The tabloids love to rub how much celebrities make in our faces. If you read how Kim Kardashian made millions on a cheap phone game that she had nothing to do with in the newspaper, then it’s probably going to annoy you on the way to work in the morning.
Money is not eternal, however, and living a lavish lifestyle can quickly drain the zeroes from your bank account. All it takes is one errant visit from the tax man for it to all go flushing down the toilet. Making a million dollars on a movie might seem like a lot, but it won’t last long if the celebrity isn’t careful or responsible with how they spend it.
We are here today to look at the actors who made all of the money in the world and then poured it down the sink, with nothing left of their previous fortune.
From the actress who refused to lose her limbs to the guy who proved that buying dinosaur skulls is really expensive, here are the 15 Rich Actors Who Lost Everything.
15. Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger had the misfortune of becoming a legal precedent when she backed out of a controversial movie called Boxing Helena.
Boxing Helena is a movie about a surgeon who falls in love with a woman and amputates her limbs so that he can keep her captive in his house. Boxing Helena had a notoriously difficult production, with numerous actors walking out on the project.
Basinger was contracted to play the leading role but backed out, as she wasn’t allowed to make revisions to the script. This led to a legal battle with the studio, which set a precedent for actors being liable for production cost losses when they back out of a production.
Basinger was taken to court and sued for breach of contract. The court ordered her to pay $8.1 million in damages, which caused Basinger to declare bankruptcy. The amount was later lowered on appeal to $3.8 million, though the damage had already been done by then.
14. Drake Bell
It isn’t unusual for child stars to blow through their money by the time they reach adulthood. This isn’t always their fault, though, as parents will occasionally spend their children’s money for them. Drake Bell managed to avoid this by spending all of the money himself and declaring bankruptcy in 2014.
Drake Bell was one of the stars of the Nickelodeon sitcom Drake & Josh, which ran from 2004 to 2007. Once the show ended, Bell moved onto voice acting and the music industry. It seems that these careers didn’t pay as much as starring in a sitcom, as Bell declared bankruptcy in 2014, which ended up with his house in foreclosure. He owed half a million dollars in debt, which even selling his house wouldn’t have covered.
Thankfully for Bell, he was able to get his career back on track, as he now provides numerous voices in Marvel productions and tours regularly.
13. Michael Jackson
It’s mind boggling how someone like Michael Jackson could blow through their fortune. He was one of the most successful entertainers who ever lived. This isn’t even counting his stake in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which gave him part ownership of thousands of songs, including The Beatles back catalog. You would have to try really hard to blow through Jackson’s fortune… and yet he managed it.
Jackson’s financial issues came to light due to the molestation court case against him in 2005. He was spending up thirty million dollars more a year than he what he was earning. He had to use his stake in Sony/ATV in order to secure a two hundred million dollar loan to keep himself afloat.
He spent the last years of his life dodging creditors, which included a seven million dollar deal he had made with Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa (the second son of the king of Bahrain), as Jackson agreed to produce a musical, autobiography, and stage show for the prince, which he never followed through on.
12. Brendan Fraser
A string of poor film choices is all it takes to end a promising Hollywood career and a messy divorce is all it takes to end the money you made making those movies, as Brendan Fraser learned.
Fraser was once a big draw in Hollywood. He had a string of hits throughout the end of the ’90s and beyond, as he starred in films like George of the Jungle, The Mummy (not the Tom Cruise one), and Crash. Fraser’s fortunes turned when the third Mummy movie tanked and he started appearing in terrible movies which drew no money at the box office.
It was his divorce to Afton Smith that drained Fraser’s finances. He paid over nine hundred thousand dollars a year in alimony payments, which he tried to reduce by proving that it was more than his annual income in court. The death of his career meant that he wasn’t bringing in any more cash.
11. Wesley Snipes
The Marvel Cinematic Universe owes a great deal to Wesley Snipes’ awesome portrayal of the vampire hunter Blade. He starred in a trilogy of action movies, which helped to prove that Marvel properties could draw money at the box office. However, it seems that even the Daywalker is afraid of the most vicious vampires of them all: the IRS.
Wesley Snipes was charged with failing to file proper tax returns for six years, as well as for filing fraudulent returns, to the tune of twelve million dollars worth of refunds. Snipes filed for bankruptcy in 2006, which was the same year that the law finally caught up to him and legal proceedings concerning his tax problems began.
In 2008, Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison for his crimes. He did not start serving this time until 2010, as he went to the appeals court first. Snipes finished serving his sentence in April of 2013.
10. Gary Coleman
At the age of eleven, Gary Coleman was one of the highest paid actors in television. He was the star of Diff’rent Strokes, which was one of the most successful sitcoms of the late ’70s and the ’80s. It was estimated that Coleman was earning over one hundred thousand dollars an episode, with over twenty episodes being filmed per season.
Coleman was unable to enjoy his riches, however, since his parents spent most of his money during his youth. He would later go on to sue his parents, as he believed that they had stolen over a million dollars from his estate.
He later sued his parents and business advisor for three point eight million dollars. It was these court cases, coupled with Coleman’s medical bills due to his ongoing kidney problems, that eventually drained his fortune. He declared bankruptcy in 1999.
Sinbad is primarily known for his stand up comedy, though he has also appeared in quite a few movies, which included roles in a lot of kid films, like Jingle All the Way and Good Burger. The roles eventually dried up, but that didn’t stop Sinbad from spending more than he earned.
Sinbad’s finances were so mismanaged that he declared bankruptcy on two separate occasions. The first time Sinbad declared bankruptcy happened in 2009. This forced him to put his house up for sale, in order to pay off his debts.
According to Sinbad, he was always hoping that another hit movie would come along and pay him enough money to wipe out his debts. This never happened, however, which led to his second bankruptcy declaration in 2013.
Sinbad still earns a living as a stand-up comedian and voice actor, as he has recurring roles in shows like Steven Universe. He has also moved behind the camera, producing numerous different movies and TV shows over the years.
8. Nicolas Cage
It probably isn’t surprising that Nicolas Cage has a crazy side to him. Nobody really knew how deep the rabbit hole went until the details of his finances came out in 2008, and it was revealed that Cage had a massive tax bill that he was struggling to pay off. He owed the IRS around fourteen million dollars, which meant that he had to take any role that became available.
Cage only has himself to blame, considering some of the outlandish purchases he made over the years. He blew through his fortune by spending it on extremely irresponsible things.
For example, Cage bought an octopus, a tomb, a private island, two castles in Europe, fifteen different homes across America, a copy of Action Comics #1, a bunch of severed pygmy heads, and a dinosaur skull (that he had to return because it was stolen from Mongolia).
7. Isaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes was primarily known for his musical work throughout his career, though he did appear in numerous TV show and movies before finding the role that helped bring him back to mainstream popularity. Hayes will forever be known as the voice of Chef in South Park, even though he left the show on bad terms and was allegedly unable to make peace with Trey Parker and Matt Stone before his death.
The movie Shaft helped propel Isaac Hayes to stardom, where he won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for creating its theme. Hayes’ success lasted until 1976, when he was forced to declare bankruptcy. His album sales had dropped and he owed six million dollars in debt.
The worst part of Isaac Hayes’ bankruptcy was that he lost the rights to all of the music that he had created up until that point. After Hayes passed away, his family worked hard to recover the rights to the songs that were lost.
6. Lorraine Bracco
Lorraine Bracco starred in one of the greatest movies of all time and was even nominated for an Academy Award, yet that wasn’t enough to help her find a sustainable career in Hollywood.
She had played Karen Hill in Goodfellas, which should have been enough to propel her to stardom. However, it took a while before Bracco would find another role that would bring her mainstream success, but she had to face dire financial struggles before she got there.
In 1982, Bracco started dating Harvey Keitel. The two of them would have a daughter together, which ended with a bitter custody battle. Bracco blew through most of her finances in order to keep custody of her daughter. She eventually won custody rights, though she was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Luckily for Bracco, she landed the role of Dr. Melfi in The Sopranos not long after, which helped to revitalize her career.
5. Randy Quaid
Refugee status is usually reserved for those who fear that their lives are in danger in their home country. It isn’t something that is meant to be invoked when you can’t pay your bills. It seems no one told Randy Quaid this, as he tried to become a refugee in Canada in order to escape his financial woes.
Quaid’s career had sputtered out by the year 2000, with him being forced to declare bankruptcy. His career was briefly revitalized by his performance in Brokeback Mountain, though he was unable to maintain the momentum and keep finding work.
Quaid and his wife were arrested in 2009 and were accused of trying to defraud an inn in Santa Barbara. The couple kept skipping court appearances, which led to warrants for their arrest. They were later charged with burglary after they broke into a home that they once owned.
4. Chris Tucker
The fact that Chris Tucker made a lot of money in the movie industry, even though he is one of the most annoying people alive today is proof that the universe is a cold and unjust place. Then again: he blew through all of his money and ended up millions of dollars in debt,
Chris Tucker starred alongside Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour trilogy, the second of which was just behind the Lord of the Rings movies in terms of sales for New Line Cinema. Tucker earned an estimated forty million dollars for the last two Rush Hour movies, which is a lot of money to blow through. Part of what brought Chris Tucker down was shoddy accounting on behalf of his people, which came back to bite him later on.
3. Pamela Anderson
Baywatch was one of the most watched TV shows of all time, and not many shows have ever come close to its popularity. The show was watched by over a billion people across the world every week.
The two main reasons why people watched Baywatch was Anderson, which was what helped to propel her to stardom, and the slow motion running. Anderson went on to become the most recognizable female celebrity in the world, with a level of stardom that dwarfed even that of Madonna.
The days of Baywatch are long gone and Anderson can’t ask for the same sky high rates that she used to for whenever she disrobed in a magazine.
She was forced to move into a trailer park with her two sons, as she was no longer able to afford to maintain the other homes that she owned. Anderson would later have problems with the IRS, which would force her to sell off the remainder of her property.
2. Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds starred in some of the most successful movies of the ’70s and ’80s. He earned a fortune at the box office due to starring in movies like Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit, and The Cannonball Run. These funds were eventually depleted by the time the ’90s rolled around, which caused Reynolds to file for bankruptcy.
The main reason why Reynolds lost his money was due to a costly divorce with Loni Anderson, which also cost him an advertising gig with Quaker State. Reynolds also claimed that one of his accountants stole fifteen million dollars from him.
Additionally, the William Morris talent agency took Reynolds to court due to the fact that he owed them over one hundred and forty thousand dollars.
Reynolds would find success after declaring bankruptcy, which included roles in movies like Boogie Nights, the remake of The Longest Yard, and The Dukes of Hazzard, which presumably helped him out of his financial issues.
1. Stephen Baldwin
Not all Baldwins are created equal, which Stephen learned to his chagrin. Stephen Baldwin had a few hits early in his career, such as Threesome and Bio-Dome, but it wasn’t long before he was relegated to roles in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice.
Baldwin had numerous issues with drugs, which were well-publicized and prevented him from finding work. He has since overcome his personal issues and has found religion, though the most lucrative roles he can find all seem to be on reality TV shows.
The lack of choice roles eventually took their toll on Baldwin’s bank account, as he has had numerous financial troubles over the years. Baldwin and his wife both filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, as they owed almost two and a half million dollars.
He would later go on to have issues with the IRS due to the fact that he didn’t file income tax returns for three years, causing him to owe over three hundred thousand dollars.
Can you think of any other actors who completely lost it all or were unbelievably irresponsible with their finances? Let us know in the comments.
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