Everyone loves a rags to riches story. It is the classic tale of one person who made it big against all odds and built a life for himself through hard work and dedication. But what about if it went the other way around? There exists hundreds of stories of how people who had it all eventually lost it all. It may have been because they squandered their wealth, were careless, or just plain unlucky.May the others who follow in their footsteps learn a thing or two about making it big and surviving the trials of fame and fortune.
Here is a look at the top 10 people who almost lost it all despite being rich and famous.
10. Ed Mc Mahon
As a prominent TV personality, Ed McMahon was doing well hosting shows and acting as a sidekick to Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” which started in the early 60’s. During 2008, Ed McMahon was in debt. According to news reports, he was $644,000 behind on mortgage loans. In the same year, he was also unable to pay for his divorce which cost him around $275,000. When he appeared on Larry King Live to talk about his situation, the reason for his downfall was simple – he was spending more than what he was earning.
9. Burt Reynolds
Famous for his roles in “Smokey and the Bandit,” “White Lightning,” “All Dogs go to Heaven,” and “The Longest Yard,” just to name a few, Burt Reynolds was considered a multimillionaire. What caused him to lose most of what he earned was a high-profile divorce from his ex-wife Lori Anderson. He was then in debt for millions of dollars and in 2011, a credit corporation filed foreclosure on his Beverly Hills Florida home. He owed the company $1.2 million.
8. MC Hammer
After his hit single “Can’t Touch This,” came out in 1990, MC Hammer was an instant millionaire. All the hype gave him a net worth of $33 million. The fame and fortune happened all too soon as he filed for bankruptcy in 1996. He was said to be $13 million in debt because of his lavish lifestyle and excessive spending. Having a large entourage also helped hasten the decline of this iconic hip hop star.
7. Mike Tyson
Despite being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson filed for bankruptcy in 2003. This was during the decline of his career. Tyson was a professional boxer from 1985 to 2006. And that was despite earning $300 million during his entire career and garnering $30 million from his fights during that time.
6. Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage was known as one of America’s highest paid actors. He owned houses all over the world and was included in Forbes top paid actors in 2009 for earning $40 million for his roles. But in the same year, the IRS claimed that Cage did not pay $6.2 million in federal tax income during 2007. According to Cage, it was his business manager who caused all the unpaid bills so he sued him for negligence and fraud. But according to the business manager, Cage refused to take his financial advice and insisted on living lavishly and spending extravagantly on luxury purchases.
5. Kim Basinger
As a former fashion model who turned into an actress and won an Academy Award, it is surprising to hear about Kim Basinger’s filing for bankruptcy in 1993. This was due to her backing out in a role for a film “Boxing Helena.” The studio was going to sue her for $8.1 million but because she filed for bankruptcy they both settled for $3.8 million instead.
4. Toni Braxton
Perhaps bad luck was what caused Toni Braxton to file for bankruptcy twice. In 1998 she filed for bankruptcy because of bad business deals, serious medical conditions, and not earning enough from her royalties. In 2010, the singer filed for bankruptcy again because of being in debt for millions of dollars and a cancelled Las Vegas Tour did nothing but make it worse.
3. Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson was considered an iconic symbol in the country music industry. Known for his activism, he was a main figure of “outlaw country,” which is considered a sub-genre of country music. With lots of success from numerous studio albums and television appearances, he was found to be in debt of over $30 million. According to Nelson, his accountants were the ones responsible for not paying his taxes. He was able to recover from it by letting his lawyer settle for a smaller amount, coming up with another studio album that helped pay for his debt, and auctioning off his possessions. By 1993 his debts were cleared.
2. Sly Stone
As one of the pioneers of soul, funk and psychedelia in the 60’s, Sly Stone was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. He was part of the band Sly & the Family Stone which had difficulty in getting along. His decline was due to substance abuse and excessive spending which led him to living homeless in a van which he would park along the residential streets of L.A.
1. Michael Jackson
Once at the top of the charts and on top of the world, Michael Jackson was an unparalleled performer. Starting out as a vocalist in a band with his brothers and later on performing solo, he gained fans worldwide. He was known for his smooth vocals and original dance moves. He sold millions of records worldwide and came up with music videos which were known for their crazy gimmicks. He even owned a 2,900 acre lot called Neverland Ranch which was sort of like an amusement park and fantasy land. But due to molestation cases, it was becoming difficult to maintain the property’s upkeep. Though he was acquitted of all charges, the artist decided never to return to the ranch again. That was when trouble began as the ranch fell into foreclosure in 2007 because of his loans, which reached up to $23.5 million.
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