Being famous is not all it’s cracked up to be. The entertainment industry can be rough and sometimes fame can take a toll on a person. Every few years you hear about a celebrity hitting rock bottom or losing everything they made during their career. Here are a few examples of celebrities who went flat broke.
Have you ever wondered why Nicolas Cage stars in so many horrible movies? Well, one of the reasons is because he went flat broke. Back in the 80s and 90s, Nicolas Cage was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. He even received a spot on Empire magazine’s list of Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time in 1997. When the cash began to roll in Cage started to spend it on real estate and ridiculous things such as islands and dinosaur bones. At one point Cage owned 15 different homes in various countries. However, all of this came crashing down around 2009.
In 2009, the IRS gave Cage a 6.2 million tax lien. He blamed this on his finance manager and ended up suing him later that year. As time went on Nicolas Cage was around $14 million in debt. He started to sell some of his real estate as well as some of his prized possessions. He even sold his copy of the first action comic ever made for $2.16 million. Cage also started taking any movie role he could in order to get out of debt. Eventually, Cage’s hard work paid off and is now out of debt with a steady flow of cash coming in. He might have taken some questionable movie roles but at least they helped his finances get back on track.
During the late 80s and early 90s, Mike Tyson was the biggest thing in the sport of boxing. He was the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history winning the title at only 20 years old. The money started to pour in for Tyson with one fight earning him $30 million. It is believed that Tyson earned anywhere from $300- $700 million during his boxing career making him one of the highest-paid athletes of all time.
Iron Mike started to spend his fortune on frivolous things such as expensive cars and jewelry. He even bought a few white tigers! Tysons luxurious lifestyle would not last long. He developed a server drug problem later on in his career. He was also facing legal issues and ended up serving time in prison for raping a beauty pageant contestant. His insane spending habits and personal issues eventually caught up to Tyson in 2003 when he filed for bankruptcy.
Tyson finally saw the error in his ways and decided to get his life together. He got sober and started taking acting roles as well as any entertainment job he could get. He even started to do standup comedy. Much like Nicolas Cage, Tyson eventually got his act together and earned back some of his wealth. Although Mike Tyson is well off today, the chances of earning back his entire fortune is very slim.
Most people know Wesley Snipes as the actor who played Nino Brown from New Jack City or Blade from the Blade Trilogy. What a lot of people don’t know about Wesley Snipes is his terrible money issues and legal battles. Although the actor has had a very successful career, his lavash lifestyle has caused him some very serious problems financially.
At the high point of Snipes’ career, he began spending tons of money on mansions, cars, and other expensive items (are you seeing a pattern with these celebrities?). While spending all this money, Snipes fell behind on his taxes. This went on for years causing Snipes to accumulate massive tax debt. In 2006, Wesley Snipes, along with a few of his financial advisers, were taken to court. Snipes was charged with 1 count of conspiring to defraud the United States and 6 counts of willfully failing to file federal income tax along with other tax-related crimes.
Snipes was acquitted on all the charges except 3 misdemeanors for failing to file federal income tax returns in 2008. He was sentenced to 3 years in court. He was released from prison in 2013 but all the legal trouble crippled him financially. He struggled to find work for quite a while but is now slowly getting back on his feet.
MC Hammer probably has the most documented story of a celebrity who lost everything. Everyone remembers MC Hammer as the one hit wonder who made “U Can’t Touch This” but there is way more to the rapper than that. He first found success in the late 80s but did not become a household name until the early 90s. He was actually the first hip hop artist to have a diamond status album. However, the wave of fame would all come crashing down on MC Hammer later on in the 1990s.
Like most celebrities who went from riches to rags, MC Hammer started spending an inconceivable amount of money. He bought a $30 million mansion as well as 19 thoroughbred racing horses, 2 private helicopters, and countless amounts of expensive jewelry. He was even paying $500,000 a month to his entourage just to hang out with him!
While MC Hammer was spending all this money, his record sales started to tank. At the same time, Hammer was sued by legendary musician Rick James for copyright infringement. MC Hammer used a sample from James’ song “Super Freak” without permission in his hit “U Can’t Touch This.” This caused MC Hammer to go into financial ruin. He had accumulated $13 million in debt and had to file for bankruptcy in 1996. Although MC Hammer has had a few small comebacks on tv and other forms of media, the chances of him earning back his wealth are slim to none.