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30 Celebrities Who Went Bankrupt

Donald Trump

Donald Trump may have touted his business experience to win the presidency, but his companies have filed for bankruptcy six times since 1991. After the last bankruptcy, Trump stepped down as chairman of Trump Entertainment Resorts.

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Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger may be an Oscar winner now, but in 1992, she filed for bankruptcy. Basinger was supposed to appear in the film Boxing Helena but reneged on her agreement, and Main Line Pictures sued her for $8.1 million.

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Marvin Gaye

The Motown legend Marvin Gaye had plenty of successes and tragedies. One of his tragedies includes filing for bankruptcy in 1976 due to $600,000 in unpaid alimony. As part of the deal, he agreed to pay his ex all the royalties for his next record.

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David Cassidy

David Cassidy was a star in The Partridge Family but ran into problems with alcohol. His alcoholism eventually led to his financial issues. He was charged with three DUIs between 2010 and 2014. Cassidy’s wife filed for divorce, and by 2015, he was broke. With over $10 million in debt, he filed for bankruptcy.

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Mark Twain

We may read Mark Twain in school, but he had to file for bankruptcy as a result of a financial panic in 1893. Twain made a bad investment in a new typesetting machine and experienced cash flow problems at his publishing house. 

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Debbie Reynolds

The legendary Debbie Reynolds was a film star and business owner. Unfortunately, her business didn’t go so well. She purchased the Clarion Hotel and Casino in 1992. She renamed it Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel, but it wasn’t a success. She was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1997.

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Larry King

Larry King basked in the success of being one of the most famous journalists in the field, but he wasn’t always so successful. In 1978, he was forced to file for bankruptcy when he realized he was $300,000 in debt.

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Willie Nelson

This country music star owed between $16 to $32 million to the IRS during the '80s. By 1990, he filed for Chapter 11. Later, he released an album to help pay back his debt titled “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories.”

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Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman became a huge star on Diff’rent Strokes, but it wasn’t enough to keep him out of financial troubles. He filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1999, saying he owed $72,000. Coleman claimed that his parents looted his trust fund and made off with much of his fortune, which left him in financial distress.

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Abby Lee Miller

Abby Lee Miller is most famous for appearing in Dance Moms. In 2016, she pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud. Miller had tried to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars from appearing on the show. Later, it was discovered that she had also smuggled more than $120,000 to Australia. 

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Joe Francis

Joe Francis may be better known as the sleazy money-maker who created Girls Gone Wild. Francis found himself in legal trouble after he ran up $2 million in gambling debt at a Las Vegas casino, which he refused to pay—surprise, surprise. He filed for bankruptcy in 2013 but was later arrested in 2015 when he failed to turn over two luxury cars to his lawyers.

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Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson is arguably one of the most famous boxers that ever lived. That didn't change the fact that he owed a massive sum of money when he filed for bankruptcy in 2003. His largest debts included $17.4 million in tax liabilities to the United States and British authorities, s $9 million divorce settlement, several million owed to lawyers and producers, and over $300,000 to a limo company.

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Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds’s downfall was due to a number of bad decisions. Reynolds claimed a former accountant stole $15 million from him, he defaulted on a $3.7 million loan from CBS, and a former talent agency sued him for a $140,000 debt. Overall, he claimed he had over $10 million in debt when he filed for bankruptcy in 1996.

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50 Cent

50 Cent notoriously filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015. This was due to having between $10 and $50 million in liabilities. The filing occurred three days after paying $5 million to a woman who sued over an illicit tape. When he emerged from court, he had a plan to pay $23 million in debt over the next 5 years.

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Aaron Carter

Aaron Carter was a huge star around the early 2000s, but no one ever told him to pay his taxes. The singer filed for bankruptcy in 2013 due to owing $2 million in debt, mostly to the IRS. When he filed, Carter didn’t have much. His assets included a flat-screen TV, a Louis Vuitton backpack, and $917 in his bank account.

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Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton may have been famous, but she didn’t get much money from her album sales. She claimed in 2012 that she received less than $2,000 in royalties, which threw her into debt. By 1998, her habits of shopping and low income forced her to file for bankruptcy. She had momentary success with “Unbreak My Heart,” but she had to file for bankruptcy again when she canceled a tour in Las Vegas. 

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Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes may be relatively unknown now, but he was incredibly famous in the 70s. That being said, he ran into money problems, and it nearly destroyed his career. Hayes experienced financial mismanagement at his record label and filed for bankruptcy in 1976 for owing $6 million. He claimed he “put too much trust in people.”

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Stephen Baldwin

Stephen Baldwin, Alec’s youngest brother, filed for bankruptcy in 2009. He owed over $2 million in debt for two mortgages and credit card debt. This didn’t stop his troubles, however. In 2017, his house was foreclosed on after six years of not paying his mortgage. Baldwin was also arrested and served five years’ probation for failing to pay taxes for three years. 

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Teresa Giudice

Teresa Giudice was one of the stars of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. She filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and this set off a series of legal problems, of which she’s still working to resolve. In 2016, she finally settled her bankruptcy case and is paying back her taxes to the IRS and New Jersey Department of Revenue.

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Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage is Hollywood royalty, and he spends like it. He buys bizarre and expensive things like sharks, crocodiles, dinosaur skulls, jets, a collection of shrunken pygmy heads, and so much more. Cage’s issues began in 2009 when the IRS filed a tax lien against his New Orleans home. One of his former girlfriends also sued him for $13 million. Cage is still struggling to avoid bankruptcy, even after selling off his assets.

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Michael Vick

Michael Vick was a growing star in the NFL until it came to light that he owned a dog-fighting ring. This halted his career, which made it difficult for him to continue his extravagant lifestyle and pay his debts. In 2008, he filed for bankruptcy for owing up to $50 million in debt.

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MC Hammer

MC Hammer wasn’t untouchable when it came to his finances. In 1996, he filed for bankruptcy due to having a debt that totaled at least $13 million, much of it due to unpaid income taxes. At this point, he was forced to sell his house. Afterward, MC Hammer got out of the music business and became a minister and consultant. 

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Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper had a rough start to fame. She spent four years singing with a group called Blue Angel. The first album never took off, and it caused her to file for bankruptcy in 1981 after owing around $80,000 in debt. Thankfully, in 1983, “She’s So Unusual” took off, and she became a hit.

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Tom Petty

Tom Petty’s bankruptcy is unlike any other because it wasn’t due to poor financial management. Instead, he was going head-to-head with his label. The label had paid him very little for his hit albums, so he refused to release another album. This caused him to accumulate $500,000 in debt, so he filed for bankruptcy. In court, he wanted to have his contract declared null and void.

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Mick Fleetwood

In 1982, Mick Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Mac, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy with a debt of over $3.5 million. How did he end up like this? Fleetwood made a series of bad decisions and had a lot of bad luck and judgment. He bought a lot of real estate and ended up drowning in high-interest rates. 

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Wayne Newton

Wayne Newton is a singer and entertainer, best known for his Las Vegas shows. Newton has had several legal and financial issues over the years. He first filed for bankruptcy in 1992 to reorganize $20 million in debt. After a series of lawsuits, Newton is selling his Las Vegas home in accordance to a bankruptcy reorganization. 

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Gary Busey

Gary Busey has always had issues with finances. In 2012, that all came to a head when he filed for Chapter 7, claiming he owed half a million to creditors. As part of the deal, he was required to pay over $450,000 in unpaid state and federal taxes that weren’t eligible for discharge. 

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Mickey Rooney

Despite earning millions throughout his career, Mickey Rooney had a tough time with finances. He first filed for bankruptcy in 1962 after taking on too much debt. Then, 1996 rolled around, and he was forced to declare bankruptcy for a second time. By 2005, he described himself as “broke.”

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Comedian Sinbad used to be on top of the world, but now, he’s at the bottom of the barrel. In 2009, he filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy due to owing millions to creditors and the IRS for unpaid taxes. By 2013, he’d filed Chapter 13 for a second time due to owing thousands in debt to creditors and $8.3 million in back taxes.

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Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf’s net worth is a fraction of what it used to be, and that’s partially thanks to his bankruptcy from the '80s. In addition to poor money management, one of Meat Loaf’s songwriters filed a lawsuit against him.

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