With fame, money and power chasing celebrities wherever they go, they can influence virtually anything they lay their hands on. From musicians to movie actors, sportspeople, supermodels, politicians, and socialites, many celebrities run high-flying businesses whose worth runs into billions of dollars. However, not all their expensive investments succeed. In fact, some notable icons have lost fortunes in deals gone sour. Discover leading celebrities whose investments left them with huge debts or outright bankrupt.
1. Jay-Z – J Hotels
The fact that Jay-Z is one of the most ambitious celebrity entrepreneurs is not debatable. His marriage to Beyonce Knowles makes them inarguably the most influential celebrity couple in the world. In 2007, his company bought a 150,000 square foot parcel of land in the Chelsea area of New York City, USA at a whopping $52 million. Unfortunately, the recession of 2008 hit Jay-Z’s investment hard. In fact, construction of the proposed hotel did not take place. Instead, the company defaulted the startup loan and had to cede the property to the lenders
2. Debbie Reynolds- Debbie Reynolds Hotel and Casino
She is arguably the most notable film icon in the 1980s and 90s. In 1991, she bought a casino in Las Vegas, USA and named it Debbie Reynolds Hotel and Casino. She performed there regularly and kept her Hollywood memorabilia there as well. However, since the hotel was located away from the electric Las Vegas strip, it recorded dwindling fortunes. In 1997, Reynolds filed for bankruptcy and the World Wrestling Federation bought the hotel at an auction the following year. The sale fetched a meager $10 million, an amount less than the required to settle property claims.
3. Eva Longoria –Beso Restaurant
The beautiful songstress is talented in music and acting, but you cannot say the same when it comes to entrepreneurship. This is especially true when her Beso steakhouse was losing $76,000 per month in 2014 and early 2015. In fact, she had to bring in experts from Landry’s Restaurants Inc to save her investment. Sensing bankruptcy, Longoria closed the hotel temporarily to avoid losing more money.
4. Nelly- Vokal Clothing Line
Nelly was smashing the airwaves with hit songs and record performances in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His musical collaboration with other artists, notably Kelly, formerly of Destiny’s Child catapulted him to superstardom. In 2001, the celebrity launched a clothing line, dubbed Vokal. The business was flourishing and between 2002 and 2003 alone, the investment made sales worth $20 million. Sadly, it started going south later that year. In 2004, Nelly discontinued operations at the clothing line.
5. Burt Reynolds- PoFolfs chain of restaurants
The former movie star made a number of bad investments in the 1970s. The most outstanding of them all was the PoFolks restaurant chain that operated in Florida, California, and Texas. After losing $15 million, Reynolds called it quits in the late 1980s. This failure coupled with several others left the movie star broke. To make matters worse, his divorce from Loni Anderson was very costly. In 1996, he had accumulated debts worth $10 million and filed for bankruptcy.
Dorothy Hamill is an Olympics celebrity athlete whose Ice Capades company went bankrupt in the early 1990s. Others are Britney Spears’ Nyla Restaurant in New York City and Steven Spielberg’s Dive. Roberto De Niro’s investment in Tribeca Grill, Locanda Verde, and Gobu also went down the same road. Some reasons for the celebrities’ failed investments include high handedness, poor management, and involving family and friends in operations.