From Riches to Rags
It’s hard to fathom but even celebrities face financial woes from time to time. These 10 stars made it big only to end up broke.
The Piano Man is no stranger to heartache, both romantic and financial. Billy Joel has filed for bankruptcy not once or twice, but three times! Through an unfortunate series of mismanagement and three divorces, Joel lost close to $90 million. Joel’s former brother-in-law is suggested to be responsible for the loss of Joel’s millions due to risky investments, unauthorized loans, and blatant fraud. Today, Joel is recouping his lost millions on tour, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Former heavy weight champion Mike Tyson made over $300 million during his boxing career, but by 2003 his fortune was depleted. Tyson spent his millions on lavish jewelry, a mansion, expensive cars, and Bengal tigers. The New York Times reported that Tyson was $23 million in debt. Since 2008, Tyson now stars in his own self-titled comedy show, and made a cameo in The Hangover which made a few jokes at his Bengal tiger’s expense.
Iconic fashion designer Betsey Johnson, known for her pretty punk fashion and jewelry lines, filed for bankruptcy in 2012 owing $4.1 million to various manufacturers, jewelers, and banks. Johnson was forced to close 65 of her retail locations and fire over 350 employees. To get back on her feet she designed affordable clothing lines to be sold in Macy’s and Nordstrom. She even participated in New York Fashion Week the year following her bankruptcy (ending the show with her signature cartwheel). The 71 year old stylish grandma has managed to reinvent herself and stay relevant in the ever evolving world of fashion.
Hard to believe a man valued at $2.7 billion dollars has filed bankruptcy on four separate occasions. Donald Trump filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991, 1992, 2004, and 2009. After the third corporate bankruptcy in 2004, Trump stepped down as CEO of the Trump Organization, and his ownership was reduced to 27%. He was even forced to surrender the Trump Princess Yacht and the Trump Shuttle. Before you feel too sorry for him, Trump is now ranked #405 on Forbe’s list of the richest people on the planet.
In 2012, child star Lindsay Lohan’s bank account took a heavy blow. After years of partying, car crashes, rehab visits, and reputation ruining behavior, Lindsay hit rock bottom. After failing to pay $900,000 in taxes, the IRS took control of her bank accounts. Co-star and friend, Charlie Sheen, stepped in loaning Lohan $100,000 to regain control of her finances. Lindsey has recently tried to clean up her act, and even starred in Lifetime movie Liz & Dick as Elizabeth Taylor. It is unlikely she will ever be taken seriously as an actress again though thanks to her party girl days.
In 1991, MC Hammer pulled in an astounding $33 million after his album Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em was released. Fast-forward six years later, Hammer had accrued $14 million in debt and declared bankruptcy. His lavish lifestyle that led to his financial woes included the largest entourage in Hollywood history that reportedly cost him $500,000 monthly, a $33 million mansion, luxury cars and airplanes, as well as a record company. Hammer has since decided to pursue interests other than music. He is now an ordained minister, and founder of a start-up company called WireDoo.
After highly publicized split from wife, Kate, Jon Gosselin lost it all. When the couple’s hit reality TV series Jon and Katie Plus 8 was cancelled, Jon’s income was cancelled too. Post-divorce, Jon was evicted from his home and moved in with his mother who is now rumored to pay all his bills. Making matters worse, Jon pulled a gun on paparazzi last year and reportedly fired several shots in the air. The ex-reality star is now pursuing opportunities as a DJ making club appearances to earn some extra cash. We will see how that pans out for him.
NFL star, Michael Vick, was once listed as one of the highest paid athletes of all time by Forbes. As the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, Vick made a comfortable living of $37.5 million; however, in 2008 Vick not only went bankrupt, but also went to prison on charges of dog fighting. By the time Vick was charged and sentenced to prison, he had wasted away his millions by investing obscene amounts of money into shady businesses. He also reportedly supported a 30-person entourage during his time with the Falcons. What’s crazier than losing his money and going to jail? After a 21 month stint in jail, Vick was signed a $10 million contract to be the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Talk about a comeback.
Former Baywatch actress Pam Anderson was forced to sell her Malibu mansion in 2009 after owing nearly $1.7 million to the US government. After selling her home, Anderson moved into a trailer park with her two sons. She later revealed via Twitter she had dug herself into a financial hole and didn’t know how to handle it. More recently, Pam Anderson appeared on UK reality TV show, Dancing on Ice, but was voted off first round.
Legendary talk-show host Larry King was living large when he had his first success in radio in the 1960s. His lavish lifestyle came to a screeching halt in 1971 when he was arrested for stealing $5,000 from his business partner. Eventually the charges were dropped, but King had tarnished his reputation. For the next four years, King was unemployed causing him to declare bankruptcy in 1978. He was nearly $352,000 in the hole. Luckily, that same year, King was offered a job as a talk show host in Washington D.C that eventually became his infamous CNN talk show.
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