Even though we feel a tinge of jealousy, we are still insatiably curious about the money that rich people make and how they spend it. Sometimes, we are outraged when we read about some of the petty demands that divas make for their dressing rooms or stages. Yet, we are intrigued that such fineries and tastes exist in a world where half the population is malnourished. Enjoy this list!
#20 Michael Jackson
It has been six years since the King of Pop died from alleged medical malpractice. During his reign, his work make music history. Jackson was known for his eccentric tastes and over-indulgent spending habits. Jackson spent millions on homes, vehicles, and other luxury items. He bought the Beatles music catalog and was rumored to have made an outrageous offer on the bones of the famous Elephant Man.
In addition to his out-of-control spending, he had to pay undisclosed settlement amounts in child sexual abuse allegations and subsequent trial. According to one source, Jackson’s estate could be over a quarter of a billion dollars in debt.
#19 Nicolas Cage
Nicholas Cage took an angelic fall in one of his famous movies. Evidently, his finances have been taking a plunge, also. In 2007, the IRS charged that the actor owed the government at least $6 million in unpaid taxes. The agency launched an audit into past years as well. Instead of facing the charges, Cage sued his accountant and said that he was responsible for the tax evasion.
The account counter-sued Cage and alleged that he had been telling the spend-thrift star to slow down the spending. In order to avoid bankruptcy, Cage sold some valuables and real estate to get his bills paid. Fun fact: Did you know Nicolas Cage bought an octopus because he thought it would help with his acting.
#18 Kim Basinger
Even a movie star who paid $20 million to own her own city can have money woes. In 1993, Basinger was sued by a film studio for breach of contract. After being ordered to pay $8 million in damages, she has to file bankruptcy and sell her town, Braselton, Georgia. After the bankruptcy, Basinger filed an appeal in her lawsuit and only had to pay about half of the original judgement.
Fortunately, she was able to recover and went on to star in a string of successful movies and win an Academy Award. She now realizes that she should think before she breaks a contract that could leave her broke again.
#17 Mike Tyson
It probably is not wise to be on Mike Tyson’s bad side, since he notoriously bit off a piece of another boxer’s ear in a boxing match. He also had allegations from his famous ex-wife, Robin Givens, that he was physically abusive to her during their marriage.
He earned over a quarter of a billion dollars in his boxing career, however, he spend his accounts dry twelve years ago. Like a lot of stars with money problems, he blamed his advisors and accountants. He has enjoyed some success doing a one-man show on world tour. Tyson’s current wife wrote the script and Spike Lee directs it.
#16 MC Hammer
When rapper MC Hammer warned that “you can’t touch this,” he apparently did not mean his wallet. In 1996, Hammer filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy to restructure his mounting debt. He was not able to make the royalties from his famous songs stretch enough to cover his lavish spending.
At one point, he was living a mansion worth $30 million and was paying a half a million each month just for a staff. Over the past few years, Hammer has tried to do some things to reinvent himself and help some of his cash problems. Recently, he has reported that he is involved in some computer technology projects.
#15 Toni Braxton
Toni’s records may have gone multi-platinum, but the platinum did not stay in her bank accounts for very long. In 1998, the singer had to file bankruptcy and claimed that a faulty singing contract had drained all of her resources. Twelve years later, Braxton had to cancel a Los Vegas tour because she was suffering from lupus.
The cancellation left her with several million dollars’ worth of bills and she had to file for bankruptcy a second time. Today, Braxton is recovering well physically and financially. She did a reality series with her family for cable television called “Braxton Family Values”. Only six months after filing for bankruptcy, Toni buys a 5,323-sq.-ft. home in ritzy Calabasas, California for $3million.
#14 Aaron Carter
It is sad when a person is in debt way over his head before he is legally an adult. Singer Aaron Carter recently filed for bankruptcy and claims that the majority of his debt was made when he was a teenager and did not have charge of his accounts.
The 25 year-old star allegedly has less than $10 thousand in assets and owes over $2 million in debt. An additional $1 million is allegedly owed to the government for unpaid taxes. Carter filed for Chapter 7 protection and is wanting to get his life and finances back in order. He reportedly lives with a family member.
#13 Courtney Love
There is a popular song that tells us that money can’t buy us Love. When it comes to Courtney Love, the money may buy a temporary friendship. Her famous musician husband, Kurt Cobain, passed away and left a lot of grief and unanswered questions. One of these questions was the $20 million that Love alleged was stolen from Cobain by some of his staff.
Financial ruin plagued Love as she indulged her pain with dope, alcohol, and outrageous public appearances. She lost her home due to a tax lien and was accused of torching it. Love is emerging from the ashes with another try at music and the fashion industry.
Lady Luck may have been kind to rap artist Nelly’s career; but she has not smiled on his alleged gambling addiction. Nelly has amassed a fortune by the sale of millions of albums in America and around the world. Recently, an ex-staff member of the star says that Nelly has issues with drugs and gambling that are going to bankrupt him.
The source also claims that Nelly is facing foreclosure on his home in St. Louis. Nelly denies using steroids and other illicit drugs and claims that the gambling issues are false.
#11 Mark Brunell
Bad investments can bring the greatest sports stars to their knees financially. Mark Brunell, famed New York Jets quarterback, earned an estimated $50 million while playing in the NFL. He has played in the Pro Bowl three times and is a football superstar. Out of the nine business investments that Brunell made, only four of them succeeded. One investment was in 12 Whataburger restaurant franchises. One of the most damaging ventures was a partnership that he joined with some other famous teammates.
It was a real estate project that went belly-up and cost Brunell over $11million in lost funds. According to court records, Brunell was only worth $5.5 million and was over twenty-million dollars in debt. He was forced to file bankruptcy after going through millions of dollars in sour business deals.
#10 Annie Leibovitz
If a picture can paint a thousand words, then photos may paint a million. Famous photographer Annie Leibovitz has seen her millions come and go. Leibovitz is known for her candid black and white photos as well as her lavish spending habits. She is fond of having a whole army of staff members in her home as well as on her photo shoots. Ms. Leibovitz has faced tax liens of $1.4 million and two lawsuits claiming that she has not paid more than $700,000 in bills for photography services.
With all of the elaborate spending and high living, her bills were outweighing her worth. She claims that any financial pinches are a result of staff mismanagement of her funds. Allegedly, Leibovitz obtained a personal loan from a world-renowned auction house with her famous portfolio as collateral.
#9 Burt Reynolds
When the going gets tough, the tough starts auctioning off things. Screen star Burt Reynolds decided that the best way to help his dwindling accounts was to sell of the things involved with his fame. He hired Julien’s at the Palms Casino Resort to organize an auction of many of his personal mementos.
Among the treasures includes his Golden Globe award from “Boogie Nights” and over 600 props, memorabilia, and signed items. The 79 year old actor opined that it is getting difficult to take care of so many things and he was just wanting to share his memories. Hopefully, his generosity will help his money situations.
#8 Lindsay Lohan
Her career may have blossomed with “The Parent Trap,” but she is not getting any benefits from the financial trap. As Lindsay Lohan got older, the bad publicity of her many trips to rehab outshines anything she did as an actress. Since she owed nearly a million dollars in back taxes, the IRS froze all of her accounts in 2012.
Several of her famous friends tried to help her; however, bankruptcy was inevitable. Lohan has a reputation of being difficult on movie sets as well as backsliding to addiction, so her career remains unstable. It is going to take a lot of solid work to solve her financial and other personal issues.
#7 50 cent
Two quarters could not even come close to describing the fortune this famous rapper once had. At his peak, the award-winning singer was worth over $150 million. Some of his business ventures have been profitable, such as being a partner in Coca Cola’s Vitamin Water product. However, he was faced with a court battle when a recording company accused him of stealing a headphone design.
The court slapped 50 cent with a judgment of over $17 million. According to court documents in his bankruptcy, he owes over $40 million more than what he has in assets. The rapper is appealing the earlier judgment and continues to make music.
#6 Cyndi Lauper
There are still a lot of success stories from stars who learned lessons and were able to rise up out of financial ruin. One of these is the iconic singer of the ‘80s, Cyndi Lauper. As a new comer to the industry in the late ‘70s, Lauper made music with a group called the Blue Angel. She put a lot of her own money into the group’s album called “Polydor”.
When the album was a flop, Lauper lost her investment and had to file for personal bankruptcy. She worked small jobs in restaurants and retail shops to get back on her feet. She hit the charts with her 1983 album “She’s So Unusual” and become one of the top singers for the rest of the decade. She is now financially comfortable and still does work in music and charitable causes.
#5 Billy Joel
There is an old adage that business and family do not mix and Billy Joel had to find out the hard way. Joel hired his ex-brother-in-law to manage his career and lost a lot of money due to the man’s unwise business operations. Joel lost most of his accounts and found himself head-over-heels in debt.
After Joel had to file for bankruptcy, he sued the ex-manager for nearly $100 million for the lost funds. The famous Piano Man has also been involved in lengthy and costly divorce settlements. Joel is still a musical favorite and tours around the world singing a lot of his popular songs.
#4 Janice Dickinson
The self-proclaimed “original supermodel” is less than a model when it comes to personal finances. Her outrageous comments and behavior makes her a darling of reality television. However, Janice Dickinson is a defendant in several court cases that involves unpaid bills and back taxes for over ten years.
Her penchant for plastic surgery was brought into question for a bill of over $8 thousand owed to a prominent plastic surgery clinic in Beverly Hills. Her back taxes total to over half a million dollars. Dickinson makes no apologies for her lavish spending habits and just comments that she is working on cleaning up her accounts.
#3 Marvin Gaye
Singing legend Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his own father in 1984 after the two had a violent argument. Gaye left an estate that was estimated at $5 million. Before his untimely demise, he had to file bankruptcy due to the divorce of his first wife in 1976.
He signed over the rights of one of his famed record albums to be able to pay over half a million dollars in alimony. Unfortunately, he would be continually plagued with money issues and drug problems. In 1981, the Motown original moved to Europe to escape the mounting debt owed to the IRS. He died in the midst of financial turmoil.
#2 Donald Trump
The Donald Who Would Be President has had his share of financial difficulties. Trump is internationally known as a real estate mogul, television personality, and blunt-spoken businessman. Many rich and famous people live in his Trump Towers of New York. The only difference is that he chalked it up to “business as usual” and never made much of a change in his personal lifestyle.
The billionaire businessman filed for bankruptcy four times—the most recent in 2009. Trump faced some business venture failures in his company that did not truly affect him personally. Currently, the GOP hopeful is worth nearly $3 billion.
#1 Mark Twain
Bankruptcy is not a new concept of the recent century. One of America’s greatest humorists and writers, Mark Twain, was reduced to bankruptcy in 1884. Twain had amassed a fortune in his popular books such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Even though he had enough money to keep him comfortable for a lifetime, he lost a lot of it by investing in reckless business investments.
One of the worst of his financial blunders cost him $300,000, which was a great fortune at the time. After he filed for bankruptcy, Twain went on a world book tour where he did readings and acted out of his own books. He became even more famous as he continued to write, tour, and save his money.