9 Insanely Wealthy People Who Blew Their Fortunes

By on March 26, 2015 in ArticlesHow Much Does

A person's fortune can change for the good or the bad at any time. That's the thing about life and fate–it is pretty darn unpredictable, even when you're insanely wealthy. A lot of hard work goes into making a ton of money (assuming it wasn't inherited, of course). And surprisingly, it doesn't take much more than a run of bad luck and an inability to control yourself to lose a ton of money. There are people out there that have insane amounts of money—oh wait, HAD insane amounts of money, but lost it all. From bad luck to out of control spending, these people were once some of the richest in the world and they lost it all.

#9 Anna Nicole Smith

Anna Nicole Smith made her mark (and a fair amount of money) as a model for Guess and Playboy. She branched out into acting and appeared on "Ally McBeal" and "The Naked Gun 33 1/3." She became infamous (and infinitely more wealthy by proxy) by marrying 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall when she was just 26 years old. Many people called Smith a gold digger, chief among them, her octogenarian husband's children. She was left out of her husband's will and his death would prove to be her financial downfall. Smith endured a lengthy court battle in an attempt to lay claim to half of her late husband's fortune. Smith died of a drug overdose before the case was concluded.

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

54 (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

#8 Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield became legendary during his long and successful boxing career. He earned the nickname "The Real Deal" from his fans due to his prowess in the ring. However, outside of the ring Holyfield was kind of a disaster financially. He fathered eleven kids with six different baby mamas, none of whom he is still in a relationship with. Supporting that many children is expensive. Additionally, he ran into big trouble with a number of businesses, racking up debt. In fact, Washington Mutual Bank ended up auctioning off Holyfield's $10 million house in 2008.

#7 Mike Tyson

Iron Mike Tyson has been in and out of financial trouble for the entirety of his boxing career. Once upon a time he was worth more than $300 million, however his insane and erratic spending habits led him to deplete his ENTIRE fortune. He had a taste for expensive jewelry and his spending hit the peak of insanity when he bought three rare Bengal tigers for $114,000. He filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

#6 Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger had a successful acting career and made her mark as one of the sexiest and most famous Bond girls of all time. That role led to a lucrative career in film and the accompanying wealth that goes with being a top actor. However, Basinger liked to spend her money. It didn't much matter on what; she just liked to spend it. Once, she bought an entire town for $20 million. Now, that can be a drop in the bucket for a film star that commands $10 million and more for roles. However, when Basinger pulled out of the movie "Boxing Helena," the film studio sued her. Basinger tried to sell off her town but found that the value of the town had declined sharply to $1 million. Basinger filed for bankruptcy.

#5 Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson was once married to a prince, a real, live prince. Despite this, she's been dogged by financial troubles pretty much her entire adult life. Oprah Winfrey produced a documentary about Fergie's life in which the former Duchess said: "I don't really understand finances at all." She was not exaggerating when she said that. Fergie's downfall is a taste for the high life. She lives far more extravagantly than she can afford and has resorted to shady means to procure the money to fund her lifestyle. Back in 2010, she offered an undercover reporter for a tabloid access to her ex husband, Prince Andrew. That scandal didn't help her in any way, and she ended up not only totally broke, but millions of dollars in debt.

#4 Nicolas Cage

If it seems like Nic Cage is in every other movie that comes out, there is a reason for that. He has had a lot of financial problems in the last decade. Fortunately, Cage continues to be a bankable star despite his less than discerning taste in roles. He's even made up to $20 million a film, and he has still managed to spend his way through his one time $100 million fortune. While his taste for drugs, alcohol, and gambling didn't help matters, they were not the primary problem in his financial disaster. Cage has wild and uncontrollable spending habits. At one point, he owned 15 homes, four yachts, several private islands, millions of dollars worth of comic books and a sabre toothed tiger skull for which he paid $276,000. After all, no home is complete without a sabre toothed tiger skull.

(SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)

(SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)

#3 Bjorgolfur Guomundsson

Bjorgolfur Guomundsson is an Icelandic businessman who was once the richest person in Iceland. Guomundsson, and his son Thor, were two of Iceland's most powerful people with huge stakes in large companies such Landsbanki–the most popular bank in Iceland. Guomundsson hit billionaire status in 2008, and just a few months later was completely bankrupt. Iceland's catastrophic economic crisis toppled him, and many believe he was, in fact, to blame for that crisis. Guomundsson dabbled in fraud and paid the ultimate price. It took just six months for Guomundsson to lose his entire $1 billion fortune.

#2 Michael Jackson

The King of Pop is the most successful recording artist of all time. Michael Jackson was also easily one of the most famous people on the planet. However, by the time he died in 2009, Jackson was buried in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of debt. Even his billion dollar record contract wasn't enough to protect his fortune from his erratic spending. Reportedly, Jackson was running through his fortune at the rate of $50 million per year. Unlike other people on this list, Jackson's hits continue to earn money for his estate (and children) even after his death.

#1 Sean Quinn

Sean Quinn was once the richest person in Ireland. He was a true rags-to-riches (to rags again) story. It took just a handful of years for him to turn a small bank loan into a billion dollar manufacturing, mining, and insurance business. Quinn made a fateful investment–25% of Anglo Irish Bank–in 2008 just as the economy was entering the global recession. Quinn apparently had zero knowledge of the recession, and very soon after his investment Anglo Irish Bank went under. All of Quinn's $6 billion fortune was gone.

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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