Lists — March 25, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Famous musicians that you didn’t know were bankrupt


US rapper 50 Cent stunned the world with the announcement that he has filed for bankruptcy earlier yesterday, but he’s not the only celebrity to have lost his fortune.


According to the BBC, the 40 year old hip hop producer, also known as Curtis Jackson, estimates that his assets and debts, which were not itemized are worth somewhere between $10 million and $50 million. The surprise announcement comes just days after a jury ruled he had to pay $5 million to a woman suing him over the leak of a sex tape.


“Walt Disney has filed bankruptcy. Donald Trump has filed bankruptcy,” the hip-hop star told E! News. “It means you’re reorganizing your finances, but it does stop things from moving forward that you don’t want moving forward.” Jackson is right – he’s not the first star to have to deal with bankruptcy and we doubt he’ll be the last. Here are a few other musicians that made a fortune only to let it all slip away.



M.C. Hammer

Forbes estimated M.C Hammer’s net worth at $33 million in 1991 but his penchant for the finer things in life had him flat in a little over 5 years. For starters he kept a staff of 200 people on his payroll to handle pretty much anything you can imagine, costing him $500,000 per month. On top of that he had a $30 million mansion with gold-plated gates, two swimming pools, 17 car garage, recording studio and baseball diamond. Hammer ound out the hard way that when the banks are trying to seize you assets “You can’t touch this” isn’t a fail-safe defence and by 1996 he filed for bankruptcy with a staggering debt of $13 million. He was last seen sleeping in the left leg of one of his parachute pants.


Marvin Gaye

One of the most prolific artists of the Motown era, Marvin Gaye was responsible for hits like “Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “How Sweet It Is” and “Lets Get It On.” Poor financial management and a drug addiction had Gaye filing for bankruptcy in 1976, owing his ex-wife close to $600,000 in alimony. He paid all the royalties from his next album (Here, My Dear) in substitution for alimony payments and was on the cusp of a comeback with the release of 1982’s “Sexual Healing.” And then his father shot him to death a day before his 45th birthday.



Proving some people just don’t learn their lesson the first time ,Meatloaf filed for bankruptcy not just once but twice. The US singer’s second studio album “Bat Out Of Hell’ sold more than 43 million copies but a row with his management in 1981 resulted in Meatloaf having his assets frozen and being sued for breach of contract – he was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1983. By 1986 Meatloaf dusted himself off and released “Blind Before I Stop” which was received so badly that he went bankrupt for a second time, eventually losing everything. After a period of relative obscurity Meatloaf continues to tour to sold out arenas across the globe.


Cyndi Lauper

She may have had a career that has spanned 30 years but in her early years things weren’t always so easy for Cyndi Lauper. Whilst most singers on this list achieved fortune and fame before squandering it, Lauper was bankrupted before her big break.

Lauper’s original band Blue Angel fired their manager, who retaliated by launching an $80,000 suit against them, forcing the singer into bankruptcy.  The very next year Lauper released her worldwide debut album She’s So Unusual which included “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Time After Time,” catapulting her into fame.

Billy Joel

He may be a musical genius but this Grammy winner hasn’t had the same success when it comes to his finances. According to Forbes magazine, the singer was forced to apply for bankruptcy after his former manager (and former brother-in-law) allegedly lost tens of millions of dollars due to fraud, risky investments and unauthorised loans.


Toni Braxton

In 1996 Toni Braxton was one of the biggest stars in pop music having sold more than 20 million copies of her album. In a rapid fall from grace, that very same year saw her filing for bankruptcy after an unsuccessful lawsuit against her record company left her with debts of $4 million.

By 2010, the singer declared bankruptcy for a second time after suffering from health complications that forced her to cancel a number of headline shows in Vegas. But in an only-in-America twist, a reality TV show has gotten the star back on her feet and she recently purchased a $3 million mansion in ‘The Oaks.’


Vanilla Ice

Robert Matthew Van Winkle, or Vanilla Ice, is best known for his 1990 hit “Ice Ice Baby” and that’s about it. By 1994 Vanilla Ice had all but disappeared from the public’s eye and the release of a rastafarian influenced second album called “Mind Blowin'” was trashed by critics an the public alike all but sealed his fate. The rapper filed for bankruptcy soon afterwards.