Riches To Rags - Home - wealth


Here we list the formally rich and famous and how they lost their fortunes.

  • Nicolas Cage Despite appearing in many movies like ConAir, FaceOff and Kickass (and appearing in flops like The Humanity Bureau), he managed to spend his entire fortune down to nothing. He had to pay over $6 million in tax arrears, and had to sell his possessions.

  • Elizabeth Holmes was the CEO of Theranos, and was the media darling for many years. The company promised to revolutionise medical testing with low-cost blood tests. At one point Her 50% stake in the company was worth approximately $4,500 million, but Forbes magazine recently listed her net worth at zero. Theranos and Holmes were accused of fraud, followed by lawsuits and sanctions.

  • J.K. Rowling made her vast fortune by writing the Harry Potter books and, no doubt, got a large pay-out from the movies. Her fortune shrank due to large donations to charities. The UK tax man grabbed a large chunk of her fortune too.

  • Lindsay Lohan had a number of financial hiccups and eventually owed a whopping $234,000 to the tax man and $80,000 in rent.

  • Toni Braxton made a chunk of her fortune with the lovely 'Un-Break My Heart' song, but filed for bankruptcy twice over. The first was in 1998 due to low royalties from her record label, and the second was in 2010 after she became very ill and had to cancel her Vegas show.

  • Alberto Vilar along with his Amerindo Investment Advisors company had made lots of money investing in high-tech start-ups that would soon fail. He was convicted of multiple counts of fraud in 2008 and served nearly nine years in prison. At one point, his net worth was estimated to be $1 billion plus.

  • Johnny Depp was brilliant in "The Pirates of The Caribbean" as Captain Jack Sparrow and in many others, but despite earning $650 million he still managed to spend most of it and even sued his agents for mismanagement.

  • Garreth Chastonson was a multi-billionaire who tried to avoid taxes by living under-the-radar, but UK and US tax authorities saw through his stealth and whacked him with a huge tax bill and fines. Some bad investments also caught up with him.


  • Lena Headey played Queen Cersei on the TV series 'Game of Thrones'. She claimed she had only $5 in her bank account and had to sell her Hollywood home at a loss to get back in the black.

  • Masayoshi Son founded SoftBank, Japan's largest telecom and internet company. He once had a net worth close to $80 billion. Softbank shares went down by 98% when the dot-com bubble burst, losing Son more than $70 billion. He's not living under a bridge, though. The Forbes list of billionaires recently ranked him as the 82nd richest person, with a net worth near $21 billion.

  • Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson invested his money into the beverage business from his days as a former footballer wisely. It turned him into a $3.5 billionaire, and he soon acquired West Ham United Football Club and the Icelandic bank Landsbanki. But he was the victim of the Icelandic banking crisis in 2008. And he also had a number of bookkeeping offences that cost him a lot of money to fight in the courts. In 2009, he was declared bankrupt.

  • Courtney Love is the widow of Kurt Cobain and inherited the rights to the band Nirvana for some $27 million. She lost it all due to partying to excess and spending sprees. She was also sued by her lawyers for non-payment of legal fees.

  • Bernard Madoff Also known as "Bernie Made-off" because his Ponzie scheme lost over $64Bn in 2008. He was an investor, and stock broker. He is now a resident of a federal prison. Anyone who invested in him will probably end up this list.

  • Michael Jackson was one of the richest pop stars around with millions of records and albums sold world-wide, but was $400 Million in debt when he died in 2009. His property was also close to foreclosure.

  • 50 Cent was a well-known rapper who filed for bankruptcy in 2015 after he was ordered to pay $5 million to a woman who accused him of posting a sex tape of her online without her permission.

  • Pamela Anderson stared in 'Baywatch' for many years and was forced to sell her Malibu home for over $7 million to pay what she owed in overdue taxes to the IRS.

  • Stephen Baldwin filed for bankruptcy in 2009 because he owed money on taxes and a couple of mortgages. Perhaps with his older brother, Alec, appearing in Mission:Impossible might help clear that debt away somehow.

  • Kim Basinger is an Oscar winning actress famous for movies like "My Mother is an Alien" and "LA Confidential" but lost a huge fortune after a property project went bad.

  • Mike Tyson was a heavyweight champion and had a $22 million debt in 2003. He was forced to declare bankruptcy. It took returning to jail and going through rehab before he regained financial stability.

  • Floyd Mayweather was nicknamed "Money" but the boxer owes a massive $20+ million to the IRS.

  • Gary Coleman The 'Diff’rent Strokes' actor said his parents spent most of his money when he was a child. A lawsuit allowed him to recover some money. He filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and passed away the following year.

  • Cyndi Lauper must have earned millions from "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and "Time After Time" but in the 1980s had to file for bankruptcy before she became famous.

  • Tom Petty was famous for the song "Won't Back Down" but was forced into bankruptcy in 1979 when another company bought his record label and cancelled his contract.

  • Mick Fleetwood was a member of the band Fleetwood Mac which had a string of successful hits, but Mick declared bankruptcy in 1984.

  • MC Hammer was famous for his song "U Can't Touch This" but had to declare bankruptcy in 1996 after a spending spree left him $13 Million in the red.

  • Janice Dickinson was a supermodel and filed for bankruptcy in 2013 after falling about $800,000 in debt due to unpaid taxes and plastic surgery bills.


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