Celebrities Who Went Broke in the 2010s
Even celebrities who make millions a year aren’t immune from bankruptcy. Without getting into statistical analysis, let’s just say a disproportionate number of athletes, actors and singers appear on bankruptcy court dockets. Ready cash, friends who love to spend and the temptations that go with sudden fame make it all too easy to get carried away.
Throw in a nefarious family member and a corrupt business advisor or two, and bankruptcy could be just around the corner. And don’t "forget" to pay your taxes! A lot of the stars on this list didn’t, and they paid a hefty price for it. Ready to have your mind blown by some of the celebrities who went broke in the 2010s? Take a look!
Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie Presley inherited more than $100 million from her father, Elvis Presley. It's gone. She blames her former business manager, Barry Siegel, for her massive losses. In a lawsuit filed by Presley in 2018, she accused Siegel of investing her inheritance poorly and then selling investments at their lowest points.
In January 2017, Johnny Depp lay blame for tens of millions of dollars in financial losses at the feet of The Management Group and 14 other companies. He accused TMG of gross misconduct while managing his funds over a 17-year period.
Singer, songwriter, rapper and actor Curtis James Jackson III (a.k.a. 50 Cent) earned more than $300 million from music, businesses and investments in companies like Vitaminwater. Despite that, he filed for bankruptcy in Connecticut in 2015, with claimed debts of $32,509,549.91.
Bankruptcy do-overs were a bit of a theme in the 2010s. Toni Braxton filed for bankruptcy in 1998 and was back in front of a bankruptcy judge in 2010. She blamed her 1998 proceedings on having to pay back record company advances.
Songstress Dionne Warwick filed for bankruptcy in March 2013. In her filing, she listed a monthly income of $20,950, which isn't too shabby, right? The problem was her monthly expenses — including thousands for a personal assistant and housekeeping — were stated as $20,940, leaving her just $10 a month in fun money. An even bigger problem was the Internal Revenue Service.
Sinbad filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, but the file was closed for failure to complete the paperwork. He was back before the bankruptcy courts in 2013, and his freshly filed paperwork revealed assets of $131,000 and debts of nearly $11 million. Of that amount, more than $8 million was debt for back taxes.
Former child star Aaron Carter — brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter — reportedly earned more than $200 million before reaching the age of 18. His parents managed his money and assets at the time.
Alyssa Milano fired business manager Kenneth Hellie in June 2016 after he allegedly forged a $26,000 check that put her account into overdraft. According to Milano, that was just the beginning of what she found out Hellie had been doing behind her back.
Tori Spelling's memoir, Spelling It Like It Is, includes a section about finances. She blames her financial troubles on expensive tastes, a real estate deal that went sour and failed businesses. How bad did things get for Spelling and her husband, Dean McDermott?
You met Teresa Giudice on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. She is as infamous for her fraud conviction as she is for her extravagant lifestyle. Giudice was indicted on 39 charges related to mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, loan application fraud and bankruptcy fraud in July 2013.
Kerry Katona was a singer with the girl group Atomic Kitten from 1998 to 2001 and again from 2012 to 2017. Her television career includes several reality TV shows. She has been declared bankrupt by U.K. courts twice, in 2008 and 2013.
Three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker won $25,080,956 during his tennis career, not to mention another 90,000 pounds in earnings as a professional poker player. None of that prevented him from filing bankruptcy, however, and he was declared bankrupt in 2017.
Justin Bieber's father-in-law, Stephen Baldwin, filed for bankruptcy in 2009. True, that's not in the 2010s, but everything came out in the wash in the 2010s. Baldwin's home was foreclosed and auctioned to recover more than $1 million owed on the mortgage in 2017.
Abby Lee Miller
Dance Moms' star Abby Lee Miller is a dance instructor and choreographer. She filed for bankruptcy in December 2010, and records indicate she owed more than $400,000 in unpaid taxes. That was before she was hired for Dance Moms in 2011.
Adults from the 1970s certainly remember The Partridge Family, and teen girls will never forget Keith Partridge, who was played by David Cassidy. The musical sitcom thrust Cassidy into superstardom as a teen idol and pop singer.
Tionne Watkins (a.k.a. T-Boz) filed for bankruptcy in 1995 and faced down near foreclosure in 2009, but that wasn't the end of her financial troubles. Poor financial decisions added to the tension of medical problems, including sickle cell anemia and a brain tumor.
Gary Busey went through the bankruptcy process in December 2012. At the end of it, he was left with $26,000 in assets and was no longer responsible for $57,000 in unpaid bills. He couldn't escape liability for $450,000 in taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service, though. So, how did he get there?
When Lil' Kim filed for bankruptcy protection, she listed assets of $2.6 million and a monthly gross income of $43,000. That seems like a reasonably comfortable position for most people. Unfortunately, the other side of the ledger included debts of $4.1 million, including $2 million in back taxes, a $2 million mortgage and outstanding legal fees.
American actor, musician and game show host Joey Lawrence may be familiar due to his role as Joey Russo in Blossom and the series Brotherly Love, in which he starred with his own brothers. His show Melissa & Joey ended in 2015. The resulting financial changes were huge. In 2015, Lawrence earned $534,000, but in 2016, he earned just $58,000.
Chris Tucker was once Hollywood's best paid actor. In 2007, he earned $25 million for Rush Hour 3. By September 2014, he reportedly owed the Internal Revenue Service $14,068,047.50 for back taxes for seven years. Tucker was apparently able to settle that tax bill with the IRS, but not before the feds had placed a $2.5 million lien against him in Georgia.
Real life in New York can include real money problems. Just ask Sonja Morgan of Real Housewives Of New York. In 2010, she filed for bankruptcy and blamed a movie production deal gone bad. Hannibal Pictures won a $7 million judgment against her.
One-time supermodel Janice Dickinson filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013. Her filings listed debts to a plastic surgeon and dermatologist but also $500,000 in back taxes owed to the United States, California and New York. Dickinson had also reportedly run up almost $300,000 in overdraft fees to her bank.
Warren Sapp filed for bankruptcy in 2012. His filings listed $6.7 million in debts and assets of $6.45 million. PNC Bank had obtained a judgment of $988,691.99 against him and was garnishing his broadcasting paycheck of $33,333 monthly. Sapp also owed the IRS roughly $940,000 as well as child support and alimony of $876,000.
You probably know actor Mekhi Phifer from his starring roles as Dr. Greg Pratt in the medical drama ER and from Eminem's movie 8 Mile. Phifer filed for bankruptcy in 2014, and in his court filings, he listed assets totaling $67,000 against debts of $1.3 million. His monthly income of $7,500 didn't measure up against monthly expenses of $11,000.
After a college career at the University of Kentucky, Antoine Walker was a first-round draft choice of the Boston Celtics in 1996. He played for the Celtics, Mavericks, Hawks, Heat and Timberwolves in the NBA and other teams in the BSN and D-League. Over his 12-year NBA career, he earned salaries totaling $108 million.
Lenny Dykstra played for Major League Baseball's Mets and Phillies from 1985 to 1996 and was a three-time All-Star. His post-baseball career hasn’t been nearly as auspicious. Dykstra started a number of businesses, including a jet charter company, magazine and investment advice website.
Terrell Owens was a wide receiver for 16 seasons in the National Football League. He played for the 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, Bengals and Seahawks and was a six-time Pro Bowl player. He is estimated to have earned more than $80 million in salary, signing bonuses and endorsements.
Jose Canseco played for Major League Baseball's Athletics, Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Yankees and White Sox. He won Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year awards and All-Star selections. His earnings as a player were $45 million. He was famous for his 462 home runs and infamous for his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Jack Johnson played hockey for the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets. His first major pro contract was a seven-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings worth $30 million.
F. Lee Bailey
Defense attorney Francis Lee Bailey represented O.J. Simpson as well as other famous clients like Sam Sheppard, Patty Hearst and the Boston Strangler. In recent years, he was disbarred from practicing law in Massachusetts and Florida, and Maine denied him a license. By 2017, he was living with a hairstylist and ran a consulting firm above her salon.