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Limelight Liquidation: 5 Shocking Celebrity Bankruptcies

From commercials to movie cameos to the many perks of fame, celebrities have no shortage of opportunities to make and keep money, yet many manage to go broke anyway. Dozens of stars have fallen from riches to rags in recent history, including:

Drake Bell

Just three years ago, the popular singer, songwriter and star of Drake & Josh was living the dream. His income for 2012 was more than $400,000, but in 2013 it fell to a measly $14,000. Meanwhile, Bell continues to spend more than $18,000 a month. Even after taking his $1.5 million Los Feliz house into account, Bell still owes nearly $581,000. On the upside, Bell has recovered from a recent hand injury, which he had previously believed would prevent him from playing guitar. He thus stands some chance of continuing his music career and eventually regaining financial security.

Michael Jackson

In 1988, the Pop King spent $17 million to build Neverland Ranch, an elaborate complex with its own theme park, theater, helicopter pads, zoo and fire department. Neverland cost $10 million a year to maintain. Even with his extensive finances, Jackson could not foot this bill forever, and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2007.

Gary Coleman

Though most celebrity bankruptcy cases are cautionary tales, Gary Coleman’s story is a tragedy. The child actor made more than $8 million starring in Diff’rent Strokes only to grow up and find that his parents had squandered most of his fortune. Combined with high medical bills, this forced Coleman to file for bankruptcy in 1999.

Willie Nelson

This country star filed for bankruptcy in 1990 after accumulating over $16 million in debt to the IRS. The details of Nelson’s bankruptcy remain unclear: though some believe he simply didn’t pay his taxes, others argue that his accountants hid all of his money in illegal tax shelters. To pay his debt, Nelson composed a new album entitled “The IRS Tapes” in 1991.

M.C. Hammer

With the recording of “U Can’t Touch This” in 1990, M.C. Hammer forever cemented himself as a hip-hop legend, but even legends have limits. Having earned more than $30 million from his rap career, Hammer figured he had a license to spend and bought a $12 million home with 200 paid staff. Between the cost of this lifestyle and the damage from two copyright lawsuits, Hammer had to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996. He has since turned his life around, and now works as a technology consultant and investor.

Bankruptcy is a frightening prospect, but with the support of Morgan Lawyers, no financial hole is too deep to recover from. Contact us today for more information on debt, disability, and your rights.

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