Consumer Comeback Blog

5 Celebrities with Debt Troubles

Most celebrities make a lot of money during their careers, many of them manage it well but there are also plenty of celebrities that blew through their money as fast as they made it. Over the years we have all heard stories of celebrities filing for bankruptcy and losing their million dollar homes and other expensive possessions. Money management is foreign to some celebrities, they just assume the money will keep coming so they spend and spend, and then all of a sudden their careers take a dive and the money stops flowing and before you know it they can’t even keep up with their expensive lives anymore. It has happened many times in the past and it will continue to happen because many celebs that make a lot of money live luxurious lifestyles and refuse to give up that way of life. Here are 5 celebrities that made a lot of money during their careers and then found themselves deep in debt.

Willie Nelson

Most people know Willie Nelson, whether it is from his longstanding career in country music, or the many roles he has taken on in movies,  and some know him from his run ins with the law regarding marijuana over the years. Either way, Nelson is a well known figure and has had many problems managing finances throughout his long and profitable career. In 1990 was when Willie first got into trouble because of back taxes, during this year the IRS raided his home and seized many of Willies assets because he owed over $30 million in taxes. The tax problem wasn’t of his own doing, it was his accountants that were not paying his taxes for years, but it still falls back on him since he hired them and he was not paying attention to what they were doing with his money. Willie also made some bad investments over the years that he lost money on, but he was able to settle the tax problems and agreed to pay back only $6 million of what he owed. Willie worked on paying off the debt with the help of an album he put out called “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories” and all of the proceeds went to pay back the tax settlement. He was also able to get many of his seized possessions back because he had good friends and relatives that bought them when they were auctioned off by the IRS and they held on to them for Willie. This goes to show that there are always ways to get out of debt and most people that want to will succeed.

Nicholas Cage

Nicholas Cage has played a few different roles in the many movies that he has under his belt. He is a well known actor worldwide and he has made a lot of money over the years. With the millions of dollars he made he bought up many homes around the country and overseas, and real estate was one of the many things he blew his money on. His properties consisted of a home in Malibu where he lived with his third and current wife. He also bought a house in the Bahamas and then a 40 acre island in the Bahamas was his next purchase. On top of these properties he also purchased a medieval castle in Germany, and then he went on to buy a mansion in Rhode Island, then Midford Castle in England was his next purchase, and he owned other properties in Louisiana, Nevada, and California. On top of the real estate he also owned a whole fleet of cars, 22 to be exact and nine of them were Rolls Royces. Cage also bought a private jet and a fleet of yachts on top of all of the vehicles and houses He also bought up all kinds of expensive pieces of artwork and various exotic collectibles including a dinosaur skull. Eventually all the out of control spending caught up with him and the fact that he had not been properly paying his taxes he found himself deep in debt. He finally faced the facts that he was living way above his means and had to start selling off property and the German Castle was the first to go. After that sold he went on to put more of his properties on the market, including the ones in Rhode Island, Louisiana, Nevada, California, as well as the island he bought in the Bahamas. In 2009 the IRS placed a lien on his home in New Orleans, which is considered one of the most haunted houses in the world. Since he had not been paying his taxes he owed well over $6 million. He of course blamed it on his business manager and filed a lawsuit against Cage, but his business manager filed a counter suit claiming that he had told Cage that he was living way above his means. Cage also had lawsuits against him from 2 different banks for loans that were in the millions but were not being paid back. Because of all his financial troubles many of his properties were sold or foreclosed on and he is still digging his way out of debt, which probably explains why he takes any role he can get in movies nowadays, no matter how bad of a movie it is.

MC Hammer

MC Hammer made it big in the late 80’s and enjoyed success into the 90’s. His first hit song, “Cant Touch This” was one of the most popular hip hop songs of the time and he played a big part in helping hip hop go mainstream. The success of his album made him a lot of money and he soon became a household name with his trademark pants and his one of a kind dance moves. Soon Hammer was enjoying living a life of luxury with a multi million dollar mansion as well as a whole staff to cater to him that he paid about a half of a million annual salaries to. Hip hop took off and became one of the most popular forms of music in the mainstream and Hammer lasted a bit until he was eventually outdated and overshadowed with many new artists coming out and changing the face of hip hop once again. Soon MC Hammer saw a big drop in record sales which led to a huge loss of income. He kept living a lifestyle of luxury, and this meant more money was going out than coming in and eventually this caught up to him. In 1996 Hammer had to face the facts that he could be touched and he had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Hammer is getting his financial life back on track and has become very popular on many social networks.

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson is a household name, he made his name as one of the best boxers of his time and was well on his way to being the best there ever was, but unfortunately he associated with the wrong people and went a little crazy, both mentally and financially with his crazy purchases and shopping sprees. Tyson had a rough childhood when he was growing up, he was raised in poverty and was in and out of trouble throughout his teens and lived for awhile in a boys home in Upstate NY. After numerous run-ins with the law he ended up in a decent home and eventually found boxing. He started to get his life somewhat on track and before he knew it he was developing into a great boxer, and with each amateur fight he won his name started to spread. Soon enough he started getting bigger and better fights and became a professional boxer. His pro boxing career just kept getting better and he was well on his way to becoming the greatest ever, winning fights by TKO frequently and he soon became the Heavyweight champ and started to see the money flowing in. he was making millions a year, and started spending the money as fast as he was earning it. After becoming the biggest name in boxing during the late 80’s and 90’s he started getting into trouble again, and he paid numerous fines, lawyer fees, court fees and much more. He still kept spending on all kinds of things like expensive cars, houses, and he even spent thousands on 2 pet Bengal tigers, then he hired a trainer for the tigers that cost another $125K a year. He was living way above his means like many celebs have done and eventually it caught up to him. By 2003 Tyson’s career fell apart, he ended up spending time in prison and soon he was not allowed to box in many States that held the big boxing events. He still owed a lot and did not have much coming in, his debt had reached $27 million and about half of that debt was back taxes. 2003 was the year Tyson filed bankruptcy, he tried making a comeback in boxing but he was not the same boxer he was in his younger years, so the money made off of them fights didn’t help him too much and he retired in 2005. Since then he has started to try and get his life back on track, making money where he could to make ends meet. He is still out there making money doing movie spots, commercials and anything else he can so that he can live a normal debt free life once again.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is a name that EVERYONE knows; he is a legend in the pop music world and recently passed away right before getting ready to do a comeback tour starting in Europe. Before he passed away he was deep in debt, and the debt was the reason he was planning to go back on tour in the first place. The King of Pop started singing at a young age during the 70’s with his family group called the Jackson 5. He quickly gained popularity through the group and was always one of the standouts in the family when it came to singing and dancing. Eventually when he got older Michael started a solo career, and because he was already well known his solo career started right off with a bang. The money started coming in and soon he was making millions, but as the money was rolling in Michael started spending it on all kinds of things that he wanted. One of the big ticket items Michael spent his money on in the mid 80’s was a collection of songs written by The Beatles, this alone cost him over $47 million dollars. He also spent close to $15 million on his famous house, The Neverland Ranch. These were two of the extremely big ticket items he bought, but Michael also spent a lot of money on various plastic surgeries over the years so he could stay looking young, and he paid out large sums of money when he settled on many different lawsuits he was facing, on top of the settlements he also paid out millions to lawyers and other legal costs over the years. When Michael died he was $500 million dollars in debt, but his estate was worth more than a billion and since he was such an icon worldwide his estate was still making money and was being run by family members. The money being made after his death was paying off the debts he had left behind, and even after all is paid off Michaels family will have plenty to go around and his kids will not never have to worry about money.