Why Celebrities Go Bankrupt

People look up to them, adore them and follow them on TV, on the big screen and on social media. They’re called stars or celebrities.

The name celebrity alone is already associated with big bucks. Apart from their good looks, they earn large sums of money per project and lead a glamorous life.

But on the flipside, these celebrities are much like ordinary people when they’re not in front of the camera. They encounter problems in their personal and professional lives and some even mismanage their funds.

Sometimes these celebrities get overwhelmed with their large earnings that they tend to spend them on so many things they want right away. When this frequently happens, the end result is lack of savings and in worse cases, declaring bankruptcy.

It’s hard to imagine big earners like celebrities going broke but it’s a reality and we share some of them here who have experienced going bankrupt at one point in their lives.

M.C. Hammer


Did you know that M.C. Hammer used to be worth $33 million? That’s according to Forbes but sadly, that six-figure earning was shortlived as the singer’s luxurious lifestyle caused him to go into huge debt up to $13 million. What happened next? M.C. Hammer eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1996.

Dione Warwick

dionne warwick

Singer Dione Warwick filed for bankruptcy in the middle of last year (2013). The reason? She failed to pay her taxes from the 1980s to the middle of 1990s and it accummulated to $10 million. Her publicist stated that negligence and gross financial mismanagement led Warwick to file for personal bankruptcy.

Kim Basinger


Actress Kim Basinger was sued by Main Line Pictures in 1993 for backing out of her suppposedly film “Boxing Helena.” The actress was initially asked to pay more than $7 million in damages but the amount was reduced to $3.8 million after she appealed the court’s decision. Basinger filed for bankruptcy also in 1993.

Larry King


It was in 1978 when popular TV host Larry King filed for bankruptcy. This was after he was accused of grand larceny by a business partner which resulted in him going into debt in the amount of $352,000.

But King was able to recover after that as he got an offer to host his own show entitled “Larry King Live” in the same year.

Toni Braxton


Singer Toni Braxton filed for bankruptcy not only once but twice. She first filed in 2010 and the second time was in 2013. According to Braxton, her first filing of bankruptcy was due to a debt worth $50 million.

Reports, however, noted that Braxton was able to buy a home worth $3 million just six months after she filed her second bankruptcy. The home was said to be in Calabasas, California.

The excessive use of credit cards and failure to make timely payments have also been noted by experts as a major cause of financial difficulties of people regardless of their status in life. But Chris Mettler of CompareCards.com stressed that people can enjoy better credit card options if they pay their dues on time and become responsible card owners.


  1. Great blog. We had published one on the same topic last year with additional examples and information – http://www.irasmithinc.com/blog/famous-celebrity-bankruptcies-happen-too/