Hero To Zero - Home - wealth

The easiest way to a small fortune is to start with a large one. Here we list the formally rich, powerful, known and unknown, and how they fell from grace.

  • Katie Price was declared bankrupt by a London court in November 2019. The 41-year-old former glamour model had been pursued by creditors and the taxman after revealing she has spent her entire £45 million fortune. Awaiting more info ...

  • Lena Headey played Queen Cersei on the TV series 'Game of Thrones'. She claimed she had only $5 in her bank account and had to sell her Hollywood home at a loss to get back in the black.

  • Elizabeth Holmes as the CEO of Theranos, was praised in the press for years. The company promised to revolutionise medical testing with inexpensive blood tests. Her 50% stake in the company was worth approximately $4.5 billion at one point, but Forbes magazine recently listed her net worth at zero. Theranos and Holmes were accused of fraud, followed by lawsuits and sanctions. There have been several videos made about her and her company.

  • Nicolas Cage Despite appearing in block-buster movies like FaceOff, ConAir and Kickass, he managed to spend his entire fortune down to zero. He had to pay over $6 million in back taxes, causing him to sell his belongings.

  • Peter Reddingson made his fortune during the dot-com boom, and by carefully shorting the right stocks, after the boom. The UK government got suspicious and started an investigation. Peter was found guilty of insider trading and lost a part of his fortune. A divorce a few years later relieved him of another vast chunk of his fortune.

  • Alberto Vilar and his Amerindo Investment Advisors company had made truck-loads of money investing in young high-tech companies that would soon fail. In 2008, he was convicted of multiple counts of fraud and, later on, served nearly nine years in prison. He was, at one point, estimated to be worth over $1 billion.

  • Masayoshi Son founded SoftBank, Japan's largest telecom and internet company. He once had a net worth close to $80 billion. Softbank shares went down by 98% when the dot-com bubble burst, losing Son more than $70 billion. He's not living under a bridge, though. The Forbes list of billionaires recently ranked him as the 82nd richest person, with a net worth near $21 billion.

  • Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson invested his money into the beverage business from his days as a former footballer wisely. It turned him into a $3.5 billionaire, and he soon acquired West Ham United Football Club and the Icelandic bank Landsbanki. But he was the victim of the Icelandic banking crisis in 2008. And he also had a number of bookkeeping offences that cost him a lot of money to fight in the courts. In 2009, he was declared bankrupt.

  • J.K. Rowling created the Harry Potter series of books. She was a billionaire, but her fortune shrank due to large charitable donations. The UK tax man grabbed a sizable chunk of her fortune too.

  • Johnny Depp starred as Captain Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of The Caribbean" movies and in many others, but despite earning $650 million he still managed to spend most of it and even sued his agents for mismanagement.

  • Courtney Love is the widow of Kurt Cobain and inherited the rights to the band Nirvana for some $27 million. She lost it all due to partying to excess and spending sprees. She was also sued by her lawyers for non-payment of legal fees.

  • Bernard Madoff Also known as "Bernie Made-off" because his Ponzie scheme lost over $64Bn in 2008. He was an investor, financier and stock broker. He is now a resident of a federal prison. Anyone who invested in him will probably end up this list.

  • Lindsay Lohan faced a number of financial problems and ended up owing $234,000 in back taxes and $80,000 in rent.

  • Michael Jackson was one of the richest pop stars around with millions of records and albums sold world-wide, but was $400 Million in debt when he died in 2009. His property was also close to foreclosure.

  • 50 Cent was a well-known rapper who filed for bankruptcy in 2015 after he was ordered to pay $5 million to a woman who accused him of posting a sex tape of her online without her permission.

  • Pamela Anderson stared in 'Baywatch' for many years and was forced to sell her Malibu home for over $7 million to pay what she owed in overdue taxes to the IRS.

  • Stephen Baldwin filed for bankruptcy in 2009 because he owed money on taxes and a couple of mortgages. Perhaps with his older brother, Alec, appearing in Mission:Impossible might help clear that debt away somehow.

  • Kim Basinger is an Oscar winning actress famous for movies like "My Mother is an Alien" and "LA Confidential" but lost a huge fortune after a property project went bad.

  • Mike Tyson was a heavyweight champion and had a $22 million debt in 2003. He was forced to declare bankruptcy. It took returning to jail and going through rehab before he regained financial stability.

  • Floyd Mayweather was nicknamed "Money" but the boxer owes a massive $20+ million to the IRS.

  • Toni Braxton was famous for 'Un-Break My Heart' but had to file for bankruptcy twice. The first was in 1998 due to low royalties from her record label, and the second was in 2010 after she had to cancel her Vegas show due to an illness.

  • Gary Coleman The 'Diff’rent Strokes' actor said his parents spent most of his money when he was a child. A lawsuit allowed him to recover some money. He filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and passed away the following year.

  • Cyndi Lauper must have earned millions from "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and "Time After Time" but in the 1980s had to file for bankruptcy before she became famous.

  • Tom Petty was famous for the song "Won't Back Down" but was forced into bankruptcy in 1979 when another company bought his record label and cancelled his contract.

  • Mick Fleetwood was a member of the band Fleetwood Mac which had a string of successful hits, but Mick declared bankruptcy in 1984.

  • MC Hammer was famous for his song "U Can't Touch This" but had to declare bankruptcy in 1996 after a spending spree left him $13 Million in the red.

  • Janice Dickinson was a supermodel and filed for bankruptcy in 2013 after falling about $800,000 in debt due to unpaid taxes and plastic surgery bills.

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