10 Celebs With Serious Personal Finance Problems

  • Francis Ford Coppola

    WHAT WENT WRONG: According to PopCrunch, "Coppola was $300,000 in debt before the first Godfather movie came out. He then was able to rebound but began bankruptcy proceedings after his 1982 musical One From The Heart tanked. Luckily, he borrowed the money from his mother to get into the wine business and again turned his financial future around." LESSON LEARNED: Money issues? Have Mom float you a loan and buy a vineyard or two. Problem solved.   Photo Credit: Sir George Martinn
    Larry King
  • Larry King

    WHAT WENT WRONG: CNN's most famous interviewer is no stranger to financial woes. He declared bankruptcy in 1978. A few years ago he sued an insurance brokerage that he claimed had cheated him big-time. And most recently, he reportedly lost more than $1 million to professional swindler Bernie Madoff. LESSON LEARNED: Sometimes all of those celebrity connections and access can hurt you. Had he just put all of his money into a boring online savings account, as opposed to trusting Madoff, he would be in better shape. Regardless, he makes more in a single week than I do in a year, so he will probably be OK. Photo Credit: Wikimedia
    Mike Tyson
  • Mike Tyson

    WHAT WENT WRONG: Despite raking in more than $300 million during his career, he eventually wound up $27 million in debt. LESSON LEARNED: You have to keep your buying impulses under control! Tyson blew his cash on a bunch of, well, somewhat weird purchases such as a pair of pet tigers for $8,000. A simple budget, and some savvy comparison shopping, would have saved him. I could have totally found him a better deal on those tigers. Photo Credit: german rocca
    Willie Nelson
  • Willie Nelson

    WHAT WENT WRONG: Country music icon Willie Nelson certainly had a financial rude awakening. According to MSN Money, "In November 1990, the IRS raided Nelson's home in Texas and seized everything -- including his 44-acre home, gold records and his children's bronzed baby shoes." Not the bronzed baby shoes! LESSON LEARNED: Nelson attributed much of his financial problems to a shady accountant. The lesson here is crucial: Find a financial planner you can actually trust. A bad one can mess up your taxes and turn your life into a living hell. Photo Credit: Wikimedia
    George Foreman
  • George Foreman

    WHAT WENT WRONG: Boxing champ George Foreman was supposedly close to bankruptcy back in the 1980s, with millions of dollars in debt. Luckily, this financial hardship forced him to pursue his entrepreneurial instincts, leading to the famous George Foreman Grill. This made Foreman a very rich man. LESSON LEARNED: If one window closes, another will open -- isn't that the popular self-help adage? In Foreman's case, the transition from athlete to entrepreneur paid off handsomely. Photo Credit: Wikimedia
    Thomas Jefferson
  • Thomas Jefferson

    WHAT WENT WRONG: This founding father was no stranger to personal finance problems. According to one article, "he wasn't smart about money for his heirs. After his death, his estate Monticello and all his possessions, including 120 slaves, were auctioned off to help pay off $107,000 in debts (a fortune in 1826)." LESSON LEARNED: Make sure you don't leave crushing debts to your heirs; that is just plain uncool. Before you die, get your affairs in order and deal with any remaining debt liability. Photo Credit: Wikimedia
    Mark Twain
  • Mark Twain

    WHAT WENT WRONG: MSN Money says the famous author and satirist was by 1894 "effectively bankrupt. He began worldwide lectures in an attempt to pay off his creditors and three years later he succeeded by paying all his debts in full." LESSON LEARNED: Don't consistently spend more than you make. Twain was able to cash in on his global literary notoriety with those lectures, but you and I don't have the same luxury. (Twain was also a sucker for highly speculative business ventures.) Photo Credit: Wikimedia
    Lorraine Bracco
  • Lorraine Bracco

    WHAT WENT WRONG: Custody battles can get pretty expensive! Just ask Lorraine Bracco: "Bracco, better known as Tony Soprano's psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi, racked up over $2 million in legal fees during a six-year custody battle with actor Harvey Keitel over their daughter, Stella. Bracco declared bankruptcy in 1999. But 1999 ended up as a good year for Bracco -- she was cast in the HBO hit series 'The Sopranos.'" (MSN Money) LESSON LEARNED: Sometimes a lucky break is all you need! Photo Credit: Wikimedia
    Kim Basinger
  • Kim Basinger

    WHAT WENT WRONG: A verbal agreement can end up costing you! According to PopCrunch, Basinger "had to file for bankruptcy in 1993 when a judge ordered the actress to pay Main Line Pictures $8.1 million because she had backed out of a verbal commitment to star in the film Boxing Helena. She had to sell her $20 million investment in Braselton, in her native Georgia and only received $1 million for it." LESSON LEARNED: Don't give your word unless you really mean it. Especially when you're dealing with a movie studio. Photo Credit: Wikimedia
    Walt Disney
  • Walt Disney

    WHAT WENT WRONG: Media titan Walt Disney was not immune to setbacks. "In 1921, he began a company called the Laugh-O-Gram Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri but was forced to file for bankruptcy two years later because his financial backers pulled out. It must have been fate because Disney then headed to Hollywood and became one of the highest paid animators in history." (PopCrunch) LESSON LEARNED: Sometimes things do happen for a reason. Your failure may be pushing you toward something greater. That's what we tell ourselves at night, anyway, when we look at our AmEx (Stock Quote: AXP) statement. Photo Credit: NASA
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