It’s hard to imagine how someone could blow through millions of dollars.
But it happens a lot.
From Michael Jackson to Francis Ford Coppola, we rounded up riches-to-rags stories, featuring high-profile people who managed to lose their fortunes (and sometimes get them back again).
1. Marvin Gaye
Back in 1976, the Motown legend’s divorce from his first wife, Anna Gordy Gaye, led him to file for bankruptcy. In order to cover the $600,000 Gaye owed his wife in alimony payments, the singer gave Anna the rights to his album “Here, My Dear.”
The singer’s financial troubles — along with drug addiction — followed him for the rest of his life, even though he continued to record albums and perform. He even moved to Europe in 1981 to avoid dealing with the IRS. Gaye was killed in 1984 when his own father shot him after a heated argument.
2. Nicolas Cage
At one point, Nicolas Cage was one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, earning up to $40 million per year. Between the years of 1996 and 2011, the actor earned over $150 million.
But Cage had expensive taste. He shelled out big money for things like exotic animals, private jets, mansions, and rare sports cars. In 2009, the actor owed $6.5 million in back taxes, and was being sued by his former business manager Samuel Levin.
As of 2012, Cage was still paying back what he owed in taxes. He is still acting in a number of films.
3. Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson earned a staggering $400 million over the course of his 20-year boxing career.
His earnings didn’t exactly last him, though. The former heavyweight champion filed for bankruptcy in 2003, with a total of $23 million in debt. His debts included a $9 million divorce settlement, $13.4 million to the IRS, and $4 million to the British tax authorities.
Tyson released a memoir in 2013 and his TV show “Mike Tyson Mysteries” just finished its first season.
4. Floyd Mayweather
Lately, Mayweather has run into some financial trouble. In 2009, he defaulted on a $167,000 car loan. Three years later he filed a $61 million claim in a local bankruptcy case. Now, the IRS claims that Mayweather owes them $50 million in back taxes, and in the summer of 2014 it was reported he was “seeking the counsel of a lawyer to file for bankruptcy.”
Mayweather is still boxing — no news on whether he’s still spending the reported $75 million per year he used to.
5. Michael Jackson
It’s unclear what Michael Jackson’s exact net worth was when he died. His family put out a questionable estimate that his earnings would have been $40-$42 billion had he not died at 50.
But in 2005, when the pop legend was charged with child abuse, prosecutors thought he was on the edge of bankruptcy with $300 million in debt, and $400 million in liabilities. It was said that he was a millionaire who spent like a billionaire. Jackson’s prosecutors tried using the star’s financial trouble as evidence of his guilt in the case.
Jackson died in 2009 due to cardiac arrest. He was still in debt at the time of his death, and was hoping his upcoming comeback tour would help bring him out.