Former Creed lead singer Scott Stapp has made headlines of late for all of the wrong reasons. First, his wife Jaclyn filed for divorce in early November. Then, he posted a Facebook video that revealed that he was broke and homeless. Then, his own rants blaming Barack Obama for his financial woes and public pleas for psychiatric help from his friends and family shed light on some of the mental health concerns surrounding the front man.
It wasn’t that long ago that Creed, led by Stapp’s distinct vocals, was riding high on the strength of smash hit singles like “My Sacrifice” and “With Arms Wide Open.” They released two hugely successful albums (My Own Prison and Human Clay), reached the top of the Billboard music charts on multiple occasions and even won a Grammy award for “With Arms Wide Open.” Signs of mental illness were evident even as Stapp enjoyed international popularity (he contemplated suicide in 2003 and believed that his band mates wanted him dead as a “Kurt Cobain martyr-type”), but the extent of his troubles have only recently come to light.
Sadly, Stapp is just the latest celeb to fall on hard times after ascending to fame and fortune. These 10 stars all have their own riches to rags tales, learning the hard way how fickle and fleeting the high life can be.
10. Jack Johnson (NHL Hockey Player)
Okay, so Jack Johnson (the hockey player, not the musician) may not exactly be a marquee name, but he is currently in the midst of earning a seven-year, $30.5 million contract. And – get this – he is completely broke. Here, you have a blue chip defenseman who was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft and who will have made more than $40 million upon the conclusion of his current contract in 2018. Most shocking about his current financial situation is that it is his parents who have allegedly forced him into bankruptcy through irresponsible spending and misuse of their son’s wages.
9. Tom Sizemore
For a talented, successful actor who boasts roles in a number of major motion pictures, Tom Sizemore sure has found a way to let his personal problems get in the way. Sizemore counts key roles in Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Heat, Pearl Harbor and Natural Born Killers among his impressive film credentials, but he is perhaps best known as the drug-addicted former boyfriend of infamous Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss. He was convicted of assault and battery against Fleiss in 2003, one of a string of arrests and convictions on his rap sheet. Ironically, he even turned his drug addiction into a career opportunity, appearing on the reality TV series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
8. MC Hammer
At the height of his talents, MC Hammer was a pop culture icon, selling over 50 million albums and coining a catchphrase (“It’s Hammer Time”) that remains in the public consciousness all these years later. It’s no surprise, then, that his fall into bankruptcy, in which a net worth of $33 million became a $13 million debt, was a public spectacle. A lavish lifestyle filled with excessive spending on personal luxuries, unpaid loans and a large entourage of hangers-on depleted everything that his rapid rise to fame had provided. Hammer’s story, however, is a redemptive one, as he later found religion, repaid his debts and discovered a new life as a Christian minister and performer.
7. Lark Voorhies
Who, you might ask, is Lark Voorhies? You may better know her as Lisa Turtle of Saved By the Bell fame, the object of Screech’s affections. While most of the SBTB cast has gone on to find varying degrees of success elsewhere, Voorhies has gone completely off the deep end. There’s been the bewildering and ghastly plastic surgery, claims by others (including her mother) of a bipolar disorder and a series of increasingly bizarre interviews. It was this interview with People magazine that highlighted the depth of her mental health concerns, with the article reporting that Voorhies would frequently stop mid-sentence and stare off blankly into space.
6. Martin Lawrence
It may or may not be a coincidence that the No. 7 entry on this list, Lark Voorhies, was once engaged to the No. 6 entry, Martin Lawrence. Lawrence never truly ‘lost it all,’ given that he had some commercial success even after a series of bizarre incidents from 1995 to 1999. But man, were there ever some strange things going on! On May 8, 1996, he was arrested after brandishing a gun in the middle of an intersection on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles while screaming, “They’re trying to kill me!” Lawrence’s rap sheet also includes arrests for having a loaded gun in his suitcase at Burbank airport and punching a guy in a nightclub.
5. Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton has had a rough go of it since tracks like “Unbreak My Heart” and “You’re Making Me High” helped skyrocket her R&B career in the mid-90s. First, there were the bad business decisions and extravagant tour costs that prompted her to file for bankruptcy in January of 1998 – just two years after the release of her best-selling album, Secrets (she would file for bankruptcy again in 2010). Then, there was a battle with depression that brought on suicidal thoughts, which she claims stemmed from the public humiliation associated with her bankruptcy. On top of that, she needed to get an abortion after getting pregnant while on an Accutane prescription and was later diagnosed with lupus.
4. Lauryn Hill
The Y2K bug (remember that?) turned out to be much ado about nothing, but the new millennium certainly took its toll on the career of Lauryn Hill. After dominating the 90s with R&B super-group The Fugees and solo work that spawned the smash hit album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 2000 marked the precise year when Hill dropped off the map amidst the pressures of fame. She fired her management team, ceased all public appearances and hired a ‘spiritual guide’ named Brother Anthony who was allegedly more cult than religious leader. Attempts at a solo career and a Fugees reunion have been derailed by her erratic behavior, including late arrivals to shows and asking those around her – even bandmates – to refer to her as “Ms. Hill.” In 2012, Hill was charged with three counts of tax evasion.
3. Dave Chappelle
Hill isn’t the only celebrity to have buckled under the pressures of fame. Like Hill, Dave Chappelle‘s rejection of the public eye was stunning in its sudden nature, taking place at the peak of popularity of his hit comedy show, Chappelle’s Show. The same month that season three of the show was scheduled to air in 2005, Chappelle abruptly left during production to travel to South Africa. He would later acknowledge that his alienation of celebrity stemmed from a 2004 stand-up show in Sacramento in which he walked off stage after being constantly interrupted by shouts of “I’m Rick James, bitch!”, a popular catchphrase from the show.
2. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan‘s life reads like the classic cautionary tale of ‘too much, too soon.’ In the public spotlight since a modelling career that began at age three, she made her feature film debut at age 11 and has essentially been a celebrity ever since. After some success as a precocious child actor led to meatier roles, the fame monster began to take its toll. There were DUI and drug possession arrests, multiple rehab stays and some rather unsightly cosmetic changes in her appearance. Most jarring about Lohan’s rap sheet is the sheer length of it. This Crushable.com blog tracked 27 legal incidents involving Lohan – and that was only up to 2013! She does seem to have calmed down a bit of late, though, with a guest spot on CBS sitcom Two Broke Girls and a role in a West End production of David Mamet’s Speed the Plow offering hope of a smooth return to acting.
1. Amanda Bynes
Lohan and Amanda Bynes are comparable in a lot of ways, both serving as poster children for the costly price of fame, particularly that which comes at an early age. But while Lohan has at least shown signs of moving beyond her checkered past, Bynes just seems to delve further and further down with increasingly unbalanced antics. After a string of incidents related to reckless driving in 2012 (DUIs, hit-and-runs, etc) and marijuana possession in 2013, Bynes went completely off the deep end when she was found lighting a fire in the driveway of a stranger’s house in July, 2013. Her erratic behavior has carried over into social media, where she tweeted about being sexually abused by her father before later retracting the claim and blaming it on the microchip that her father had implanted in her. Yep, there’s your No. 1.