$53 Million? Celebrities With Record-Breaking Amounts Of Debt
When Kanye West announced that he was $53 million in debt, we all raised an eyebrow. How can someone who makes millions get that far behind on their bills? Well, as it turns out, Kanye West was speaking figuratively about his massive bills. That $53 million is the amount that he’s invested in his own companies. And if he can get Mark Zuckerberg to invest that cool billion in him, his financial house will soon be in order.
But the rest of the celebrities on this list aren’t just broke because of investments. These stars managed to get themselves into mind-boggling amounts of debt. Everything from IRS debt to balling out of control helped these stars find themselves millions of dollars in a hole. What’s even more unbelievable? How some of these stars managed to work their way out of their debt. Get ready to feel better about your own credit card bill and learn some hard lessons in finance from these celebs with the biggest debts in recent history.
Comedian Sinbad filed for bankruptcy for the second time in 2013 after finding himself $11 million in debt, including $8 million in unpaid taxes.
Back in 1996, MC Hammer’s massive luxurious lifestyle put the rapper $13 million debt. His money issues wound up outshining his music career. But, as of 2014, he’d paid the debt down to roughly $1 million.
Recently, 50 Cent had a few hiccups in his plan to Get Rich Or Die Trying. Despite his reported $155 million net worth, the rapper recently declared bankruptcy to deal with all the lawsuits against him. He estimates his debt at between $10 and $50 million, which is just about equal to his assets.
Most people couldn’t imagine blowing through $150 million. But Nicholas Cage not only spent his fortune, but he also ended up owing the IRS $13 million on top of it. To pay off his massive debt, Nicolas Cage had to sell his castles in England and Germany, an Island in the Bahamas and several other of his properties all around the world.
In 1990, the IRS most of Willie Nelson’s property (everything but his favorite guitar) to cover his $16.7 million debt. But the legendary country singer managed to earn it all back with his 1992 album, The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?
Kim Basinger wound up $8 million in debt when she was sued for pulling out of her contract to appear in the movie Boxing Helena — right after she spent $20 million on the town of Braselton, Georgia. Not only did Basinger have to file for bankruptcy, but she had to sell her town too!
Wesley Snipes wound up with a $17 million tax debt (and a three-year prison sentence) and was found guilty of not filing tax returns in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Back in 2005, boxer Mike Tyson announced that his $400 million net worth was gone, and he was $23 million in debt. But Iron Mike has spent the past few years getting financially back on track. The IRS even forgave $2 million of his debt in 2014.
Despite selling millions of records in the 1990s, singer Toni Braxton filed for bankruptcy in 1998 claiming debts up to $50 million. She had to file for bankruptcy again in 2010. Thankfully, Braxton Family Values helped to bring the Braxton family back into the spotlight and Braxton back into the black!
Famous photographer Annie Lebovitz found herself $24 million in debt. How did Leibovitz do it? Mortgages on several homes, frequent trips abroad, and flying her Vermont maintenance man all around the world to fix the air conditioner on properties when she needed it.
The only thing more impressive than Michael Jackson’s massive debt is his massive wealth. When Jackson died in 2009, he was $500 million in debt — split among 65 creditors. But the $750 million in assets that he accrued in publishing catalogs has left behind plenty to support his family.
Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis also found himslef in hot water for fudging tax details. Now he’s on the hook for a $29.4 million bill with the IRS, and millions in other financial responsibilities.
In 2011, the rap legend revealed that he owed a nearly $7 million debt to the IRS plus $25,000 a month in child and spousal support after his divorce from R&B singer Kelis.
Singer Wayne Newton made the 1983 Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-paid entertainer in the world. About 10 years later, he was an impressive $20 million in debt following a string of bad investments.