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10 Celebrities Who Went from Rich to Broke

Celebrities are prone to making bad financial choices, which may take them from a life of affluence to becoming broke within a blink.

Like everyone else, celebrities can encounter a wrong turn in their success story, which sends all their years of hard work crumbling to the ground. 

This wrong turn may come in the guise of poor financial planning, expensive addictions, serious illnesses, age, or wrong investment. The implication usually hits most financially, leaving the victim broke, desperate, homeless, or plunged into a life of crime. 

Over the years, many well-known stars have descended to abject poverty after enjoying life in the spotlight. From Judy Garland to the legendary pop king, Michael Jackson, many notable icons both past and present, found themselves on this boat at some point.

Here is a list of ten show biz legends who went from rich to broke for unbelievable reasons.

1. MARVIN GAYE

Marvin Gaye | Image: Instagram/Marvinpentzgaye
Marvin Gaye | Image: Instagram/Marvinpentzgaye

One of the most famous musicians of all time, Marvin Gaye, garnered quite the fortune in his lifetime. However, his divorce from ex-wife Anna Gordy Gaye spelled doom for the soul singer, who received court orders to pay alimony to Anna.

The alimony settlement included $600,000 from the royalties of his 1976 album, “Here, My Dear.” He filed for bankruptcy shortly after. Until his death in 1984 from a gunshot fired by his father, the icon still owed his ex-wife an outstanding $300,000 in back alimony.

2. TONI BRAXTON

“Unbreak My Heart” singer Toni Braxton has filed for bankruptcy twice since coming down with Lupus. Due to her health condition, the singer’s career took a downward spiral, resulting in a lesser income. Earning poorly from her recording contract, coupled with her lavish spending, facilitated the star’s descent to bankruptcy.

In a 2012 interview, the icon went candid about her financial troubles, revealing she’d filed for bankruptcy twice. Although unable to make as much from singing, the star has tried to make a comeback by exploring other showbiz opportunities, including her own reality show, “Braxton Family Values.”

3. T-PAIN

T-Pain is another celebrity who went from living lavishly to wallowing in financial decadence. The rapper once admitted that he went from having $40 million in his name to having nothing. At his lowest point, he could barely afford enough cash to buy his kids Burger King without borrowing.

His descent to financial ruin resulted from bad investments and bad spending habits. The experience made him more cautious with his finances. Luckily, he landed another chance at becoming rich and never blew it again.

4. WESLEY SNIPES

“Blade” star Wesley Snipes might seem like a real-time superstar who has everything in place, but his role in the real world is more down-to-earth. Although his numerous acting gigs in action flicks earned him a fortune, the actor failed to redeem his IRS taxes. 

His unpaid taxes accumulated over time to a whopping $12 million. His tax evasion tactic led to his downfall, leaving him in legal trouble. He served time until 2013 and has since had difficulties landing movie roles.

5. NICOLAS CAGE

Nicolas Cage | Image: Instagram/Nicolascagefans
Nicolas Cage | Image: Instagram/Nicolascagefans

Not someone one might expect on this list due to his portrayal of the noble gentleman in most of his movies, but Nicholas Cage has sailed this boat as well. At the peak of his career, Cage became a reputed extravagant spender. He reportedly acquired high-end cars, lavish mansions, private jets, and other forms of luxury money could buy.

Over time, he spent beyond his means, acquiring over $14 million in debt. That led him to file for bankruptcy and sell off everything he owned to pay off. Luckily, he still stars in blockbusters and has come close to repaying all his debts.

6. MARGOT KIDDER

Margot Kidder | Image: Instagram/Margot_Kidder
Margot Kidder | Image: Instagram/Margot_Kidder

The Lois Lane roleplayer in the Christopher Reeve-era “Superman” movies, Margot Kidder, was not so fortunate in the real world to have a superhero by her side. After battling Schizophrenia and manic depression for years, Kidder went bankrupt.

Despite her past, which involved global fame, and tabloid-worthy romance with Hollywood hotshots and politicians, including Canadian Prime minister Pierre Trudeau, she became unable to afford her treatment.

Her paranoia drove her to homelessness. She spent years sleeping in cardboard boxes and backyards around Los Angeles, looking so haggard. No one recognized her in her disheveled state until she revealed to an L.A resident, whose backyard she often slept that she was the fan-favorite Margot Kidder.

7. NATASHA LYONNE

Actress Natasha Lyonne was once a Hollywood hotshot, starring in movies like “American Pie,” “But I’m A Cheerleader,” and “Slums of Beverly Hills,” in the ‘90s. However, repeated encounters with the law for charges such as DUI, trespassing, and harassment of a neighbor crippled her career.

In 2005, she ended up in a hospital, battling chronic ailments ranging from Hepatitis C to a collapsed lung. Accumulated medical bills eventually sent her over the edge. Attempts to revive her career in the last decade has been slow.

8. DANNY BONADUCE

Danny Bonaduce | Image: Instagram/therealdannybonaduce
Danny Bonaduce | Image: Instagram/therealdannybonaduce

Popular child star Danny Bonaduce, who rose to fame for his role in the 70s hit series “The Partridge Family, ” is one of many world-famous celebrities who went from rich to broke.

After garnering wealth in his childhood, the actor turned to a life of drugs, alcohol, and other illicit substances. He went through several stints in rehab before eventually ending up residing in his car. He later became a drive-time DJ in WSYP, Philadelphia.

9. MIKE TYSON

Despite grossing well over $400 million in his career, heavyweight champion Mike Tyson became broke at some point. In 2003, the icon incurred debts estimated at $23 million.

He owed several million to the British Tax Authorities, IRS, lawyers, records producers, a finance manager, and the likes. The star also had to pay about $9 million to his ex-wife as divorce settlement, plus outstanding child support. He soon became bankrupt.

Tyson’s expensive drug habit did little to help his situation. Soon, he ended up in jail, went through rehab to overcome his addictions, and took steps to reestablish his empire.

10. KIM BASINGER

In 1989, actress Kim Basinger made one wrong financial decision that turned her whole world upside down. She purchased an entire town in Georgia for $20 million to create a theme park or movie studio as a tourist attraction.

Four years later, the star declared bankruptcy, prompting her to sell off the property. News of her financial state made the headlines at the time as it resulted from a lawsuit against her. According to the reports, she backed out of an oral contract to star in “Boxing Helen.”

As a result, the producer, Carl Mazzocone, sued her for millions of dollars. The court ruled against the actress, ordering her to pay damages and attorney’s fee. Eventually, she reached an out-of-court settlement with Main Line Pictures.

She has since set out to attain financial stability again, with starring roles in movies like “8 Miles” and “Fifty Shades Darker.”

Judith
Judith
Judith is an experienced writer, a thespian, and a creator with background knowledge in science and environmental technology. Her love for science led her to obtain a BSc. Degree in Microbiology. She also boasts of a certificate in Desktop Publishing. Driven by her passion for sustaining the environment, she explored environmental health-related courses like Health Safety & Environment and Environmental Impact Assessment. Her knowledge in these fields has helped her organize events and seminars over the years to create awareness about the detrimental impact of global warming and climate change in a bid to save the planet. When she's not saving the world, you can find Judith exploring new places, meeting people, embarking on adrenaline-pumping adventures, and creating things. Judith's numerous interests informed her love for writing. To her, writing is more than information-dissemination. It is an art that enables her to live out the best of both worlds by putting them into words. She loves writing about entertainment gist, celebrity gossip, useful life hacks, DIY projects, scripts, educational pieces on environmental protection, and advancement in medicine.
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