When people dream of leaving their boring, ordinary lives behind and becoming rich, famous celebrities, they often fail to imagine all of the inane details that go into maintaining such a lifestyle. In particular, people tend to assume that once you’re rich, you’re pretty much rich for life.
While it’s true that being poor is more expensive than being rich, it’s far from impossible for a rich celebrity to lose everything. In fact, it happens all the time. Here are just a few examples.
Pop superstar Michael Jackson hadn’t yet filed for bankruptcy at the time of his death, but sources close to the singer say he was close. Though Jackson made huge amounts of money as the world’s most recognizable pop icon, he hit financial hardship in the years before his death.
Friends say Jackson was a millionaire who spent money like a billionaire, and that he was deeply in debt before his death. Some sources estimate it as high as $300 million.
Record sales after his passing in 2009 more than paid for Jackson’s outstanding debts, and then some.
Larry King is doing quite well for himself these days. He’s fresh from a 25 year stint as host of “Larry King Live”, he has a new show on Ora.tv called “Larry King Now” (he’s a talk show host, not a creative genius) and he has an estimated net work of $150 million.
But things weren’t always so swell for the journalist. In 1972, King suffered a string of legal troubles for which he was eventually acquitted. Unfortunately it made finding work very difficult, and King was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1978. Thankfully, CNN offered him a job as the host of a late-night talk radio show, which would later become the eponymous “Larry King Live”.
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola is a legendary director, and the person responsible for such iconic films as The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Part II and Dracula. But his passion for his own films has gotten him into financial trouble in the past. Specifically, the director points to “One From the Heart,” a movie that cost an astonishing $27 million to film but only made $4 million, for the majority of his debt. When Coppola hired a Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer and filed for Chapter 11 in 1992, Coppola’s liabilities were upwards of $98 million.
He’s doing fine now. He’s even opened his own winery and several hotels.
MC Hammer, best known for his hit single “Can’t Touch This,” was living large after his album dropped in 1990. With an estimated net worth of $33 million, you really couldn’t touch Mr. Hammer, financially speaking at least.
It wasn’t to last, however, and Hammer filed for bankruptcy just a few years later in 1996. It may not have been due to excessive spending, however. “I took my money and employed 200 people in my community,” he said, adding: “I had a payroll of a million dollars a month at times.”
Hammer has now settled down with his family, but reportedly still owes quite a hefty sum in back taxes to the IRS.
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