Just because they’re Hollywood royalty doesn’t mean these stars always got to live like it.
Many of the world’s top celebs have wasted away millions of their hard-earned cash living overly lavish lifestyles and facing costly legal battles. OR WORSE — they never got a dime of their riches because of corrupt parents and business partners!
See who had it all before they spent it all (below)!
Christy Carlson Romano
Christy Carlson Romano was one of Disney Channel‘s biggest stars growing up, but earlier this year, she admitted that she lost “millions” after mishandling her money. In a candid YouTube video, the Even Stevens alum explained that, since she was a child star, her parents initially had control of her finances. While they did their best to get her great deals, they didn’t set her up for success by teaching her the “value” of money. Because she didn’t know how to properly invest, she used her cash o purchase “big-ticket items” like cars to “feel better” about herself. The 37-year-old explained:
“I really regret not investing my money wisely. I didn’t get a house. I didn’t take any money and store it away… I was not being taught how to manage my money. For example, when I was 21, I had a record deal. I had a book deal. And in that year I made just about a million dollars. And in that same year, I spent it… I was using buying things and [using] money as a weapon. I felt like if I could just buy certain things, I would feel better or if I just lived a certain lifestyle, I would be closer to that joy of feeling accepted and a lot less alone because I felt really dumb for not knowing about my money and I never really made peace with that. Even to this day, there’s nothing I can really do about the fact that money came and went.”
Yeesh. That would be a hard thing to grapple with! The former Kim Possible lead also admitted she probably “self-destructed.” While everyone around her was saying she wouldn’t have to worry about money or her career slowing down — even as she was aging out of her child star roles — she became “overwhelmed” with the pressure of supporting those around her, resulting in her showing up hours late for auditions and taking roles she’s “not proud of.”
These days, as the mom of two, she’s focused on making smart choices with her funds and enjoying the simpler things in life. Hear her wise advice (below)!
Singer Aaron Carter has faced a multitude of financial troubles over the years, but it wasn’t all his fault. The Aaron’s Party (Come Get It) musician’s money was managed by his parents while he was a child star. While they were supposed to put aside 15 percent by law, by the time Carter turned 18, there was allegedly a lot less left. Instead of gaining $20 million, he was allegedly left with just $2 million and a million in taxes his parents neglected to pay. Yikes!
By 2013, this led the younger brother of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The dramatic financial decision was done to protect his parents Robert and Jane Carter from going to jail for tax evasion. Unfortunately, just months later, he found himself in debt again, this time for $150K. In 2016, Aaron appeared on the reality series Life Or Debt, on which he admitted to his financial advisor Victor Antonio:
“Financially, I’m in a terrible position. When I turned 18, I got hit with all those taxes. I filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year; now I’m already over $100,000 in debt.”
Despite having boasted about his ritzy lifestyle online, three years later, the 33-year-old set up a GoFundMe page and asked his fans to give him $100,000 so that he could rebuild his life away from family and outside of California where he would be “safe” from alleged threats at an “undisclosed location.”
Is this Schitt’s Creek?! Kim Basinger lost all her money after buying her own small town (among some other unfortunate issues)!
When things were looking up for the L.A. Confidential alum in her acting career, she bought a small town in Georgia with aspirations of creating a film studio or theme park. That dream was shattered when things took a turn for the worse in 1993 after she backed out of the film Boxing Helena. Main Line Pictures ordered her to pay $8 million for that career decision, forcing her to file for bankruptcy. Kim had to sell the small town in order to pay her debts. For a bit of good news, the Batman lead eventually settled with the studio and reportedly only had to pay them $3.8 million.
Johnny Depp reportedly lost $650 million he earned from movie making because his accountant failed to pay his taxes! The Pirates of the Caribbean star claimed that he discovered the loss during a meeting with his financial partner in 2016. At that time, he reportedly owed the IRS $100 million for failing to pay taxes for 17 YEARS!!
Luckily for the actor, his career was still flourishing and he reportedly made $60 million that year. So, it didn’t break the belt that much!
Another child star’s fortune was wasted away by his parents…
Gary Coleman was the highest-paid child actor in the late ’70s/early ’80s, starring in productions like Diff’rent Strokes, The Little Rascals, The Kid with the 200 I.Q., and The Kid with the Broken Halo. On Diff’rent Strokes, he made the shocking amount of $70,000 per episode. So, the guy should have been set up for financial success for the rest of his life! Unfortunately, his adoptive parents and business manager, who had control of his income while he was a minor, grossly mismanaged it.
Years after the show came to an end, Coleman sued those involved for the lost money, claiming they were siphoning funds from his earnings for their own desires, and he actually saw some victory. He was awarded $1.3 million in return, but, sadly, that wasn’t enough to fix his problems. In 1999, The Gary Coleman Show alum filed for bankruptcy. He even went on to take a job as a security guard before his death in 2010.
Rapper 50 Cent was once allegedly $32.5 million in debt! Daaaamn.
The musician and actor, best known for his TV series Power, had made big bucks through multiple business ventures, but still found himself in debt due to lawsuits and unpaid child support payments in 2015. The child support was owed to model Daphne Joy (real name Daphne Narvaez) and their now 9-year-old son Sire (he was just 2 at the time). In court documents filed in 2016, he detailed needing to pay $832,600 until Sire reached the age of 18. That’s $4,330 a month! He also had to pay child support for his other son Marquise, whom he shares with Shaniqua Thompkins. No wonder his wallet was hurting.
At the time, he stated that his monthly income was $183K, which he spent $72,000 of on his 18-bedroom Connecticut mansion and $108,000 in other expenses, according to the New York Post. Two other lawsuits left him strapped for cash, as well — including a court order to pay $7 million to his ex-girlfriend Lastonia Leviston (whose sex tape he reportedly sold out of revenge), according to CNN Money. The Get Rich or Die Tryin vocalist was forced to appear in court over worries he might have been lying about how broke he was, especially since he was posting videos like such:
It’s all good though — 50 Cent seems to have a lot more cents to his name these days! By 2018, it was reported that the multi-talented artist was back to millionaire status, thanks to his Bitcoin profits which tallied $7 million (or 700 bitcoin), according to TMZ. That said, this could have all been an illusion. The celeb, born Curtis James Jackson III, later filed court documents claiming those reports were wrong and that he never even owned any Bitcoin. Hmm… He still seems to be doing alright for himself!
Larry King was one of the most famous radio announcers ever in the ’60s and ’70s, but then a terrible legal battle left him penniless! In the late ’70s, the How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere author was charged with grand larceny and accused of stealing $5,000 from a former business partner. While the charges were dropped, King still fell into debt because of the toll the situation had on his career. He declared bankruptcy in 1978.
Remarkably, that same year, he was offered a national radio talk show set in Washington DC that would later become his famous Larry King Live show on CNN! He went on to host many more shows, write several books, and even star in a few movies. King sadly passed away in January 2021 from sepsis, a complication of his COVID-19 diagnosis.
MC Hammer filed for bankruptcy after spending millions helping his community (as well as dealing with lawsuits). After the U Can’t Touch This star rocketed to fame, he bought a million-dollar home, a horse stable, and 19 racehorses. He then hired 200 people from his community to work for him, a decision that sounds great on the outset but came back to bite him in the ass when he found himself $13 million in debt in 1996. He supposedly owed money to lawyers and the IRS.
Chatting about the unfortunate turn of events, the singer, born Stanley Kirk Burrell, had no regrets, telling Oprah.com:
“No, I lost my heart. I didn’t just take the money and say, ‘I want to be a blessing to myself.’ I took my money and employed 200 people in my community. I had a payroll of a million dollars a month at times… Some people ask me sometimes, would I go back and change things? They are flabbergasted by my answer. My real, true answer is I wouldn’t change one thing. I really believe in the butterfly effect. Meaning that if I change one thing, everything else changes. I lose the kids I have now. I lose the relationships I have now. I lose the peace I have now. So I’m very happy with my decision.”
What an interesting perspective. We suppose it is great that he was trying to give back to his community and therefore doesn’t regret his actions. And at least things turned out alright in the end!
Michael Jackson was in a staggering amount of debt when he died in 2009: $400 million!! Excessive spending, unpaid loans, and expensive lawsuits helped create this large burden. During a trial for child molestation charges in 2005, a forensic accountant testified that MJ was in an “ongoing cash crisis,” spending $20-30 million more per year than he earned. Yikes! Because of this debt, the moonwalking pop star’s famous Neverland estate was on the verge of foreclosure. He was also failing to make mortgage payments on his house in LA, where his family had stayed for years.
A few wealthy benefactors stepped up and helped the Beat It vocalist out of his financial trouble, according to Billboard. Interestingly, since his passing, the Jackson 5 alum has become one of the top-earning dead celebrities.
Whoa! These rags to riches (to rags) stories are wild!! It’s hard to even imagine losing hundreds of millions of dollars!! Thoughts? Sound OFF in the comments (below)!