| February 26, 2014

Money is a funny thing. One minute, you've got a pocket full of the stuff; the next, you can barely gather enough for a pre-made sandwich from the bus station's vending machine.

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Then again, maybe that problem is specific to us — although it sure doesn't seem like it. We've heard enough frightening financial anecdotes to know that celebrities are susceptible to the very same money woes. Except when they go broke, they go broke in a much bigger way.

We can learn a lot from the following 15 celebrities and their tales of financial woe. At the very least, the probably know where the cheapest bus station sandwiches can be found.

M.C. Hammer

Forbes once estimated M.C. Hammer's net worth at approximately $33 million, but Hammer's luxurious lifestyle and large staff ultimately put him in debt (to the tune of $13 million) and he filed for bankruptcy in 1996.

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Burt Reynolds

In 1996, Burt Reynolds filed for Chapter 11 after a failed restaurant venture and a costly divorce from Loni Anderson put him in debt.

Kim Basinger

After backing out of a deal to star in the 1993 film "Boxing Helena," Kim Basinger was sued by Main Line Pictures and made to pay damages of more than $7 million (she appealed the court's decision and eventually settled for $3.8 million). Basinger filed for bankruptcy the same year, and was forced to abandon plans of developing the town of Braselton, Georgia, which she and several investors bought in 1989.

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Larry King

In the early- to mid-1970s, newspaper editor and radio personality Larry King had amassed $352,000 in debt after publicly being accused of grand larceny by a former business partner. He filed for bankruptcy in 1978, which, coincidentally, was the very same year he was offered his eponymous show.

Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) made a nice chunk of change as a writer. But after a few bad investments — most notably, the Paige typesetting machine — Clemens was deep in debt. With the help of a friend, he assigned his copyrights to his wife and rid himself of his publishing house before declaring personal bankruptcy in 1894.

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Wayne Newton

In the 1983 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, Wayne Newton was listed the highest paid entertainer in the world. Within a decade, Newton had amassed $20 million in debt following a slew of bad investments and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1992. 

Dionne Warwick

In mid-2013, Dionne Warwick filed for bankruptcy after accruing more than $10 million in unpaid taxes. "Due to several consecutive years (the late '80s through the mid-'90s) of negligent and gross financial mismanagement, Dionne Warwick has realized the current necessity to file personal bankruptcy," her publicist wrote in a statement.

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Meat Loaf

Marvin Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf, declared bankruptcy in the mid-1980s, around the same time that a former songwriting partner brought a lawsuit against him.

Janice Dickinson

In 2013, former model Janice Dickinson was reportedly over a million dollars in debt — half of which was owed to the government. She confirmed to RadarOnline that she has filed for bankruptcy in April, saying, "I had some trouble, so yes, it is true … I am upset and taking every step to pay everyone back and I feel terrible about it."

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Warren Sapp

Former NFL player Warren Sapp filed for bankruptcy in 2012. According to his court documents, he owed more than $6.7 million to creditors, but only had $6.45 million in assets (including $6,500 in Air Jordans and a $1,200 lion-skin rug).

Ulysses S. Grant

After leaving office, President Ulysses S. Grant settled down in New York and invested his money into a Wall Street firm (which happened to count his son Buck as one of its owners). The firm's other partner, however, wasn't as trustworthy and embezzled much of its investors' money, leading it to declare bankruptcy. Grant did the same soon after.

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Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton has filed for bankruptcy twice: once in 2010 and again in 2013 (the singer claimed to owe around $50 million during her first bankruptcy). Just six months after her latest filing, however, Braxton purchased a $3 million home in a gated community in Calabasas, California.

Debbie Reynolds

In 1997, both Debbie Reynolds and her Debbie Reynolds Hotel and Casino went bankrupt. Reynolds had been trying to sell the property in the months before filing, but ultimately couldn't unload the Las Vegas resort.

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Mickey Rooney

At its peak, Mickey Rooney once estimated his personal fortune at about $12 million. His popularity eventually began to dwindle, however, and by 1962, he listed the value of his assets at only $500 when he filed for bankruptcy.


Sinbad first filed for bankruptcy in 2009, then again in 2013. The second time around, he owed around $11 million ($8 million in back taxes), but claims he didn't live outside of his means. "I didn't buy Bentleys. I didn't live large. I invested in me. I invested in a lot of other people. I would not change it; I would not go back," he told Oprah in a 2013 interview.

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