30 Stars Who Have Been Terrible With Their Money

OMG January 28, 2019 By Hugo

They used to be among the wealthiest stars in the world- now they are lucky to have food and shelter. Indeed, while the world's most prominent celebrities typically have bank accounts spiraling well into millions, some stars have fallen privy to their own financial ineptitude.

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Here, we look at 30 celebrities who squandered vast amounts of their wealth in their lifetime- and some who remain penniless. 

1. Nicolas Cage

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Nicholas Cage is one of only a handful of actors to have won two Academy Awards thanks to his roles in the films Adaptation and Leaving Las Vegas. As well as being a draw with critics and industry players, Cage was also a big draw at the box office, and in his heyday, he was commanding 7-figure sums for his roles, eventually leading to a $150m fortune.

However, after going on countless lavish spending sprees, which included rare comic books, castles, yachts, and other outlandish items, it was clear that Cage had blown most of his wealth, and according to one source, his wealth now stands at just $25m. He has also fallen out of favor with Hollywood, which may explain why he always appears in endless B-movies nowadays. 

2. 50 Cent

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Despite bragging about his riches in his music, 50 Cent- real name Curtis Jackson- is actually worth less than his stage name. Indeed, despite the commercial success of his earlier albums, and reaping a $100m profit from an early investment in Vitamin Water following their acquisition by Coca-Cola, Fiddy filed for bankruptcy in 2015.

Now supporting himself in acting roles and other business endeavors, it appears the rapper-turned-actor has the aptest stage name in all of Hollywood. 

3. Lindsay Lohan  

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Despite enjoying immense success as a child actress in the films Freaky Friday and The Parent Trap, Lindsay Lohan's adult career as an actress never took-off, despite winning plaudits in the classic high-school drama, Mean Girls, which also starred Amanda Seyfried and Rachel McAdams.

Today, Lohan's Hollywood career is all but finished, and despite making millions as a child, years of narcotics abuse saw her squander nearly all of her wealth. 

4. Willie Nelson

While he may be a priceless gem in the eyes of country music fans, the seasoned crooner has wracked up his fair share of debt over the years, and at one stage owed a staggering $16.7m to the I.R.S.

Rather ingeniously, Nelson then got to work on a new album, which he titled, The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories? Naturally, all royalties proceeds went to the IRS and the debt was cleared in 3 years.

5. Courtney Love

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The socialite and former singer of the band Hole has made her fair share of wonga over the years, but most of her wealth came from being the widow of the Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.

As well as her musical endeavors, Love also has a few acting roles to her name, but due to a succession of mental health issues, and problems with drink and drugs, the legendary rock and roller lost most of her wealth, and in 2009, was reported to have owed American Express $350,000. 

6. Larry King


Larry King is certainly doing okay for money, but in the late 1970’s he was indebted to a series of creditors. While the 70s saw him hit it big with his very own chat show, his promiscuous ways with the ladies saw him payout countless sums following an inordinate amount of divorces.

Alimony payments also hit his bank balance and at one stage it looked like they would drag him into bankruptcy.

7. Brendan Fraser

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Fraser was once happily living off his mega cheques from the popular Mummy movies, but after a series of personal woes, Brendan Fraser hasn't had too much else to shout about in recent years, while his most notable acting role in the last decade came last year in the third season of the hit Showtime series, The Affair.

Fraser's woes were both emotional and financial, as his divorce in 2007 forced him to pay hefty child maintenance bills, which by 2013, led him to admit that he could no longer afford them.

8. Pamela Anderson

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The Baywatch star was in the spotlight again last year after a movie adaptation of the popular series which brought her worldwide fame was released. Starring Zac Efron and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the movie also saw cameos from both Anderson and David Hasselhoff, 

However, other than a revival of a show she was once in, Anderson doesn't have too much else to shout about nowadays, with the former Playboy model struggling to pay off her debts she owes to the I.R.S., causing her to sell all her properties, including a mansion in Australia.

9. Sinbad

After “Necessary Roughness” his career pretty much tanked. And while he got bit-part roles in a few movies, his success never came close to replicating that of Necessary Roughness.

After owing the IRS more than $8 million he eventually relinquished the keys to his mansion and declared bankruptcy.

10. Janice Dickinson

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Heralded as the world's first supermodel, Janice Dickinson has since remained in the spotlight, and for someone who is now in their 60s, she's aged remarkably well. However, while her looks may still be in place, her bank accounts have been dwindling for some time.

According to sources, Dickinson filed for bankruptcy in 2013 having been told she owed $1m on top of the unpaid $16,000 plastic surgery bill.

11. Corey Haim

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Corey Haim's (centre) downfall is a sad story demonstrating the pitfalls having everything so young can cause. Haim, for instance, did, indeed, have everything. One of the famed members of the 80's Brat Pack, Haim was booking role after role, but his love for hedonistic nights eventually caused his life to spiral out of control, to the point where he took his life in 2010.

Overdosing on prescription pills, Haim was penniless at the time of his death, though his financial problems had lasted for over a decade. In 2001, he went as far as putting one of his teeth and strands of his hair on eBay to raise money. 

12. Vanilla Ice

Robert Matthew Van Winkle, who rose to fame as the rapper Vanilla Ice, was the talk of the town when his song "Ice Ice Baby" hit the top of the charts, However, Van Winkle is very much the definition of a one-hit wonder, as he never achieved further success in the music industry.

Thus after an ill-fated attempt at moving into the property business, the has-been star was almost penniless and was even arrested in 2015 when he was alleged to have stolen furniture from another person's home in Flordia. 

13. Mike Tyson

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In his heyday, Iron Mike was worth a staggering $300m, but years of hard partying, and surrounding himself with the wrong people cost the former heavyweight boxer dearly. He also didn't help himself with his various Nicholas Cage-style purchases (at one point he owned three Bengal tigers in his back garden).

His conviction for rape didn't help matters, either, and after an ill-fated return to the ring, Tyson was broke, and now makes a living as a jobbing actor. At the peak of his financial woes, he was quoted as saying, "For the past two years, I been a bum, truly a bum in the streets. I got nowhere to live. I been crashing with friends, sleeping in shelters." 

14. Gary Busey

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The maverick actor has appeared on our screens for years, but even a constant stream of work couldn't stop him filing for bankruptcy in 2012.

Claiming to be over $500,000 in debt, Busey also admitted to tax officials that he owned only $50,000 worth of possessions.

15. Eric Williams

The former basketball star was earning millions in the NBA at the peak of his career, but like many professional athletes, poor money management skills and a propensity to consume to excess cost Williams his entire fortune. 

Things got so bad for Williams that after divorcing his wife, he was made homeless, and was unable to pay the $24k a month child support payments. However, Williams argued, that the "court-ordered citation for me to appear was not delivered to my home address as I have no home." However, his ex-wife was less than sympathetic, and argued Williams had no one to blame but himself, because "God doesn't like ugly." an insult likely in reference to his trash talking of her on the reality tv series, Basketball Wives.

16. MC Hammer

MC Hammer's breakout hit "U Can't Touch This," was a worldwide sensation, with that one song alone netting him a cool $30 million fortune. But Hammer's inability to reign in his lavish lifestyle would culminate in the novelty rapper going overboard, and by 1996 he was $13 million in debt.

To shed light on why Hammer (center) found himself in such fiscal difficulties, you can first look at the $1 million mansion he acquired. While that was a reasonable sum for someone with a-then $30 net worth,  the star then made a mammoth $30 million worth of modifications and employed 200 people to staff his house. Hammer's mansion also had a horse stable where he houses 19 racehorses.

17. Denis Rodman

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One of the NBA's most successful ballers, Rodman's greatest facets was his skills as a rebounder. It also helped that he was a teammate of Michael Jordan, but that aside, Rodman was a great basketball player. However, his attentions weren't always on the court. A quirky personality, Rodman's personal life often overshadowed his sporting prowess, with his short marriage to  Carmen Electra and subsequent befriending of the North Korean leader all-but outcasting Rodman into something of a novelty act.

However, Rodman's woes as a fading basketball star also coincided with his dwindling finances. In 2012 lawyers said he was barely able to cover his living expenses and provide child support for his two kids. He owed $800,000 in child support payments alone but managed to avoid paying by claiming he was unwell and financially challenged.

18. Kim Basinger

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Basinger was at the height of her fame when she paid $20 million for a 1,691-acre town and had grand plans to turn the Braselton, Georgia property into a theme park or movie studio before her finances quickly caught up with her.

Soon, she had no choice but to sell the property at a huge loss. Then came her many legal woes with studios. In 1995, Basinger settled with Main Line Pictures for dropping out of the film Boxing Helena. At that time, her expenses were thought to total around $31,000 a month, with her money going on "three homes on both coasts and spending $31,000 a month on clothes, pets, and an ex-husband [Alec Baldwin]". 

19. Marvin Gaye

The legendary crooner of hits such as "Let's Get It On" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is known and adored across many generations of music fans, but Gaye's inability to reign in his lavish spending habits caught up with him. 

After his divorce from first wife Anna Gordy Gaye, the singer failed with the alimony payments and had to declare bankruptcy.  In 1976, a judge ordered Gaye to pass on $600,000 in royalty payments to his ex-wife made from his then-upcoming album, "Here, My Dear."

However, these court-ordered payments were refuted by Gaye whose expenses on luxury automobiles, boats, and beachfront properties made his payments to his wife increasingly tricky. To get around this problem, Gaye jumped to Europe in 1981 to get away from the wrath of the IRS but was fatally shot by his father in 1984. At the time of his passing, Gaye owed around $300,000 in alimony. 

20. Burt Reynolds

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Burt Reynolds candidly confessed in a Vanity Fair interview that his fiscal irresponsibility had cost him "More money than is possible because I just haven't watched it." The admission may allude to a couple of bad ventures in the restaurant business in the 80s as well as a series of investments gone wrong. 

The actor's excessive spend on real estate also didn't help matters, while his outlay on a private jet, 150 horses, and over $100,000 in customized wigs eventually saw Reynolds go well into the red. His finances were then tipped over the edge following a costly divorce from Loni Anderson. 

In 1996, Reynolds was $11.2m in debt and had no option but to declare bankruptcy.

21. Gary Coleman

The late Child star Gary Coleman was thrust into the limelight at a very young age and was making close to $70,000 per episode for his work on "Diff'rent Strokes". However, when he was entitled to his earnings at 18, it soon transpired that his adopted parents had wasted most of his wages, with the star being left with just $200,000- short change compared to the millions he should have received. 

Things got so bad that Coleman would eventually wind up working as a security guard after being left with just $100 in cash following an expensive settlement against his adoptive parents

After lawyers' fees and bad investments, the diminutive Coleman had to work as a security guard. At the time, he had $100 in cash. Speaking about his financial troubles, Coleman attributed them to everyone from himself to his lawyers. "From me, to accountants, to my adoptive parents, to agents, to lawyers, and back to me again."

22. Wayne Newton

One of Las Vegas' greatest showmen, Wayne Newton's success as a lounge singer made him the highest-earning performer in the world in 1983. But 9 years later, he wound up bankrupt with $20m of debts to his name.

Despite this, Newton managed to wriggle out of his debts and continue his career until the IRS sued him in 2005 for missing a $1.8 million payment on the sale of a house. Things got so bad that Newton's property was seized in 2010 after being unable to follow through with the $3.35 million loan.

23. Michael Jackson

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The iconic pop singer was reported to have been $400 million in debt when he died suddenly in 2009. This culminated in him foreclosing on his much-maligned Neverland Ranch. Keeping up his jet-setting lifestyle eventually took a toll on Jackson's finances, resulting in the star taking out loans he simply never paid back. Jackson was also involved in countless lawsuits. 

To get into the green, Jackson had announced a series of lucrative world tours before his untimely death. However, Jackson has been the top-earning dead celebrity for five straight years, allowing the estate to clear most of the debts.

24. Stephen Baldwin

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The not-so-famous younger brother of Alec filed for bankruptcy in 2009 following a foreclosure of two mortgages and unpaid taxes. Baldwin's house was also foreclosed in 2017 after six years of failed mortgage payments.

Things got so bad for the Celebrity Apprentice star that he was arrested and served with five years' probation for failing to comply with his taxes for 3 straight years. Someone really doesn't like paying taxes.... 

However, seeing as his son-in-law is now Justin Beiber, whose net worth is thought to be close to $300m, we're sure Baldwin will be just fine in the coming years.

25. Meat Loaf

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Meat Loaf was a big deal in the 70s, and his musical outreach expanded big time when he starred in the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and released the much-loved album "Bat Out of Hell."

Speaking to the Guardian, Meat Loaf admitted that the subsequent years were less successful. "I had 45 lawsuits totaling $80 million thrown at me, it was a game. And the only way to stop them playing their game was to declare a chapter 11 bankruptcy. Because every time we'd get one case dismissed, they'd throw another one at me. And everybody thinks I had all this money but I didn't, because CBS did not pay my royalties until 1997."

26. Wesley Snipes 

Wesley Snipes was a big deal in the 80s and along with Eddy Murphy, was one of America's first black acting superstars. However, Snipes's newfound wealth wasn't exactly the best thing that could have happened to him as he landed himself in jail for tax evasion.

The $12 million that he owed to the IRS was eventually wound up with creditors and his acting career soon tanked. In fact, his only high-profile flick since his release from prison has been in Expendables 3" though his casting- if rumors are to be believed- was a favor from Stallone than an actual want to hire Snipes again.

27. Toni Braxton

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While Toni Braxton saw reasonable fame in her lifetime, her spending clearly suggested that she overestimated her actual worth, culminating in two bankruptcies in just five years. Remarkably, some reports claimed Braxton was still allowed to buy a $3m despite being $50 million dollars in the red.

Despite ongoing financial woes, Braxton's hit singles "He Wasn't Man Enough" and "Unbreak My Heart" have managed to keep her afloat- until she decides to splurge on another $3m home....

28. Leif Garrett

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Remember him? Nope, neither do we. Anyway, after some digging, we discovered he was a former teen idol from the 70s who experienced moderate success before succumbing to financial hardship.

Today, Garrett is thought to have lost everything and now relies on an allowance from his mother. Life can be cruel. 

29. Cyndi Lauper

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Despite securing a record label, Lauper famously filed for bankruptcy in 1981 and worked as a waitress and retail assistant following her short-lived foray into the music business.

However, if at first you don't succeed then try again, as Lauper did when she came back from the brink to secure another record label. And the rest, the saying goes, is history.

30. Don Johnson

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Don Johnson was everyone's favorite actor in the 80s following his Golden Globe-winning turn in Miami Vice so he should be pretty rich, right? Wrong. While Johnson earned a lot of wonga in the 80s and 90s, he declared bankruptcy on 4 separate occasions, starting in 1991, occurring again in 1992, a third time in 2004, and once again in 2009.

Sharing a daughter with ex-wife and actress Melanie Griffith, you'd hope that he would pass on his mistakes as a cautionary tale to Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele in the Fifty Shades of Grey films. 

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