impressive. Even more so when you think about how much money was sunk into some of these homes and how quickly the whole deal fell apart for some celebs of the moment. In the following entries you’ll learn just how badly home ownership treated some of our favorite stars and what happened to them.
15. Paul McCartney
“Yesterday, all my trouble seemed so far away…” I wonder if that was perhaps the song Sir Paul McCartney, he of the Fab Four and hundreds of millions of dollars in estate value, found himself humming when his second wife, Heather Mills, took him to school in their divorce settlement. Mills, who many felt was a total gold digger even before the divorce settlement came out, walked away from the marriage with at least $50 million. Perhaps harder for Paul to take, that nice little chunk of cash made him unable to pay even the interest rates on his mansion and eventually he lost it. The house in question seemed rather nice too, if you’re into things like gated-entry, guest houses, a pool, and a tennis court on your property. If you’re not into those things then maybe the bowling alley and wet bar are more to your taste.
14. Evander Holyfield
Evander Holyfield just might have been the greatest boxer of all time. After thoroughly dominating the light heavyweight division for years, Holyfield decided to bulk up and become a true heavyweight. The move worked out for him, to the shock of many in the boxing world, and he became the only four-time heavyweight champion of the world. Outside of the ring, though, Evander just could not bring the sweet science to his personal life. As recently as 2011 he was supposedly $14.5 million in debt due to bad dealings with the IRS, among other organizations. He had to foreclose on his $7.5 million, 109 acre compound (yes, 109 acres!) and is reportedly worth about $500,000 these days after auctioning off pretty much everything he’s ever owned. Oh yeah, about those 109 acres. I guess he probably needed them to surround that 50,000 square foot mansion he built, the largest “single-family” home ever built in Georgia.
13. Mike Tyson
You would think that maybe boxers would learn from other’s mistakes and not end up in the same position as their peers financially. Then again, we’re talking about guys who got paid for being hit in the head. Repeatedly. So maybe their judgement is not the most sound in the world. We’re also talking about a group of stars who, as young men, probably came from difficult backgrounds and probably didn’t receive much schooling or solid financial advice. After all, you don’t often see kids who are from Beverly Hills or some tiny suburb in Connecticut competing in a Golden Gloves competition. That revelation leads us to guys like “Iron Mike” who was one hell of a fighter but not a very good or nice guy and one who was also totally dominated by a succession of unscrupulous managers and “yes-men.” Maybe that’s why the fighter lost all of his money and was forced to sell off his Connecticut mansion. Or maybe all that time he spent in jail had something to do with the money stream slowing down.
12. R. Kelly
Sometimes celebrities are just bad guys. And sometimes bad guys make bad decisions that impact their own lives just as negatively as they impact others. Everyone remembers singer R. Kelly nowadays but they don’t remember him for all those hits back in the ‘90s. Well, that’s not 100% accurate, I suppose. Everyone remembers “I Believe I Can Fly.” We would just prefer to believe that R. Kelly, he of the infamous multiple charges of child p———y, wasn’t the guy who wrote and performed it. Those charges certainly didn’t help a career that has flagged the last decade and in 2011 he had to foreclose his Chicago mansion because of back taxes owed on it. It wasn’t much, though- just your average, everyday $2.9 million late fee. Some reports claim that Kelly had actually tried to sell the home for almost half of the value of the back payments. But it didn’t fly, apparently…
11. Nicolas Cage
You would think that a guy like Nic Cage, who quite literally has had everything anyone would ever want to have could have been able to avoid money issues. After all, this is the actor who brought us not only an Oscar-winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas but also the ineffable joy of his out-of-control performances in such hits (and misses) as Con Air, Face/Off, the National Treasure franchise and, of course such all-time classics as Season of the Witch and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. However, it seems that none of his monstrous paychecks could keep good ole Nic from losing his first mansion, a Bel Air, California jewel-box of a home previously owned by both Tom Jones and Dean Martin. Cage then had his Vegas home go into foreclosure, a home that he had originally bought for over $8 million. He has lost other homes too- ones in New Orleans, England and even Germany. Blame it on bad spending habits for Cage- the man loves old cars and comic books; too much, it would seem.
We start off with a guy you may or may not remember- good old Atlanta rapper Nas, who brought the house down with such hits as “One Mic,” “N.Y. State of Mind,” and “I Can,” and has slowly but surely faded from public view in the past decade or so. Nas actually didn’t have a monster Hollywood or Beverly Hills home, something rather unusual for rappers, who always seem to go for the biggest and most ostentatious anything when making their purchases. Rather, he bought a house in his home state of Georgia that was only about $500,000 originally. Unfortunately for Nas, he couldn’t even make the mortgage payments on his half-million dollar mini-mansion and the home was eventually sold at auction for less than market value. Apparently he’s going out on tour with Lauryn Hill this summer- maybe he can make enough to buy his old digs back. We can hope so, at least.
9. Terrell Owens
Anyone who is a fan of the NFL can’t possibly forget good old T.O., the former all-pro wide receiver who was just as well known for his mouth as his Hall of Fame credentials on the field. Terrell Owens was always a guy who looked out for number one first but apparently he didn’t have anybody looking out for his real estate interests. How do I know this? Well, the diva, I mean wide receiver, managed to buy at least four homes in Texas, presumably when he was a member of the Dallas Cowboys, but all four of them (yes, all four), were in foreclosure at different times over the years. Not only that, T.O. also had a mansion in Florida that supposedly underwent foreclosure as well. He may have been a superior talent at one point but it sure didn’t translate to his financial acumen.
8. Kate Gosselin
Good old Kate- time has not treated her very well. Way back in 2007 she was the reality TV sensation of the moment thanks to her insanely popular show Jon & Kate Plus Eight. Then she and weird hubby Jon went splitsville and she parlayed that real-life drama into a spinoff show simply title Kate Plus Eight. Unfortunately for Kate, and one would assume, her eight kids who had grown accustomed to fame and luxury, her days as one of the queens of reality TV came to an end. I guess that’s gonna happen when people get tired of booking you on The Today Show and The View only to find out you don’t have much to say or offer. Kate’s huge McMansion out in the middle of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, wherever the hell that is, was eventually lost because she couldn’t make any of the mortgage payments. That sort of thing is gonna happen when you don’t make any money.
7. Allen Iverson
A.I., as he was known for years, was one of the greatest guards in NBA history. Which was a pretty incredible feat, considering Allen Iverson was only 6 feet tall in a game dominated by giants. During his career he won the MVP of the league in 2001, was an 11-time All-Star and was the second highest playoff scorer by average ever- coming in behind only His Airness, Michael Jordan. Iverson also won the league’s scoring title four times and was, of course, the Rookie of the Year in his first season. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a clue what to do with all of the money he made during a time when NBA players were getting huge contracts. According to Forbes, Iverson made over $200 million in salary and endorsements during his career. He now has none of it. He doesn’t have his mansion in Georgia anymore either, as the $4.5 million home that he bought in 2010 was foreclosed on in 2012, which basically means he stopped making mortgage payments almost immediately.
6. Wesley Snipes
Personally, I think Wesley Snipes is awesome. His performances in the Blade trilogy are nothing short of genius. That is, if you like action movies about vampires who fight other vampires just ‘cause, all while never smiling, grimacing, or even really talking much. His work in White Men Can’t Jump was legitimately good and even better in the legendary Money Train (his second “buddy” movie with Woody Harrelson). Alright, maybe Money Train isn’t all that but it does have a young and hot J-Lo in it so it’s pretty OK in my book. Wesley himself, however, is most decidedly not “pretty OK” with the IRS, who sent him to jail for three years for basically never paying taxes. He had to give up his mansion in Florida to foreclosure after being sued for $2 million in missing commissions by his own talent agency. Cheating the IRS is one thing but cheating the people working for you? That’s cold, Wesley, that’s cold.
5. Timothy Busfield
Even those stars who aren’t always at the top of your “remember this guy list” of stars have often made serious cash over the years of their careers. You might not remember him but Timothy Busfield was once one of the hottest actors in Hollywood. Yeah, the balding guy with the graying ginger hair and slight paunch who played Elliot on the seminal yuppie drama Thirtysomething (for which he won an Emmy) and Danny on The West Wing, was a major star. That was reflected by the fact that he had a very nice mansion in Malibu. But after his brutal divorce (he lost over a million dollars he probably couldn’t afford to) to his ex-wife he totally lost the home. It’s too bad that Timothy couldn’t have gone all “investigative reporter” like his character Danny and dug up some dirt on his ex.
4. Latoya Jackson
The Jackson family has had more than their fair share of public drama over the years. It all started way back with family patriarch Joe Jackson, the man who just might have invented the whole over-managing, celebrity parent persona that so many have copied since, to their famous children’s detriment. Then there was the endless scandal that was the last ten years of the King of Pop Michael Jackson’s life. Add in some good old fashioned diva behavior by star singer Janet Jackson and the never-ending “He said, she said” drama the family specializes in and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Poor Latoya Jackson , who never even achieved as much fame as brothers Tito and Jermaine, still managed to make a ton of money and then lose it all by alienating herself from the family cash cow. Her Vegas home went into foreclosure in 2009 after she was delinquent on multiple mortgage payments.
3. Burt Reynolds
Years ago Burt Reynolds was the absolute hottest (in more ways than one, which shows you what Hollywood was like in the ‘70s) and biggest star on the planet. If you don’t believe me just ask Burt himself- he’ll set you straight. Then, after a long string of highly successful flicks like Smokey & the Bandit, our man Burt saw his career flag a bit. However, he was able to make a successful comeback on TV in the hit sitcom Evening Shade. Then his career flagged again. Then he made a lesser comeback as a supporting actor in films like Boogie Nights. Along the way, though, Burt divorced from actress Loni Anderson (and made a bad investment in a fast-food chain) and lost just about everything he ever had, including the money to pay for his Florida mansion. He even asked a judge to throw out his foreclosure because he was going through bankruptcy but the idea didn’t fly.
2. Kristen Bell
She may be quite a popular actress these days, working in both film and TV, but Kristen Bell has also had some bad times in the past few years. She lost a mansion in Los Angeles that was originally listed (and bought by her) for over $3 million but that she sold for less than $2 million after it was foreclosed upon. The actress has been a well-known Hollywood commodity since her days as the lead on Veronica Mars. She is currently one of the leads on the network drama The Good Place after her long run on Showtime’s House of Lies. She also of course has been married to Dax Shepard for seemingly forever and the two have a grand old time starring in those cloyingly sweet ads of theirs. I just hope that they are making plenty of bank these days and socking some of it away for the next time she gets foreclosed on…
Rihanna is definitely a major talent when it comes to her singing and recording career but her success on stage and in the recording studio hasn’t always translated to success in her personal life. A case in point would be the awful situation she got herself into when she tried to sell her Beverly Hills mansion before it fell out from under her. This behemoth of a house, which was over 8,000 square feet, was supposedly quite the mess when the real estate agent sold it to her. According to her lawyers it was “water-damaged” and “shoddily constructed.” They sued over the house in an over-the-top attempt to keep it out of foreclosure. They didn’t just sue the agent either. Oh no- RiRi sued the former owners, who supposedly thoroughly remodeled the home. The worst part of all this is that Rihanna bought the home for $6.9 million but because of the lawsuits and threat of foreclosure she had to short-list it for only $4.5 million. Guess she should have brought an umbrella…