Broke & Famous: 6 Celebrities Who Went Bankrupt

Broke & Famous: 6 Celebrities Who Went Bankrupt

Chloe Seaman
July 13, 2017

Former MLB starting pitcher Livan Hernandez has filed for bankruptcy. Throughout a 17-year career, he made more than $53 million. Today, he says he’s worth less than $50,000. According to court documents obtained by the Miami Herald, Hernandez owes around $1 million to about 50 creditors; as well as an undisclosed amount in back taxes and $220,000 to a local businessman.

He joins a group of rich and famous individuals who’ve endured the setback of bankruptcy, many of whom, like our current President, were able to bounce back.

1. Larry King

The renowned talk-show host started his career as a radio announcer in the 1960s. In 1971, he was arrested and charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing $5,000 from his business partner. He was acquitted of all charges the following year, but his career took a hard hit. In 1978, he declared bankruptcy after finding himself in about $352,000 of debt.

2. Kim Basinger

In 1993, the actress faced a multimillion-dollar damage award for backing out of the film Boxing Helena four weeks before production was to begin. She was ordered by Los Angeles Superior Court to pay $7.4 million in damages and $713,522 more in lawyer fees. Because her net worth at that time was $5 million, she was forced to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

3. Janice Dickinson

The self-proclaimed “world’s first supermodel” had to file for bankruptcy in 2013 after finding herself nearly $1 million in debt. “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,” she told According to the bankruptcy court documents, much of her debt belongs to having plastic surgery procedures.

4. Burt Reynolds

Once the “king of the American box office,” actor Burt Reynolds filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996; with more than $10 million in debt. What went wrong? Reynolds said he had lost $40 million from his divorce from Loni Anderson, and that a former accountant stole $15 million from him. Two years before filling, Reynolds reportedly told a judge, “Like every American, I’m having a cash-flow problem right now. That’s why I’m an actor, not an accountant.”

5. Cyndi Lauper

Before Lauper became a superstar; with hits such as Girls Just Want To Have Fun and Time After Time, the singer sang and wrote songs for the rock band Blue Angel. Despite a strong New York following, the band’s 1980 album was unable to reach financial success. To make matters worse, she and her bandmates were sued for $80,000 by their manager. As a result, Blue Angel broke up and Lauper went broke – filing for bankruptcy in 1981. Though this was only the beginning of her career.

6. Tom Petty

In 1971, the musician and songwriter “pursued a strategy made famous” by declaring bankruptcy to get out of his contract with Shelter Records. With two hit albums behind him, Petty still didn’t have much to show for financially and was adamant that he would not be “bought and sold like a piece of meat.” He refused his next album to be released amid the legal drama with his record label. Ultimately, he was released from his existing contract but signed to a new $3 million contract. The album that he refused to release went on to be Double Platinum.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.