Little children dream of being celebrities for two reasons: fame and fortune. In the digital age where fame can come to cat videos, dreams of making a fortune gain traction. Unfortunately, celebrity alone doesn’t guarantee a good head for money, leaving many celebrities facing financial problems.
Accomplished singer/songwriter Lauryn Hill is now in the spotlight for her financial problems due to tax evasion. Hill owes over $1 million in state and federal taxes. After pleading guilty in 2012 to failure to file taxes, Hill was recently sentenced to three months in federal prison and a $60,000 fine. Following her incarceration, Hill will spend three months confined to her home as part of a year-long supervised release program.
Mary J. Blige
Another popular singer with monetary problems is Mary J. Blige whose problems include defaulting on bank loans, tax liens, and several lawsuits. Blige is being sued by Bank of America for defaulting on a half million dollar bank loan and by Signature Bank for failure to pay a $2.2 million loan. There is also an outstanding tax lien against Blige in New Jersey for over $900,000. In addition, The Mary J Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now is facing a lawsuit for defaulting on a loan of $250,000.
Celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz is proof that even famous people can get buried by life events. Leibovitz’s partner Susan Sontag and both her parents died in 2005, the same year that she gave birth to twins. Poor financial management led to unpaid bills for a renovation project, missed tax payments, and an abandoned book deal. On top of that probate laws kept Leibovitz from inheriting Sontag’s estate without paying massive estate taxes. The result of all these circumstances was over $24 million in debt that Leibovitz is working with creditors to pay.
An Academy Award is also not proof against financial problems. Nicholas Cage has both. Cage at one time owed $14 million in taxes to the IRS. After years of flirting with bankruptcy and jail time, Cage has scaled back his life and worked with the IRS to pay back his debt. After making a payment of $600,000 in 2012, Cage’s overall debt has been reduced to $6 million.
Other stars facing tax problems include Dionne Warwick who filed for bankruptcy in March over $10.7 million in state and federal taxes. Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne have paid $700,000 toward unpaid taxes, but still owe over $2 million. Pamela Anderson owes California and the IRS almost $400,000 and Gary Busey owes over $450,000 in taxes against personal assets of around $26,000.