Celebrities Who Have Declared Bankruptcy

By on January 24, 2013 in ArticlesEntertainment

Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Declaring bankruptcy is never fun, but it's especially embarrassing when the broke person also happens to be a world famous celebrity. How can someone go from being worth millions or even BILLIONS of dollars to having nothing? It seems almost impossible to fathom, but unfortunately celebrity bankruptcies are surprisingly common. As we detailed in our October article about broke athletes, an astonishing 70% of NFL players and 60% of NBA players are broke withing four years of retiring. Part of the problem is many celebrities feel compelled to live up to a lifestyle that he or she may not actually be able to afford.

There are mansions, private jets, entourages, car collections, jewelry, divorce settlements and many more highly expensive personal indulgences. The good news for celebrities is they typically have a very high earning potential and with enough time can dig themselves out of mind bogglingly large mountains of debt.


Celebrities Who Have Declared Bankruptcy:

  • MC Hammer – Hammer earned $33 million when his career peaked in the 1990s. He ended up more than $13 million in debt after building a $12 million mansion and spending $500,000 per month to support a 200 person traveling entourage.
  • Mike Tyson-At his peak Tyson could earn $30 million per fight and amassed a $300 million personal fortune. By 2003 Tyson was $27 million in debt.
  • Donald Trump – Technically Donald has not filed personal bankruptcy but four companies that bared his name
  • Michael Jackson – Forced to file for bankruptcy in 2007 after not having enough money for his staff at Neverland Ranch which cost more than $10 million per year to maintain.
  • Willie Nelson – The IRS seized all of Willie's assets after the singer wracked up $17 million in back taxes. Willie auctoned most of his possessions, released an album and toured extensively to pay off his debt.
  • Larry King – Declared bankruptcy in 1978 after amassing $350,000 in debt.
  • Jerry Lee Lewis – Declared bankruptcy 1988 after amassing $3 million in various debts.
  • Anna Nicole Smith – While fighting for her share of a $400 million fortune, Anna wracked up nearly $900,000 worth of legal fees before declaring bankruptcy in 1996.
  • Burt Reynolds – Declared bankruptcy in 1996, listed nearly $12 million in debt after a bitter divorce from Loni Anderson
  • Gary Coleman – Gary earned $8 million off Diff'rent strokes, was down to just $200,000 right before filing for bankruptcy in 1996.
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Gary Busey
  • Walt Disney
  • Suge Knight
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Corey Haim
  • Tammy Wynette
  • Dorothy Hamill
  • Tony Gwynn
  • Sheryl Swoopes
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Milton Hershey
  • PT Barnum
  • Mark Twain
  • Michael Vick
  • Wayne Newton
  • Toni Braxton
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart
  • Kim Bassinger
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Lorraine Bracco
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Johnny Unitas
  • Mickey Rooney
  • Debbie Reynolds
  • Mick Fleetwood
  • Merle Haggard
  • Stan Lee
  • Don Johnson
  • Stephen Baldwin
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