Most people assume that celebrities don’t suffer from money problems. After all, the life of the rich and famous is beyond what most people comprehend. The amount of money that they can make from appearing on television, in movies, or by being a sports star is more than most people can hope to earn in a lifetime. So how could any celebrity go broke?
It does occasionally happen. Famous individuals might go on a terrible spending spree or make bad investment choices. Some even lose their money because of legal troubles. What is worse is that many of these celebs will have come from nothing, working their way up to the top before losing it all. A few manage to bounce back, but some celebs end up out of pocket for the rest of their lives.
20 Stephen Baldwin
Stephen Baldwin may not be as well known as his older brother, but he was still pretty successful during his career. The actor and producer ended up in financial difficulty after it emerged that he owed years of taxes and could no longer pay several mortgages on properties he owned. He filed for bankruptcy owing millions of dollars out.
19 Gary Coleman
Unlike many other celebrities, Gary Coleman cannot be blamed for the fact that he lost almost all of his money. The star of Diff'rent Strokes saw his fortune mismanaged by those who were supposed to be looking out for him. Both his adopted parents and business advisor squandered the vast majority of his cash and he was left facing bankruptcy in 1999.
18 Courtney Love
Courtney Love had a successful music career on her own in addition to the lucrative estate she gained following the death of Kurt Cobain. After spending most of her fortune, the singer has been left with next to nothing. She has also seemingly racked up debts with former managers and the taxman, meaning she has to live very much within her means nowadays.
17 Gary Busey
Gary Busey was a very successful actor, making millions of dollars from a wide variety of movies throughout a long career. Yet, he claimed to have lost almost all of his earnings in 2012. In fact, the actor apparently only had around $50,000 in the bank and owed out more than $1 million. Exactly what he had spent his money on wasn’t clear, although Busey did cite legal cases as potential issues.
Many will remember T-Pain from the pomp of his fame. As his career began to wane, though, he lost huge sums of cash. The rapper had spent lots of money frivolously while also making bad investment choices. The end result was that T-Pain was unable to even afford to take his children out for lunch, although he was able to recover and once again reach some levels of success.
15 Meat Loaf
Despite a string of hit singles and albums, Meat Loaf couldn’t escape losing a tremendous amount of money. There were a number of issues that led to the musician suffering financial hardship. He was sued by one of his songwriters as well as a number of other individuals and wasn’t paid lucrative royalties for years after the release of many hit albums. The end result was that he had to file for bankruptcy in 1983.
14 Lindsay Lohan
In recent times, most people will undoubtedly be aware of the downward trajectory of Lindsay Lohan’s career. Legal troubles along with a lack of acting jobs and substance misuse have led to a steep decline in the earning potential of the former child star. When she was unable to pay her taxes, the IRS froze her assets and laid bare just how bad her money situation was.
13 Aaron Carter
Aaron Carter is a singer and rapper who surged in popularity during the 90s as a youngster who was capable of attracting a huge young audience. As something of a teen idol, he sold millions of records. However, back taxes owed from the height of his fame meant he owed millions to the IRS and was forced to declare bankruptcy.
12 David Cassidy
Over the course of his career, David Cassidy sold more than 20 million records. Yet, by 2015, he still had to file for bankruptcy after it came to light he had millions of dollars of debt. This was mainly because of an impending divorce from his wife after Cassidy had been involved with a number of DUIs. He passed in 2018 never having settled his debt.
11 Curt Schilling
Over the course of an almost 20-year career, Curt Schilling earned more than $100 million. The MLB pitcher was a huge star but lost almost all of his money when he invested heavily in 38 Studios, a video game developer. When the company went bust in 2012, Schilling lost a huge sum of money and was involved in numerous lawsuits.
10 Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson may have been one of the most successful and well-known musicians in the world, but that did not make him immune to financial woes. The singer’s spending meant he was in a huge amount of debt in his later years. So much so that he had to foreclose on his Neverland home. By the time of his death, experts estimate he was some $400 million in the red.
9 Johnny Depp
Constant rumors have followed Johnny Depp around about supposed financial difficulties. This is despite the fact he is one of the most successful and highly paid actors in the world. Court documents from his former agents show Depp had wasted millions of dollars, spending fortunes on things like wine and parties. The actor was left taking high-interest loans and paying out money, leaving him almost cashless and spending millions every month.
8 Fantasia Barrino
Fantasia Barrino suffered a variety of financial problems, defaulting on a near $600,000 loan. This stopped her from being able to pay other bills and her debts began to stack up, eventually leading her to lose her home. She has since earned much of her money back but went through a period where she lost most of her fortune.
7 Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser was one of the biggest movie stars in the world at the height of his career. Work began to dry up in the late 2000s, though, with the actor almost disappearing from Hollywood altogether. Injuries meant he needed a number of hospital visits to have corrective surgeries. By the end of the decade, he was struggling to pay his bills and child support.
6 Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill is another example of a celebrity that hit financial problems because of the fact she didn’t get her tax affairs in order. The singer apparently owed the IRS almost $2 million and eventually pleaded guilty to tax evasion. According to Hill, she was unable to work because of threats to her and her family, meaning she lost all her sources of income and was unable to pay her bills.
5 Brett Butler
Brett Butler may not have been a household name, but she was still a successful actress until recently. She appeared in the ABC sitcom Grace Under Fire. Her actions led to substance abuse and her eventual firing from the show because her behavior had become so erratic on set. This meant she failed to get further work and eventually ended up losing her home and money.
4 Wesley Snipes
Most of Wesley Snipes's money problems can be traced back to his refusal to file tax returns. The IRS maintained that he had evaded paying millions of dollars in tax and owed them a huge amount of money. Snipes eventually ended up serving almost three years in prison when convicted and faced further financial woe as he was unable to work.
3 MC Hammer
MC Hammer was incredibly popular in the early 90s. This was largely down to his hit song “U Can't Touch This,” although he failed to find similar success with other songs. A number of lawsuits and stupendous spending led to a $13 million debt. The singer had to file for bankruptcy in 1996 after blowing through his entire fortune.
2 Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman was a star basketball player at his pomp and was well-known thanks to his close association with Michael Jordan. He has skirted controversy since hanging up his sneakers. This included trips to North Korea and spiraling debt that made it so that he could not even afford his living expenses. In particular, he owed $660,000 to his former wife and children.
1 Nicolas Cage
Cage has drawn headlines throughout his career for going on huge spending sprees. Despite his enormous earnings, he apparently blew through around $150 million buying castles, limited edition comics, and even a dinosaur skull. The sheer number of properties that he owned meant he was liable to pay millions of dollars in property taxes that drastically reduced his fortune.
Sources: Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, GG, Billboard