Every industry in the world is always changing; whether it’s movies, music or sports. Celebrities have a limited shelf life as most get left behind once new faces come up to replace them. During their peak years, celebrities are able to net plenty of riches, but as the saying goes: more money, more problems.
Not every celebrity looks ahead to the future or plans for their upcoming adventures. Some tend to believe that the money will continue to roll in, but the sad reality is most names fail to maintain relevance for more than a few years. We’re always left dumbfounded when a celebrity loses all their fortune, especially as the details emerge about their bad spending habits.
Stars adore the lavish lifestyle as you can tell by their mansions and expensive cars, they feel the need to maintain a certain image for the public. Many of these stars grew up poor and struggled throughout their lives until they got their big break. It’s a difficult transformation to make, as some never adjust to handling their finances as they should.
We’ve gathered a list of 15 celebrities with different backgrounds who grew up poor and became rich, only to lose it all….again.
15. MC Hammer
Having grown up in a small apartment with eight siblings, it’s safe to say that MC Hammer didn’t enjoy have the greatest childhood. MC Hammer rose to fame nearly as fast as he did crashing down, enjoying plenty of success during the late 80s and early 90s. With six studio albums to his name, his most successful release remains “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em.”
The album, released in 1990, was certified “Diamond” for selling more than 10 million copies, thanks to the lead single in “U Can’t Touch This.” It’s one of the most successful and well-known rap songs in history, topping the charts in multiple countries. As of today, the single has 347 million views on YouTube.
Good times don’t last forever and MC Hammer could certainly attest to that statement. He would mostly be remembered for that album as money problems would follow him for years to come. MC Hammer went bankrupt in 1996, which is hardly shocking when you learn that he had employed 200 people for his mansion.
14. Pamela Anderson
The world fell in love with Pamela Anderson in the 90s as she was everywhere from TV shows, movies to magazines. She starred in major TV shows, including Baywatch and Home Improvement. Sadly, good times don’t always last and the 2000s weren’t as kind to the star.
It’s been reported for years that she faced financial troubles, owing millions in taxes. The rumors peaked in 2009 with several media outlets covering Pamela Anderson’s situation. Considering how big of a name she was during her prime years, it’s no surprise that Pamela Anderson loved to spend money. She was known for being extravagant, but can you really blame her?
In recent years, she managed to somewhat recover from her struggles after appearing on several shows, such as Dancing With The Stars. Anderson also makes an appearance in the Baywatch movie, which is based on the 90s hit show.
13. Dennis Rodman
If there is a name on the list that probably wouldn’t surprise most people, it’s probably this one. Dennis Rodman has always held a reputation for being….well, Dennis Rodman. When he isn’t winning championships with Michael Jordan or hanging out with Kim Jong-in, the former NBA star always finds a way to make it in the news.
Rodman is another name who was forced to file for bankruptcy after having earned over $30 million in his career. That number is long gone by now, Rodman mismanaged his money and has struggled for years. He has been married three times with his most recent divorce coming in 2012, which certainly didn’t help his case. It’s been said that Rodman owes more than $800,000 in child support.
12. Courtney Love
Before she became the front woman for Hole, Courtney Love went through trials and tribulations; from being arrested for shoplifting to becoming an exotic dancer. Controversy would continue to follow her throughout her career, especially during her marriage to Kurt Cobain.
Although she has her own successful career, having Nirvana’s publishing rights meant that she was set for life. However, Courtney Love has admitted to mishandling her money, losing more than $27 million in the process. Thankfully for her, the Nirvana money will continue to roll for years to come.
Courtney Love is active on social media, which has kept her name in the news thanks to her outspoken tweets. She will also be starring in James Franco‘s film, The Long Home, which will be released later this year.
11. Mike Tyson
There was a time when Mike Tyson was arguably the most popular athlete in the world. The legendary boxer is another athlete who made great fortunes during his career, only to find himself struggling after retirement.
In 2003, Tyson filed for bankruptcy thanks to a hefty debt of $27 million. Tyson earned more than $300 million during his career, but he spent his fortunes on anything that you could think of; from mansions to Siberian tigers.
Tyson struggled during his younger years. By the time he was 13 years old, Tyson had already been arrested 38 times. He also lost both of his parents at a young age, and that certainly didn’t help matters. He’s considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time with an impressive record of 50-6 with 44 knockouts.
Despite his money troubles in the early 2000s, Mike Tyson has managed to bounce back thanks to his status as a celebrity. For those who missed out on seeing Iron Mike in-ring action, they got to see him star on the big screen in The Hangover.
10. Larry King
Larry King didn’t become one of the most successful hosts by luck. He worked his way all the way up to host his very own television show, which ran for 25 years. But he certainly battled some hardships to establish himself. His dad passed away at a young age, which affected him in more ways than one, as the family struggled.
Not many people are aware that Larry King went bankrupt at one point before he really got his big break. After struggling for years to hold a career in media, he was forced to declare bankruptcy. Unlike many names on this list, he learned from his mistakes and went on to become one of the biggest names in television history.
9. Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan‘s family struggled before she gained fame as a child star and made millions as a model, singer, and actress. For years, there were concerns about her financial standing. In 2016, there were reports that Lohan was at risk of bankruptcy after having failed to pay rent for her London apartment.
She’s another celebrity who fancied the rich lifestyle, spending her fortunes on mansions, expensive cars, clothes and custom jewelry. Movies like The Parent Trap and Mean Girls made Lindsay Lohan one of the highest paid actresses in the world for years. Although she’s only 31 years old, it seems highly unlikely that she will recapture her status in Hollywood.
8. Wesley Snipes
Growing up in New York, Wesley Snipes had a decent childhood that allowed him to reach greater heights of success. In the 1990s, Snipes starred in many blockbuster movies that made him a big name in the Hollywood circle. In 2006, he filed for bankruptcy…but that wasn’t all.
Many names on this list faced tax troubles but perhaps none like Wesley Snipes, who was sentenced to three years in prison for failing to file tax returns. From 1999 to 2004, the Blade star earned more than $40 million although he failed to report his taxes for three of those years.
While many celebrities do get away with not paying their taxes and never end up in prison, Snipes wasn’t one of the lucky names. He believed that his sentence was harsh but that didn’t reduce the original term.
7. 50 Cent
50 Cent‘s official debut album was titled, Get Rich Or Die Tryin and he certainly got his wish. When you think of the early and mid 2000s, 50 Cent is one name that comes to mind. He dominated the rap scene for years, from music to clothing lines, movies, and even video games. His story is an inspirational one for many who go from rags to riches, as he did just that.
Despite not having been a prominent figure in music for years, 50 Cent’s name remains relevant thanks to his business ventures and involvement in Power. However, in 2015, he filed for bankruptcy following a series of lawsuits. Known for being flashy and rich, his image was certainly affected especially after telling the judge that he had been displaying fake money on Instagram. Thankfully, he has settled all his debt and seems to be back on his feet once again.
6. Ric Flair
When you think of professional wrestling, Ric Flair is one of the first names that comes to mind. The 16-time World Champion is known for being flashy and stylish in the ring, he is nicknamed the “Nature Boy” after all. Ric Flair was an active wrestler for decades who worked for the biggest wrestling companies in the world, from NWA, WCW, WWE and TNA.
It’s well-known that Flair had a troubled past, controversy has surrounded him throughout his long career. Many believe that the reason Flair has wrestled for so long is due to his constant financial troubles. After having retired from wrestling while working for WWE in 2008, Flair would shortly appear after wrestling for TNA.
While Flair’s childhood wasn’t quite as tough as some of the other entries, he still had to overcome plenty to make it as a star. For years, Flair was one of the highest paid wrestlers in the world. A couple of divorces and lawsuits later, Flair was far removed from living the lavish lifestyle he did in his prime days.
5. Terrell Owens
It’s always surprising to learn that an athlete has lost their fortunes, considering their high salaries. The former Pro Bowl wide receiver earned $80 Million during his 15-year NFL career, and controversy was more than present in his case.
Owens has cited multiple reasons behind his money troubles, starting with handouts to friends and family members. Bad investments in real estate and failed brands certainly affected his pockets as well. Although he is considered an all-time great talent, his personality has overshadowed his ability on the field.
It affected his career with some fans claiming that Owens was blackballed from the NFL, as he struggled to find a way back into the league. Accusations of being a deadbeat dad didn’t help his reputation one bit. Owens refused to “officially” retire as he continued to attempt a comeback years after he last played professionally.
4. Michael Jackson
It’s hard to believe that Michael Jackson would find his way on this list, but even the King of Pop went through financial crisis in the latter years of his life. Following the 2005 trial, it’s been reported that he struggled to keep up with all the payments, owing more than $300 million.
In fact, Jackson hired a banker by the name of David Dunn to help him get back on his feet. Rumors have circulated that Jackson had spent over $1bn since the release of Thriller in 1982. From mansions to ATV music publishing, Michael Jackson was never too shy to spend major bucks.
Despite making it as a star at a young age, his childhood struggles are well-documented especially when it came to the relationship between him and his dad. Yet, Michael Jackson managed to become the third best selling artist of all-time, behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley.
3. Michael Vick
Michael Vick is another NFL star who mishandled his money. He recently retired after 13 seasons playing for the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers. As talented as he was, he has become just as known for his off-field issues, mainly for his participation in dog fighting.
This rags to riches (and back to rags) tale has become familiar, Vick’s family lived in a dangerous neighborhood, and he began playing football as a child to stay away from trouble. Fast forward to 2001, Vick was taken as the first pick of the draft. Three years later, Vick became the highest paid NFL player after signing a $30 million contract with the Falcons.
Michael Vick crashed down as fast as he rose to stardom, following lawsuits and misguided investments. He filed for bankruptcy while in prison, although he continues pay a debt of $17.8 million owed to his creditors.
2. Scottie Pippen
A six-time NBA champion, Scottie Pippen, was a crucial member of the legendary Chicago Bulls 90s squad, featuring the likes of Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman. After 17 seasons in the league, Pippen had earned more than $120 million from salary and endorsements.
Pippen was a seven-time NBA All-Star, his career accomplishments were great enough to have him inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. However, he wasn’t quite as successful when it came to his investments, where he lost more than $27 million. Pippen also spent more than $4 million on a private jet that was never used.
1. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson‘s salary and endorsement deals made him one of the richest athletes in the world, earning more than $200 million during his NBA career. While Iverson was breaking ankles on the court, his spending habits would see him struggle post-retirement. Iverson was a prolific scorer, a flashy player; and he certainly lived an extravagant lifestyle.
Iverson had a tough upbringing, having been sentenced to prison for his role in an altercation when he was just 17 years old. It certainly didn’t stop him from making it to the NBA, as he would be drafted just three years later in the 1996 Draft. Throughout his NBA career, Iverson had a personal hairstylist during the season. He also spent millions on custom jewelry.
Known as “The Answer” to basketball fans, unfortunately, he didn’t seem to have any for his financial troubles.
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