Fix the plumbing, mow the lawn, paint the kitchen, clean the gutters, refinish the floors…and the list goes on! Owning a home is definitely not for the faint of heart as the upkeep and chores are endless but even the process of buying a home can be daunting. From pages of paperwork to initialing here and signing there, getting a mortgage to purchase a home can make anyone feel like they’re signing their life away, even for some of the biggest celebrities in the world.
While many assume that celebrities pay cash for everything from their designer clothes to their luxury cars, that’s not always the case. Despite earning thousands if not hundreds of thousands for a concert, game or film, celebrities like actors, athletes and musicians rarely have the cash on hand to make big purchases especially when it comes to buying a multi-million-dollar estate. Instead, they join the rest of us in signing and initialing their lives away on a mound of mortgage paperwork and promises.
How do celebrities afford their dream homes or can they? Often making headlines for their love interests, fashion faux pas and family feuds, celebrities do their best to keep their finances and multi-million dollar estates top secret, and for good reason. You’re in for a treat, however, as we found the top 15 largest celebrity mortgages starting at $1 million and climbing higher. Get ready for the juiciest gossip of bankruptcy, foreclosure and tax evasion that brought many of these fairytales to a tragic end!
#15 – Stephen Baldwin ($1.19 Million)
The youngest of the talented “Baldwin brothers” of Hollywood fame, 49-year-old Stephen Baldwin launched his Hollywood career nearly three decades ago when he made his film debut in The Beast in 1988. After making small appearances in film and television, he caught his first major break in 1995 when his performance in The Usual Suspects made him a star. Though not as famous as older brothers Alec and William, Baldwin has achieved great success with hits like Bio Dome and Fled in addition to a controversial stint on All-Star Celebrity Apprentice when he quit the show mid-season in 2013.
Despite his success as an actor, Baldwin and his wife, Kennya, defaulted on the mortgage for their home in Upper Grandview, New York in 2009. Taking out a $1.19 million loan, Baldwin barely even came close to paying when he defaulted on over $824,000 in addition to tens of thousands owed in unpaid property taxes dating as far back as 1999. As a result, Baldwin was forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy and lost his home to foreclosure. Now living in the village of Nyack, New York, it appears that Baldwin has settled at least part of his debt, if not all.
#14 – Allen Iverson ($1.2 Million)
Setting record after record at Georgetown University, few were surprised when Allen Iverson became the first overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996 NBA Draft. Iverson spent a decade with the 76ers as a point guard and shooting guard before joining the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies. Ending his 14-year NBA career with the 76ers in 2010, Iverson played in 11 NBA All Star Games and earned an impressive salary of $155 million all because of his skills on the hardwoods.
Already a millionaire by his mid-20s and spending it as fast as he made it, Iverson spared no expense on his dream home when he purchased a $4.5 million gated estate in Atlanta, Georgia. Using $1.2 million for customizations of the 10,000 square-foot home, the fairytale didn’t last long for the NBA star who was broke by 2011. In the midst of divorce and with millions in debt, Iverson told the judge and his soon to be ex-wife, “I don’t even have money for a cheeseburger!” Broke and with little hope, Iverson moved to a hotel and watched as his Atlanta estate was foreclosed and auctioned for $2.8 million.
#13 – Burt Reynolds ($1.5 Million)
Easily one of the most recognizable and popular actors of the 1970s and 1980s, Burt Reynolds is a true Hollywood legend whose breakout role in the 1972 hit Deliverance made him a star after nearly two decades of hard work and persistence. Now at 80 years old and with hits like Smokey and the Bandit, The Longest Yard, The Dukes of Hazzard and Boogie Nights, the Golden Globe winner may be retired but he is still one of the biggest names in Hollywood with fans both young and old.
Reynolds ran into some hot water in 2011 when his financial troubles took center stage after he failed to make payments on his $1.5 million Florida home. Someone close to Reynolds told the media that the star was notorious for “running up bills and ignoring them” while also admitting that Reynolds had an additional $750,000 mortgage on top of his already growing debt. With his estate valued at nearly $3 million, Reynolds made a desperate attempt to sell the property for just under $9 million with no success. In 2015 and years after foreclosure, the home finally sold for $3.3 million to satisfy his $1.2 million debt.
#12 – Wesley Snipes ($1.6 Million)
Training in martial arts since the age of 12, Wesley Snipes was in the middle of a competition when he was discovered by an agent at 23 years old. Making his film debut in 1986 opposite Goldie Hawn in Wildcats, Snipes appeared in Michael Jackson’s “Bad” music video and soon caught the attention of director Spike Lee. Quickly rising to fame as an action film star, Snipes became a household name known for films like Blade, Demolition Man and even comedies like White Men Can’t Jump.
Though he seems to be laying low these days, Snipes made headlines in 2008 when he was charged with tax evasion. Found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison in December 2010, Snipes had no other choice but to refinance the $1.6 million mortgage on his Alpine, New Jersey mansion in addition to losing his $1 million Orlando, Florida estate. With a long history of fraudulent tax returns, unpaid property taxes and nothing left in his bank account, Snipes was released on April 2, 2013 from federal prison and placed on house arrest in New York.
#11 – Terrell Owens ($1.95 Million)
The second athlete on our list and perhaps one of the most controversial players in football history is record-breaking wide receiver Terrell Owens. Drafted in 1996 by the San Francisco 49ers, the former NFL star spent 15 seasons with teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. Retiring in 2012 with the Seattle Seahawks after six Pro Bowls, Owens went down in NFL history as second all-time in receiving yards and third all-time in receiving touchdowns.
With thousands already tied up in fines to the NFL for his infamous touchdown celebrations, Owens lived up to the hype at home as well. While playing for the Cowboys from 2006 to 2008, Owens took out a $1.95 million mortgage on a Dallas condominium. By 2011, the football legend had long left the Cowboys, Bills and Bengals when his financial struggles became public. As his career came to a close in 2012, Owens admitted that the bank also foreclosed on two of his other homes in Dallas that were worth $295,000 and $360,000. As to why he needed three homes in one city, that remains a mystery!
#10 – JaMarcus Russell ($2.4 Million)
Joining the ranks of athletes like Allen Iverson and Terrell Owens is former NFL quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Drafted out of Louisiana State University by the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Russell’s first year was promising as he closed out the season as MVP of the 2007 Sugar Bowl. The praise, however, wouldn’t last long. Released from his contract in 2010 after throwing only 18 touchdowns in three seasons, Russell quickly earned the title as the biggest draft bust of all time.
Signing one of the largest rookie contracts in NFL history at $61 million with a $32 million guarantee, the 22-year-old’s first stop was the bank where he signed a mortgage on a $2.4 million Oakland mansion. Thanks to his guaranteed millions, Russell managed to pay off a large portion of the mortgage but, as his career declined and with his drug charges from 2010, he failed to pay the last $195,000 to the bank. On the brink of losing his home, Russell put the house up for sale and closed a deal that satisfied his debt, but he has yet to get his finances under control.
#9 – Kristen Bell ($3.1 Million)
Having come quite a long way since being named “Best Looking Girl” by her high school senior class, actress Kristen Bell made her Broadway debut in 2001 in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Making her way to Los Angeles, Bell made a few television appearances before landing the title character in the critically acclaimed Veronica Mars. Since then, the 35-year-old actress has become a Hollywood favorite with films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Couples Retreat, When in Rome and as the voice of Prince Anna in Frozen.
Rising to fame at 22 years old and knowing very little about money, Bell made a common mistake when she took out a huge mortgage that she couldn’t afford in 2006. Signing a $3.1 million loan on a sprawling 2.6-acre estate in Studio City, California, Bell lived at the nearly 4,000 square-foot home for nearly five years with a revolving door of roommates. Unfortunately, not even the rent from her friends was enough for Bell to keep the property as it was auctioned in 2012 for far less than she paid. Fortunately for Bell, she was never homeless as she was already playing house with long-time partner (now husband) Dax Shepard and their two kids.
#8 – Michael Jackson ($4.1 Million)
Best known as the King of Pop and an international icon, Michael Jackson dominated the charts first as the youngest member of the Jackson 5 and then as a solo artist. Growing up on the stage and wowing audiences with his incredible range, dance moves and showmanship, Jackson is the mastermind behind hits like “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Man in the Mirror” not to mention the best-selling album of all time, Thriller. After four decades on stage and amid preparations for his comeback tour, This is It, Jackson died in June 2009 at 50 years old.
With news of his death causing social media outlets and search engines to crash, the world was anxious to hear the details of Jackson’s guarded personal life especially when it came to his estimated $750 million net worth. Released three years after his death, Jackson’s financial records revealed a $4.1 million mortgage on his home in Encino, California, but that wasn’t all. Jackson had plenty of other loans including $60 million tied up in his concert film This is It, as well as a $75 million loan using his song catalog as collateral. The icing on the cake, however, is the $700 million owed to the IRS in taxes on the $1.1 billion Jackson estate.
#7 – R. Kelly ($5 Million)
If Michael Jackson was the King of Pop then it only makes sense to turn our attention to R. Kelly, the King of Rhythm and Blues. First debuting in 1992 with the group Public Announcement, R. Kelly has proven himself as an award-winning recording artist, songwriter and record producer over the last 25 years. Known for hits like “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Bump N’ Grind” and “Trapped in the Closet,” Kelly is recognized as the most successful R&B artist in history and, interestingly enough, he even wrote Michael Jackson’s hit, “You are Not Alone.”
Now worth an estimated $150 million, R. Kelly purchased a $5 million home in Chicago at the height of his career with the help of a loan from J.P. Morgan Chase. Despite his success, however, Kelly faced a lot of financial problems in March 2013 leaving the bank no other choice but to auction his home. Unfortunately for Kelly (and the bank), potential buyers were turned off by the hefty $950,000 price tag, which left the bank no other choice but to buy it themselves. With the bank taking a huge loss, Kelly’s refusal to comment on the situation speaks volumes.
#6 – Mark Zuckerberg ($5.95 Million)
How many times have you checked Facebook today? There’s a good chance that Facebook is part of your daily routine and you can thank Mark Zuckerberg for the distraction. Creating the site in the dorm alongside his Harvard University roommates in 2004, Zuckerberg and his friends launched the biggest social media site of its kind. As a result, the now 31-year-old internet entrepreneur and computer programmer is one of the richest people in the world with a $46 billion net worth.
Since Zuckerberg is the richest person on our list, it seems shocking that the billionaire would even consider getting a mortgage. But, that’s exactly what he did in 2012 when he purchased a $6 million home in Pao Alto, California. Putting his Harvard education to work, Zuckerberg negotiated an interest rate to just over one percent of the mortgage. At the time, the interest rate was lower than the inflation rate, which meant that Zuckerberg was basically living in the house for free. With smart investment skills like that, we know fellow billionaire investor Warren Buffett would be incredibly proud!
#5 – Chris Tucker ($6 Million)
First taking the stage at 20 years old, comedian Chris Tucker became a household name almost overnight when he starred alongside Ice Cube in the 1995 cult classic Friday. With opportunity knocking, Tucker landed starring roles in hits like Money Talks with Charlie Sheen and The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis before taking on the role as Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour series. Having since returned to comedy, Tucker will also return to the silver screen in late 2016 in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Quickly rising to fame in the late 1990s, Tucker struggled to find work outside of the Rush Hour franchise which only caused more trouble when it came time to pay the bills. Unable to keep up with his mortgage payments and taxes, Tucker’s $6 million home in Florida and an unsteady paycheck caused him to default on $4.4 million of the loan. To make matters worse, Tucker owed another $11.5 million to the IRS with monthly payments at a whopping $26,000! Still working to pay back his debt, it’s been an uphill climb for the star who hasn’t had a huge payday since 2007.
#4 – Rihanna ($6.9 Million)
Ranked as one of the best-selling artists of all time thanks to 14 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna has been a mainstay on the pop charts for a decade and she’s not even 30 years old. Launching her career recording demos, Rihanna caught the ear of rapper, producer and former Def Jam Recordings president, Jay Z. Signing a contract with the label, Rihanna released Music of the Sun and A Girl Like Me in 2005 and 2006 and has become one of the hottest artists on the charts with award-winning hits like “Diamonds,” “Disturbia,” “We Found Love” and “Umbrella.”
Often praised as one of the most influential people in the world, Rihanna is yet another celebrity to suffer a foreclosure. Currently worth an estimated $160 million, Rihanna purchased a $6.9 million mansion in Beverly Hills, California but it wasn’t money problems that led to her troubles. After the home suffered extreme flood damage, Rihanna ignited a legal battle against the construction company and the bank over the property being sold as a lemon. Though Rihanna did not win the legal battle, the bank took back the property only to resell it for $4.5 million at auction.
#3 – Kristin Cavallari ($8 Million)
Chances are if you were a teenager in the early 2000s, then you might have watched the MTV reality series Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County starring Kristin Cavallari, Lauren Conrad and their friends. Wrapping up the series in 2005, Cavallari made appearances on television series like Veronica Mars and Cane before announcing she would join Laguna’s spin-off series, The Hills. Now married to Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, the 29-year-old Cavallari spends her time doing charity work while raising their three children who are all under the age of three.
Located in Orange Beach just miles from where Laguna Beach was filmed, Cavallari may not have lived in the 7,100-square foot estate but not even her television fame and fortune could help save her parent’s $13.95 million ocean view home. Owned by Cavallari’s dad and stepmother, the home went into foreclosure in February 2012 after the family failed to make payments on the massive mortgage. Once in the bank’s hands, the news only got worse as the home’s price tag was drastically cut and sold at auction for $6.1 million.
#2 – Evander Holyfield ($10 Million)
Known as one of the greatest punchers of all time and one of the most memorable prize fighters of the 1990s, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield had an impressive professional boxing record of 44 wins and 10 losses with 29 wins by knockout. His rivalry with Mike Tyson was easily one of the most memorable in boxing history that undoubtedly motivated Holyfield to take home over 11 titles in the ring as well as four reigns as the WBA Heavyweight Champion.
A force to be reckoned with in the ring, Holyfield took the same all-or-nothing approach with his finances. Developing quite the spending habit during his career, Holyfield purchased a $10 million home in Atlanta, Georgia that had over 100 rooms including 17 bathrooms and a bowling alley. In addition to thousands of dollars he paid in monthly child support, the massive mortgage payment and the cost of upkeep drained Holyfield dry. First foreclosed and auctioned in 2008, the home has seen multiple owners with the most recent purchase in 2014 by rapper Rick Ross for a steal at $5.8 million. Hopefully he won’t have buyer’s remorse!
#1 – Nicolas Cage ($18 Million)
Born into the legendary Coppola family of Hollywood, 52-year-old Nicholas Cage has achieved widespread success across all genres of films over the last four decades. Making his film debut in 1982 with a minor role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Cage’s early career is filled with movies like Moonstruck and Honeymoon in Vegas before an award-winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas in 1995 helped put him on the map. Since then, he’s earned critical praise for hits like Con Air, National Treasure, Adaption and The Weather Man.
Ranked as one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors, Cage is no stranger to real estate with homes around the world including medieval castles and even an island! In the midst of a tax nightmare that left him $13 million in debt to the IRS, Cage had a lot to explain with six mortgages worth $18 million on his Bel Air, California estate. Attempting to repay the debt, Cage listed the home for $37 million in 2007 but the bank quickly foreclosed and auctioned it for $10.5 million. Sadly, the Bel Air estate wasn’t the only home that Cage lost in his tax fiasco.