Lifestyles of the Dumb and Famou$ – Infamous Celeb Bankruptcies

December 12, 2011  |  
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We’ve all seen the lifestyles of the rich and famous–celebrities spending more money in a day than most people see in a year. Same old story–they’re rich, you’re not. Got it.

That is, until news of a bankruptcy breaks and it looks like Mrs. Rich and Mr. Famous were spending money faster than a crackhead with an IRS refund check. Most people have horrid financial sense to begin with, and celebrities are no different. Especially those ones who go from rags to riches.

There’s a pitch for a new reality show if I’ve ever heard one: What happens when the famous stop being rich, and start being bankrupt. I would revel in guilt while taking pleasure watching Lindsay Lohan’s car repoed.

Plus it’s a win-win. Cash-strapped celebrities get a few more paychecks and viewers at home, learn some hard lessons at someone else’s expense. Public education. You too can learn financial success while being entertained by fiscal failures.

Granted, claiming bankrupt is a smart fiscal strategy to keep money-grubbing hands out your pocket. But at the end of the day, making millions only to end up losing it all like you’ve been betting big in Vegas, is one thing, and one thing only: dumb. Oh yeah, and entertaining.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite, and financially dumb, super stars:

Toni Braxton
Bankrupt in 1998 & 2010

Toni may be a diva with a one of a kind voice, but I have a sneaky suspicion that her “family values,” (not to mention an endless collection of red bottoms) doesn’t include appreciation for the value of a dollar. Toni filed for bankruptcy the first time in 1998, just two years after Secrets, her most successful album.

I’ll accept that she had a bum contract from LaFace records, but over ten years later, she files again in 2010, proving she hasn’t learned a darn thing about fiscal responsibility. Braxton and her fans will cite that she had to back out of contracts to tend to her medical problems, and while that’s true, it’s also the case that Toni had millions of her own money tied up in business deals.

She’ll never get a slot on Celebrity Apprentice for dumb $#!% like that.

Suge Knight
Bankrupt in 2006

Suge Knight happens to be one of those guys who really is as dumb as he looks. From Tupac to Dr. Dre to Snoop Dogg, the former CEO of Death Row Records, caked in millions in recording contracts. But thanks to a slew of thug-motivated decision-making, he was left with $12 in his bank account. He did time from 1997 to 2001 for parole violation, then was ordered to pay $107 million to co-creator of Death Row in 2006. Shortly after, he filed for bankruptcy. Dummy.

If he was smart, he’d sue Rick Ross for stealing his whole look.

M.C. Hammer
Bankrupt in 1996

M.C. Hammer proves that even a good hustler can have the worst financial sense. He practically made his own way selling and street marketing in much the same way Jay-Z and Damon Dash did -except when he blew beyond America’s wildest dreams, he had no clue how to work with a balance sheet.

I really feel like Oprah should have stepped in and helped homie out. I hear she has her own app to track every red cent.

Mike Tyson
Bankrupt in 2003

One of the most prolific pugilists in history, Tyson, was making $30 million per fight at the height of his career. But as he suffered from all-around dumbness, his future financial security didn’t have a chance. At the time, he could afford a $400,000-a-month lifestyle. Seventeen years down the line, without anywhere near the same level of income, and countless people bleeding him dry, Mike was forced to file bankruptcy in 2003. He was $27 million in debt.

You can bet your tuckus, you’ll be seeing him in Hangover 3.

Bankrupt in 2011 (also with TLC in 1995)

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to,” goes the Grammy-nominated hit by TLC. And it’s a true testament to their song-singing talent, making it sound so good when they have no clue what the words mean. Like label-mate, Toni Braxton (LaFace era), T-Boz in filing bankruptcy for a second time this year.

House-rich, and cash-poor, she owes more than $700,000 to creditors, mostly gunning for her $1.2-million dollar estate. Claiming “I ain’t got it” in court may call off the collection sharks but if if T-Boz wasn’t fiscally dumb, she’d be downsizing to something a little more quaint, ideally near the “rivers and lakes” she can afford.

Michael Vick
Bankrupt in 2011


Now here’s a refreshing, young black man. That’s right, Michael Vick, ladies and gentlemen. He’s filing bankruptcy was a preemptive strike against all the people who feel justified in vilifying him. When you look at the numbers, his living expenses are rather minuscule compared to his income. But he pays the piper, nonetheless. As long as Michael stays within his means, and kisses enough A$$, he’ll be just fine.

Thanks for joining us Riches2Rags, I’m your writer, jaebi, always bringing you the prose with a pose. Find me @shokran and more literal entertainment on Facebook.

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