“Spend your money wisely.” We’ve heard it before, more times than we can count. From our parents, from mentors, even from strangers, people we don’t know. We’re told that we shouldn’t spend our money carelessly and that we should show at least some kind of financial restraint. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Sometimes when you get a paycheck, you want to blow it all on something or some things that you really want to buy. The temptation is strong. And it’s extremely hard to resist at times.
Some celebrities have it better than us because they accumulate annual fortunes of millions and millions of dollars every year. They can afford to blow their money here and there. It’s not like they’re ever going to go broke. Right? Right? Wrong. We probably know more than one celebrity that started off hot, racking in more wealth than they could have possibly imagined, but then it all turned to dust (figuratively speaking). They didn’t manage their money well and now they’re, well, they’re not much better off than the rest of us.
I’m sure you know what happened to MC Hammer. I’m sure you know how he went broke. But what about some other celebrities that you may not know had to file for bankruptcy at one point? If you want to see how you line up financially against some stars who’ve fallen in recent times, then check out this list of 15 celebs you’ll never believe are actually broke.
15. Tia Carrere
Tia Carrere’s big break came from a chance meeting she had as a teenager, which led to an appearance in a comedy-drama film named Aloha Summer (1998). Born Althea Rae Janairo, Carrere’s great beauty and exotic looks advanced her modeling and acting career, making her a popular actress during the 90s. She landed roles in General Hospital and Wayne’s World and looked to be on the upswing. But then she got greedy. Offers begin pouring in from all directions for the actress. She tried to end her contract with General Hospital and join the cast of The A-Team by filing a lawsuit for bankruptcy, claiming that the current General Hospital contract she had couldn’t support her growing expenses anymore. Unfortunately for her, she lost the lawsuit, and her status as an actress has somewhat sunken since then.
14. Allen Iverson
Drafted as the number-one pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996 NBA Draft, Allen Iverson was the answer the franchise was searching for. Recognized for his skills as an excellent shooting guard, Iverson was named NBA Rookie of the Year during the 1996-1997 season, named NBA MVP in 2001, and was named an All-Star eleven times throughout his career. He was named the fifth-greatest NBA shooting guard of all time by ESPN in 2008. By 2010, Iverson earned himself a salary of $2 million and his net worth was reportedly $200 million. But in addition to Iverson’s accolades over the years was his reckless spending habits. Much of his money was spent to support his lavish lifestyle and on gambling; he lost $1 million in one night alone. Iverson’s mansion was foreclosed and sold at half price.
13. Mike Tyson
In 1986, it looked like Mike Tyson’s life was on the upswing. He went from being a childhood delinquent to becoming the youngest heavyweight boxing champion of the world at the ripe age of 20. He would eventually find himself plagued by a series of professional and personal setbacks, but he would bounce back in his boxing career following several triumphant matches. Despite losing matches to Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, Tyson still received a hefty payday. Upon his retirement in 2005, the boxer had earned a $400 million fortune throughout his career, making him one of the richest boxers ever. But then he filed for bankruptcy, owing $23 million for a divorce settlement and unpaid taxes.
12. Lindsay Lohan
There are multiple cases of child stars who grew up in fame encountering rough patches later in their life. Lindsay Lohan is one of them. She found early success starring in films such as Freaky Friday, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Herbie: Fully Loaded and Mean Girls. She became a teen idol sensation who was a regular subject for tabloid magazines, especially when the news of her struggles with drugs and alcohol broke. But Lohan didn’t exactly manage the profits from her acting jobs well, as she accrued $600,000 in credit card debt. Her crazy partying lifestyle only made things worse, adding a $300,000 debt to the IRS to her record. Even though Charlie Sheen gave her a $100,000 check, Lohan still found herself drowning in financial woes.
11. Wesley Snipes
This one may not be as unknown as some of the others on this list since it’s been documented by the media that Wesley Snipes isn’t exactly “balling” like he once was anymore. Everyone remembers him from his iconic role as vampire Blade, in the Blade trilogy movies. Financially, Snipes should have been doing more than fine from the success of the films. But he was accused of tax evasion in later years and was sentenced to three years in prison for failure to pay his income tax of 12 million dollars in six years. In addition to that, he incurred a credit card debt of nearly $30,000. Regardless of the legal troubles he’s been involved with over the years, Snipes claims he’s innocent of all that and that everything happened due to a minor misunderstanding with his financial team.
10. 50 Cent
The life of 50 Cent, whose given name is Curtis James Jackson III, is a real-life example of the classic rags-to-riches story. Raised in the rough neighborhood of South Jamaica in Queens, New York, Jackson sold drugs during his teenage years. He later fostered a passion for rapping, and years later he was attempting to break into the hip-hop scene. He was discovered by Eminem and Dr. Dre, and with their assistance, he rose to become one of the most profitable rappers in the world. He even found success outside of the hip-hop sphere as a businessman, owning a minority stake in Vitamin Water. He made $100 million when the company was sold to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in 2007. His estimated net worth was $155 million at the time, but he still ended up filing for bankruptcy in July 2015.
9. Gary Busey
You would think that if anyone starred in more than 70 critically acclaimed and financially successful movies that one would be set for life. But this was not the case for Gary Busey. Ever since his cinematic debut in 1971, the actor has appeared in films such as Predator, Lethal Weapon and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The money he made during his extensive career should have allowed him to not have to worry about money ever again, but unfortunately for him, he incurred debts to various creditors, including Wells Fargo, UCLA Medical Center, the IRS, multiple lawyers, and more. In fact, Busey once stated that he had no more than $50,000 worth of possessions to his name.
8. Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser starred in several films when he was first starting out as a Hollywood actor, such as School Ties and Encino Man, but his biggest break came when he starred in The Mummy franchise. While he appeared in some rather lackluster films afterward, he found success in other films that were box office successes. But Fraser hasn’t done that many movies in recent years, and some of them didn’t exactly do well at the box office. He never officially filed for bankruptcy, but his money reserves are slowly being depleted. Six years after Fraser divorced his wife in 2007, he asked his ex-wife for his child support payments and alimony to be reduced. He said that he didn’t have the income to keep paying $900,000 to her every year, which led to an intense legal battle between the two.
7. Chris Tucker
Chris Tucker carved out a name for himself doing stand-up at Def Comedy Jam. Tucker would go on to appear in a series of movies, such as Friday, The Fifth Element, and House Party 3, but his biggest acting break came when he starred alongside Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour trilogy movies. He was one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, bargaining a $25 million contract for Rush Hour 3, the highest base salary in film history. But Rush Hour 3 was a financial disappointment compared to the first two movies, and Tucker took a break from the film industry, turning down movie roles that he deemed not challenging enough. Financial troubles soon caught up with him, and he ended up owing the IRS $14 million in back taxes, as well as over $4 million to Sun Trust Bank.
6. Pamela Anderson
Pamela Anderson’s career started when she modeled for beer ads, but her modeling breakthrough came when she became a model for Playboy. She shifted her career into television when she landed the role of Tool Time girl Lisa on the first two seasons of Home Improvement, but she didn’t become a household name until she starred in the wildly successful action drama Baywatch, having caught the eye of casting agents for the show. Her success didn’t exactly transfer onto the silver screen, but Anderson still remained a major hit during the 90s. Regardless of her fame and fortune, Anderson was beset by financial woes. She owed millions of dollars to the U.S. government and had to sell off most of her real estate, including a mansion in Australia.
5. Toni Braxton
Toni Braxton has been on somewhat of an upswing lately, winning a Grammy for Best R&B Album with Babyface in 2015, but it’s unknown how much the profit off said album helped curb her outstanding debt. The singer scored smash hits with songs like “You Mean The World To Me” and “Un-break My Heart”, turning Braxton into a household name. However, a couple years after her Secrets album was released in 1996, Braxton got involved in a contract dispute with her record label, Arista Records, insisting that she deserved a bigger share of the record sales. $3.9 million in debt, she filed for bankruptcy, and her personal assets were promptly liquidated, including all the awards she won. Braxton would release more music in the coming years and things were starting to look better, but then she filed for bankruptcy again in 2010. Her total debt ranges from anywhere between $10 million to $50 million.
4. Janice Dickinson
Janice Dickinson is considered by many to be the first ever supermodel. Fascinated with fashion and fashion magazines from a young age, Dickinson moved to New York to achieve her dream of becoming a model, but was told everywhere she went that she looked too Mediterranean, too ethnic, to succeed in the business. She would eventually find her break from someone who was willing to give her a chance, and it was only a matter of time before Dickinson was catapulted to the top of the modeling world, receiving offers from a multitude of designers, magazines and ad agencies. She would go on to establish her own modeling agency and appeared in numerous reality shows including America’s Next Top Model as a judge, but in 2013 she filed for bankruptcy due to owing $1 million in unpaid taxes. She also owed $16,000 in unpaid plastic surgery bills.
3. Courtney Love
Throughout her lifetime, Courtney Love has made many headlines for her many wild escapades. She’s also made headlines for her financial troubles. From working as a stripper to forming her own band named Hole, Love has lived a very interesting life. But it’s been pretty difficult in recent years. The media reported in 2009 that Love was almost broke. Sometime later, American Express sued the singer for $350,000 for defaulting on card payments. Then it was reported that she was denied from accessing and withdrawing money from a trust fund created for her and her daughter. She also faced a lawsuit from designer Dawn Simorangkir for a number of charges including emotional distress and breach of contract.
2. Randy Quaid
Randy Quaid may be primarily known as Dennis Quaid’s older brother, but he’s an actor in his own right. He’s appeared in the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies, Brokeback Mountain, Independence Day, was nominated for an Emmy for his role in A Streetcar Named Desire and won a BAFTA for his portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson in LBJ: The Early Years. In recent years, however, Randy Quaid and his family have found themselves on the receiving end of negative publicity after they were arrested for failure to pay substantial hotel bills and other charges. Quaid’s acting career was overshadowed by legal troubles, and he would sue his manager for bad financial management. He was forced to file for bankruptcy after racking up $1 million in debt.
1. Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage, born Nicolas Kim Coppola, is well-known for his colorful personality. You may not know about the legal troubles he’s gotten himself into, however. Nicolas Cage boasts a high-profile acting career that’s spanned 30 years. Throughout the years, Cage has won Academy Awards, Golden Globe awards, Screen Actor Guilds awards, and many more. And throughout said years, he amassed an impressive fortune. Between 1996 and 2011, Cage earned $150 million from acting alone, making him a multi-millionaire. But none of that meant a penny when it was reported that he owed outstanding debt to the IRS. His lavish lifestyle full of expensive cars, mansions, and boats would soon catch up to him as he basically threw millions of dollars down the drain.