While you're ringing in the New Year, take a moment to be grateful that even if it has been a difficult year financially, you probably haven't lost as much money as these celebrities.
- Being rich and famous can certainly come with its perks, but one's time in the limelight can be shortlived.
- Even well-known celebrities once sitting on the top of the world have seen their fortunes dwindle due to carelessness, poor planning, or bad luck.
- Here, we recap some of these riches-to-rags to stories.
Stephen Baldwin of "The Usual Suspects," and more recently, a reality TV star, filed for bankruptcy this past summer as a result of more than $2.3 million in personal debt including more than $1 million owed in back taxes. Baldwin became a victim of the housing market collapse after he took out a second mortgage on his $1.1 million home and became "underwater" on the loan.
If you've ever quit a job, you can be thankful that it probably didn't cost you nearly $9 million. That's how much a judge ordered Basinger to pay a film production company for failing to honor her commitment to star in the movie "Boxing Helena." Apparently she didn't save enough of her previous earnings to pay the bill; she ended up losing $19 million when she had to sell the town of Braselton, Georgia which she purchased in 1989 and had to file for bankruptcy.
Rap star M.C. Hammer took the music world by storm in 1990, with hits like "U Can't Touch This." But he burned through his newly-amassed $33 million fortune quickly thanks to lavish spending and an oversized entourage. He filed for bankruptcy in 1996 with debts of more than $10 million. Hammer pared back on spending and sent his professional groupies packing. Today he is the executive producer of the reality show, "Hammertime," on A&E.
The "National Treasure" star owes a king's ransom to the IRS - more than $6 million in back taxes to be exact. He blames his former manager, Samuel J. Levin, for losing millions of dollars to risky and speculative investments and recently filed a $20 million suit against the CPA.
To settle up accounts he recently sold his castle in Bavaria; he also lost two of his homes in New Orleans to auction after falling into foreclosure.
In his 2006 autobiography, "My Life In and Out of the Rough: The Truth Behind All that Bull**** You Think You Know About Me," professional golfer John Daly admitted that he had lost upwards of $60 million to his gambling addiction.
This former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies center fielder may have been pitching "winning" investment tips through his "Nails on the Numbers" newsletters since retiring from major league baseball but apparently he wasn't heeding his own advice. In an April 2009 ESPN.com interview, Dykstra claimed a personal fortune of $60 million but just three months later he filed for bankruptcy, stating he held just $50,000 in assets.
His losses are likely to continue mounting as a long string of lawsuits continue to proceed - he has had 24 legal actions filed against him since 2007.
Zsa Zsa Gabor
92-year-old Gabor was one of convicted Ponzi scheme con artist Bernard Madoff's celebrity victims. Her lawyer estimates that the actress lost $7 million to Madoff and is now having to pay off back taxes of $118,000 in addition to the loss. Actors Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick were also Madoff victims. The couple reportedly lost "everything but their real estate and checking accounts" to Madoff's $50 billion scam.
Jon & Kate Gosselin
With both their marriage and TLC series ("Jon & Kate Plus 8") ending, the reality TV couple is, at the least, losing their $3 to $4 million salary from the cable TV company not to mention all of the freebies they have enjoyed as a result of their show including trips, clothes, and toys for their brood of elementary-age children.
Daughter of deceased mob boss John Gotti, this TV reality show star ("Growing Up Gotti") filed for bankruptcy after her mansion in Long Island went into foreclosure. Blaming her financial misfortune on her ex-husband's imprisonment, she lost the home after the bank reported that she owed more than $650,000 in back mortgage payments.
This world heavyweight boxing champion may have earned nearly $250 million during his time in the ring but he's lost enough of that fortune to have gone into foreclosure on his 109-room home in suburban Atlanta. Holyfield cites two divorces and numerous failed business investments for his loss.
He may be a musical genius but this Grammy award-winner hasn't enjoyed the same string of success when it comes to his finances. He has had to file for bankruptcy and filed a $90 million lawsuit against his former manager (and former brother-in-law) Frank Weber for losing tens of millions of dollars as a result of fraud, risky investments, and unauthorized loans.
Apparently even billionaire fashion titans aren't immune to the effects of the global recession. As people have tightened their purse strings, they are passing on designer fashion for more frugally priced outfits. The combination of fewer buyers and a massive stock market decline has put a significant $1.7 billion dent in Lauren's personal wealth.
While the former Beatle made number one hit single "Can't Buy Me Love," he learned that love can be extraordinarily expensive. Without a prenuptial agreement, his divorce from Heather Mills in 2008 cost him close to $50 million.
Willie Nelson went "on the road again" to raise the $16.7 million in back taxes he owed the IRS after filing for bankruptcy in 1990. Able to laugh at his misfortune he recorded "The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories" to help settle the bill after the government seized his bank accounts and numerous homes, and later went on to star as a spokesperson for the tax preparation firm H&R Block in Super Bowl ads.
In a recent Nightline interview this domestic doyenne revealed that she estimates her time in federal prison (for obstructing justice and lying to investigators) cost her approximately $1 billion.
The Philadelphia Eagles' back-up quarterback is just grateful to have a job these days. He was signed to the team after finishing a 19-month sentence at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas for being found guilty of a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge. That choice cost the formerly Nike-sponsored athlete $135 million. In 2005 Vick was listed as the 33rd most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine; three years later he was forced to declare personal bankruptcy.
The Bottom Line
While everyone has been hit by the 2009 recession, chances are someone else lost a whole lot more than you did.