The life of a celebrity can be a glamorous one. The parties go all night and are filled with bottles of wine that cost more than your rent. They have more houses than fingers and at least at the time, and the idea of worrying about your finances seems like a problem that would never come to fruition.
But for the 15 celebrities on our list, they learned the hard way that fame and especially fortune, don’t last forever. You’ll also be astonished at how many of them felt that paying their taxes was overrated, a decision that landed one former superhero in jail for several years. And while Gary Coleman, Drake Bell, and Judy Garland may have started at a young age, definitely didn’t guarantee their long-term success.
Some of our stars have bounced back, but that may make their brushes with drug addiction, mug shots instead of headshots and homelessness all the more startling. Though sadly, for other entries, their life came to a tragic end with little to nothing to show financially for the efforts they made in this world.
These are 15 Celebrities You Thought Were Rich (But Are Broke!)
15. Drake Bell
Drake Bell was a large part of many people’s childhoods for his role on the series Drake & Josh. But while the show may have been a large part of your childhood, Bell’s mismanagement of the financial gains from the show was a large reason why he found himself in trouble in 2014.
It was reported by TMZ that Bell had filed for bankruptcy and accrued a debt of over $500,000. Bell also sold his house to try and recoup some of his losses. To help explain his downfall, TMZ also reported that Bell made over $400,000 in 2012 but only $14,100 in 2013.
14. Janice Dickinson
Janice Dickinson is one of the biggest icons in the world of modelling. The height of her career came in the 70s and 80s, but she also had a role on America’s Next Top Model as a judge in the 2000s. But Dickinson’s financial woes have also followed her into the 2000s, including reports she spent upwards of $300,000 to alter her body.
Her inability to pay her taxes also led to accrued fines and debt that at in 2013 when she claimed she was broke, was reportedly as high as $1 million. Those are plenty of reasons to not be smiling when looking into a mirror! Things are going better for Dickinson however as of late, including getting married to a psychiatrist in December.
13. Heidi And Spencer Pratt
Heidi and Spencer Pratt absolutely love keeping up appearances. When their time was the brightest in the spotlight, they would spend money on items to feature on their reality show that they would then later discard.
Part of their tastes also included bottles of wine that cost upwards of $3,000 and despite allegedly making roughly $2 million a year when on The Hills, they stated in 2016 that they had gone through the roughly $10 million they earned.
12. 50 Cent
50 Cent loved bragging about how much money he had online. But after later declaring bankruptcy, his lawyers explained
“The postings, which among other things, make use of stage or prop money, are part of the debtor’s routine social media marketing activities and relate directly to the debtor’s various business interests. Prop money is routinely used in the entertainment industry, including in movies, television shows, videos and social media postings.”
Yikes, talk about trying to keep up a positive image! Cent’s legal issues included reports in 2015 that he had debts of over $35 million but less than $20 million in assets.
The positive news is that in February of this year, 50 Cent had successfully paid off his debts. Part of his ability came from a settlement he received of $13.65 million after a malpractice lawsuit was filed against other attorneys. So while he may have money now, his financial situation (at least at one time) may still leave you shocked!
11. Nicolas Cage
There are some actors who appear in a lot of movies because they love acting. There are others who appear in a lot of movies because they literally need the pay cheque. Can you guess what side Nicolas Cage falls on?
Reports of Cage’s financial woes have emerged over the years, including some saying he has allegedly blown through over $150 million and still owes the IRS over $10 million. Among his lavish purchases were 4 yachts, two Bahamian islands, and over 10 houses.
His name recognition alone means his career is probably safe for at least the foreseeable future, so let’s hope he uses some of those future earnings to hire someone who is better with money to help him.
10. Natasha Lyonne
Natasha Lyonne is one of the many actresses that is thankful for the success of the series Orange is the New Black. It’s not like Lyonne is a stranger to raunchy shows considering one of her big breaks before this was in the American Pie franchise. But life in between the start of her career and where she is now was full of police reports, drugs and the mindset where she thought she was as good as dead.
“When you go as deep into the belly of the beast as I went, there’s a whole other world going on and something like show business becomes the dumbest thing on planet Earth,” said Lyonne.
9. Chris Tucker
There were recent reports that Rush Hour 4 may actually be getting made in 2018. If that is the case then nobody would be happier about the news then Chris Tucker.
It was reported in 2014 that not only was Tucker hurting for cash but that he allegedly owed the IRS upwards of $14 million – though his representative did later say the claims were exaggerated and that the debt wasn’t as substantial.
One thing is for sure, Tucker’s issues with paying his back taxes lasted for 7 years! So while he reached a settlement offer with them, it definitely didn’t leave this comedian laughing all the way to the bank.
8. Judy Garland
Judy Garland spent 9 films working with Mickey Rooney who also appears on our list. But sadly one thing they also have in common is terrible money management. Despite starting her career with the optimistic and classic The Wizard of Oz, Garland’s life away from the movies was far from a fairytale.
She struggled with substance abuse, owed more than she could afford in back taxes and by the end of her life was allegedly making roughly $100 a night singing in gay bars in New York.
Her daughter also described her as “homeless broke” when writing about her in the book Me And My Shadows: A Family Memoir.
7. Wesley Snipes
Wesley Snipes was one of the most profitable actors in the 1990s with several huge films, including starting the Blade film trilogy. But all of the money he was making came back to bite him after it became clear to the IRS that he wasn’t paying his taxes. A decision that had him spend December 9th, 2010-April 2nd, 2013 behind bars.
We’re sure he had plenty of memories of lavishly spending his money to think back on during his time in jail, we just hope that it also made him smarter when he returned to the outside.
6. Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton may love to sing “un-break my heart” but that song would have had to pay her over $100 million to sooth the financial pains that were coming her way. Braxton decided paying her taxes was overrated and on two separate occasions filed for bankruptcy.
When talking about some of her unnecessary expenses, Braxton admitted
“I love dishes and house things so I kind of lost it a little bit on the houseware. One-thousand thread-count sheets, that’s what I indulged in.”
5. Corey Haim
Corey Haim is sadly no longer with us, having passed away passed away at the age of 38 from pneumonia. Haim’s career was marked by such performances as The Lost Boys, as well as his friendship with Corey Feldman. Unfortunately, Haim’s career was derailed by his addiction to drugs.
When talking about his close friend, Feldman admitted that at the time of his death,
“[Haim] was living in the Oakland Apartments with his mom, very broke, very destitute.”
4. Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney spent over 85 years in the public spotlight. But perhaps it was his eight marriages that left him hurting financially, at least in comparison to what you may have expected for a man of his stature. Rooney passed away in 2014 and as you may expect, there was some clamoring over who would inherit his fortune/properties. But instead of that number being in the millions, the actualization was only roughly $18,000.
By the time of his death at the age of 93, he had also racked up medical bills and taxes that needed to be accounted for. Is that broke? Perhaps not, but it’s definitely not the income that someone of Rooney’s stature should have been boasting.
3. Gary Coleman
If you watched television in the 70s and 80s, you definitely were well aware of the show Diff’rent Strokes and the wisecracking Gary Coleman which he starred in at the age of 10.
But by 1989, Coleman was suing his business advisor and parents over poor financial management. By 1999, he was filing for bankruptcy protection. The lowest of his points may have been when he auctioned off personalized items, including pants which Jimmy Kimmel purchased for $500. The last few years of Coleman’s life were also marked with run-ins with the law, including a domestic abuse charge filed.
2. John Cleese
John Cleese knew how to make you laugh with Monty Python but his financial situation is sadly no joking matter. The main cause of his financial woes comes from a costly divorce from Alyce Eichelberger
“I was comfortably well off before I got divorced from Alyce Faye Eichelberger. I never knew how much I really had — I was just comfortable. But now I’ve been working for seven years to pay off the alimony. She’s far better off than I am. So you could sit around being bitter about that. Or you can just think it’s completely ridiculous.”
Cleese admitted he will have paid her upwards of $20 million. While it’s not clear how significant his own struggles got, it definitely left him hurting and in a situation that we’re sure you do not envy.
1. Brett Butler
Brett Butler had the potential to have a lucrative career with her show Grace Under Fire. It ran for 5 seasons but perhaps fittingly with the name, ended in flames. Butler’s off-set addictions created an incredibly hostile working relationship where she later admitted she was abusive to work with.
Following the cancellation of the show, Butler moved away to a farm to be with her 15 pets. But that plan eventually fell apart and before long, Butler admitted that she ended up at a homeless center. Butler has thankfully turned her life around, including landing a role on the soap opera The Young and the Restless and Anger Management.
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