You know the saying, greed can conquer all? Well in this case it can, quite literally. It appears to more successful you are, the more you can gamble although in some cases the gamble doesn’t always win. We as the viewing public have a tendency to discover a slight delight at those who swan around in their mansions and then suddenly lose all of their worldly processions, from their platinum watches, Lamborghinis and their own theater seating. We have searched high and low through some of the most well-known faces in the world, and have devised a list, purely for your own enjoyment, of those celebrities who have gone from riches to rags.
Whoever thought that the introduction of the credit card would encourage many to become bankrupt may be right, to a degree. However greed began way before the days of the plastic; with Buffalo Bill in the late 1800s. His West End shows made him a very rich man in his day, although his generosity rather than greed saw him file for bankruptcy in 1914.
Everyone loves the likes of Cinderella, Snow White, Pinocchio, Winnie the Pooh and other famous Walt Disney Characters; you would imagine that the creator would have been a very wealthy man indeed. Quite the contrary, in fact in 1921 he was forced to file for bankruptcy after the financial backers of his company Laugh-O-Gram pulled out; just as well really otherwise out Disney favorites would all be but a figment of our imagination.
Even previous U.S. President Abraham Lincoln suffered a slight loss of money back in 1833 after he was declared bankrupt. He spent nearly two decades paying back his friends and thirty years to reach his ultimate goal of becoming the President.
Who else has been declared bankrupt?
American actress and formal model, Kim Basinger is not only known as the lead female in the film Batman in 1989, or for her Golden Globe performance in 1984’s The Natural, or for her widely recognized role in L.A. Confidential. She also had to file for bankruptcy back in 1993, when she was ordered to pay $8.1 million to Main Line Pictures, for backing out of an agreement to star in the film Boxing Helena. This however didn’t stop the actress from continuing her acting, having appeared in a number of films since then.
Perhaps not a celebrity, but still an intriguing story to tell; John Wayne Bobbitt may be a name familiar to some of you, but if you are still in the dark, then the man who had his penis sliced off by his wife may jog your memory. It goes without saying that indeed he and his wife Lorena suffered from a difficult relationship, before the penis incident. He had to endure 12 hours of surgery to have it sewn back on, but due to the incredible doctors bills he had to file for bankruptcy. Since the episode, John has since attempted to make a name for himself in the porn industry whilst having several run-ins with the law.
Winner of six Grammy Award, and having sold more than 40 million records worldwide, it is difficult to believe that Toni Braxton had to file for bankruptcy in 1998. Toni was in $3.9 million debt, although many believed that her file for bankruptcy was to get out of a contract with LaFace. All of her household processions were taken, such as fridge-freezers, televisions and theater seating, she also had to sell her two Grammys to pay off her creditors; although this didn’t deter her from continuing with her career, having later signed a contract with her label, worth $25 million.
Star of American sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, Gary Coleman was described as “one of television’s most promising stars”, although being promising doesn’t always mean he is going to have the best control of his finances, in fact in his case it didn’t. He began well, suing his parents and business advisor for misappropriation of his $3.8 million trust fund in 1989 and then filed for bankruptcy just a decade later.
The well known ‘Hollywood Madame’, Heidi Fleiss began managing a prostitution ring aged just 22 in 1987, and by 1990 she began to run her own ring. She netted her first million dollars just a few months into running her prostitution ring; although by 1993 she was arrested for a number of offences including pandering. By September 1996 she was sentenced to 37 months in prison for tax evasion, and was released three years later. She went onto file for bankruptcy after her release; and has since appeared on the U.K’s Big Brother, opened a Laundromat and has plans to open a legal brothel.
The Too Legit to Quit singer made it big in the 1980s and 1990s with his rap songs, dancing and entertainment. By 1996 he became known as the star who quite literally lost it all, being $13.4 million in debt. His fame brought about an indulgent lifestyle including a $30 million mansion; he now works as a preacher and television host, a far cry from his days on top of the pop charts.
Mike Tyson, the man known for biting the ear off Evander Holyfield’s ear during a boxing match.
The American Boxer made his professional debut aged just 18 years old; although his career made a downward spiral, all at the hands of his personal life which became in tatters. He managed to burn $300 million, through his divorce and lavish lifestyle, he filed for bankruptcy in 2003, owing in excess of $27 million. He was previously convicted of rape on an 18 year old girl in 1991; he served three years in prison.
Anyone remember the loveable Screech Powers in Saved by the Bell? Actor Dustin Diamond played the playful character, put on our screens for us all to love. Yet since the end of the School Show, rather surprisingly Dustin found it difficult to find any work at all. He wasn’t bankrupt, yet his fame died as quick as it had begun, with Dustin reverting to the world of Porn, Reality TV and even selling T-Shirts to help him earn some money.
One of the biggest American stars of the 1980’s, Burt Reynolds once owned several mansions (one would do for us mere mortals), a ranch in Florida and a Helicopter. His downfall however was not being able to spot a dud-deal when he sees one. After investments in restaurant chains were thrown quite literally down the toilet, Reynolds declared himself bankrupt in 1996, owing $11.2 million. This hasn’t quite stopped his acting appearances, having found roles on The Longest Yard, and Dukes of Hazard.
Here is a tip, if you are in a hit TV show, the best idea is to stick at it until the very end. Something Mischa Barton chose to ignore when leaving the OC; whose regretting it now? Most of the main actors went on to amazing ventures after the finale of the TV series in films and continuous acting, yet Mischa went on a lifestyle of drinking, partying and late nights. Sounds good, but it can eventually get you down, and lead to a spiral of depression. She was arrested for driving under the influence, procession of marijuana and driving without a license back in 2007, she was released on a $10,000 bail. She has also been sued by her landlord for failing to pay the $7,000 rent of her apartment, whilst her credit cards have been declined.
Meat Loaf, aka Michael Lee Aday is an incredible musician, and one of the most successful singers in the world. That said, his biggest downfall is, like many, a lack of management in finances. Two of his managers, Dellentash and Sonenberg both got caught stealing money, and then went on to sue him for breach of contract when he tried to leave them for new management. He had to file for bankruptcy not just once, but twice in 1983 and 1986. This never stopped his drive for taking his career to another platform, something which was later achieved with his album Bat out of Hell II.
Where would any list be without the input of one of the most famous music families in the world? The Jackson family we bound to make an appearance at some point, and in this case the biggest losers of their fortune, Michael and La Toya make the list. The siblings may not have had a great deal in common, however one thing which stuck was their inability to keep on track of their spending habits leading to bankruptcies. La Toya attempted a singing career which stemmed through the 1980s and 1990s, although flopped miserably. By the 1990s her finances were left in tatters, leading to her filing for bankruptcy in 1995, and managed to escape a $650,000 payout to Moulin Rouge for terminating her contract early.
As with a lot of things Michael Jackson did, he was always able to put people’s efforts to shame. Described as having a billionaire’s spending habit, with a millionaire’s budget, Michael created an ultimate fairyland of empires, something which at the time may have seemed great but in reality was his biggest downfall. He was once worth $350 million, yet his wealth diminished leaving him in debt of $10 million to the Union Finance and Investment Corporation. He escaped bankruptcy however by signing a deal with Sony, and his debts were sold to Colony Capital LLC, who later took the Neverland Ranch, which gained the King of Pop $35 million. At the time of his death he still owed the LLC, although the amount is unknown.