Celebrities Who Lost It All to Luxury

The rich and famous lifestyle might seem glamorous, but there’s a dark side that no one seems to dig into. Some of the highest-paying celebrities had financial woes due to their outrageous spending. Some were even driven to bankruptcy. Here are lessons you can learn from these celebrities to prevent future downfalls. 

Aaron Carter

Aaron Carter became a pop sensation at the age of 7. In his teens, the little brother of Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter was already amassing a huge fortune, including a lavish 12-home Carter family compound. But by the time he turned 18, the singer had blown through $200 million of his income, largely due to financial mishandling and back taxes from when his parents managed his finances. Following a string of career setbacks in his 20s, Carter owed $2 million in debt and had to file for personal bankruptcy in 2013. The former idol also struggled with drug addiction, having been to rehab twice in 2011 and 2018. 

Carter never bounced back; in November 2022, his life was tragically cut short when he overdosed and drowned at home. He was 34.

Toni Braxton

The Unbreak My Heart songstress was one of the biggest divas in the 90s. But outrageous splurges led her to petition for bankruptcy twice. The first one, filed in 1998, was due to spending addictions that put her in a $10 million debt. She went to chapter 11 again in 2010, this time owing to the cancellation of a self-funded Las Vegas show due to health conditions and an excessive mortgage on a mansion she could no longer afford. This time, her debt amounted to a whopping $50 million. 

50 Cents

The rapper Curtis Jackson was the biggest artist in the early 2000s. His 2003 multi-platinum album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, catapulted him to stratospheric fame. To date, the Candy Shop hitmaker has sold 30 million albums worldwide. His business ventures, including an early investment in Glaceau, the parent company of Vitaminwater, made him one of the most successful rappers in the business. 

The hip-hop mogul lived large, blowing his fortune on sports cars, a 52-room mansion, and a sizable entourage. But then, his music career started waning. On top of that, a series of bad business deals – including a failed production company, a headphone business accused of copyright infringement, which cost millions to settle, and an insider trading scandal – began putting a dent in his finances. In 2008, the rapper lost millions following the stock market crash. 

Finally, 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy in 2015, racking up more than $20 million in liabilities against assets worth less than $15 million.  

Mike Tyson

Beginning his career in the 1980s, Tyson quickly became a boxing sensation. For a time, the heavyweight champion commanded $30 million per fight. According to a 2003 New York Times report, he accumulated $400 million in the first 18 years of his career.

But Tyson was also a big spender. He splurged on everything from fast cars, real estate, jewelry, and, famously, a Siberian tiger. He also got into a lot of trouble with the law. A sex assault conviction landed him in jail in 1992, and two divorce settlements, first in 1989 and then in 2003, cost him each at least $9 million. 

By the 2000s, Tyson had racked in $17.4 million in tax liabilities to U.S. and British authorities, not to mention several million in obligations to lawyers and producers. He filed for bankruptcy in 2003, with debts totaling $27 million. 

MC Hammer

In the early 90s, the rapper made a name for himself with the hit song “Can’t Touch This.” By 1991, he’d earned $33 million. But within a few years, the hip-hop artist was no longer untouchable. MC Hammer filed for bankruptcy in 1996, having racked up $13 million of liabilities against $1 million in assets. Among other things, the rapper squandered a sizable chunk of his earnings to “employ” hundreds of friends, spending north of $1 million on payroll at one point. 

Johnny Depp 

In his heyday, the Pirates of the Caribbean star charged $30 million for a movie role. In 2012, he was crowned the highest-earning actor in the world thanks to the successes of films like Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the aforementioned Pirates franchise. 

Depp was also a big spender. As of 2017, he owned 14 properties, an $18 million yacht, dozens of luxury cars, an extensive wine collection, and a private island in the Bahamas. In the mid-2010s, he reportedly spent almost $4 million monthly to employ 40 staff members and fund his jet-setting life. His latest legal trouble with ex Amber Heard dealt him significant reputational and financial damages, including lost revenues from the Pirates and Fantastic Beasts franchises cutting ties with him. 

Though never declared bankrupt, Depp has certainly seen his fortune massively diminished from its astonishing height in the 2010s. 

The Takeaways

While celebrities easily command millions of dollars in earnings, several telltale habits highlight the ones who met with financial troubles later on. Lavish spending on material things like homes, automobiles, and expensive goods is the most common occurrence. However, most celebrities are naturally big spenders. It’s the ones with poor management that often get in trouble. Bad business ventures and poor financial advisors have proven to have dire consequences, as was the case with 50 Cent. Addiction is also a huge financial drain, not to mention a hindrance to their work. Celebrities who had a run-in with the law often find themselves in the hole, proving how costly it can be. Lastly, just like winning the lottery, celebrities are susceptible to hangers-on who latch onto their fame and fortune, often landing them in hot water later on. The allure of show business may be intoxicating, but not all that glitter is gold. 

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She started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted a more meaningful life, which was freedom, so she decided to venture out. She took action so that she can live her dream life and decided to help people to live theirs by helping them how to save, budget, and invest.

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