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Celebrity bankruptcies show the ups and downs of success

Fortunes go up and down for famous people in Texas and around the country. Like others who are not as well known, they experience financial challenges, such as divorce, lawsuits and business failures. Their troubles make the headlines, however, because of the large sums involved for celebrities like 50 Cent, Mike Tyson and Francis Ford Coppola.

Forbes Magazine once placed the net worth of rapper 50 Cent at $155 million, but now he has announced that he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Well before he grabbed media attention for his money woes, boxer Mike Tyson filed for bankruptcy when overwhelmed by $23 million in debts. A $9 million divorce settlement coupled with over $17 million in tax demands from both the IRS and British government pushed him into the red. Even so, his post-boxing career continued with the release of a memoir and the production of a television show.

For Coppola, his film-making career stumbled when the $27 million production of "One From The Heart" earned only $4 million. When he filed for bankruptcy, he held an estimated $52 million in assets. His debts, however, reached as high as $98 million. Years after emerging from bankruptcy, he continues to make films and owns a winery and some hotels.

As these famous people with their millions in obligations illustrate, bankruptcy offers a legal tool for negotiating with creditors and gaining a fresh start financially. A person overwhelmed by debt could speak with an attorney about the potential benefits of bankruptcy. After reviewing the person's financial situation, an attorney might recommend the appropriate debt relief approach for achieving goals like discharging consumer debts, protecting a home or keeping a business in operation.

Source: Business insider, "9 rich and famous people who filed for bankruptcy", Sarah Schmalbruch, July 13, 2015

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