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5 UK Celebrities that have struggled with debt

celebrities struggled with debt

While celebrities are usually associated with stratospheric levels of wealth (who else remembers Victoria Beckham’s 24K gold-plated mobile, and Kim Kardashian’s golden toilet?), many celebrities have also struggled with serious debt.

While a celebrity’s fall from financial grace is more likely to be cushioned by a big pile of privilege, spare assets and cultural capital, they still have to go through the same insolvency procedures that we do if they really get into the red.

In this article, we’re going to look at 5 UK celebrities who have got into severe financial distress, become bankrupt or had to take out an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) to keep themselves afloat.

Let’s dive right in, and meet the UK celebrities who got themselves into serious debt.

Who are 5 UK celebrities that have been in serious debt?

5 UK celebrities who have been in serious debt are:

  • Martine McCutcheon
  • Katie Price
  • George Best
  • Chris Eubank
  • Katie Hopkins

Martine McCutcheon

Born into an unstable family life with father Thomas Hemmings who tried to kill both her and her mother, Martine McCutcheon found her solace acting in school plays. Now famous for starring in EastEnders Martine had her first acting roles in Away in a Manger and Noahs Arkat Shacklewell Infants’ School. At the age of 12, she got her first professional acing role in a Kool-Aid commercial, and never looked back.

She had a few modelling roles and a few minor acting parts, as well as being part of the pop group Milan, However, she really rose to stardom as Tiffany Mitchell in EastEnders and as the tea-lady in Love Actually, whom the prime-minister falls in love with. Martine had millions of fans in her role as Tiffany on EastEnders (22 million people tuned in to watch her character’s untimely death on the show),but her relationships with her producers fell apart after it became obvious that she wanted to pursue a career as a singer over acting in the show.

Although Martine had success as a singer, throwing out five top 10 singles and a number one album, as well as star performances as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, she contracted an infection which led to myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), as well as thrombosis and depression. As well as this, she suffered ‘horrific’, repeated miscarriages and her depression left her unable to leave the house. Her ability to work suffered, which led to her getting into serious debts of £187,000, despite being worth £2 million at the height of her career. She claims that £250,000 was stolen from her by an aide, increasing her debt struggles. She filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

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Net worthFamous forAmount of debtReason for debtInteresting facts
£1.5 millionStarring in Eastenders, and 1999 hit single Perfect Moment£187,000She became too ill with ME to workBailiffs even took her £25,000 engagement ring

Katie Hopkins

Dubbed ‘Britain’s most hated woman’, Katie Hopkins is nothing if not controversial. Born to en electrical engineer father and a bank teller mother, she went a demure, private convent school, while nursing a fascination for the armed forces. She said: “I loved the military, the discipline, the big shouty men”.

After a rejection from Oxford University, she studied economics at Exeter, and eventually became a businesswoman in the US. Her career is varied: she’s been everything including a journalist, radio personality, businessperson and entrepreneur.

But Katie is most famous for her controversial (some call ‘abusive’, ‘racist’ or ‘hateful’) views on everything from fat people to the presence of muslims in the UK. In the past, she has said that fat people look lazy and she would not personally employ them, that she wouldn’t let her children play with ‘lower class children’ with names like ‘Chardonnay and Tyler’, and, perhaps most horrifically, in a column in The Sun newspaper comparing migrants to ‘cockroaches’ and ‘feral humans’ who were ‘spreading like norovirus’. She has since been permanently banned from Twitter.

Her money troubles started in 2015, after she falsely accused famous food blogger, cook and poverty campaigner Jack Monroe of backing the defacement of war memorials, after confusing her with someone else. Jack Monroe asked Katie to apologise and donate £5,000 to a migrant charity. After Katie refused, Jack sued her for libel. She was forced to pay £24,000 in damages to Jack Monroe, as well as up to £130,000 in legal fees. The whole fiasco caused her to rack up £500,000 in legal bills, after which she was forced to sell her home and enter into an IVA.

Jack Monroe said at the time: “I have been paid in full, but many of her creditors, including my lawyer, will not be paid what they are owed. For the want of an apology, a house, a job, a column, a radio show, and now financial solvency, were lost. It’s all very sad, actually.”

Net worthFamous forAmount of debtReason for debtInteresting facts
Over £2.75 millionControversial media columnistNot known, but her legal bills and damages owed came to at least £654,000Lost libel court caseShe once said she didn’t like children’s names based on locations, despite having a daughter called India

George Best

Born in Belfast in 1946, George Best was both academically gifted and a sports genius. Sports ended up winning, and his passion football led him to play truant from his rugby-focused school.

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By the time Best was 19, he was a rising football star. He scored two goals in a European Cup quarter-final match, and his talent and capacity for showmanship catapulted him into the headlines. Along with Ron Davies from Southamptom, he became the First Division’s joint-scorer. He received the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year and was the youngest ever person to receive the award.

However, his stellar skills on the football skills didn’t quite extend to his finances. George said himself: “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered”.

George also had a severe problem with alcohol (his own mother died of alcoholism) that affected his life and finances significantly. By 1982, he was bankrupt and owed the Inland Revenue £22,000 (£77,000 in today’s money) in unpaid taxes. He bankruptcy was not discharged (ended) until 1992. Sadly, George died of alcohol-related complications, leaving further debts of £450,000. He owed £100,000 to the mortgage on his London flat, as well as £300,000 to the doctor who treated him. There were also reports of £50,000 due to his ex-wife Alex in a final divorce settlement.

Net worthFamous forAmount of debtReason for debtInteresting facts
$250 ThousandProfessional footballer at Manchester United£22,000 in 1982 and £450,000 at time of deathLavish spending on ‘booze, birds and fast cars’He was rejected by Glentoran football club for being too small and lightweight

Chris Eubank

Chris Eubank, who experienced a childhood of poverty in London’s boroughs, made his name as a protector of the weak. He was suspended 18 times in one year and expelled from his secondary school in Peckham, for (he claims) protecting other children from bullies.

At 16, he went to live with his mother in the South Bronx in New York. He started training at the Jerome Boxing Club, following in the footsteps of his older boxing brothers. Chris worked as a caretaker to pay for his gym sessions, and in 1984 won the Spanish Golden Gloves boxing tournament.

Just before his 19th birthday, Chris kicked off his career to the full in a boxing match against Tim Brown at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino. He went on to win big victories over Randy Smith and won the titles of WBO ((World Boxing Champion) middleweight champion and then WBO super-middleweight champion.

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Unfortunately, he couldn’t punch his way out of his financial problems. Despite being extremely wealthy from his career as a boxer and earning over $18 million in the early 1990s, the lavish lifestyle he lived, some expensive lawsuits and $1.3 million he owed in taxes meant that he had to file for bankruptcy. Chris partly blames other people for mismanaging his money, for example, he said the fact that he ended up owing so much to the Inland Revenue was because he delegated the task of managing his finances, when he should have done it himself.

However, his Chris’s ex-wife Karron Stephen-Martin says it was Chris’s extravagant spending that really pushed his finances over the edge. She told the Sun Newspaper that: “Despite the strain our finances were under, he still flew on Concorde and took the family to Barbados on holidays”

Chris’s son, Chris, also a professional boxer says that he has learned from his father’s financial problems, and has tried to learn from his mistakes.

Net worthFamous forAmount of debtReason for debtInteresting facts
£350,000Professional boxer, WBO super-middleweight and middleweight champion£1.3 millionLavish lifestyle and other people managing financesHe had his own reality show: At Home with the Eubanks

Katie Price

Katie Price was born Katrina Amy Alexandra Alexis Infield, but when she became a well-known Page 3 model for The Sun, she was known simply as ‘Jordan’. She was set for stardom from age 13, already modelling for a clothing line. She started glamour modelling in her late teens for tabloids like The Daily Star, and starred in the 2004 version of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Katie Price released an album called A Whole New World in collaboration with future husband Peter Andre. She became known as a reality television star, which programmes including Jordan, Katie and Peter and Signed by Katie Price. She also won Celebrity Big Brother in 2015.

However, despite having once had a £45 million fortune, she had to enter into an IVA in 2018 to avoid being made bankrupt. Debts which led to the IVA included:

  • £100,000 mortgage arrears on a nine-bedroom mansion in West Sussex
  • £800,000 owed to existing creditors
  • £2,000,000 in legal costs and damages to former husband, pop singer Peter Andre, after claiming he was famous.
  • £150,000 in legal costs and damages to her second former husband, cage fighter Alex Reid after she played a private sex-tape of him in public.
  • Undisclosed legal fees from previous divorces and assorted driving offences
  • £22,000 in County Court Judgements in the previous 12 months
  • £68,500 beauty treatments including plastic surgery, massages and hair extensions

After Katie Price failed to pay the £12,000 she was supposed to pay to her creditors in the IVA, she became bankrupt in November 2019. Two of her companies Marvellous Creative Group Ltd and Pricey Media Ltd were liquidated. One of her remaining companies, KP Boutique made as little as £13 profit in 2017.

Net worthFamous forAmount of debtReason for debtInteresting facts
£709,615Model, singer, reality TV star£2 millionLavish spending and legal feesIn 2019, her pink Range Rover was spotted on sale with the sign ‘repo’ for repossession.

So, there you have it. 5 UK celebrities that have struggled with debt. Although we might be tempted to say these celebrities’ money problems show that we’re all the same, it seems that many celebrities bounce back just as far as they fell. Last we heard, Katie Price is still flying first class after her bankruptcy and Katie Hopkins has a net worth of £2.75 million. You win some, you lose some.

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