Even famous faces are not immune from monetary disaster, and some of the biggest Hollywood celebrities have had their own financial failures over the years. Some can even find themselves forced to file for bankruptcy, wiping out their entire fortunes in one go. Sometimes, these formerly prosperous individuals lose their fortune as a result of their own wild spending sprees, while there are some who have found themselves the victims of financial crashes or bad investments – although they at least have the ability to restore their fortunes by signing up to make a few bad movies!
Check out the list below of some the hilarious ways that obnoxiously rich people have lost all their money.
Nicolas Cage loved to spend his money on weird and wonderful items, including splashing out $276,000 on a dinosaur skull which later turned out to have been stolen. While the skull itself wasn’t responsible for Cage going broke, his spendthrift ways did lead to a massive tax bill from the IRS that he was unable to pay.
It seems that while movie stars may be good at remembering their lines, they do seem to have a bit of a problem remembering that they also have to pay their taxes. Blade star Wesley Snipes was another celebrity who ended up in trouble with the IRS and even served time in jail for tax evasion.
Remember the Mayan prediction that the world was going to end in 2012? Most people realized that it was a highly unlikely scenario and ignored the doomsayers, but reality TV star Heidi Montag from The Hills took the warnings very seriously and decided that she should spend her $10 million fortune before the world ended.
Hollywood actor Burt Reynolds, who sadly passed away in 2018, made a fortune from his movies in the 70s and 80s – but ended up $10 million in debt by 1996. Reynolds just loved to spend money, and splashed the cash on a private jet, sports cars, and even spent $100,000 on toupees.
Former baseball player Curt Schilling was a star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox during a long and successful career, but he managed to lose pretty much his entire fortune thanks to a bad investment in a video games company called 38 Studios, which itself filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
Country singer Willie Nelson has always had a laid-back approach to life – but unfortunately for him, he also took a rather laid-back approach to his taxes. The IRS issued the singer with a tax bill for a whopping $16.7 million, which he eventually managed to pay by selling his music to commercials and releasing a specially-recorded album.
Kim Basinger was one of the highest-paid Hollywood actresses in the 1990s, but she made an expensive mistake when she pulled out of a film called Boxing Helena. The studio sued the actress for $8.1 million for breach of contract, eventually settling for $3.8 million, forcing the LA Confidential star to file for bankruptcy.
Former New York Jets quarterback Mark Brunell ended losing his career earnings simply because he was far too trusting with his money. Brunell agreed to be the guarantor on a number of loans taken out by friends and family, and when they defaulted, the football star ended up responsible for their outstanding payments.
Denise Rossi may not be a Hollywood celebrity, but she became famous when she lost her million-dollar lottery win after she hid it from her husband, and the started divorce proceedings in an attempt to keep all the cash for herself. The courts decided that Rossi had to give her entire $1.2 million win to her ex-husband.
90s rapper MC Hammer had a huge hit with “U Can’t Touch This” and made the pajama pants an iconic piece of clothing in the process. He lost all his money thanks to the size of his entourage, all of which were constantly asking the star for money – and rather than lose his so-called friends, Hammer lost his cash.
Going broke is far from a new phenomenon for famous faces. Thomas Jefferson was one of the Founding Fathers, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States, but he also managed to blow most of his fortune thanks to his taste for very expensive wine.
Soul singer Marvin Gaye was twice divorced at the height career, with judges awarding both of his ex-wives very generous alimony and child support payments. The judge in his case even awarded Anna Gordy half the royalties from the next album he released, which he rather cuttingly titled Here, My Dear.
Francis Ford Coppola has made some of the greatest movies of all time, including the Oscar-winning Godfather films. Coppola used to plow a lot of his own money into his projects, and he has filed for bankruptcy on more than occasion. He has even admitted that he only made The Godfather Part III in order to save himself financially.
NBA star Antoine Walker earned more than $100 million during his career, including an NBA win with the Miami Heat in 2006, and should have been set for life. Unfortunately, he decided to invest most of his fortune in property, just a few years before the financial crash of 2008 destroyed the housing market and left him completely broke.
Ulysses S Grant was the Major General who almost single-handedly won the US Civil War for the North, and subsequently became President, so he should have been smart enough to see when he was being had. He lost all his money when he was defrauded by a business partner and died penniless in 1885.
Anybody who watched TV in the 1980s would be familiar with Gary Coleman and his starring role on Diff’rent Strokes – especially his catchphrase “What you talking about, Willis?” As a child, his parents took responsibility for managing his money, and spent it all, leaving him broke by the time his TV career came to an end.
Boxers can make a fortune from their careers, and Mike Tyson won more bouts than most in the sport. The fighter was also married three times, as well as fathering a number of children with other women. He ended up paying a small fortune in alimony every month – payments which ended up crippling Tyson financially.
Investment banker Bernie Madoff was once among the most respected figures in the American financial world, even acting as the non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market. It turned out, however, that his company was just a massive Ponzi scheme, defrauding its investors of millions of dollars. Madoff lost his fortune and was sentenced to 150 years in prison.
Basketball star Dennis Rodman was one of the most colorful characters in the sport, as well a five-time NBA champion. He was also a big hit with the ladies, which is what led him to his own financial troubles – massive child support payments which eventually forced him into bankruptcy in 2012.
Former NFL star Michael Vick also ended up serving time in jail, although in his case it was for his involvement in an illegal dog-fighting ring. The bad press destroyed his career and ruined his reputation and he ended up owing creditors $17 million when he filed for bankruptcy in 2008.
Sources: Insider, Money Crashers, Fox Sports, Oprah, Rolling Stone