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7 UK Celebrities Who Went Bankrupt



Even celebrities aren't immune to financial distress

At the peak of their powers they were some of the UK’s biggest names, adorning our TV sets in soaps and sport, music and media.

But in a week where popular actress Martine McCutcheon filed for bankruptcy, it just goes to show that a past appearance on the cover of OK! Magazine and having your own Wikipedia page doesn’t make you impervious to financial perils, as this lot can also testify…

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1)     Shane Filan – singer

As the lead singer of a band that’s shifted more records than any other band in the 21st century - with 50million record sales worldwide - you’d expect Shane Filan to be ‘comfortably off’ at the very least. But after a series of property investments went pear-shaped in his native Ireland, the ‘Uptown Girl’ singer has been left very much ‘backstreet guy’ with debts of £18million.

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2)     Peter Stringfellow – nightclub impresario / lothario

The life of Peter Stringfellow has certainly had its highs and lows but this week it’s all about the highs once more after announcing he’s to be a father again at the age of 72 - with third wife, Bella, aged 30. But whilst it’s evident that everything is still functioning on this white-haired lothario, his businesses haven’t always been as productive. Back in 1993, his three US nightclubs all ended up in liquidation and he was ultimately declared bankrupt. He soon bounced back, however, and is now said to be worth £30million.

3)     George Best – footballer

The mercurial wing-wizard made his name as the poster boy of the 60s at Manchester United and is still revered as one of the greatest British players of all time. However, he struggled in the limelight and turned to alcohol which led to addiction and subsequent bankruptcy. In the end, the addiction was simply too much and George died aged 59. But it never dampened his wit; battling liver disease in his final years, George famously said: “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”

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4)     Kerry Katona – erm…

Scouser Kerry burst onto the scene with pop trio Atomic Kitten in 1999 but after a number of hits, it soon turned sour and the girls went their separate ways, with Kerry also nursing the break-up of her marriage with Brian McFadden. A new career in ‘reality TV’ dawned but despite some success, negligence towards her tax bills left her in a £82,000 deficit and she was declared bankrupt in 2009. Advertising sausage rolls for Iceland helped her get back on her feet but a well-publicised cocaine addiction saw the supermarket chain rip up her contract. She caused a stir in 2011 when appearing on a chat show discussing the private schooling for her four children and the support of her nanny and housekeeper at her £3m Surrey mansion – despite still being bankrupt.

5)     Joe Swash – actor

Like Kerry, Joe was a winner on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here and a riding the crest of a wave… before it all came crashing down. The former Eastenders star won the 2008 series of the ITV reality show but a year later he was declared bankrupt after failing to pay the remaining £20,000 of a £120,000 tax bill. Whilst working in Australia, receivers took control of assets from his £400,000 flat in Woodford Green, Essex.

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6)     Chris Eubank – boxer

Undoubtedly one of Britain’s finest boxers having been world champion for over five years, Eubank made £10million from his career in the ring but continued to live a life of luxury post-retirement and was declared bankrupt in 1995 with a tax bill of £1.3million. Always renowned as a snappy dresser with a passion for fashion, it would have hit the proud Eubank hard when losing his palatial Brighton residences, his expensive wheels, hundreds of thousands of pounds in clothing – and his wife of 15 years. But bankruptcy never swayed him from his quirky principles; to this day when stepping out of his Hummer truck on a petrol station forecourt, he refuses to use the tap and instead washes his hands with Evian water. A philosophical Eubank says: "Bankruptcy, divorce, these are feathers in my cap, I suppose. I have a wisdom which has been born from these things. Yes, I have spent. I have lived and had accidents. It's all part of life's wonderful experience."

7)     Jim Davidison – comedian

Known for his blue humour, the comic Jim Davidson soon found himself in the red after a booming 1980s/90s career began to slide in 2003. Having to support four ex-wives and numerous children became a huge financial burden for Davidson and he was left unable to pay £700,000 in taxes. Presenting roles at the turn of the century on BBC’s Big Break and The Generation Game helped keep his head above water but his controversial nature led to British show business turning its back on Jim. A newspaper feature in 2006 referred to him as "pitifully unfunny, sexist, racist and homophobic" - little wonder he failed to find subsequent work in the UK and now resides abroad.

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