Celebrities are well-known for living high-society lifestyles. They have enough money to buy anything they want, from million-dollar homes and fancy cars to fashionable clothes and jewelry. However, their jobs may take a turn for the worst, and they may find themselves unable to maintain their lavish lifestyles. Worse, they believe they can get away with avoiding paying taxes, or they become embroiled in legal fights. You’ll be shocked to learn which celebrities can no longer afford to live out their Hollywood royalty fantasies.
Nicolas Cage, star of National Treasure, was in almost every movie imaginable during the height of his career. His extravagant spending habits took a toll on his bank account. According to ABC News, he spent $150,000 for the first Superman comic book and 15 houses, a nine-foot burial mound, pygmy heads, a dinosaur skull, a $15,000 pet octopus, and a $450,000 Lamborghini. The actor couldn’t hold on to his fortune for long and owes IRS $14 million in taxes in 2021.
Lisa Marie Presley
Even the daughter of rock ‘n’ roll king Elvis Presley has had financial difficulties. She grew up with ponies, special access to theme parks, and domestic servants who catered to her every need. After Elvis Presley died, he left behind royalties and an estate valued at $100 million. You’d think that would be sufficient for Presley to maintain her opulent lifestyle. According to People, Presley said she was $16.7 million in debt by 2018, credit card debt, and unpaid income taxes.
Tyga is best known for having been Kylie Jenner’s ex-boyfriend. Since Tyga formerly dated the youngest self-made billionaire, you’d think he wouldn’t have any financial issues, but that isn’t the case for the rapper. Financial problems tend to follow him around. Tyga owed a fortune in jewels and was sued by at least three ladies in his “Make it Nasty” video for being exposed without their consent, according to IHeartRadio. Tyga was also sued by his landlord for more than $200,000 in unpaid rent and damages, according to IHeartRadio.
Alexis Bellino’s reality wasn’t as affluent as her dazzling and showy lifestyle on The Real Housewives of Orange County. According to Variety, Alexis and her ex-husband Jim defaulted on their $4.6 million Newport Beach, California property in 2010, and it was auctioned off and sold for $3 million. If that wasn’t terrible enough, their real estate company, Global Marine, Inc., filed for bankruptcy just a few months later.
Lauryn Hill, an eight-time Grammy winner, was the queen of hip-hop and R&B music in the late 1990s and early 2000s. According to BBC News, the “Doo Wop (That Thing)” singer neglected to pay taxes on her $1.8 million earnings from 2005 to 2008. Hill’s excuse for tax evasion was that she had intended to pay them but couldn’t since she had to give up her music career to raise her children. She didn’t get away with it, and she was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay $500,000 in back taxes.
Chris Tucker began his career as a comedian but was known for his cinematic appearances. One of them was starring alongside Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour franchise. In 2014, the actor had a $14 million charge from the IRS for outstanding taxes owed over seven years, according to Forbes. At the very least, Tucker was able to avoid going to jail. Tucker’s career has similarly come to a halt, with no bookings since 2016.
Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint all made their debut in the Harry Potter series. But, unlike his co-stars, who saw their careers take off after the franchise, Grint struggled to get work in Hollywood. According to E! News, Grint had to pay $1 million to the IRS in 2016 after attempting to conceal his $31.2 million earnings from the Harry Potter franchise by following incorrect accounting advice.
Courtney Love will always be connected to Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, her late husband. Unfortunately, she had a lot of legal difficulties and has struggled with drug addiction since his death. In 2012, she made several payments to the IRS totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle past tax bills, according to People. Even though Cobain left a fortune behind when he died, Love told The Sunday Times that she had “lost roughly $27 million” in “Nirvana money” due to court settlements.
Toni Braxton, one of the best-selling female R&B musicians of all time, has encountered financial difficulties. Despite making $170 million in worldwide sales, Braxton has gone bankrupt twice. The seven-time Grammy winner told 20/20 that her initial recording deal only paid her $1,972 in royalties. Braxton considered posing naked for Playboy to raise money at one point, and she co-starred with her sisters on Braxton Family Values. The singer of “Breath Again” acknowledged being on a budget to help her manage her money better.
Kim Basinger, an Oscar winner known for her marriage and divorce from Alec Baldwin, has had her fair share of financial hardships.
According to the Chicago Tribune, during the height of her fame, the Georgia native spent $20 million for a village in Georgia to launch her tourism attraction. After Basinger filed for bankruptcy, the town became run down and was put down for auction.
According to Forbes, athlete Mike Tyson made $400 million. Despite earning such a large sum of money, the heavyweight champion declared bankruptcy in 2003 due to years of excessive spending.
According to the Daily Mail, Tyson claimed he owed $23 million. He spent his money on pet tigers, costly parties, and gilded baths. Some of it was used to pay for high-priced divorces, the IRS, and lawyers.
Pamela Anderson is well known for her role in Baywatch, in which she wore a tiny red bathing suit, and like many other celebrities, she discovered the hard way that she couldn’t avoid paying her taxes. Anderson owed $493,144 in income taxes in 2010. Anderson does not appear to have ceased living the life of the affluent and famous since then, as she continues to participate in films and television shows, including stints on Dancing with the Stars in 2010 and 2015.
Abby Lee Miller
On the reality show Dance Moms, Abby Lee Miller built a name for herself as the no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is dance teacher. She’s become known for her legal battles in addition to being one of the most well-known dance teachers in the world. Miller was indicted on 20 charges of fraud and sentenced to one year in prison and two years of supervised release for concealing nearly $775,000 in revenues from her show and claiming bankruptcy. She also had to pay a $40,000 fine and a $120,000 judgment for the currency-reporting violation charge.
We were instantly intrigued when Jon and Kate Gosselin’s show Jon & Kate Plus 8 aired on television, revealing what life is like with eight children. However, things went sideways after Jon allegedly cheated on his wife with their nanny, resulting in the couple’s divorce and the cancellation of their show. According to In Touch, Kate and her family had to sell their family home for $1.1 million because they weren’t working or bringing in money. While caring for eight children, the protracted custody fight with Jon wasn’t cheap.
Willie Nelson is a country music legend who has been recording songs since the 1950s. Non-country music fans were also familiar with several of his tunes. Nelson’s tax woes are almost as well-known as his professional accomplishments. According to Forbes, he owed the IRS $16.7 million, which was reduced to $6 million after a settlement. The only problem was that he lacked the funds to pay it off. The feds eventually raided his home and took all he had. The IRS agreed to Nelson recording an album titled Who’ll By My Memories? and donating the revenues to them.
Cyndi Lauper, the vocalist of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” was the rock-pop star of the 1980s. Before she got famous, she spent years singing and writing songs for a band named Blue Angel, which never became well-known. After the band disbanded, she had to file for bankruptcy, Lauper had to work in shops and restaurants to make ends meet. Fortunately, her big break came only two years later, and the rest, as they say, is history. In 2019, Forbes estimated her net worth to be $30 million.
Don Johnson, who starred in Miami Vice and Nash Bridges, is probably familiar. According to The Guardian, he was charged with laundering $8 billion. Johnson’s situation didn’t improve much: according to Now, he nearly lost his ranch to foreclosure in 2006 but was able to preserve it by paying $14.5 million before it went to auction.