13 celebrities who have struggled with money

Johnny Depp has faced some money trouble.

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Johnny Depp has faced some money trouble.
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Getty/Atsushi Tomura

Even though you might think celebrities have it made, that’s not always the case. Whether their millions have dried up, the work stopped coming in, or their expenses have just become too high, these famous faces have all struggled with their finances.

Declaring bankruptcy might seem like the easiest option to settle money problems, but it essentially tanks your credit score – which is one of the most important numbers in your financial history.

Keep scrolling to see which of your favorite celebs have had some trouble tightening their purse strings.


R&B legend Toni Braxton has filed for bankruptcy twice.

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Toni Braxton.
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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Though Braxton has had multiple hits throughout her career, it still hasn’t stopped her from experiencing money troubles. The “Un-Break My Heart” singer first filed for bankruptcy at the height of her career in 1998. According to her, even though she had sold millions of records, she only received a $1,972 check from her record label. She also blamed her money troubles on going overboard with home décor. “I love dishes and house things, so I kind of lost it a little bit on the houseware,” she said.

She filed Chapter 7 again in 2010, claiming she had as much as $50 million in debt. Three years later, she was finally ordered to pay $150,000 in order to settle her case, reported TMZ.

In March 2018, The Blast reported that she owes more than $780,000 in back-taxes to the state of California and to the federal government.


Johnny Depp is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with his former business managers, who he claims put him in millions of dollars worth of debt.

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Johnny Depp.
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Reuters/Chinese Stringer Network

Depp’s exorbitant spending on houses, boats, wines, divorces, and even shooting his friend’s ashes into a sky with a cannon finally caught up with him in 2017 – at which point, he was allegedly spending two million dollars a month.

Depp filed a $25 million lawsuit for negligence and fraud against The Management Group, the firm that was in charge of his finances, and attorneys Joel and Robert Mandel, in January 2017. TMG countersued and the case is still ongoing.


’90s rapper Da Brat’s money troubles stem from an assault charge in 2007.

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Da Brat.
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Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Da Brat, most widely known for her 1994 platinum album “Funkdafied,” filed for bankruptcy in August 2018. She’s reportedly over seven million dollars in debt, with her assets totaling just $108,000.

Most of her money troubles can be traced back to a 2007 assault, which she was found guilty of and served almost two years in prison for. A judge also ruled that she had to pay the victim $6.4 million in damages – but after a year of refusing to pay, she now owes an extra million.


Mike Tyson owed the IRS over $13 million.

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Mike Tyson.
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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When Tyson filed for bankruptcy in 2003, his filing disclosed more than $27 million worth of debt, including millions owed to the IRS.

Tyson had earned $400 million over 20 years, but is said to have squandered it on extravagant purchases like jewelry, mansions, cars, and even Siberian tigers.


Cyndi Lauper was sued for thousands of dollars early on in her career, which led to her declaring bankruptcy.

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Cyndi Lauper.
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Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Lauper, famous for hits like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Time After Time,” was forced to declare bankruptcy before she even released an album as a solo artist. Before finding success on her own, she was the frontwoman for the band Blue Angel.

The band’s debut album flopped, which already put a strain on Lauper’s finances. But when the band broke up, their former manager sued her in 1981 and her bandmates for $80,000, forcing her to declare bankruptcy and put her singing career on hold to work in retail.


Willie Nelson made a deal with the IRS to share royalties with the organization to pay off his debts.

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Willie Nelson.
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Jason Davis/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Even musical icons have money troubles – just ask country star Willie Nelson. In 1990, the IRS placed a lien on his property to the tune of $16.7 million – apparently, he hadn’t been paying taxes, and had claimed substantial deductions.

In order to pay back his taxes and other debts, nearly all of his possessions were sold at an auction, including his home.

After he was still unable to pay back the government, he released a compilation album entitled “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?” in order to settle his debts. It was finally considered discharged in 1993.


The failure of Debbie Reynolds’ hotel and casino made her declare bankruptcy.

Debbie Reynolds purchased the Paddlewheel Hotel and Casino in the early ’90s and renamed it Debbie Reynolds’ Hollywood Hotel, envisioning it as a sort of museum and casino.

She entered into a partnership with Jackpot Enterprises for the casino portion of the hotel, which opened in 1993. However, that partnership meant that Reynolds and the rest of the hotel wouldn’t see a dime of the casino’s profits. But instead of trying to get their own gaming license, they tried to sell timeshares. These didn’t bring in enough money, and the hotel began hemorrhaging cash. Both the hotel and Reynolds personally filed for bankruptcy in 1997.


50 Cent said bankruptcy wasn’t a big deal.

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50 Cent.
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Danny Moloshok/Reuters

50 Cent was recently discharged from his bankruptcy after paying off $22 million in debt – which should give you some perspective about how deep in the hole he was.

Don’t feel too bad though – “Bankruptcy wasn’t a big deal for me. It was just me getting my discount. Reorganization isn’t broke, you know,” the “In Da Club” rapper told The Guardian.


Larry King was arrested for allegedly committing grand larceny, which derailed his career for a while, and led to his declaration of bankruptcy.

King was arrested in 1971 for allegedly taking $5,000 from his business partner to pay his own back taxes. The charges ended up getting dropped a year later, but the damage had been done to King’s career – he wasn’t able to hold down a job in journalism until 1978, when he was offered a radio show in Washington, DC.

But before that job offer, King found himself in more than $350,000 worth of debt, leading him to file for bankruptcy.


Kim Basinger pulled out of a controversial film role, which led to millions of dollars worth of debt.

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Kim Basinger.
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Getty Images / Ben Gabbe

Basinger was found to have breached an oral contract with Main Line Pictures when she pulled out of the controversial film “Boxing Helena” in 1993. She originally owed the studio over $8 million, but subsequently filed for bankruptcy. At that point, the “Batman” star was already having money troubles due to the failure of Braselton, Georgia, a town that she bought in 1989.

After four years, she settled with the studio for $3.8 million, but the damage was done.


Marvin Gaye was forced to file for bankruptcy due to alimony payments (and a drug habit).

Gaye reportedly owed $600,000 in alimony payments, and was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1976 – he’s also said to have had a hefty drug problem that ate up a lot of his money.

In an ironic twist, the legendary singer cut a deal with his ex-wife to pay her back with the royalties from his next album, which was all about his feelings towards her and the divorce.


Teresa and Joe Giudice were each charged with wire, mail, and bankruptcy fraud.

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Joe and Teresa Giudice.
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Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Teresa and Joe Giudice of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” fame, were sentenced in 2014 to 15 and 41 months in jail, respectively, for their financial crimes.

Among their numerous crimes: Joe didn’t file tax returns from 2004 to 2008, they faked tax forms among other important documents to fraudulently acquire millions of dollars worth of loans for eight years, lied under oath about how much money they made from Teresa’s business dealings, and filed for bankruptcy while simultaneously flaunting a luxurious lifestyle on TV.


Drake Bell’s $2 million house was put into foreclosure when he couldn’t pay the bills.

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Drake Bell.
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Philip Faraone/Getty Images

According to Bell, his income went from over $400,000 to just $14,000 in a single year. When he declared bankruptcy in 2014, he claimed that he owed over half a million dollars, plus back taxes. Unable to pay the bills, the “Drake and Josh” star eventually had to foreclose on his home.

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