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12 Celebrities Who Went Bankrupt – This List May Surprise You!

Despite their successful careers and lavish lifestyles, some celebrities have found themselves facing financial difficulties. Some recovered from their financial downfall, while others weren’t as lucky. Here are 12 famous faces who went bankrupt.

1. Mike Tyson

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Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson had a meteoric rise to fame and fortune, earning over $300 million during his boxing career. However, he squandered much of his wealth on expensive cars, jewelry, and homes. In 2003, Tyson filed for bankruptcy, citing $27 million in debt.

2. Kim Basinger

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Actress Kim Basinger was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1980s and 1990s, with notable roles in films such as Batman and L.A. Confidential. However, her financial troubles began in the early 1990s when she backed out of a film contract, leading to a $8.1 million lawsuit she couldn’t afford. In 1993, Basinger filed for bankruptcy.

3. MC Hammer

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Rapper MC Hammer was one of the biggest music stars of the late 1980s and early 1990s, with hits such as “U Can’t Touch This.” However, he famously spent millions on a lavish lifestyle, including a $30 million mansion and a staff of 200 people. In 1996, MC Hammer filed for bankruptcy after accumulating $13 million in debt.

4. Toni Braxton

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Grammy-winning singer Toni Braxton had a successful career in the 1990s and early 2000s, with hits such as “Un-Break My Heart.” However, her finances were rocky, and she filed for bankruptcy twice. In 1998, she filed for bankruptcy due to poor record sales and overspending on luxury goods. In 2010, she filed for bankruptcy again due to a failed Las Vegas show and a lawsuit from her former manager.

5. Burt Reynolds

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Movie star Burt Reynolds was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1970s and 1980s, with iconic roles in films such as Smokey and the Bandit and Deliverance. However, his financial troubles began in the 1990s when he made a series of poor investments and overspent on his lavish lifestyle, including an expensive divorce settlement. In 1996, Reynolds filed for bankruptcy with $10 million in debt.

6. 50 Cent

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Rapper and businessman 50 Cent was once worth hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to his music career, investments, and endorsement deals. However, his financial situation took a turn for the worse in 2015 when he lost a lawsuit and was ordered to pay $7 million in damages. He filed for bankruptcy soon after, citing $36 million in debt.

7. Larry King

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Legendary talk show host Larry King’s financial troubles predate his TV career. In 1978, King filed for bankruptcy after accumulating $352,000 in debt from failed business ventures and personal expenses. He famously bounced back from bankruptcy and went on to host Larry King Live for over 25 years.

8. Abraham Lincoln

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Before becoming the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln had a failed business venture that left him with debts he couldn’t pay. In 1833, Lincoln filed for bankruptcy, citing $1,000 in debt. He famously paid off his debts and went on to have a successful political career.

9. Kim Dotcom

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Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom made a fortune with his file-sharing website, Megaupload. However, his legal battles caught up with him, and he filed for bankruptcy in 2015. Dotcom lost a court battle over Megaupload and was ordered to pay millions in damages, which he couldn’t afford.

10. Janice Dickinson

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Model Janice Dickinson was one of the most famous faces in the fashion industry in the 1970s and 1980s, known for gracing the covers of magazines such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan. However, her personal life was tumultuous, and she struggled with addiction and financial troubles. In 2013, she filed for bankruptcy, citing over $1 million in debt from unpaid taxes, medical bills, and legal fees.

11. Johnny Unitas

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Johnny Unitas was a legendary football player and Hall of Famer, known for leading the Baltimore Colts to multiple championships in the 1950s and 1960s. However, after retiring from football, Unitas struggled to make ends meet and filed for bankruptcy in 1991. He cited a failed business venture and medical expenses for his bankruptcy.

12. Donald Trump

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Businessman and former U.S. President Donald Trump is known for his wealth and success in the real estate industry. However, he has also experienced multiple bankruptcies throughout his career. His first bankruptcy was in 1991 when his Atlantic City casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, filed for bankruptcy. He would go on to file for bankruptcy several more times in the following years, with his businesses accruing billions of dollars in debt.

Final Thoughts

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Despite their fame and fortune, these 12 celebrities went bankrupt for various reasons, including poor financial management, failed business ventures, and legal issues. Bankruptcy can happen to anyone, regardless of their income or status. However, it’s important to remember that bankruptcy is not the end of the road, and with proper financial planning and management, it’s possible to bounce back from financial hardships.


Jenna Gleespen is a published author and copywriter specializing in personal and investment finance. Her expertise is in financial product reviews and stock market education.