Famous Celebrity Bankruptcies

by Burke Speaker | November 19, 2013 9:07 am

In trying to recap all the famous celebrity bankruptcies, one has to wonder: How is it possible to lose so much money?

For these famous celebrities, losing millions didn’t exactly happen overnight.

Check out all the reasons for these famous celebrity bankruptcies below.

Famous Celebrity Bankruptcy #5: MC Hammer[1]

The rapper famous for “Can’t Touch This” found the phrase didn’t apply to his money. Though the early 90s made him a millionaire (with some $33 million), his lavish spending — including dropping funds for sports cars and private planes — caught up with him and by 1996 he declared bankruptcy.

He’s since rebounded due to his music rights, though is estimated to be only worth more than $1 million.

Famous Celebrity Bankruptcy #4: Kim Basinger[2]

Once the Angelina to Alec Baldwin’s Brad Pitt, Kim Basinger was an actress riding a wave of financial and screen success. That is until she jumped out of a film in which she had already signed the contract to and decided to buy an entire small town in Georgia in 1989.

By 1993 she had filed for bankruptcy.

Famous Celebrity Bankruptcy #3: Mike Tyson[3]

Despite earning an estimated $400 million in his boxing wins and more, by 2003 Mike Tyson was neck deep in debt — mostly because he couldn’t stop spending. His purchases ranged for jewelry to mansions to even exotic tigers (yup, The Hangover was based on reality). His assets at the time were just a little less in his debt — some $50 million.

So what to do, what to do? Bankruptcy for the mega-celebrity sports star.

Famous Celebrity Bankruptcy #2: Willie Nelson[4]

This  country crooner had a host of famous songs and a strong fan following, who inhaled his music as quickly as Willie could finish a joint. But the self-proclaimed pot-loving country star was a little too Americana for the government’s tastes — especially since Willie refused to pay taxes.

His $16 million tax debt cost him many of his assets and he filed for bankruptcy in 1990. Though that stung a bit, it wasn’t enough to really change him: Some two decades later he still had to fight with the IRS on unpaid back taxes.

Famous Celebrity Bankruptcy #1: Donald Trump[5]

We’re listing him at No. 1 not because his bankruptcy was so notorious — it’s because he’s filed for bankruptcy four times (at least, as of press time). In 1992, 1994, 2002, and 2009, either The Donald or the companies he owns filed for Chapter 11 protection.

Using bankruptcy as part of his business dealings, Trump has beat bad business deals with ease. Kinda wish us common folk had it that easy, huh?

  1. MC Hammer: http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/richest-rappers/mc-hammer-net-worth/
  2. Kim Basinger: http://articles.latimes.com/1993-12-28/business/fi-6183_1_kim-basinger
  3. Mike Tyson: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/05/sports/tyson-s-bankruptcy-is-a-lesson-in-ways-to-squander-a-fortune.html
  4. Willie Nelson: http://www.betterbankruptcy.com/bankruptcy-blog/2012/02/top-five-worst-bankruptcies-ever-filed/
  5. Donald Trump: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-filed-bankruptcy-times/story?id=13419250

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