Ever since the housing crisis began, Americans have gotten used to hearing a word that only used to apply to the very desperate: foreclosure. In the past, the word summoned to mind images of abandoned, dilapidated homes with boarded windows, a vacant porch swing, and the occasional tumbleweed.
Those days are over, and the foreclosed home in move-in condition is an increasingly common sight today. Foreclosure now seems like something that can happen to anybody, including the once rich and famous. The idea that celebrities are immune to market forces is long gone.
Many of the celebrities who went through a foreclosure were in career decline when they happened. Others have had their homes foreclosed on while they still have a popular movie in the multiplexes, or a recording that tops the Billboard charts. Fame is no longer protection from foreclosure, and neither is success.
Who are some of the celebrities who have gone through a foreclosure? Click ahead to find out.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Updated 13 October 2011
Actor and comedian Chris Tucker is best known for his work in the “Rush Hour” movie franchise. He stars in the action-packed buddy comedies alongside kung fu movie star Jackie Chan, and according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, the franchise has taken in more than $500 million at the U.S. box office alone.
Tucker was paid $20 million for “Rush Hour 2” and $25 million for “Rush Hour 3,” and he took to his upgraded lifestyle with gusto. In 2007, he splurged on a 10,000-square-foot home in Florida with five bedrooms, an outdoor kitchen, and a basement decorated to look like a pirate ship, at a cost of $6 million.
On Oct. 13, 2011, People magazine reported that the mansion had gone into foreclosure. The actor’s monthly mortgage payments were almost $26,000, and he owed more than $4 million to his bank, according to papers filed in Lake County circuit court. The documents also showed an Internal Revenue Service lien on the property in the amount of $11.5 million, to collect unpaid income taxes.
In the 1970s, the notion of Burt Reynolds having financial problems was laughable. He was a major box-office draw for years, thanks to starring roles in "Smokey And The Bandit," "The Longest Yard," and "Deliverance." However, his career declined in the 1980s and after a bitter 1993 divorce from actress Loni Anderson, his finances took a major hit from which they never recovered.
Finding himself $10 million in debt, the actor filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1996. He attempted a comeback and saw some moderate success, particularly in 1997’s "Boogie Nights." It wasn’t enough to help him get back on his feet, however.
Financial trouble has continued to plague him to this day, and on Aug. 16, 2011, Merrill Lynch filed foreclosure papers against the actor, claiming that he owes $1.2 million in back payments on his Hobe Sound, Fla., home.
Nadya Suleman was an ordinary single mother of six when she decided to up the ante and undergo in vitro fertilization. The procedure was a success and yielded eight children, which earned Suleman the moniker of “Octomom” in the tabloids and on talk shows.
Needless to say, she had a costly job ahead of her, as any single mother of 14 can tell you. Her financial situation deteriorated and she soon faced the prospect of foreclosure.
She accepted an offer from PETA to place a sign on her lawn saying, "Don't Let Your Dog or Cat Become an Octomom. Always Spay or Neuter," and she accepted an offer to fight in an exhibition boxing match. None of it generated enough income to pay off her outstanding $450,000 balloon mortgage payment, however, and in March 2011, Forbes reported the foreclosure process was underway.
Grammy-winning singer Toni Braxton is no stranger to financial woe. Despite selling millions of albums and watching her single “Un-Break My Heart” reach the top of the charts, she filed for bankruptcy protection not once but twice, most recently in 2010.
In 2011, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles ruled that her Chapter 7 liquidation of the previous year wouldn’t help her to stave off foreclosure proceedings on her Georgia home.
Nicolas Cage's reputation as a talented actor began when he starred in "Valley Girl" and "Birdy" in the 1980s. Next, he received an Oscar nomination for his work in "Moonstruck," and he finally took the golden statuette home for portraying an alcoholic in 1995’s "Leaving Las Vegas." Rather than stay on the serious acting track, however, he transitioned to roles in action movies, earning huge paydays in the process.
Despite the new tax bracket, he wound up in major financial trouble and owed millions of dollars in back taxes. On April 8, 2010, The Los Angeles Times reported the auction of the $35 million Bel Air, Calif., mansion that Cage had lost to foreclosure. Despite a $10.4 million opening bid that was less than a third of the house’s original cost, there were no takers. Maybe it was the décor, which real estate agent Bret Parsons characterized as “frat house bordello.”
LaToya Jackson is a sister of Michael Jackson and one of nine children born to Katherine and Joe Jackson. She began her career as a solo artist in 1980, but never achieved anything like the success of her famous siblings. When she posed for Playboy magazine in 1989, the move alienated her from her family, and she and the Jackson music empire were officially on the outs.
Jackson gained a moderately high profile by appearing on such reality shows as "Armed & Famous" and "Celebrity Apprentice," but these were not high-paying gigs. In September 2009, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported her Las Vegas condominium had gone into default and multiple liens had been placed against the property for delinquent fees.
Not too many people know actor Timothy Busfield by name, but his work is another matter. Busfield's television resume includes the hit series "Thirtysomething" and "The West Wing." His main claim to fame, though, was his role of Poindexter in "Revenge Of The Nerds," which he reprised in "Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise."
Sadly, being popular with the sisters of the Omega Mu sorority was not enough to stave off financial problems. In November 2010, the actor defaulted on his mortgage while still reeling from the effects of an extremely costly 2007 divorce. According to Forbes magazine, his home was repossessed in January 2011.
Fans of classic rock radio are familiar with Rick Derringer, whose hit “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” conquered the airwaves in 1973. It was his only major single, and while he racked up impressive session and production credits in the intervening decades, money was not always a sure thing. Even his discovery of “Weird Al” Yankovic could not alter his downward financial trajectort.
In 2010, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Derringer had defaulted on a $46,000 line of credit, as well as another loan that same year. In both cases the lenders filed foreclosure lawsuits against him, but the musician said he planned to keep his home by taking out a reverse mortgage.
Teresa Giudice is a cast member on the hit reality TV show "The Real Housewives Of New Jersey." In 2009, she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, citing $11 million in debt, including more than $100,000 in credit-card bills, monthly payments on a Cadillac Escalade, and almost $6 million on what The New York Post describes as “business investments.”
Giudice also owed $2.6 million for eight mortgages on three homes. One of them is the mansion in Towaco, N.J., that she shares with her husband, and which has appeared on the show.
Giudice is not the first "Real Housewife" to have real estate problems. Lisa Wu Hartwell and Sheree Whitfield of the Atlanta cast have both had homes in foreclosure, and Elvira Grau of the New Jersey cast has a lien against the home she lives in with her husband.
Erin Moran played Joanie Cunningham on the hit series "Happy Days." While her castmate Ron Howard went on to become an Oscar-winning director, and Tom Bosley went on to become the face of Glad garbage bags, Moran’s most notable gig beyond the "Happy Days" set was on its spin-off, "Joanie Loves Chachi."
The show was cancelled after two seasons’ worth of lethargic ratings. She returned to "Happy Days" for its final broadcast, but her career never recovered from the spin-off debacle.
In 2010, Moran lost her home in Palmdale, Calif., to foreclosure. According to the real estate website Zillow.com, she was in arrears to the tune of $315,000. The home was sold at a public auction for $291,150.
Carnie Wilson is a daughter of Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson and one-third of the group Wilson Phillips. The group’s self-titled 1990 debut album sold five million copies in the U.S. alone, and its flagship single “Hold On” topped the Billboard charts. Since then the song has been sung in its entirety by the main characters in both the 2004 comedy "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle" and the 2011 comedy "Bridesmaids," a fact that attests to its greatness.
In July 2011, The Daily Mail reported the singer was “just days away from foreclosure” unless she could come up with the $1.6 million owed on her home. The debt was the result of months’ worth of missed payments, late fees, and penalties.