The fall from fame and fortune can be even more dizzying than the rise, particularly if you've been enthusiastically living the lifestyle. Pity these poor stars, whose luxurious homes, shiny cars, awards, instruments and all manner of gaudy baubles were no sooner acquired than they had to be pawned off to pay the creditors.
Paul Cattermole of S Club 7's Brit Award
UK pop acts dream of winning the favour of the Brit Awards' shining goddess. S Club 7, fresh from their first TV show, Miami 7, and album, S Club, won Best Newcomer at the Brits in 2000. But that success was short-lived for Paul Cattermole who left the band in 2002, expressing a desire to return to his rock roots - he'd previously been in the nu-metal band Skua. S Club carried on for around a year, but when Jo O'Meara announced her back problems would leave her unable to perform, that was it.
As the Guardian reported, rumours immediately started to spread that the band were owed payments by manager Simon Fuller, and that of the £52m they'd made, the band had taken home just £100,000 a year each. In 2008, Jo O'Meara, Bradley McIntosh and Paul Cattermole began touring as S Club 3, playing pubs and clubs. The full band reformed in 2014 for Children in Need, and toured the UK in 2015. However, this year, Cattermole announced he was selling his award on eBay, due to being "skint".
"I don't want the other members to think that I am dissing the band by selling it but there are bills to pay," he said, adding that it was time to move on, and that he would use the award to move house. In a cruel twist, the first buyer, for £66,000, didn’t come through with the money, and Cattermole was forced to relist the award. Still, he wasn't too sentimental about it: "When I first got given it, I remember thinking, 'Ooh one day I bet I end up selling that.'"
Courtney Love and her Nirvana rights
After the death of her husband Kurt Cobain in 1994, Courtney Love struggled, in her grief, with addiction and anger-management, and was arrested several times between the late-90s and mid-00s. She has reportedly been sober since 2007, but, before then, she told the Sunday Times that she'd lost about $27m of the money from Cobain's songwriting and publishing rights (which had been worth around $250m at the time she took them over), having spent a large chunk on lawsuits between her and the rest of Nirvana, and with her former assistant.
And in 2006, as Rolling Stone reported, Love sold 25 per cent of her stake in Nirvana's catalogue, saying she needed someone to help her manage the burden. "The affairs of Nirvana are so massive and so huge, and they've all fallen on my lap. I own almost all of [the publishing]... and it proved to be too much for me," she said. "I needed a partner to take Kurt Cobain's songs and bring them into the future and into the next generation."
Willie Nelson's memories
In November 1990, the US Inland Revenue Service seized property in six states belonging to Willie Nelson, and took assets including boxes of master tapes, touring equipment, gold and platinum records and clothes. The country stalwart had racked up back taxes worth $32m, with $16.7m left after his assets had been taken.
As Nelson told Rolling Stone, he knew trouble was coming, and had sent his beloved, battered old Martin guitar, Trigger, to Maui, where it was safe from the IRS. But he was forced to part with his gold records, the family piano, and his Texan properties (although friends purchased back many of the goods that the IRS auctioned).
In order to cover the remaining debt, he recorded The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?, a two-disc acoustic recording, with costs kept as low as possible. Sadly, it didn't sell as much as it could have, not least because Nelson wore a t-shirt bearing the wrong phone number to call on a TV promotion for the album - turned out 1-800-IRS-TAPE actually belonged to a Salt Lake City tech company. He also appeared in adverts for a fast-food chain and, being a good sport, a firm of tax accountants.
New Order and The Haçienda
Opened in 1982, Factory Record's many-storied Manchester nightclub The Haçienda became one of the world's great venues. Co-owners from those early days when the club was often empty, through to its heyday at the height of acid house and baggy, were Factory linchpins New Order. But though the club birthed many legends and tales - like the New Year's Eve when they set the takings on fire with indoor fireworks - it wasn't so good at actually making money, and in 1997, having seen great performances from the likes of Happy Mondays, The Smiths, The Fall, Madonna and, weirdly, on its opening night, Bernard Manning, it closed its doors with a performance by Spiritualized, with every punter that came through the door from the club's opening having actually cost the band £10.
"As my accountant likes to tell me, I won't appreciate how much cash The Haçienda lost until I stop earning money," said Hook in his book The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club. "'Then,' he says, 'it'll hit you like a juggernaut.'"
The Haçienda stayed open as a gallery for a time before going bankrupt and being sold by receivers to Crosby Homes, who kept the name and some of the Factory style but redesigned the club as apartments.
MC Hammer's dream mansion
At the height of his fame, the man responsible for 90s megahit U Can't Touch This was worth an estimated $33m. But excessive spending, supporting friends and family, and employing as many people from his community as possible, left him $13m in debt. In 1996, just six years after his debut album Please Hammer, Don't Hurt Em topped the US charts, the rapper filed for bankruptcy. He was forced to sell his dream mansion in the Fremont Hills near San Francisco, which boasted two pools, a nine-car garage, three waterfalls, and $2m worth of black marble, including customised marble niches designed to hold his awards.
Turns out, sadly for MC Hammer, that his creditors could, in fact, touch this.
Isaac Hayes's gold-plated Cadillac
Soul figurehead Isaac Hayes, who had huge success with albums like Hot Buttered Soul in 1969 and the soundtrack to Shaft two years later, came into financial trouble in the mid-70s, as did his label Stax. Unable to pay his bank debts, Hayes sued Stax, who, in turn unable to pay him, released him from his contract so he could give his income direct to the bank.
With album sales continuing to dwindle, Hayes was declared bankrupt two years later. He had to sell not only his home and his custom gold-plated Cadillac, but the rights to most of his catalogue. After his death, having returned to prominence voicing the Chef character in South Park, his family have been trying to regain the rights. The Cadillac, happily, is now housed in Memphis's Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch
Michael Jackson sold over 100m albums and, in 1985, he also outbid Paul McCartney for ATV Music, which owned the rights to a trove of Lennon/McCartney songs. So you'd expect that he should have been financially solid. Yet a combination of a hardcore shopping habit - "a billionaire spending habit for only a millionaire's spending budget", according to one lawyer - and several multi-million dollar legal cases, including those relating to child molestation accusations (Jackson settled the Jordy Chandler case alone for $22m), left the star in financial peril.
In the mid-90s, he merged ATV with his label Sony's catalogue, but was still forced to give up the majority stake of his ranch Neverland to Sycamore Holdings in 2008, with the ranch's fairground rides being trucked out along the highway to be installed instead at the California State Fair in Sacramento. Shortly afterwards, Jackson had been planning a huge auction of memorabilia, but ultimately cancelled it, instead announcing the This Is It concert series, which would have earned Jackson hundreds of millions. Those shows, of course, never happened, and Jackson died owing up to £302m.
David Crosby's sailing ship
Outspoken folk rocker David Crosby told Bankrate that he had earned and spent around $25m over his career. In the mid-80s, flat broke, he filed for bankruptcy and was jailed on drug and weapons charges, then forced to stay in a friend's spare room when he was released. He got back on his feet, but in 2014 was forced to sell his beloved 59-foot schooner Mayan, bought after he left The Byrds, which he could no longer afford to maintain. He'd described the boat as a "deep muse" and "higher than a party" in the Wall Street Journal, and had written such songs as Wooden Ships, The Lee Shore, Page 43 and Carry Me while on board.
Virtually everyone in rock 'n' roll, he added, had been on board, but that wasn't the point of the ship. "Sailing alone in that boat for the first time was a transforming experience," he said. "I came back the next day and every day after that. Sailing became one of the main streams of my life." Though she has moved on, Mayan still rules the waves with a new owner, as the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported in 2015.
50 Cent's cars
In 2015, 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy, following huge legal bills after he was forced to pay $5m to Rick Ross's girlfriend Lastonia Leviston in a sex tape case, and a separate legal dispute over a headphones business venture. Assets listed in his bankruptcy filing included seven cars valued at more than $500,000, including a 2010 Rolls Royce and a 1966 Chevrolet Coupe.
The day after filing, he posted a photograph of himself next to a Smart car on Instagram, writing, "Times are hard out here LMAO." But financial dottiness can have its rare upsides: an early adopter of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, 50 allowed fans to buy his 2014 album Animal Ambition with it. He didn't touch the resulting stash for years, in which time Bitcoin's value soared, increasing the value of his bitcoin takings from $400,000 to around $8m. "Not bad for a kid from South Side, I'm so proud of me," he commented on Instagram. "Ima keep it real, I forgot I did that s*** lol."