On the subject of celebrity foreclosures, there’s historically been some real doozies that could rival what these stars have done on the stage and silver screen… we’re talking tax evasion and lawsuits galore. Today let’s just focus on the foreclosures that haven taken place since the year 2000.
This is such a wide range of personalities represented that it seems like the best way to present this list will simply be chronologically:
Courtney Love – Littlerock, WA.
Love, arguably the queen of grunge rock, purchased a historic Washington state bungalow in 1997. The bungalow was built in 1903, sits on 13 acres, and is reportedly one of the last remaining structures from the logging town of Bordeaux, which was demolished in 1941 when the logging operation closed.
Jump forward to 2003 when Love decided to no longer make payments on the property, resulting in a total balance owed of $386,000, which includes court costs, sheriff’s fees, and interest.
Interestingly and perhaps unusually, there were no bids on the property at the foreclosure auction. At last report it was owned by WMC Mortgage.
Jose Canseco – Encino, CA.
Caseco, renowned for both his professional baseball career and the steroids scandal intertwined with it, lost his 7,300 square foot home in Encino to foreclosure. He still owed $2.5 million on the home and according to interviews decided it made better financial sense for him to simply walk away from the property rather than continue to pay.
Nicolas Cage – Las Vegas / New Orleans / California
Leave it to ol’ Nic Cage to go bigger than everyone else on this list, boasting no less than four foreclosures in the same year. First up is a $35 million Bel Air mansion, previously owned by both Dean martin and Tom Jones, purchased in 1998 for $6.5 million. After renovating the property (described by one real estate agent as being in the style of “frat house bordello”), Cage unsuccessfully attempted to sell it in 2006. He was then foreclosed on in 2010. The property then fell to an unnamed limited liability company.
Next up is Cage’s 14,300-square-foot Las Vegas home, purchased in 2006. The home included a 16-car subterranean garage, a theater, and an elevator, but was ultimately lost to foreclosure.
And finally, Cage lost two New Orleans homes, worth a combined $6.8 million, and one that is currently pending sale. The actor reportedly owed the city of New Orleans $151,730 in real estate taxes, as well as mortgage payments of $5.5 million. These two properties were foreclosed on and auctioned.
Burt Reynolds – Hobe Sound, FL.
Renowned for his famous bear rug photo shoot as much as for his actual acting, by 2011 Reynolds had gone through a messy divorce with Loni Anderson, as well as a failed restaurant venture, and had filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Merrill Lynch ultimately foreclosed on his property, claiming Reynolds owed $1.2 million.
R.Kelly – Olympia Fields, IL.
The seemingly perpetually scandalous music star had missed more than a year’s worth of mortgage payments on his 22,000-square-foot Illinois mansion when J.P. Morgan Chase paid $950,000 at auction to acquire the property following the foreclosure. Kelly still owed over $2.9 million and had unsuccessfully attempted a short sale for $1.6 million earlier in the year.
Mel Gibson – Malibu, CA.
The twist on Mel Gibson’s foreclosure story is that it also involves a church, his own Holy Family Catholic Church, which itself owed $200,000 on top of the $12,000 owed to the construction company for his residence. In the end, Gibson was able to reverse the foreclosure and list the property for $11.75 million.
Rihanna – Beverly Hills, CA.
The only celebrity to appear on this list not due to financial troubles, Rihanna’s 8,520-square-foot home suffered “extensive damage” as a result of poor construction, for which the star blamed her real estate agent and thusly filed suit against him.
Chris Tucker – Lake Apopka, FL.
The “Rush Hour” and “The Fifth Element” star purchased his 10,000-square-foot home, including pirate-themed basement, in 2007 for $6 million, with a monthly payment of $26,000. By 2011, over $4 million was owed to the bank, and the IRS had a lien on the property for $11.5 million for unpaid income tax. Unfortunately, the property ended up appraised for a lowly $1.6 million.
Evander Holyfield – Atlanta, GA.
The world-class boxer’s $10 million estate was foreclosed upon, for multiple reasons including unpaid child support and over half a million dollars in landscaping owed. The property, literally(ironically?) located on Evander Holyfield Highway, has 109 rooms including 3 kitchens and a bowling alley. Musical artist Rick Ross ended up purchasing the home.
OJ Simpson – Kendall, FL.
Simpson’s story is unique in that the foreclosure took place while he was incarcerated for armed robbery and kidnapping. J.P. Morgan Chase foreclosed on the 4,000-squre-foot home, worth $478,401, in order to satisfy more than $700,000 in debt. Other than a failed motion to dismiss the foreclosure, Simpson made no further effort to keep the property which went on to sell at auction for $655,000.
Whether or not more money does equal more problems is up for debate, but the ability to walk away from million dollar homes without batting an eye does seem to be a problem that not all of us will experience within our lifetimes. By and large though, the lesson here is to make smart financial choices and live within your means. And maybe don’t have a pirate basement in your mansion. Maybe.
To make sure you aren’t getting in over your head with a new real estate purchase, check your numbers first using Realty.com’s free finance tools for home buyers.