Eight Famous People You Will Be Surprised to Hear Were Once in Debt

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Written by: Guest | Best Company Editorial Team

Last Updated: July 8th, 2020

Topics: debt facts

Being in debt is something that might feel terrible, but certainly isn't something to be ashamed of. In today's modern world, it can be difficult to avoid going into debt while you're working to get ahead in life. The same is true for celebrities! Here are eight famous people you'll be surprised to hear were, at one point in their lives, in debt as well.

Presidency Bankruptcy: Abraham Lincoln

Even presidency smarts can't help people avoid going into debt, it seems. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, filed for bankruptcy in 1833 after partaking in a failed business venture. 17 years later, his debts were paid off.

The Automobile Giant: Henry Ford

After two failed companies and a bankruptcy in 1901, Henry Ford bounced back as the automobile giant he is now known to be. He founded his third company and achieved long-awaited success with the Ford Motor Company in 1903.

Bankruptcy for Larry Before Larry King Live

Before making his turn around with his claim to fame, Larry King Live on CNN, Larry King declared two bankruptcies, one in 1960 and one in 1978. His debts piled up to $352,000.

Bankruptcy After Imprisonment for Poet and Author, Oscar Wilde

The acclaimed poet and author, Oscar Wilde, was forced into bankruptcy in 1895 after being sentenced to two years in prison for homosexual activity, which was illegal in England during that period.

Millions in Debt for Pop Star, Toni Braxton

Before recouping her pop star, millionaire status by signing a $25 million contract with LaFace, Toni Braxton was millions of dollars in debt. Braxton was forced to sell her property and assets in order to repay her $3.9-million-dollar debt, and she filed for bankruptcy in 1998.

MC Hammer: Fame to Shame

A life of quick fame may have been the cause of MC Hammer's growing debt, which reached $13 million before he filed for bankruptcy in 1996. Solid gold chains for not only himself but also his four pet Rottweilers may have gotten him there, but he has recouped, now juggling a life as a rapper and TV host.

Marvin Gaye: Tax Problems "In His Lifetime"

Prior to moving to Hawaii to work on his album, In Our Lifetime, Marvin Gaye was overcome by financial woes, tax problems, and drug addictions, fuelling his decision to lead an island life. The famous singer filed for bankruptcy in 1979.

Mark Twain: Investment Gone Bad

Mark Twain, the famous American author, lost the majority of his money after making a poor investment decision, and later filed for bankruptcy in 1894. He traveled Europe for four years giving lectures in order to finally repay all of his debts, and wrote some of his best work, namely Pudd'nhead Wilson and Following the Equator, after filing for bankruptcy.

Knowing the stories of these famous, once rich, and re-made celebrities can give us greater insight to overcoming debt and bankruptcy. Nowadays, rich people come in all shapes in sizes. Whether made rich by YouTube or just by old-fashioned movie stars, there's always the possibility of debt. By understanding that fame and fortune aren't things that will keep debt out of your life, you can understand what the true asset you need to get out of debt: persistency. Be persistent, and forge your way to a debt-free life!

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