Celebrities

Cash-strapped celebs: Stars who went bankrupt

Luke Graham, special to CNBC
Recording artist 50 Cent
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The rap artist 50 Cent when it was revealed he had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Documents filed to the Connecticut Bankruptcy Court, under his real name Curtis James Jackson III, showed he had assets of between $10 million and $50 million—but liabilities in the exact same range. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows Jackson to remain involved in his business interests, while reorganising his personal finances.

His reasons for filing for bankruptcy are not yet known, but the decision came soon after a court order to pay $5 million to a woman for posting a sex tape of her on the internet without her permission.

As a result, Jackson joins a line of celebrities with cash flow problems. Click ahead to find out about other infamous celebrity bankruptcies.

- By Luke Graham, special to CNBC @LukeWGraham

Larry King

Larry King arrives at the 17th annual Keep Memory Alive "Power of Love Gala" benefit in Las Vegas.
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The popular talk show host, born in 1933, filed for bankruptcy in 1978, according to The Telegraph - the same year he landed his radio show which eventually led to his television job with CNN.

King reportedly had debts worth an estimated $350,000.

Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton at the Lupus LA's Orange Ball in California
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The singer, best known for the 1996 love ballad "Un-Break My Heart," has filed for bankruptcy not once, but twice.

The first time was in 1998 for debts of $3.9 million, which was brought about, according to Braxton, because her royalty checks were not large enough.

"What happens is they give you advancement on the next record and then the next record," Braxton told ABC news in 2012. "So you kind of stay in debt, in a sense".

In 2010, Braxton filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, listing debts in the range of $10 million to $50 million, according to Reuters. This type of proceeding - sometimes called "straight bankruptcy" - does not include a repayment plan and debts are wiped out completely.

Mike Tyson

PHILIPPE LOPEZ | AFP | Getty Images

After a $9 million divorce settlement with his ex-wife, Monica Turner, and a number of poor financial decisions, the boxing legend filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2003.

At the time, The New York Times said Mike Tyson had made $400 million over the previous 20 years, but had managed to squander his fortune.

Tyson owed money to 298 different people and companies, according to a list of creditors. He also had to sell his 52 room mansion in Connecticut worth $21 million; it was bought by 50 Cent.

Mick Fleetwood

Mick Fleetwood performs live on stage at The O2 Arena in London, United Kingdom
Jim Dyson | Redferns | Getty Images

The drummer for British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in March 1984, Rolling Stone magazine reported. He had assets of around $2.4 million and debts of $3.7 million.

Fleetwood told the magazine that the cause of his bankruptcy was buying too much real estate and paying high levels of interest.

"On huge amounts of money, the interest can mount up real quick," Fleetwood said.

Unlike a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires a court-appointed trustee to sell off the debtor's assets in order to pay off their debts quickly.

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf performs in Germany in 2013
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Despite great success in the 1970s, the musician Meat Loaf (real name Michael Lee Aday), declared bankruptcy twice in the 1980s, according to Reuters.

The first time, in 1983, was mostly the result of losing pricey lawsuits, while the second occurred in 1986, when music sales failed to meet the success of his 1972 album, "Bat Out of Hell."

Gary Coleman

Gary Coleman attends the premiere of 'Midgets vs. Mascots' in 2009
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The film and television actor, best known for appearing in "Diff'rent Strokes", came into financial difficulty when the program finished in 1986. His acting work dried up, and at times he had to work as a security guard.

Eventually, Coleman filed for bankruptcy protection in 1999, according to The New York Times. He died age 42 in 2010.


Burt Reynolds

Actor Burt Reynolds at the Wizard World Comic Con on May 9, 2015 in Pennsylvania
Gilbert Carrasquillo | Getty Images

The popular actor, who appeared in 1977's "Smokey and The Bandit," filed for Chapter 11 in Florida in 1996, after his difficult divorce from actress Loni Anderson. He claimed debts of close to $10 million.

In 2014, the star auctioned off a massive collection of memorabilia, including personal clothing, items signed by co-stars and even trophies, in an effort to help his financial situation.

MC Hammer

MC Hammer signs a replica bobblehead doll of himself in Oakland, Californ
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The 1980s hip-hop star MC Hammer (real name Stanley Burrell), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 1996, claiming he had debts of $13.7 million and assets worth just $9.6 million.

At the height of his fame, Hammer reportedly had a 200-person crew that cost him $500,000 every month, according to Time magazine.

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye performs in Rotterdam in 1980
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He may have had a string of hits from the 1960s onwards, but the American Motown singer declared bankruptcy in 1976 after his 14 year marriage to Anna Gordy came to an end, Rolling Stone reported.

As part of the divorce settlement, Gaye was ordered to pay $600,000 in alimony payments from the royalties for his 1978 album "Here, My Dear," according to the magazine.

A career comeback in the early 1980s came to tragic end when Gaye was shot and killed by his father in 1984.