Stars Who Recovered From Bankruptcy

Being a celebrity isn't as easy as people in magazines make it look. Star-status and aspiring to star-status both have high costs of living. Making it (or having it made) is no guarantee of future suc

Being a celebrity isn't as easy as people in magazines make it look. Star-status and aspiring to star-status both have high costs of living. Making it (or having it made) is no guarantee of future success. Sometimes the worst happens: the deal falls through, the sales tank, or the IRS shows up. Then, some stars find themselves in the tough position of having to declare bankruptcy. Once declared, they then have to start the long (or sometimes not-so-long) process of recovery. Here are five stars who've declared bankruptcy and recovered from it.

5 Cyndi Lauper: Net Worth $15 Million

We've all tapped her foot, if not gleefully sang along, to one of her songs. Cyndi Lauper's one of the great eighties popstars, an actress and a Tony Award winning composer (Kinky Boots, 2013). Before making it big, Lauper worked odd-jobs after getting her high school equivalency degree, working as a waitress and office assistant while singing in Doc West and Flyer, cover bands who focused on top 40 songs and those of Led Zeppelin and Jefferson Airplane. In 1977, though, her vocal chords were extensively damaged, and there was a chance she'd never be able to sing again. Undaunted, she underwent a full year of vocal therapy with voice coach Katie Agestra to recover her voice. In 1980, she formed the band Blue Angel with John Turi, releasing a debut album (called, creatively, Blue Angel) the same year. It was a massive flop, and their manager sued them for $80,000, leading to the band's disbandment and Lauper declaring bankruptcy. Post-bankruptcy, Lauper sang in New York clubs while seeking a record deal. In the spring of 1983, she signed with Portrait Records as a solo artist, and released her first album, She's So Unusual, at the end of the year. The album was a hit, featuring her first single Girls Just Want to Have Fun, and sold close to five million copies, as well as giving her near-instantaneous popularity and helping her on the way to a 1984 Grammy for best new artist.

4 Meat Loaf : Net Worth $25 Million

Meat Loaf (aka Michael Aday), the voice behind the smash hit Bat Out of Hell (1977), had a rough time after the album was released. While sales soared, his relationship with Jim Steinman, the album's composer and lyricist, soured. Their falling out lead to the two filing lawsuits against one another, and put any plans for a sequel album on hold. It was during this period that Meat Loaf lost his voice, and his impressive three octave range deteriorated into something Steinman described as sounding "like the little girl in The Exorcist", which left him unable to record new material, or fall back to his earlier career in musical theater. By 1986, he'd recovered his voice, but his latest album, Blind Before I Stop,  was a critical failure, leading to him declaring bankruptcy. He tried his hand at acting and stand-up comedy, neither of which was a great draw. But he also continued with his musical career, switching from large scale venues to smaller ones. Over time, the smaller venues paid off: the people who'd loved Bat Out of Hell kept going to see him, and as the eighties drew to a close, he filling larger venues once more. But his triumphant return wasn't until 1993, when Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman reunited for the long-awaited sequel to Bat Out of Hell, Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell. Widely considered one of the greatest comeback albums ever produced, it sold 10 million copies within the first three months, and it's first single, the twelve minute epic I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), reached number one on the charts in twenty-eight countries.

3 Larry King: Net Worth $150 Million 

2 Donald Trump: Net Worth $3.5 Billion

Now, before we start this section, Donald Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, only corporate bankruptcy. But, he has filed for it four times, so it's worth mentioning. Donald Trump's best known now for his hosting of the NBC reality show The Apprentice, and its spinoff, Celebrity Apprentice, wherein people compete for the chance to run one of Trump's companies for a year (during which they'll earn $250,000). He got his start in the seventies,  with large construction projects in Manhattan, for which he quickly gained public recognition. By 1980, he'd renovated the Grand Hyatt, and become known as New York's best known developer.  His success continued through the eighties. But all good things must come to an end. In 1991, the Taj Mahal, Trump's $1 billion casino in Atlantic City, declared bankruptcy. This has been attributed to the decline of the real estate market in the nineties, which saw Trump's personal worth slip from an estimated $1.7 billion to a paltry $500 million. Others say this bankruptcy can all be linked to his over-leveraging his properties. He's since filed for corporate bankruptcy in 1992, 2004 and 2009, but the 1991 filing was the one that cut him deepest, as he sold off Trump Shuttle Airlines and his stake in several other businesses to climb out. His continuing success, despite multiple business failures, has been attributed to his ability to learn from the situation and his understanding of corporate bankruptcy law. After 1991, he stopped guaranteeing debts with his own wealth, and after each successive bankruptcy, has distanced himself from the company. For example, in the Taj Mahal bankruptcy, he handed over fifty percent of the ownership to its bondholders in return for better interest rates. By now, Trump's equity stakes in Trump Entertainment Resorts is only five percent, with another five in warrants. But he's doing just fine with a net worth of $3.5 billion. 

1 Walt Disney: Net Worth $5 Billion

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Stars Who Recovered From Bankruptcy