20 Celebrities Who Went Bankrupt After Making Fortunes

Kanye West

Who remembers when Kanye West tweeted he was $53 million in personal debt? The poverty, he noted, was the result of following his dreams into the fashion industry. Some claimed his wife Kim Kardashian West bailed him out. Regardless, West’s net worth today is $145 million, while Kim Kardashian West, has a net worth of $150 million.


Larry King

Famous talk-show host Larry King has an estimated net worth of almost $150 million, but his fortunes haven’t always been so favorable. In 1978, Larry King was sued by one of his former business partners, which left him in a financial quandary and forced him to file for bankruptcy. Oddly enough, later the same year, King started his world-famous show, “Larry King Live,” which removed his financial worries once and for all.


Michael Jackson

The King of Pop passed away owing upwards of $400 million. After being unable to repay a $25 million loan on his famous Neverland Ranch home, he filed for bankruptcy in 2007. Despite his financial woes, Michael Jackson remains one of the most popular entertainers in the world and one of the best-selling music artists of all time.


Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga quickly became a pop megastar with the release of “Just Dance” and continues to be a force in the music industry, but during her 2009 Monster’s Ball tour, Gaga was technically bankrupt. She had $3 million to her name, and she threw it all into making the stage. After the show, Fogel and Live Nation gave Gaga a $40 million cheque. Now Gaga’s net worth is approximately $300 million.


Will Smith

In 1985, Will Smith teamed up with DJ Jazzy Jeff. Their debut album Rock The House hit the Billboard Top 200 and made Will a millionaire. However, Will went on a spending spree, and IRS gave him a $2.8 million tax bill. He had to hand practically everything he owned to pay off some of the debt. Luckily, Will landed the role of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air about a year later and managed to pay off the reminder. In 2018, Will Smith’s net worth was estimated to be $300 million.


Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds, one of the biggest stars in Hollywood in the 70s, lost his fortune because of his lavish spending and a $40 million divorce from Loni Anderson. He declared bankruptcy in the 90s after owing nearly $10 million to his creditors.


Mike Tyson

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson earned $400 million throughout his epic career. Despite his incredible wealth, he filed for bankruptcy in 2003 due to being an estimated $23 million arrears. Thankfully, Tyson was able to recoup his losses and rebuild his reputation.


MC Hammer

MC Hammer’s hit album “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” earned him about $33 million in 1990. However, his lavish spending habits, including multiple expensive cars, airplanes, and a $30 million mansion, contributed to his financial downfall. Hammer declared bankruptcy with an estimated debt of $13 million in 1996.


50 Cent

Back in May 2015, 50 Cent was ranked as one of the five wealthiest hip-hop artists with a net worth of $155 million. But bad investments and a big lawsuit forced him into bankruptcy. Though rumors circulated recently that the rapper had become a bitcoin millionaire, they turned out not to be true.


Kim Basinger

After dropping out of performing in the film “Boxing Helena,” Kim Basinger was sued by the production company for a breach of contract for $8.1 million. She later settled the suit for $3.8 million and filed for bankruptcy the same year. She kept on acting and modeling and today has a net worth of about $40 million.


Willie Nelson

In the 90s, Willie was forced to declare bankruptcy after owing the IRS $6 million in back taxes. He released an album “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories,” which explained the issue of his debt and what it was meant to do. Fans organized fundraisers for the down-on-his-luck musician. After three years, he had his debt paid off and started making money again.


Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens was one of the highest paid athletes and made more than $70 million for his 15 seasons in the NFL. But unfortunately he went broke after being on the hook for child support plus making a couple of bad investments.


Nicholas Cage

Nicholas Cage earned over $150 million acting between 1996 and 2011. As his income increased, so did his insane buying habits. He owned private jets, exotic animals, sports cars and mansions. After being sued by his former business partner Samuel Levin, Nicholas went into bankruptcy in 2009 owing $6.5 million in taxes.


David Cassidy

David Cassidy was known for his role as Keith Partridge in the musical sitcom “The Partridge Family,” which made him one of the most popular teen idols of the 1970s. However, indulgence in alcohol, diminishing royalty checks for “The Partridge Family” and failed investments in the Bahamas led to his dire financial situation. In 2015, he filed for bankruptcy owing $10 million.


Brendan Fraser

After being injured by a tree that fell on his home, legendary actor Brendan Fraser could not work for a long time. Additionally, he is legally obliged to pay $900,000 yearly alimony payment to his ex-wife. It all led to his eventual bankruptcy.


Dennis Rodman

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman was remembered as one of the most flamboyant and distracting players in the NBA and now, is remembered as one of the NBA players who went broke. He went to court to file paperwork, claiming that due to being in ill health and broke, he could not afford the $80,000 in child support he owed, as well as the $50,000 in spousal support.


Antoine Walker

Antoine Walker played 12 seasons in the NBA and earned $110 million, but lost all his wealth, declaring bankruptcy in 2010. Waler lived the high life while also providing a lavish lifestyle for his friends, family, and hangers-on. Bad investments and a gambling habit also cleared out his coffers. Recently Walker has dedicated a lot of time to sharing his cautionary tale and ensuring others don’t follow in his path.


Toni Braxton

The famous Grammy-winning singer Toni Braxton filed for bankruptcy twice. Braxton, reportedly $5 million in debt, filed for bankruptcy in 1998 and ended up selling some of her possessions, including her Grammys. In 2010, she filed for bankruptcy again, being $50 million in debt. Luckily, she has paid off her debt as of 2013, and her current net worth is $10 million.


Lindsay Lohan

Known for roles in hits like “The Parent Trap” and “Mean Girls,” Lindsay Lohan was once one of the world’s highest-paid actress. But in 2010, she was reported to owe $600,000 in credit card debt. In 2016, she was kicked out of her London apartment because she could not afford the rent.


Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper currently has an estimated net worth of $30 million. She had a rough start in the music business, though. She formed the band Blue Angel in 1978. However, the group’s album never took off, causing Lauper to file for bankruptcy in 1981.


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