Even celebrities aren’t immune to financial distress

At the peak of their influence, they were among the biggest names in the UK, gracing our TV screens in soap operas, sports, music, and media.

However, in a week where renowned actress Martine McCutcheon declared bankruptcy, it serves as a reminder that previous features on the cover of OK! 

Magazine and having your own Wikipedia page don’t shield you from financial troubles, as this group can also confirm.

1. Shane Filan – singer

As the lead singer of a band who had more records than any other band in the 21st century – with 50 million record sales worldwide – one might anticipate Shane Filan to be financially secure, at the very least. 

However, following a string of unsuccessful property investments in his homeland of Ireland, the ‘Uptown Girl’ singer finds himself facing significant debts of £18 million, turning him from a celebrated figure to someone grappling with financial woes.

2. George Best – footballer

The dynamic wing-wizard gained fame as the poster boy of the 60s at Manchester United and is still known as one of the greatest British players ever. 

Nevertheless, he grappled with the spotlight, turning to alcohol, which resulted in addiction and eventual bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the battle with addiction proved overwhelming, and George passed away at the age of 59.

Despite grappling with liver disease in his last years, George’s wit remained intact. Facing the challenges, he famously said, “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”

3. Peter Stringfellow – nightclub impresario/lothario

Peter Stringfellow’s life has seen its share of ups and downs, but this week it’s all about the ups once again as he reveals he’s set to become a father at the age of 72, with his third wife, Bella, aged 30. 

Despite the clear functionality of this white-haired lothario, his businesses haven’t always been as successful.

In 1993, his three US nightclubs faced liquidation, leading to his declaration of bankruptcy. Nonetheless, he swiftly recovered and is currently reported to have a net worth of £30 million.


 4. Joe Swash – actor

Similar to Kerry, Joe found success as a winner on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, riding high on a wave of fame before facing a sudden downfall. 

The former Eastenders star clinched victory in the 2008 series of the ITV reality show. However, a year later, he was declared bankrupt for failing to settle the remaining £20,000 of a £120,000 tax bill. While working in Australia, receivers seized assets from his £400,000 flat in Woodford Green, Essex.

5. Kerry Katona – erm…

Kerry, a Scouser, rose to fame with pop trio Atomic Kitten in 1999. However, after a series of hits, things took a downturn, and the girls parted ways. Kerry also faced the breakdown of her marriage with Brian McFadden. 

Transitioning to a new career in reality TV, she found some success. Yet, her neglect of tax bills left her with a £82,000 deficit, leading to her declaration of bankruptcy in 2009.

Promoting sausage rolls for Iceland aided her recovery, but her well-known cocaine addiction led to the supermarket chain terminating her contract. In 2011, she sparked controversy by discussing private schooling for her four children and the assistance of her nanny and housekeeper at her £3 million Surrey mansion, despite still being bankrupt, during a chat show appearance.

6. Chris Eubank – boxer

Certainly one of Britain’s top boxers, Eubank held the world champion title for over five years, amassing £10 million from his boxing career. 

However, despite his success, he maintained a lavish lifestyle after retirement and was declared bankrupt in 1995, owing a tax bill of £1.3 million. Known for his sharp dressing and love for fashion, losing his palatial residences in Brighton, luxury vehicles, hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of clothing, and his wife of 15 years would have undoubtedly been a blow to the proud Eubank.

Bankruptcy never diverted him from his eccentric principles; even today, when exiting his Hummer truck at a petrol station, he insists on washing his hands with Evian water instead of using the tap. 

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

Famous for his blue humour, the comedian Jim Davidson quickly found himself in financial trouble after his successful career in the 1980s and 1990s began to decline in 2003. Supporting four ex-wives and numerous children became an immense financial burden for Davidson, leaving him unable to settle £700,000 in taxes.

Hosting BBC’s Big Break and The Generation Game at the turn of the century assisted in keeping his financial situation stable. However, Jim’s controversial nature resulted in the British show business industry distancing itself from him. 

A 2006 newspaper feature described him as “pitifully unfunny, sexist, racist, and homophobic,” making it unsurprising that he struggled to secure further work in the UK and now resides abroad.

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David Jackson MD
Senior Partner at Vanguard Insolvency Practitioners | Website

I am an insolvency professional with a distinguished career specialising in commercial insolvency, adeptly navigating Creditors Voluntary Liquidation, Company Voluntary Arrangements, and Company Administrations. With a comprehensive understanding of insolvency laws and an unwavering commitment to ethical practices.