In the mid 80′s to early 90′s, a television show, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” was broadcast in America with its host, Robin Leach, showing the everyday American how the rich and famous lived their lives, often on exotic vacations. Celebrities are often admired, imitated and fawned over in our society. But when you look closely, those celebrities are not any different from the average “Joe” on the street. However, unlike “Joe”, who can file for bankruptcy protection and have privacy, celebrities filing for bankruptcy make headlines and fingers get pointed about why or how or what caused financial distress. While the celebrity lifestyle may be quite different from “Joe’s”, financial distress has the same effect on everyone, and everyone is entitled to a fresh start, no matter how many (or how few) parapazzi stalk them. Listed below are a few (not all) bankruptcies of film and television stars who have filed for bankruptcy protection:
Real Housewives of New Jersey: Terese and Joe Giudice, Danielle Staub, Chris Manzo (his company)
Real Housewives of New York: Sonja Morgan
Real Housewives of Orange County: Alexis and Jim Bellino, Simon Barney, Tammy Knickerbocker, Lynne and Frank Curtin
Real Housewives of Atlanta: Lisa Wu Hartwell
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: Taylor and Russell Armstrong
Real Housewives of D.C.: Michaele and Tareq Salahi
Stephen Baldwin, one of the Baldwin brothers/acting family
Gary Busey, who continues to have financial difficulty with the IRS.
Kim Basinger, who bought a town for $20 million right before she was sued for more than $8 million (breach of contract case)
Lorraine Bracco, who admitted when interviewed that bankruptcy is a humbling experience.
Tia Carrere, who was accused of filing bankruptcy to get out of her contract with ABC.
Gary Coleman, now deceased, but who was once the highest paid child actor in his era.
Francis Ford Coppola, who had many box office successes, also had failures that put his studio at risk.
Walt Disney, who created Mickey Mouse AFTER his bankruptcy and went on to fantastic success
Burt Reynolds, whose bad investments caused his financial distress.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, who filed bankruptcy after losing a libel suit filed by Elke Sommer
Mickey Rooney, who also became a victim of elder financial abuse after his bankruptcy
Corey Haim, now deceased, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Haim was best known for his roles in Lost Boys and Lucas
Don Johnson, another actor who rose to success in the 80s and fell hard in 2004.
Margot Kidder, actress, whose mental illness amplified the financial turmoil in her life in the late 80s and early 90s.
Randy Quaid, another 80s star, who filed for bankruptcy in 2010, then fled to Canada with his wife and sought refugee
Debbie Reynolds, who had to sell her celebrity memorabilia during the bankruptcy process.
John Wayne, The “Duke” was among the top box office draws for three decades.
Nadya Shuleman, otherwise known as “Octomom,”
Heidi Fleiss, aka the Hollywood Madam, whose financial troubles continued post-bankruptcy.
John Wayne Bobbitt, whose angry wife dismembered him, and went on to become a adult film star.
Casey Anthony, who was found not guilty for the murder of her child while most of America believes she was guilty.
Anna Nicole Smith, whose real name was “Vicki Lynn Marshall”, rose to fame as the 1993 Playboy Bunny of the Year.
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