What is it that is so appealing about becoming a celebrity? Sure, the fame sounds pretty nice. But most of us would be more happier with the “rich” part of being “rich and famous.”
Interestingly, there are some celebs that managed to lose their wealth despite being famous around the world. Is your favorite celebrity on the list?
Here are 10 celebs who completely blew their fortunes!
Some of the celebrities on our list were brought low by a single financial miscalculation. But Wayne Newton has actually had money troubles spanning three decades.
Newton became a household name due to the success of his Las Vegas lounge singing in the 1960s. That career arguably peaked in the early 1980s, but things began to take a turn with his finances. By 1992, Newton declared bankruptcy and was a staggering $20 million in debt.
Newton eventually became debt-free, possibly through the help of selling some valuable property. But this triggered some new issues. He was sued by the IRS in 2005 for failing to pay $1.8 million in taxes for a home he sold, and his immense Casa de Shenandoah estate was seized in 2010 because Newton owed $3.35 million on a loan.
That estate was then turned into a public attraction before seemingly closing for good in 2018.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Some of these celebrity stories are quite ironic. For example, pro boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. earned the nickname “Money” because he never lost a boxing match. He famously earned $250 million from fighting Manny Pacquiao in 2015. But by 2017, the man nicknamed “Money” ended up owing $22.2 million to the IRS.
On the bright side for fans, owing this huge amount of money provides a special incentive for him to come back from retirement for additional fights in the ring.
While Mayweather could still make a comeback, this next celeb dug himself into a financial pit so big, he never got out of it.
Younger readers may not remember him, but MC Hammer was a cultural force to be reckoned with in the early 1990s. He influenced the worlds of music and fashion thanks to hits like the catchy “U Can’t Touch This.” By 1991, he was worth an estimated $70 million.
Obviously, $70 million is a lot of money. But it went very fast after the singer bought a million-dollar mansion and promptly ordered $30 million in renovations. At the height of his crazy spending, Hammer employed a staff of 200 people in his home and even owned 19 race horses. He reportedly blew through his entire fortune in less than five years.
Between the lavish spending and some nasty lawsuits, Hammer declared bankruptcy in 1996 and was $13 million in debt.
With his laid-back demeanor, you might assume country megastar Willie Nelson doesn’t have a care in the world. But he has certainly struggled with finances: in 1990, after years of dodging taxes, he owed $16.7 million to the IRS.
Luckily, Nelson was able to negotiate this down to $6 million. But when he still couldn’t pay that amount, the IRS seized almost everything Nelson owned from a lifetime of travels and musical tours.
This story has a happy ending, though. Nelson released the cheeky album The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories? in 1991. Between sales and fan fundraisers, Nelson was able to pay off everything he owed.
For the next celeb, a happy ending to his financial woes didn’t come so easily.
Money can come and go very quickly for professional boxers. And perhaps nobody understands that lesson quite as much as Mike Tyson.
Over the course of Tyson’s meteoric career, he earned $300 million. It seemed like nothing could stop him, but the fighter unexpectedly declared bankruptcy in 2003. At this time, he owed money to everyone from the IRS to his personal trainer, manager, and producer. Topping things off, he even owed $9 million in child support.
Things are better for Tyson now. He started a cannabis company called The Ranch Company and is even planning to open a marijuana-themed resort!
It was almost impossible to believe when Burt Reynolds declared bankruptcy in the 1990s. After all, he had a career as a famous movie star that dated back to the ’60s.
Where did all the money go? According to Vanity Fair, it went to things like real estate properties, 150 horses, a private jet, and even (no lie) over $100,000 in toupees. As Reynolds bluntly told the publication, “I’ve lost more money than is possible because I just haven’t watched it.”
Eventually, Reynolds was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1996 and he was over $10 million in debt. But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to how much the next celeb owes!
Everyone on this list is famous. But Michael Jackson was on another level. His fame extended beyond music. He was a worldwide phenomenon and icon.
This is why it was so surprising for fans to discover that Jackson was over $400 million in debt when he died in 2009. Where did the money go? Unpaid loans and lawsuits related to his mounting scandals.
There is a grim silver lining to all of this. His surviving estate has paid all relevant debts. And Jackson has the dubious honor of being the highest-earning dead celebrity since 2012 according to Forbes.
Meat Loaf is one of those rare celebrities whose career has been like a perfect parabola. He started out hot in the 1970s with his album Bat Out of Hell. And he had a crowd-pleasing role in the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
But by 1983, he was staring down the barrel of 45 different lawsuits. He was forced to declare bankruptcy, and it looked like this might be the end of his career.
However, Meat Loaf redefined himself and effectively resurrected his career with the unforgettable 1990s anthem I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).
And trust us: this next celeb could use a good career resurrection!
You might think that Dennis Rodman is best known for his NBA career, where he played alongside basketball legends like Michael Jordan. But he arguably became more famous (or infamous) off the court due to his brief marriage to Carmen Electra and his friendly relationship with North Korea.
In 2012, it was reported Rodman could not afford his living expenses and could not afford to pay child support. At the time, he already owed $800,000 in child support. And depending on who you talk to, things haven’t gotten much better in recent years.
In 2019, Rodman and three of his associates were accused in 2019 of stealing over $3,500 worth of merchandise, including a 400-pound amethyst crystal, from a yoga studio. However, Rodman insisted to TMZ that the owner of the studio told him he could take “a couple of gifts” in exchange for helping them move “the crystal thing.”
Whether you’re famous or not, there is a simple rule about money. You need to earn more than you spend. Unfortunately, Hollywood star Nicolas Cage did not get that memo!
Cage has a real love of buying new houses, fancy automobiles, and even rare artifacts (a passion he shares with his National Treasure character). It all adds up, though. In 2015, it was reported that Cage had somehow managed to blow through $150 million between 1996 and 2011.
Cage unsuccessfully tried to dodge the tax man and the IRS ended up placing liens on multiple properties and getting $6 million in unpaid taxes from Cage. The star also sold many of his valuable items to make money, all while starring in a slew of movies of varying quality in order to pay the bills.