5 celebs hit hard by foreclosure
Mortgage crisis doesn't just affect middle class
You might think that the rich and famous wouldn't have the same financial problems the rest of us do. But not all super-wealthy celebrities were immune from the recent wave of foreclosures that has hit much of America so hard.
Award-winning actors, an MVP ballplayer, the daughter of a mob boss and a singer with multiple Grammys to her name all are among the ranks of celebrities whose homes were foreclosed.
Some admitted to not managing their money well. Others found someone to blame, sometimes a manager, but more often a former spouse, or multiple former spouses.
It just goes to show that being a multimillionaire doesn't necessarily mean having a life free of financial problems. Some of these people would probably still be in trouble if they had 10 times as much money.
Although Nicolas Cage, the Academy-Award winning star of "Moonstruck" and "Leaving Las Vegas," earns $20 million a film, he still has crushing financial problems.
With the actor facing $14 million in back taxes, the IRS foreclosed on four of his homes. Two were in New Orleans, one was in California and another in Vegas -- forcing Cage to leave Las Vegas, at last.
And what a home he left. The Las Vegas mansion was more than 14,000 square feet, had six bedrooms, seven-and-a-half bathrooms, a 16-car underground garage, a theater, an elevator and a dramatic entryway, complete with sweeping staircase that looked like a set for a Busby Berkeley musical.
Cage bought the house in 2006 for $8.5 million. Out of foreclosure, it sold for $4.95 million, giving some lucky buyer the deal of a lifetime.
Cage, who owned 15 homes, blamed his former manager for his financial problems.
Victoria Gotti, reality-TV star and daughter of mob boss John "Dapper John" Gotti, fell $650,000 behind on mortgage payments for her Old Westbury, Long Island, mansion -- the same mansion seen in her show, "Growing Up Gotti."
Her story has a byzantine plot and a cast of characters that would be at home in an episode of "The Sopranos."
The story features an ex-con ex-husband, a mortgage taken out on her house without her knowledge, a fight with an outspoken mother-in-law over ownership of commercial properties, and a deal her ex cut with the feds when he pled guilty to racketeering.
In the end, at the last minute, Gotti was able to cut a deal of her own, getting permission from the feds to sell the disputed properties to raise money to pay off her loans and save her house.
Baseball legend Jose Canseco made many millions of dollars as a ballplayer and best-selling author. That didn't keep him from walking away from his home.
Canseco said he was aware that his foreclosure situation was not typical. He gave up his house voluntarily, and unlike many people, he never had to worry about having someplace else to go.
But it's not every day that someone gives up a $2.5 million, 7,300-square foot home. Canseco said that it didn't make financial sense for him to keep on paying the mortgage when the value of the house was dropping.
Canseco also said he didn't have as much money as people thought, citing the $7 or $8 million dollars he had to spend on a couple of divorces.
Singer Toni Braxton may be a six-time Grammy winner, but those awards weren't much help when the bank came calling about two of her homes.
Braxton's Las Vegas-area home, which she bought for $2.6 million in 2007, sold for $1.06 million in September 2010 as a foreclosure.
She later faced the potential loss of her Duluth, Ga., country club home after filing for bankruptcy in Los Angeles. In 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal, the trust that owns Braxton's Georgia home owed the full $1.5 million mortgage while the property had been appraised at $1.2 million.
The singer behind such hits as "Un-Break My Heart" and "You're Makin' Me High" and reality TV star thanks to "Braxton Family Values," listed unpaid debts of at least $50 million and assets between $1 million and $10 million in her 2010 bankruptcy filing. She had previously filed bankruptcy in 1998 and the IRS filed a $396,000 tax lien against her in 2010.
Oscar-winning actor/director Mel Gibson seemed to find controversy everywhere he turned the last few years, with allegations of sexism, domestic violence and racism following him like a dark cloud.
Making headlines for all the wrong reasons ended up costing Gibson a cameo in "The Hangover" sequel, got him dropped by his agency and, in March 2011, left the "Braveheart" actor pleading no contest to misdemeanor battery charges.
Financially, things weren't much better. In September 2010, TMZ reported that Gibson was facing foreclosure on three of his Malibu, Calif., properties after he was accused of failing to settle a $12,000 bill with contractors.
But it didn't stop there. The contractor also filed suit against A.P. Reilly Foundation, the company that owns Gibson's personally-funded church, seeking payment on an outstanding $200,000 invoice.
Gibson eventually sorted all that out and relisted the home for $11.75 million -- a $1 million price cut from an earlier sale attempt -- in 2011.