It’s taken for granted that all famous people, whether actors, musicians, entrepreneurs, athletes or politicians are as rich as they are popular. But while most celebrities earn millions upon millions of dollars in their fields of expertise, not all of them know how to manage their money wisely.
Because they are living in a bubble of material wealth and have money flowing in faster than they can say the word “dollar,” many celebs, especially those who get rich quick, are so overwhelmed that they end up splurging like there’s no tomorrow. And so they’re forced to declare bankruptcy. Some celebs who have gone almost broke due to overspending are MC Hammer and Nicolas Cage.
But to be fair, not all famous folk who have had to declare bankruptcy did so because they blew their money off. Some had to resort to it because of failed business ventures or divorce settlements or occasionally, theft. And some had to declare bankruptcy even more than once. Here are some celebrities who had to resort to this tactic to save their necks.
Not all celebs who go broke are addicted to lavish lifestyles. For example, funny man Sinbad has had to file for bankruptcy twice, according to a 2013 article by Huffington Post. He first declared bankruptcy in 2009, then again in April 2013, admitting he was approximately $11 million in debt, $8 million of which was for unpaid taxes. Sinbad claimed that his money troubles were a result of investing in people, not on a bevy of material things. And he said he didn’t regret it.
9 Walt Disney
It’s hard to believe that the founder of the happiest place on earth and one of the most successful cartoon studios in the world had to file for bankruptcy. But everyone has had to struggle at one point before hitting success and that, Walt Disney did. A report by USlegal.com stated that Disney had to file for bankruptcy in 1920 when the financial backer for his animation company went broke. He bounced back after he created Mickey Mouse, but fell into deep debt again, nearly declaring bankruptcy for the second time during production of his first major animation film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And once again, he was saved financially by the success of the animation characters he created.
8 Vince Neil
7 Wil Johnson
Being a prolific soap opera star apparently didn’t help much in Wil Johnson’s money problems. As per a 2014 article in AOL, British soap star Wil Johnson was deep in debt and had to declare bankruptcy twice in three years. One of the main reasons Johnson most likely succumbed to bankruptcy was the fact that he has seven children that he’s supporting and one of them studied in the prestigious (and pricey) Manhattan School of Music. Added to that, the actor had been shuttling back and forth between London and New York, a deed that most likely put a dent in his wallet.
6 Thomas Jefferson
Not every commander-in-chief has had it good financially. Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant had to file for bankruptcy once in their prolific lives. Thomas Jefferson though, had the misfortune of being forced into bankruptcy several times, according to a 2008 CNN article. Jefferson was apparently notorious for being a spend-thrift even after he stepped down from office. He blew off a lot of his earnings on lavish houses, which he had a passion for, as well as good food and expensive wine.
5 Kerry Katona
Reality TV star Kerry Katona had to declare bankruptcy twice in a span of five years. As reported by The Telegraph in a July 2013 article, the former Atomic Kitten singer first filed for bankruptcy in 2008 due to an exorbitant tax bill that she was unable to pay. She was hired as an endorser for “Cash Lady,” a company that offered fast cash for those in the need. With a tagline of “fast cash, fast lives,” which seemingly embodied Katona’s attitude towards money, it’s no wonder she had to apply for bankruptcy for a second time.
4 Tionee “T-Boz” Watkins
Back in their heyday, the girls of the pop group TLC were on top of the world, chasing waterfalls and such. But in 1995, their world went on a downward spiral when the entire group had to apply for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to The Hollywood Reporter in a 2011 article. But to make it worse, band member Tionee “T-Boz” Watkins had to file for personal bankruptcy in 2011, though it’s not certain why. T-Boz claimed to be living within her means, after all. But despite that, she is around $700,000 in debt, primarily for unpaid mortgage payments for her million-dollar home.
3 Toni Braxton
With her powerful ballad “Unbreak My Heart” topping the charts for weeks in a row, Toni Braxton’s music career was flourishing and the money flowing in. But her extravagant tastes eventually caught up with her and in 1998, Braxton had to file for bankruptcy, according to a 2014 report on News One. She reportedly spent a whopping $2.5 million in make-up, accessories, and clothes alone. The diva bounced back, but not for long. In 2010, she was forced to declare bankruptcy again, as she was around $50 million in debt. Despite this, she was able to purchase a house worth $3 million in 2014!
2 Larry King
The former king of talk shows Larry King may be one of the wealthiest persons on television, but he wasn’t always so successful. Before making it big and landing his own talk show, Larry King Live on CNN, King was a struggling small time radio and TV host who had to declare bankruptcy twice, as stated in a 2013 article in moneyreign.com. The first time was in 1960 and the second was in 1978, as his debts steadily increased and hit $352,000, a big amount at that time. Luckily, his CNN talk show eventually solved his financial problems and he went on to become THE Larry King.
1 Donald Trump
Yes, The Donald Trump has had his reputation tainted by bankruptcy, not one, but four times. But no, he doesn’t declare it because he’s literally broke. Far from it, in fact. According to Forbes magazine in a 2011 article, he’s worth at least $2 billion. He has filed for corporate bankruptcy, not personal bankruptcy, those four times: in 1991, 1992, 2004, and 2009. He used it as a business tool so that he wouldn’t have to lose any more of his investment capital than he already did for certain projects his corporation was spearheading. That, and to wisely eradicate business debt.