When it comes to being a celebrity, it may seem like all fun and games (and riches), but the truth is that celebs have to deal with much of the same stuff us normal folks do. That includes making monthly payments for mortgage, car payments, child support, and anything else that they owe. And celebrities are definitely not immune to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS,) even though so many famous people try to get out of paying taxes. You will see that tax evasion is a huge reason why the celebrities on our list are struggling financially.
It’s a rough world out there, and while it may look as though famous people have it all figured out, that usually isn’t the case. You will quickly learn that the rich and famous often find themselves in deep trouble because they think of themselves as too high and mighty to pay taxes or make their rent payments. Our list is filled with actors, musicians, and comedians who have dealt with some nasty court trials and visits from the IRS. It isn’t pretty, but let their financial woes be a lesson to you. File your tax returns by April 15th, pay your federal and state taxes, and do not rack up credit card debt. Just follow the simple adage that if you can’t buy it outright, don’t put it on your card. Now let’s look at some celebs who are broke as a joke.
15. 50 Cent
Last summer, rapper 50 Cent was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and his debt was in excess of $32,000,000! According to court documents, 50 Cent’s assets totalled between $10 and $50 million. Yet when it came to testifying under oath, the rapper said his net worth was just $4.4 million. Hmm. On top of that, 50 Cent owed $5 million to Rick Ross’ girlfriend (Lastonia Leviston) for leaking her sex tape online. Creep. 50 Cent was also accused of stealing the design for his Sleek headphones and he was slammed with a lawsuit about that as well, in which the plaintiff called for $17.2 million from 50 Cent. The rapper’s monthly expenses totalled $108,000, and he owed money to his personal trainer and hair stylist (he has a hair stylist?) In the end, the rapper ended up suing his own lawyers for $75 million. Jeez, talk about “get rich or die tryin’.”
14. Janice Dickinson
Ugh, we can’t stand Janice Dickinson. The “world’s first supermodel” is a trip, and just too much for us. She is too much for the courts, too. They are sick and tired of her accumulating debt and her horrible attitude. Dickinson owed thousands of dollars, including $300,000 to the City National Bank, where she hit overdraft on her financial accounts. She probably spent all of the money on plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. Even so, Dickinson was given a serious break from the bank, which said that they would forgive her debt if she paid them $100,000. Dickinson said that she wouldn’t do it, but her fiancee Robert Gerner would take care of it Do you hate this lady yet? She just expects everyone to do everything for her….give her bigger boobs, plumper lips, pay for her outrageous debt, call her a supermodel even though she’s getting old as dirt…
13. Courtney Love
We all already know that Courtney Love is a hot mess, and one of the saddest celeb figures in Hollywood. When her husband and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain died, Courtney was left with their baby daughter Frances Bean – and lots and lots of Nirvana assets. Love decided to spend most of that Nirvana fortune and spent about $27 million in total. According to Love, she ended up using the majority of that money on lawsuits and court appearances. Nice. What’s worse is that Love didn’t even feel bad about it. She stated that it was “Nirvana money, it’s rock n roll, and I’m a big girl.” Well, it must be nice to not give an ounce of care to spending millions of dollars. Love also said that getting hooked on cocaine helped her to learn how to budget. Wow, this just keeps getting worse. Is it really any wonder why her daughter hates her?
12. Kim Basinger
Next on our list is Kim Basinger, who had a fruitful career in the 1980s and 1990s. However, her financial difficulties began in the early 1990s, when she was forced to sell the town of Braselton, Georgia, which she had bought for $20 million in 1989. That was five years of a wasted investment. Then in 1993, Basinger was punished by the courts for quitting her acting gig in Boxing Helena. That cost her an additional $8 million. After that, Basinger was pretty much forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The result was a $3.8 million settlement, which still left the actress floundering. Let’s not forget that this is the same year in which she married Alec Baldwin. Another super bad mistake, Kim! Their divorce was finalized in 2002, but it was riddled with custody battles and huge headaches and bad publicity. Hopefully the 62-year-old Basinger can just live a simple live alone now.
11. Evander Holyfield
Professional sports and money seem to go hand in hand, and yet for Evander Holyfield, things took a nasty twist. The former boxing Olympian began his descent into the pits of financial hell little by little. First it was a payment here and there, and then more expenses kept being tacked on. Before he knew it, he found himself owes hundreds of thousands of dollars. This caused him to sell almost all of his assets and possessions, such as a mansion in Atlanta, Georgia worth $7.5 million, dozens of pairs of boxing gloves he wore throughout his successful career, and his Championship belts. It was sad to see those things go, but hey, someone has them now, and Holyfield was lucky that he had those kinds of items to auction off. It certainly helped to cover some of the costs of debt, including the $200,000 that he owed in back taxes.
10. Pamela Anderson
You may think that hot babes like Pamela Anderson would be able to cling to their Baywatch beauty forever, but even this actress had to deal with getting older – and broke. Unfortunately, Pam Anderson was spending very extravagantly and she only had a net worth of $4 million. Yes, $4 million is a lot of money, but not when you are throwing cash out the window like you have a never-ending stream of financial assets. With homes in Australia and California, plus several lavish sports cars, Anderson created a huge financial mess for herself. In 2009, Anderson was hit hard by the IRS with $1.7 million owed in taxes. Then in 2012, she owed $137,000 and was pushed even further into debt. Add to that her struggles with her divorce from Tommy Lee and her bout with Hepatitis C, and things were pretty grim for this ageing actress.
9. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins
Remember when TLC was the most awesome all-girl group of the 1990s? You know, before Destiny’s Child became a thing? Well, one of the members, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins ended up having some trouble in the financial sector. The singer was successful and she got used to living the high life. But in 2011 it was revealed that T-Boz had not been paying the mortgage payments on her huge mansion, and that ended up putting her nearly $770,000 in the hole. Despite the prolonged success of TLC’s music and sales, T-Boz’s royalties only totaled $1,200 a month. According to court reports, her monthly expenses are in excess of $8,000 a month. The singer claimed that she had stopped receiving child support, which totaled $250,000. But that’s another story. So it looks like T-Boz will be needing lots of TLC – and lots of money – in the coming years.
8. Lauryn Hill
She was one of the most pivotal black female recording artists back in the day, and yet Lauryn Hill ended up going the way of bankruptcy and some serious issues. Hill was slammed for tax evasion by the IRS, in which she owed nearly $2 million in back taxes from 2005 to 2007. Hill made an agreement to settle the debt and pay back the IRS, but she wasn’t able to follow through, which angered the IRS even more. To help her make ends meet, she signed on with a record label and started recording new music. So, on top of having to deal with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and back taxes, Hill was faced with loads of criticism from court officials, the media, her fans, and just the general public. Her hope was to clinch the new record deal and get things back off the ground.
7. MC Hammer
The guy behind “Can’t Touch This” was yet another celeb who ended up super broke. MC Hammer rose to fame and success – and riches – and yet he managed to blow almost everything on stupid stuff. For example, the singer employed dozens upon dozens of personal assistants and escorts to do everything for him (the guy probably never lifted a finger) and he would pay them very generously. Sure, he was making tens of millions of dollars a year, but you still need to be wise with your money. Another reason for his bankruptcy debacle was $30 million mansion and his 19 thoroughbred horses. And when you have a mansion and a 17-car garage, you need to fill it, so Hammer had a private helicopter, luxury sports car, and a couple of limos. Add to that the lawsuits he dealt with and well, you can see why the guy is utterly broke.
6. Chris Tucker
There was nothing funny about Chris Tucker’s huge amount of debt. The comedian was in serious trouble for owing back taxes to the IRS from several years, and the amount totalled to over $14 million. Seven years of avoiding tax day finally caught up with him. Tucker was hit hard with an IRS lien and was pretty much forced to pay up. Even worse, the lien from the IRS added $2.5 million to the comedian’s total debt payment. Ouch. And even though Tucker was close to reaching a settlement to pay off the debt, something that large would be an expensive and time-consuming endeavour, so there was still a whole lot to sludge through. What a headache. It look as though Chris Tucker will have to be doing comedy (really good comedy at that) for the rest of his life if he wants to clear things up. And that’s no joke.
Back in the day Sinbad was one of the most successful comedic actors in Hollywood. Popular and genuinely funny, he was the go-to guy for hot new films. Yet in 2009, he hit a major roadblock when he had to file for bankruptcy. And then a few years later he had to file for bankruptcy again. So what happened? He accumulated tons of credit card debt, owing over $400,000 to American Express and Bank of America. Sinbad also owed for California taxes that he had failed to pay, and that equaled $2.3 million. In total, the actor was looking at a very unfunny $11,000,000 in debt, and he supposedly only had about $131,000 in assets. That isn’t even everything though. Sinbad has debt going back to the previous millennium, owing $8.3 million from IRS taxes between 1998 and 2006. And yet he still has fancy cars and a big house.
4. Lindsay Lohan
For years now, Lindsay Lohan has been facing criticism and the harsh news that she is a washed-up celebrity. And she’s still young, too. The fact of the matter is, Lindsay had poor parental guidance when she was younger and the stress and pressure of Hollywood really got to her. She got caught up in alcohol and drugs and racked up arrests for drug possession and driving under the influence. Lindsay has found it nearly impossible to secure any acting gigs, and with a dried-up career, she should have been careful with her money, but she wasn’t. She continued to pay lavishly, causing her to amass high amounts of debt. Others have loaned the celebrity money, including her own sister and Charlie Sheen. Still, Lindsay owes some $100,000 in credit card debt and she doesn’t seem to be making any progress. Perhaps she thinks her boy toy is the answer to her problems?
3. Mike Tyson
If it seems that Mike Tyson is a magnet for scandal and chaos, then you’re probably right. The professional boxer was slammed with bankruptcy and jail time after struggling for quite some time with his finances. In 2003, the fighter was forced to file for bankruptcy, although he was still fighting and making great gains in the boxing ring. However, the following year led to an injury that required surgery, and the year after that Tyson announced that he was retiring. He hired new agents and accountants who announced that Tyson had spent a whopping $62 million in one year alone. Jeez, how do you even spend that kind of money? To help pay off his debt, Tyson “un”retired from boxing and participated in fights to earn some extra income. However, the celeb got caught up in a continuous cycle of charges for drug possession and other risky behaviours.
2. Wesley Snipes
Actor Wesley Snipes was in so much financial trouble that he had to go to jail for it. The celeb spent three years in prison for tax evasion and was released in 2013. Even after being released from jail for his 2010 tax evasion, Snipes was still on house arrest. Back between 1999 and 2001, Snipes had failed to pay up to the government and was in the hole $15 million. Yikes. In 2014, Snipes was trying to make a comeback in his career, but things were still sour. He was called to court while he was galavanting in Hollywood; he was going to have to under a debtor’s examination. Apparently there was $103,000 that Snipes owed Sitrick & Company (a public relations agency) and had not paid. If the actor didn’t pay up, he would be threatened with more jail time. Ugh, and just when he was hoping to make some money from his film role.
1. Toni Braxton
Iconic singer Toni Braxton found herself in a deep financial hole and she had to file for bankruptcy not once, but twice. Her first bout with bankruptcy was in 1996, and then in 2010 she had to file a second time, this time claiming that she owed between $10 and $50 million. The singer said that she had a minimum of $1 million, but it could go as high as $10 million. Either way, it wasn’t enough for her to cover her expenses. Rich people problems. How did Braxton rack up all of this debt? Well, she owed over $13 million to a music label and another $1 million to Atlantic Records. On top of that, she owed the IRS $335,000, she was down $1.4 million with Wells Fargo Bank, and she had failed to pay taxes for living in Gwinnett County, Georgia. All of this was happening while she was recording a new album too.