We all look at celebrities and assume that they’re living lavish lives of luxury. Tom Cruise, the wealthiest American actor, is worth an unthinkable $570 million. Quick fun fact, though; he’s not the richest actor in the world. That honor goes to Indian Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, or “SRK” as he’s affectionately known, at $600 million.
Anyway, while there are a ton of celebrities living out their dreams out in Beverly Hills with more money than they know what to do with, there are also some notable celebrities that have blown through their fortunes and gone completely broke. That’s right, some of your favorite movie stars, TV personalities, and other celebrities don’t have a damn cent to their name. In fact, you might actually be more well-off than they are!
These are the famous celebrities that went totally broke! Let’s go!
#1: Nicolas Cage – Gone In a Few Years
This first actor is a personal favorite of mine. You may know him from his movies, some of them pretty good, and a lot of them famously bad. This is the Wicker Man himself, the actor behind Ghost Rider, Nick Cage. For a span of his career, Nicolas Cage was absolutely on fire. He was landing acting roles left and right with films like Gone in Sixty Seconds and National Treasure. And did you remember him in Fast Times at Ridgemont High? What a classic!
Over that period, he amassed a fortune as large as $150 million dollars. However, over only a short span of years, he managed to blow all that money on some pretty ridiculous purchases. It seems that as quirky as Nick Cage is on the big screen, he’s just as quirky in real life.
In addition to buying 15 houses including mansions in Newport Beach, California, Las Vegas, Rhode Island, and New Orleans, he also bought a private island in the Bahamas and a freakin’ castle in Europe worth $10 million. Cage also apparently had a penchant for rare artifacts. No, he didn’t actually steal the Declaration of Independence, but he did buy a dinosaur skull and a collection of shrunken heads.
All of this wild spending led to some trouble during the 2008 financial crisis. And things got really real when Cage found out he owed $6.3 million to the IRS in back taxes. He was also having problems paying off the mortgages on his collection of homes. I wonder if it made him angry. Luckily, the National Treasure star was able to slowly regrow his net worth back to around $25 million in recent years, so I guess he’s living more modestly now.
If you grew up as a boy in the ‘90s, this next celebrity was almost certainly on your wall. I’m talking about the iconic Pam Anderson.
#2: Pamela Anderson – Trailer Park Troubles
Seriously though, probably every man-cave in the 1990s had a picture of C. J. from Baywatch in it. The iconic role that catapulted Pamela Anderson to instant stardom. While she was on the show, she was making around $60,000 per episode and raking in about $1.3 million per year. That’s no small amount of money.
Unfortunately, after living the lavish lifestyle, buying houses, throwing huge parties, and getting copious amounts of plastic surgery, she finally fell out of the spotlight and into the trailer park. That’s right, your favorite blonde lifeguard hit such financial trouble that she had to move into a trailer park.
Later, she ended up marrying director Jon Peters, who claims he paid off all her debts, and then the couple split up just 12 days later. Ouch. Anyway, it seems Pamela is doing better these days, as she’s grown her net worth back to $20 million. I wonder if she got any royalties off of the Borat movie.
While lifeguards like CJ are known for keeping the ocean a safe place, this next actor is known for living dangerously on the seven seas. Ahoy! It be Captain Jack Sparrow!
#3: Johnny Depp – Plundered Gold
In 2012, Johnny Depp was the high-paid actor in the world, earning $75 million in that year alone. Not long after, his net worth shot up to a ridiculous $650 million. And I’m not even sure how one could possibly do this, but Johnny managed to blow that entire fortune and even racked up $100 million dollars in debt for not paying his taxes.
Depp blames poor financial managers for his tragic financial fall, but he’s definitely got to shift some blame to himself as well. Depp reportedly purchased 14 homes, 45 vehicles, an $18 million-dollar yacht, and was even inspired by his role as Captain Jack Sparrow to purchase his own 45-acre private island in the Bahamas for $6.3 million.
So, for a while there, I guess you could say that Johnny Depp was financially marooned. Luckily, being that he’s Johnny Depp, who I consider to be one of the best actors of our generation, he got a whole bunch more starring roles and he’s now financially solvent with a net worth of $15 million.
The next star on our list is one that you might recognize from The Parent Trap. However, she fell into an unfortunate sequel to that film when her real life turned into one big money trap.
#4: Lindsay Lohan – The Money Trap
Lindsay Lohan had an amazing career for a pretty long time. It all kicked off in 1998, when she played both twins in the legendary kids movie The Parent Trap. I used to have that movie on VHS. Do any of you even know what that is anymore? Her career then continued to soar through her teens with films like Mean Girls, Get a Clue, and Freaky Friday. In 2004, at the age of just 18, she had a net worth of more than $30 million.
However, her success started to wane in her early adulthood, and it soon became clear that her partying was getting in the way of her work. No one in Hollywood wanted to hire her because it was always uncertain whether or not she’d even show up to filming. Everything came to a boil when she finally checked herself into rehab in 2007. Drugs aren’t cheap and, sadly, neither is rehab. Lindsay was apparently spending $5,000 a week on recreational drugs before she sought help and the stays in rehab cost her about $150,000.
On top of that, she owed over $200,000 in back taxes in 2012, had a $100,000 unpaid bill to a limo company, she had a hit-and-run in a Porsche, and she apparently lost a handbag in an airport that contained a million dollars worth of jewelry. It was a bad year. Lindsay’s story is just another testament to how child stardom can really make adjusting to the normal world later in life super tough.
However, Lindsay is still apparently worth around $800,000, which could be a whole lot worse. And she recently filmed a season of a show called Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club. And, for whatever reason, she’s the spokesperson for Lawyer.com. Good for you, Lindsay.
Next up on our list we have another celebrity who has nearly fallen off the map, unfortunately. And his story is a lot like many of the others on this list, not paying taxes. Why does no one in Hollywood apparently pay their taxes? Your guess is as good as mine.
#5: Wesley Snipes – Tax Settlement Snipes
Who doesn’t love Wesley Snipes? Classics like New Jack City, White Men Can’t Jump, and Dolomite Is My Name made Snipes into one of the biggest and most well-paid actors in the world at one point in his career. He even got voted “Sexiest Actor Alive” by Glamour magazine. Things were going pretty damn good for Wesley.
Unfortunately, Wesley fell on hard times when he got into a little trouble with the law, yes, for tax problems. In 2008, Snipes was convicted of income tax evasion and forced to spend three years in prison. After that, he found it super difficult to find any work in Hollywood.
Things have continued to go sour for Snipes, unfortunately. And as recently as 2018, he went to the United States Tax Court where the IRS was still trying to get him to pay $23.5 million related to the 2008 conviction. Snipes offered them $842,000, to which the IRS said no. If Snipes isn’t able to find some work in Hollywood or in some other industry soon, it looks like he might be in debt to the IRS for the rest of his life.