For many celebrities, the road to fame is also a road to riches. But thanks to poor investments, reckless spending habits or just rotten luck, some stars learn the hard way that the more they make, the more they stand to lose. Here are 20 once-flush celebs whose bank statements now make for surprisingly grim reading.
20. 50 Cent
Perhaps rapper 50 Cent tempted fate when he chose such a low-currency moniker. Because despite selling more than 30 million albums, the man formerly known as Curtis Jackson filed for bankruptcy in 2015. The costly fees from numerous legal cases were cited as the main reason for this unfortunate turn of events.
19. Toni Braxton
Husky-voiced Toni Braxton once recorded a song titled “I’d Rather Be Broke,” which is a good job, really, as she’s been bankrupt twice. The star has bagged seven Grammy Awards and sold millions of records worldwide, so her economic woes might come as something of a shock. Braxton first got into financial trouble in 1998, claiming she wasn’t making enough in royalties, and then again in 2010 when she pulled out of a performance in Vegas.
18. Mary J. Blige
Another mega-successful Grammy Award-winning R&B diva also experienced money troubles in the early part of this decade. Mary J. Blige may have once begged for “No More Drama,” but she didn’t exactly help herself when she defaulted on separate six and seven-figure loans and then was hit with a near-million dollar bill in back taxes.
17. Nicolas Cage
After spending his $150m fortune, weird and wonderful actor Nicolas Cage appeared to say “yes” to pretty much any form of work when the IRS then came knocking for a whopping $13 million. Suddenly, all the obvious box-office flops and direct-to-DVD messes make sense!
16. Janice Dickinson
Motormouth model Janice Dickinson has never been afraid to talk about the amount of times she’s had cosmetic surgery over the years. But it’s this very obsession which caused her to file for bankruptcy in 2013 – and, it would seem, subsequently appear on every TV reality show under the sun.?
15. Drake Bell
Child stars are notorious for getting themselves into trouble once they’ve left childhood behind. And former Nickelodeon actor Drake Bell declared himself bankrupt in 2013 after revealing that his $18,000 a month expenses grossly outweighed his $2,800 a month income.
14. Kelly Rutherford
Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford found herself at the center of unwanted tittle-tattle in 2013 following a costly and unsuccessful legal battle. The actress filed for bankruptcy after blowing $1.5m in a divorce and custody war with ex-husband Daniel Giersch.?
13. Dennis Rodman
According to the NBA Players’ Association, 60 percent of professionals go bust within half a decade of stepping out of the basketball court for good. And despite numerous reality show appearances and a bizarre business affiliation with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un, bad boy Dennis Rodman joined the club in 2012.
12. Allen Iverson
Few former NBA stars, however, have wasted as much cash as Allen Iverson. The eleven-time All Star allegedly spent an astonishing $200 million during his career and early retirement – mostly on jewelry and cars. Iverson himself, though, has claimed that such reports are nothing but myth.?
11. Antoine Walker
Completing our trio of broke basketball stars is Antoine Walker. The three-time NBA All Star at least tried to prepare for his future by setting up a real estate firm and investing in 140 Chicago properties. But sadly for Walker, the housing market imploded and by 2010, he’d lost every single cent.
10. Stephen Baldwin
He’s starred in some huge blockbusters and has one of the most famous last names in America, but that didn’t stop Stephen Baldwin filing for bankruptcy in 2009. The youngest and most religiously fanatical Baldwin brother had managed to land himself in over $2.3 million worth of debt. The actor’s supporters subsequently launched a website appeal named Restore Stephen Baldwin to help The Usual Suspects star get back on his feet.
9. Brendan Fraser
In 2013, seemingly successful Hollywood actor Brendan Fraser claimed that he no longer had the funds to pay out his annual $900,000 in alimony and child support. However considering that he fronted the money-spinning franchise that was The Mummy, his ex-wife didn’t believe him and accused the star of secreting his assets.
8. Mischa Barton
It’s been one thing after the other since Mischa Barton left The O.C. in 2006. Following on from a DUI charge, and a spell in psychiatric confinement, the former child star then sued her own mother in 2015, claiming that she had stolen her fortune.
DMX is more renowned for his rap sheet than his rap game, and in 2013 he added bankruptcy to his list of woes. The MC/actor got himself into financial trouble thanks to defaults on child payment and various loans which totalled in the millions.
6. Gary Busey
Eccentric actor Gary Busey was once famous for his Oscar-nominated performance in The Buddy Holly Story but today, the actor is probably better known for his appearances on reality TV. The man who had previously remarked that “failing” in fact stands for “finding an important lesson inviting needed growth” was forced to take any gig he could get after filing for bankruptcy in 2012.
5. Aaron Carter
Aaron Carter, the brother of Backstreet Boys’ Nick, began earning his keep very early on as a squeaky-voiced nine-year-old. But Carter’s struggle to sustain this early popularity eventually led him into bankruptcy in 2013. However at the time, Carter’s publicist argued that going bust was actually a positive career move which would allow the star to progress.
4. Dionne Warwick
With 69 US Hot 100 singles to her name, Dionne Warwick is second only to Aretha Franklin as the most-charted female singer of all time. But despite her monumental success, the soul legend went bust in 2013: she claimed that during the ’90s her business interests had been mismanaged.
3. David Cassidy
David Cassidy earned millions during his heyday as a ’70s teen-pop sensation and Partridge Family member. But in 2016, the singer claimed he only had $478 to his name thanks to debts accrued by his Florida villa, credit cards and expensive lawyers.
2. Mekhi Phifer
Mekhi Phifer has been a constant presence on both the small and big screen since the mid-’90s, most notably in ER, Lie to Me and 8 Mile. Nonetheless, after owing $1.3 million back taxes, child support and lawyers’ fees, the actor ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2014.
1. Teri Polo
Terri Polo is best known for starring alongside Ben Stiller in the very successful Meet the Parents franchise, but the actress has had less success managing her finances and went broke in 2013. The star declared that her assets totalled under $50,000 and that due to credit card bills and back taxes, her debts amounted to more than $800,000.