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Celebrities and Bankruptcy: You Are Not Alone

Bankruptcy stigmas are beginning to fade as more and more people file for bankruptcy, including those in the public eye. Most recently, Teresa Giudice, a reality TV star on Bravo's "Real Housewives of New Jersey," talked about what it was like to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

"Going through bankruptcy, if anything, made us stronger. It didn't break us," she said about her joint bankruptcy petition with her husband, Joe Guidice.

Other celebrities who have filed for bankruptcy include:

  • Marvin Gaye
  • MC Hammer
  • Toni Braxton
  • Walt Disney
  • Mike Tyson
  • Tom Petty
  • Henry Ford
  • Natalie Cole
  • Donald Trump
  • Ruben Studdard
  • Stephen Baldwin

Even Abraham Lincoln had to declare bankruptcy for debts accrued by his general store. Unfortunately for Lincoln, he did not have the bankruptcy protections that we have today. He spent nearly a decade paying back his debt after losing his horse and surveying gear (his only remaining assets). Note: Today, bankruptcy does not lead to significant property loss and debtors can exit bankruptcy relatively debt free.

Abe Lincoln was able to rise from bankruptcy and become the President of the United States. His impact as president has made him a financial icon: His face is on the penny, a symbol of hard-working America. You, too, can rise from debt and continue focusing on the more important things in your life.

As you can see, bankruptcy affects everyone - from the formerly rich to the financially strapped. Most people who declare bankruptcy fall right in the middle. They are middle class individuals facing unexpected costs and foreclosure of their homes. You are not alone, and you do not have to continue to struggle.

Source: CNN Living, "Seven Famous People Who Survived Bankruptcy," Ethan Trex, Nov. 19, 2008.

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