"In that year I made just about a million dollars. And in that same year, I spent it."
Hollywood may be filled with the rich and the famous but with a few bad decisions, these celebrities risk losing it all. That's exactly what happened to a few stars who fell on hard times after failing to keep track of their finances. Whether they made poor investments, couldn't stop spending, or let their lavish lifestyle get the best of them, these celebs lost millions — and some even had to file for bankruptcy.
Stars like Nicolas Cage and T-Pain experienced the highs and lows of financial success but were thankfully able to regain control of their fortune. Unfortunately, many others were not so lucky.
Read on to find out which celebs lost their millions...
Christy Carlson Romano was a Disney Channel star growing up but recently revealed that she lost the majority of the money she made by the time she was a young adult. She explained that she blew "millions of dollars" because she didn't know how to manage her wealth and ended up buying "big ticket items" like cars in order to "feel better" about herself. At one point she even spent large amounts of money on a psychic, which she says is one of her biggest regrets.
"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 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," Christy said on her YouTube channel.
Burt Reynolds may have been a major movie star but by the 1990s, he was forced to file for bankruptcy. He reportedly had spent much of his fortune on real estate, custom cars, horses, and a private jet and after an expensive divorce settlement, he wasn't able to repay a $3.7 million loan to CBS. While many factors led to his financial distress, Burt says it was mostly because he just didn't watch his spending.
"I've lost more money than is possible because I just haven't watched it. I've still done well in terms of owning property and things like that. But I haven't been somebody who's been smart about his money. There are a couple of actors who are quite brilliant with the way they’ve handled their money. But they're not very good actors," Burt told Vanity Fair before his passing.
Mike Tyson's boxing career made him a millionaire, earning a reported $400 million throughout his career, but by 2003, he was millions of dollars in debt. Mike admits he "went crazy" with his money, squandering his fortune on jewelry, mansions and cars. When he filed bankruptcy, he is said to have owed money to the IRS, lawyers, a financial manager and British tax authorities on top of a $9 million divorce settlement and child support payments.
"I had everything and now I'm $60 million in debt. For some reason, they thought I was trying to make a deal to get out of this bankruptcy. They thought I was going to fight it, but I had no intention of fighting it. I kept paying a little bit at a time. I'd make some money and I'd pay them and then next thing you know I would owe the money for so long they would say, 'you've owed us for so long so we're gonna decline you owing us this.' So they would take seven or five million off. That's how it was getting down. And so they said, 'look, we're gonna take this off, too.' I wound up owing them two million dollars and I paid it and it was over," Mike said on his podcast.
While he admits he was confused by the process and the fact that his belongings were never repossessed, he committed to rebuilding his wealth within the entertainment industry.
Nicolas Cage has been one of the biggest stars in Hollywood for years and accumulated millions of dollars but he ended up spending much of his vast fortune. Through the years, his $150 million net worth dwindled as he purchased expensive properties around the world, including two castles, as well as rare artifacts, comic books, and cars. By 2015, reports began to surface that Nicolas was facing foreclosure on several of his properties and owed the IRS $6.3 million in property taxes. Now worth around $25 million, Nicolas lives a more simple life after repaying his debts.
"For a while there, it was the three Cs; castles, comic books and cars...I had to put the money somewhere, and I was a big believer in real estate, and I got caught up in that bubble that exploded. I thought it was real. I didn't trust stocks and I didn't trust just leaving it in the bank. I believed in real estate. So now I'm working through all that...I [now] have a tiny – and I do mean tiny – little cottage in Somerset, near Glastonbury. And I enjoy it that way. The magic of the green hills and the trees and the history. Then I have this other small lifestyle in Las Vegas. Which is a different kind of magic. That's the razzle-dazzle of the city. My wife loves it and we have good friends there. And that's it. That's my life, which is simple. And I want to keep it that way," Nicolas told The Guardian in 2013.
T-Pain made it big as a rapper and at one point was worth almost $40 million but a series of bad financial decisions left him so broke that he almost lost his home and "had to borrow money to get [his] kids Burger King." The musician says that his poor spending habits and "bad investments" forced him to reconsider the way he dealt with money and rebuild his finances. Thankfully, he is in a much better position now.
"Now I know what the high end is and what the low end is. I've been mega-rich, I've been super broke, right in the middle of thinking I was mega-rich, and then got rich again, and you know learned how to really give a s--- about money...Once you give a s-- about the money you're making, then you feel much better about your accomplishments, you feel much better about what you're doing, you start paying attention to your work that makes you money," T-Pain said "The Breakfast Club."
Aaron Carter faced a series of financial issues stemming from his parents' mismanagement of the fortune he made as a child star. While they were supposed to put aside 15 percent of his money by law, he had significantly less in his account when he turned 18. Instead of at least $20 million, he only had $2 million and was hit with millions of dollars in taxes that his parents had not paid.
Several years later, Aaron filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy but just months later, he once again found himself in debt. While he's publicly attempted to find help with his finances, he has continued to struggle and at one point even set up a GoFundMe asking fans to donate during a difficult time.
Kim Basinger was a successful actress but in 1993, she was forced to file for bankruptcy after she was ordered to pay over $8 million to Main Line Pictures for backing out of the film "Boxing Helena." Several years earlier, she had purchased a town in Georgia in the hopes of creating a movie studio or theme park but was forced to sell the property as part of her debts.
Eventually, Kim settled with Main Line Pictures and reportedly paid the company somewhere around $3.8 million to settle the dispute.
At the time of Michael Jackson's death, he was reportedly over $400 million in debt. His excessive spending, unpaid loans, and expensive lawsuits had left him in a difficult financial situation and on the verge of foreclosure on his Neverland estate. While Michael's wealth had been depleted before his passing, he is now one of the top-earning dead celebrities in the world.
Rapper MC Hammer made millions after the release of his hit song "U Can't Touch This." He went on to buy a million dollar home and put even more money into renovations. He additionally bought a horse stable filled with racehorses and hired hundreds of people from his hometown to work for him. By 1996, he was reportedly $13 million in debt and owed money to lawyers and the IRS. He filed for bankruptcy but later said that he wouldn't change a thing about how things happened.
"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," he told Oprah.com.
Gary Coleman grew up on "Diff'rent Strokes," bringing in $70,000 an episode. But as a child actor, his adoptive parents and business manager had control of his income, which they unfortunately grossly mismanaged. Years after the show wrapped, Gary won a lawsuit in which he accused his parents and business manager of siphoning funds from his earnings. He was awarded $1.3 million but he was still forced to file for bankruptcy in 1999. He later took a job as a security guard before his passing in 2010.