10 Other Celebrities Who Filed For Bankruptcy

By on July 14, 2015 in ArticlesEntertainment

Rapper 50 Cent's bankruptcy is big news this week. He was once worth an estimated $155 million and now he's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. How is this even possible? How do you blow through that kind of cash?

Well, 50 Cent isn't the only famous face to declare bankruptcy – far from it. From a famous boxer, to the King of Pop, to a man currently running for President of the United States, these 10 people have done time in bankruptcy court.

Mike Tyson

There was a long period of time when no other boxer on earth was as successful or as feared as Mike Tyson. "Iron Mike" won his first 19 pro fights by KO – several in the first round. He soon became the Heavyweight Champion of the world. Then, in 1992, he was convicted of sexual assault and spent three years in prison. He had a hard time mounting a come back when he got out of jail, and biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear in 1997 ended his professional boxing career. Still, he'd made more than $400 million and should have been living on easy street. However, Tyson spent it all on mansions, luxury cars, and even pet tigers. He had a $9 million divorce settlement and owed the IRS $13 million. He filed for bankruptcy in 2003 citing debts of $27 million. Today, Mike Tyson has a net worth of $1 million.

MC Hammer

MC Hammer was on top of the world in 1990. His album "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em" made the rapper $33 million that year alone. Over the next couple of years, Hammer built up a $70 million fortune – and then blew through it all. In 1996, Hammer filed for bankruptcy, citing assets of $1 million and more than $10 million in debts. Unfortunately for MC Hammer, much of his debt was to the IRS. He has spent the past 20 years going back and forth with the IRS over what he owes. As recently as December 2013, the IRS filed a lien against the rapper for nearly $800,000 in unpaid taxes from 1996 and 1997. The State of California has liens against Hammer for $500,197 from delinquent tax returns for 1991-1994. He also owed Alameda County over $230,000. Today, Hammer has a reported net worth of $1.5 million.

 Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was the most successful entertainer of all time. But even the King of Pop had his issues with finances. In 2007, Jacko filed for bankruptcy when he couldn't pay the $25 million mortgage on Neverland Ranch. Jackson had purchased his home in 1988 for $17 million. The grounds had a zoo, a railroad line, helicopter pads, an amusement park, and its own fire department and it cost him more than $10 million each year to maintain. That, coupled with Jackson's proclivity for expensive shopping sprees brought him to the brink of financial ruin. Even after signing a recording contract worth nearly $1 billion in 1991 and selling more than 750 million records, the King of Pop had just 0.05% of his net worth in cash. This left him no option but to file for bankruptcy. The estate of Michael Jackson has a net worth of $600 million.

Francis Ford Coppola

Director Francis Ford Coppola has filed for bankruptcy twice. The second time, in 1992, he had assets of $52 million with $98 million in debts and liabilities. At the time, Coppola said that the making of the film "One From The Heart" drove him into the proverbial poor house. The movie cost $27 million to make and only made $4 million at the box office. Today, Coppola has a net worth of $250 million from his films, his wines, and his boutique hotels.

Curt Schilling

Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling had an amazing 19-year career in professional baseball during which he earned $114 million. After he retired, Schilling took a gamble on a video game company. He invested $50 million in the company and lost it all when the company declared bankruptcy in 2012. As a result, he was forced to sell his $3 million Massachusetts home and many of his possessions. Schilling was then diagnosed with mouth cancer. After an eight-month battle with cancer, Schilling went to work in 2014 at ESPN as an analyst. He has a current net worth of $1 million.

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Nick Laham/Getty Images

Marvin Gaye

The estate of the late singer Marvin Gaye has a net worth of $5 million. In 1976, the Motown legend was getting divorced from his wife of 14 years, Anna Gordy Gaye. Their marriage was the subject of  Gaye's album "Here, My Dear." Gaye was left reeling from the divorce settlement; he owed Anna $600,000 in alimony payments. To cover this, he gave his ex-wife the rights to "Here, My Dear."Gaye's financial troubles plagued him for the rest of his life. Though he continued to make new albums and perform, he never got ahead of the tax man. (His drug addiction had a lot to do with that.) In 1981, Gaye went so far as to move to Europe to avoid the IRS. Gaye was killed on the day before his 45th birthday in 1984, when his father shot him after a heated argument.

Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger filed for bankruptcy in 1993. At the time her net worth was $5.4 million. She wasn't broke, but she might have gone broke if she didn't declare bankruptcy. The actress had pulled out of the film "Boxing Helena" and its production company was suing Basinger for breach of contract to the tune of $8.1 million. She later settled the suit for $3.8 million. Basinger kept on acting and modeling and today has a net worth of $36 million.

Cyndi Lauper

Today, Cyndi Lauper is celebrated for her girl anthem "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and a string of other hit songs and has a net worth of $30 million. However, her early singing days were a bit rough. For four years she wrote songs for and sang with the group Blue Angel. Their 1980 album "Polydor" failed to make waves on the charts and Lauper filed for bankruptcy in 1981. For the next few years, Lauper dressed up like a geisha and sang in a Japanese restaurant and also worked retail. In 1983, her album "She's So Unusual" made her a star.

Larry King

These days, Larry King has an estimated net worth of $150 million, but that wasn't the case back in the 1970s. In 1972 King was arrested for stealing $5,000 from a business partner. The charges were dropped, but King had a hard time finding a job in journalism for many years afterwards. He filed for bankruptcy in 1978, citing $352,0000 in debt. That same year, his life started to turn around when CNN offered him a late night radio talk show in Washington, D.C. That show became "Larry King Live" and ran for 25 years.

***Donald Trump

The GOP candidate for President has filed for bankruptcy under his various corporate entities four times: in 1991, 1992, 2004, and 2009. While it is true that it was his companies that filed for bankruptcy and not Trump personally, it is still worth considering. Trump used bankruptcy protection as a means of restructuring the debt of his companies. That is a red flag that his businesses have needed significant financial assistance four times in the past two decades. As a result of these bankruptcies, Trump had to forfeit Trump Airlines, a super yacht, and a 50% stake in the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Today, Donald Trump has a net worth of $4.5 billion.

Articles Written by Amy Lamare
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer covering business, technology, entertainment, philanthropy, and pop culture. She spent 8 1/2 years covering the entertainment industry for www.hsx.com. She attended the University of Southern California where she majored in Creative Writing. An avid long distance runner, weekends she can be found running the streets of Los Angeles training for 1/2 and full marathons. Follow her on Facebook.
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