Stephen Baldwin – Stephen Baldwin of “The Usual Suspects,” and more recently, a reality TV star, filed for bankruptcy this past summer as a result of more than $2.3 million in personal debt including more than $1 million owed in back taxes. Baldwin became a victim of the housing market collapse after he took out a second mortgage on his $1.1 million home and became “underwater” on the loan.
Kim Basinger – If you”ve ever quit a job, you can be thankful that it probably didn”t cost you nearly $9 million. That”s how much a judge ordered Basinger to pay a film production company for failing to honor her commitment to star in the movie “Boxing Helena.” Apparently she didn”t save enough of her previous earnings to pay the bill; she ended up losing $19 million when she had to sell the town of Braselton, Georgia which she purchased in 1989 and had to file for bankruptcy.
Nicholas Cage – The “National Treasure” star owes a king”s ransom to the IRS – more than $6 million in back taxes to be exact. He blames his former manager, Samuel J. Levin, for losing millions of dollars to risky and speculative investments and recently filed a $20 million suit against the CPA.
To settle up accounts Cage recently sold his castle in Bavaria; he also lost two of his homes in New Orleans to auction after falling into foreclosure.
John Daly – In his 2006 autobiography, “My Life In and Out of the Rough: The Truth Behind All that Bull**** You Think You Know About Me,” professional golfer John Daly admitted that he had lost upwards of $60 million to his gambling addiction.
Lenny Dykstra – This former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies center fielder may have been pitching “winning” investment tips through his “Nails on the Numbers” newsletters since retiring from major league baseball but apparently he wasn”t heeding his own advice.
In an April 2009 ESPN.com interview Dykstra claimed a personal fortune of $60 million but just three months later he filed for bankruptcy, stating he held just $50,000 in assets
Zsa Zsa Gabor – Ninety-two year old Gabor was one of convicted Ponzi scheme con artist Bernard Madoff”s celebrity victims. Her lawyer estimates that the actress lost $7 million to Madoff and is now having to pay off back taxes of $118,000 in addition to the loss. Actors Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick were also Madoff victims. The couple reportedly lost “everything but their real estate and checking accounts” to Madoff”s $50 billion scam.
Jon & Kate Gosselin – With both their marriage and TLC series (“Jon & Kate Plus 8”) over, the reality TV couple, at the least, lost their $3 to $4 million salary from the cable TV company not to mention all of the freebies they have enjoyed as a result of their show including trips, clothes and toys for their brood of elementary-age children.
Victoria Gotti – Daughter of deceased mobster John Gotti, this TV reality show star (“Growing Up Gotti”) filed for bankruptcy after her mansion in Long Island went into foreclosure. Blaming her financial misfortune on her ex-husband”s imprisonment, she lost the home after the bank reported that she owed more than $650,000 in back mortgage payments.
Evander Holyfield – This world heavyweight boxing champion may have earned nearly $250 million during his time in the ring, but he”s lost enough of that fortune to have gone into foreclosure on his 109-room home in suburban Atlanta. Holyfield cites two divorces and numerous failed business investments for his loss.
Billy Joel – He may be a musical genius but this Grammy award-winner hasn”t enjoyed the same string of success when it comes to his finances. He has had to file for bankruptcy and filed a $90 million lawsuit against his former manager (and former brother-in-law) Frank Weber for losing tens of millions of dollars as a result of fraud, risky investments and unauthorized loans. Wonder if that”s why Brinkley left him?
Ralph Lauren – Apparently even billionaire fashion titans aren”t immune to the effects of the global recession. As people have tightened their purse strings, they are passing on designer fashion for more frugally priced outfits. The combination of fewer buyers and a massive stock market decline has put a significant $1.7 billion dent in Lauren”s personal wealth.
Paul McCartney – While the former Beatle made number one hit single “Can”t Buy Me Love,” he learned that love can be extraordinarily expensive. Without a prenuptial agreement, his divorce from Heather Mills in 2008 cost him close to $50 million.
However, with his net worth in the 100s of millions, Sir Paul”s poor house can still be a castle. But for the rest of us, we should at least consider the Kanye West lyric, “We want prenup”, to protect our assets before marriage.
Willie Nelson – Willie Nelson went “on the road again” to raise the $16.7 million in back taxes he owed the IRS after filing for bankruptcy in 1990. Able to laugh at his misfortune he recorded “The IRS Tapes: Who”ll Buy My Memories” to help settle the bill after the government seized his bank accounts and numerous homes, and later went on to star as a spokesperson for the tax preparation firm H&R Block in Super Bowl ads.
Michael Vick – The Philadelphia Eagles” back-up quarterback is just grateful to have a job these days. He was signed to the team after finishing a 19-month sentence at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas for being found guilty of a federal dog-fighting conspiracy charge. That choice cost the formerly Nike-sponsored athlete $135 million. In 2005 Vick was listed as the 33rd most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine; three years later he was forced to declare personal bankruptcy
In Conclusion – While everyone was hit by the latest recession, remember this: chances are someone else lost a whole lot more than you did.
Feeling the stressed? Be grateful – even if it has been a hard year financially, you haven”t lost as much as these guys.