8 Famous Musicians Who Went Broke

Famous musicians have one thing in common, “BROKE.” They lost the financial gains of their stardom. Unfortunately, the financial road to recovery road proves hard for many celebrities. They end up dying bankrupt or living impoverished lives.

There are many reasons celebrities go broke: reckless spending, bad business deals, tax arrears, legal disputes, or getting swindled by their trusted managers. These famous musicians lost it all.

1. Michael Jackson


Until his sudden death in 2009, Michael Jackson was perhaps the most famous artist worldwide. He still is today, ranking as the top-earning dead musician in the entire world. But despite all the fame, he had accumulated debts worth 400 million dollars.

The huge debt resulted from his over-borrowing to fund a lavish lifestyle. The borrowed money was also used to pay complainants in the sexual molestation cases against him.

While Jackson never filed for bankruptcy, rumor has it that his massive debt made him the most broke famous musician of all time. The King of Pop was almost becoming homeless as his Neverland Home had run out of operating finances.

2. 50 Cent


50 Cent has featured in many movies, but he has also made a fortune from his rap career. While he now earns a lot of money from his business empires, the famous musician filed for bankruptcy in 2016.

In 2015, the rapper had accumulated debts totaling 36 million dollars. A judge had to allow him to pay his debts over five years as his assets were only worth 20 million dollars by then.

The debts were mainly from unpaid fines in lost lawsuits and accumulated child support payments. Thankfully, the rapper found his footing in money matters and now lives a debt-free life. He dismissed a rumor that he was back to dollar-millionaire status after selling his 2014 album for 700 bitcoins.

3. TLC


TLC was a girl group formed in the 90s. It is an excellent example of fame without money. The girls had signed an unfair record deal with their recording studio and most of their music royalties went to the owners of the label.

But you would never know the girls were broke because they lived posh lives. Lisa was also an alcoholic and Tionne spent most of the other money on medical bills. The band filed for bankruptcy when their fame could no longer fund their lifestyles. Unfortunately, they never recovered financially.

4. Willie Nelson


Willie Nelson was an American singer-songwriter. He was one of the greatest musicians, but in 1990, he was obliged to pay one of the largest tax liabilities in history.

He paid around $17 million tax, according to a federal report and while he and his attorney were capable of minimizing those tax figures by about $6 million, he still couldn’t manage to pay them all. Willie Nelson, a merchant, agreed to make a deal with the IRS and devote his new album to pay off his loan.

He paid off his debt in 1993 having done tours and promoting his record, and he continued to make music.

5. MC Hammer


Through “U Can’t Touch This,” MC Hammer had such a genuine hit, and he eventually had $30 million grand in the bank. As a result of his popularity, Hammer purchased a $1 million palace, which he renovated for $30 million and staffed with 200 employees. He also purchased a horse barn, where he used to keep 19 racehorses.

Hammer entered bankruptcy in 1996, owing $13 million in loans as a result of his unbridled expenses and several lawsuits.

In 2011, he appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to discuss how he spends much of his days and how he is “loosely affiliated with about 8 [technology] firms.”

6. Toni Braxton


Toni Braxton, the Grammy Award-winning artist, declared bankruptcy not even once, but twice! She initially sued in 1998, citing an unfair deal with her record company as the reason for her action.

She had big successes like “Breathe Again” and “Another Sad Love,” which sold $170 million, however, she said she only received a bonus check of $1,972 during her first album agreement and charged Arista and LaFace Records ultimately. She also acknowledged that she had an expenditure issue.

With the launch of her 2000 hit “He Wasn’t Man Enough,” Braxton was able to get herself out of bankruptcy, but she had to declare bankruptcy once more in 2010 when her Toni Braxton:

The show Announced was unexpectedly canceled. She has subsequently completed required financial planning programs and has had the majority of her debts forgiven.

7. Cyndi Lauper


Cyndi Lauper has a net worth of $30 million, even though she had a rocky start. She began her journey recording and writing songs for the music band Blue Angel, however, the Polydor record was a flop, and Lauper had to declare bankruptcy in 1981. She performed in a Japanese cafe dressed and operated in retail to make ends meet until releasing her first hit song, She’s So Unusual, in 1983.

8. Ted Nugent


Ted Nugent sold-out shows all over the country and make a lot of money. That being said, you are just as good as the individuals you put your faith in. His subordinates made some poor financial choices, investing his assets in failed companies. In 1980, he declared bankruptcy as a result of his failed businesses.

Moral of The Story

So, what is the takeaway from this story?

It’s easy for people to live beyond their means, taking out title cash from INeedCashNow, or borrowing from banks or friends and family. Eventually, this leads to a crash.

To avoid falling into this trap, first, avoid the stardom trap and pay attention to how you spend your money. Spending money wisely means living within your means and paying your taxes on time to avoid hefty fines and court cases.

Also, avoid drugs or you will end up broke or dead. Drug addiction keeps you fixated on the “next high”, and soon, you lose more than your senses. Finally, get a trustworthy professional to handle your finances. Be wise with how you spend money, and you will never become the butt of all money jokes.