There are countless tales of people who have gone from rags to riches — but what about riches to rags?
It seems like we hardly ever hear of famous people seeking out bankruptcy help, probably because it’s easy to pay off your debt when you have all the money in the world. But a few celebrities never learn how to rein in their spending, and end up in financial destitution as a result.
In fact, it’s more common than you may think for someone to achieve wealth, fame and fortune and to throw it all away — and end up needing to seek out bankruptcy help from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney or Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney. It’s unclear if the fact that most celebrity bankruptcies are filed by men is merely a coincidence or not.
Here are three of the most shocking examples of celebrities who filed bankruptcy after they lived the lifestyle of the rich and famous:
Francis Ford Coppola
The director of the Godfather films and countless other critically-acclaimed movies ended up filing bankruptcy not once or twice, but three times in an eight-year span. After the success of Apocalypse Now, his subsequent films failed to perform well at the box office, failing to break even with production costs. In his second time on the Chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline, Coppola had debts of $98 million. These days, Coppola remains active in the film industry and owns a winery and a few boutique hotels.
Anna Nicole Smith
Her marriage to a 90-year-old oil mogul had many people referring to Anna Nicole Smith as a gold digger — but when her husband died, he left behind exactly $0 to his wife in his will. Due to legal battles with his husband’s estate and other troubles, Smith soon found herself in over her head with debts, and filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1996. Her claim for a cut of her late husband’s estate was finally rejected in 2011 by the Supreme Court, a full four years after she’d already passed away.
Few musicians have had as much career success as Michael Jackson. He sits behind only the Beatles and Elvis Presley on the list of the best-selling artists of all time, and Forbes has named him the top-earning dead celebrity. Despite this, his financial troubles were notorious, especially in the 2000s, when at one point he had $300 million in debts and an additional $400 million in liabilities.
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