Top 10 Famous People Who Declared Bankruptcy

If you are suffering from financial trouble it can feel like the end of the world and that there is no way back. However, it is possible to turn things around, as many famous people have proven. Take a look at how ten celebrities managed to transform their lives after declaring

10. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Honest Abe himself was no stranger to financial hardship, and in 1833 the 16th President of the United States of America declared bankruptcy because of a failed business. Fortunately, Abraham Lincoln’s high standing granted him extra time and he was allowed 17 years to pay is creditors what he owed them.

9. Mark Twain

Mark Twain


The beloved American author was stripped of virtually his entire fortune when he invested in an automatic typesetting machine known as the Paige Compositor. Mark Twain was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1894, but was able to use his talent for giving lectures to repay his debts. For the next four years Mark Twain gave lectures in every major city throughout Europe, and went on to write widely acclaimed books such as Following the Equator and Pedd’nhead Wilson.

8. Larry King

 Larry King
The legendary talk show host actually declared bankruptcy twice, once in 1960 and once in 1978 due to debts amounting to around $352,000. However, seven years after declaring bankruptcy for the second time, Larry Kind was about to turn his career and financial standing around by signing a contract with CNN for Larry King Live.

7. Walt Disney

Walt Disney
In 1920, Walt Disney’s main business client filed for bankruptcy and he was forced to follow suit as he was unable to pay his employees. However, three years later he used a loan from his parents to form a new company and in 1928 he created Mickey Mouse, which secured his fame and fortune forever.

6. Toni Braxton

 Toni Braxton


At the peak of career diva Toni Braxton sold more than 15 million albums. However, this didn’t stop her from filing for bankruptcy in 1998, when it was revealed that she was $3.9 million in debt. As a result, all of Toni Braxton’s possessions were seized and sold, including here two Grammys from 1997. However, Braxton bounced back the following year by signing a contract worth $25 million with record label LaFace.

5. Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger
The highly paid Hollywood actress managed to blow most of her fortune when she purchased the town of Braselton in the state of Georgia. She was later sued for pulling out of a film and filed for bankruptcy as she was unable to pay the specified damages even after selling the town. However, Kim Basinger was far from crushed by the experience and went on to marry Alec Baldwin and star in successful films such as L.A Confidential.

4. Burt Reynolds

Kim Basinger
This actor managed to rack up more than $10 million in debt during his decadent days and filed for bankruptcy in 1996 shortly after his divorce with Loni Anderson was finalised. Burt Reynolds was forced to sell most of his assets such as his ranch and dinner theatre and continued acting, finally making a comeback when his was awarded the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe for his role in the hit film Boogie Nights.

3. Henry Ford

Henry Ford

The automobile manufacturer refused to quit when his first two automobile manufacturing companies failed and lead him to bankruptcy. His third company was created in 1903 when Ford was 40 years old and turned him into a multimillionaire virtually overnight.

2. Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney
This prolific actor filed for bankruptcy in 1962 after owing $1.75 million to the Internal Revenue Service. However, Rooney has managed to hold onto his career and still performs in films, television shows and live performances to this day.

1. Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson
Despite being one of the biggest names in the world of country music and selling more than 50 million records, Willie Nelson has had trouble living within his means. In 1997 it was discovered that Nelson owed $16.7 million in back taxes and his Texas ranch and other assets were seized. Nelson turned the situation to his advantage however by releasing an album entitled ‘The IRS Tapes: Who Will Buy My Memories?’ and paying his debt with the proceeds.

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