8 Stars in Dire Financial Straits

Lenny Dykstra joins glut of celebrities hit hard by tough economic times.

ByABC News
March 30, 2009, 10:43 AM

July 9, 2009 — -- Even the rich and famous can't seem to escape the recession, especially when their fame peaked long ago.

Financial woes have proven too much for Lenny Dykstra, the former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies centerfielder known as "Nails" because of his toughness.

Dykstra filed a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in California Tuesday, said his lawyer, Walter Hackett.

The 46-year-old, who was one of the stars of the Mets team that won the 1986 World Series, also faces more than 20 lawsuits, including lawsuits filed by his wife for divorce and his brother over a dispute regarding their carwash partnership. However, Dykstra's decision to file for Chapter 11 did not have anything to do with the lawsuits, Hackett said.

The main reason for filing a Chapter 11 petition had to do with the foreclosure sale of the ex-big leaguer's $18 million California mansion, according to the lawyer, who said Dykstra is a victim of mortgage fraud by a lender at Washington Mutual, now JP Morgan Chase.

Dykstra is just one of a long list of celebrities with financial problems. Hit by tough times and lack of opportunities, stars, including Stephen Baldwin, Victoria Gotti and Annie Leibovitz, have been hit by tough times. Some have had to put their multimillion-dollar homes on the market, declare bankruptcy or seek foreclosure.

Below, ABCNews.com takes a look at seven more stars who have found themselves strapped for cash.

Stephen Baldwin, the star of films like "Bio-Dome" and "The Usual Suspects," may watch his Rockland County, N.Y., home go up for auction on July 22, the Journal News reported. The auction was originally scheduled for June 24. The born-again Christian and brother of Alec Baldwin paid $515,000 for the home and 1.4-acre lot in 1997, according to the AP. The star has recently been appearing on reality shows such as "The Celebrity Apprentice," and "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!" where he baptized Spencer Pratt.

Jose Canseco struck out early in the mortgage crisis when the baseball slugger-turned-reality-star had to let go of his $2.5 million Encino, Calif., home in May 2008. Canseco decided to ditch the mansion, citing plummeting property values and a high mortgage, reported Forbes.com in 2008. "It didn't make financial sense for me to keep paying a mortgage on a home that was basically owned by someone else," Canseco told "Inside Edition" last year.

Victoria Gotti, daughter of late mob boss John Gotti, apparently owes $650,000 to JP Morgan Chase Bank, which has sought to foreclose on her Old Westbury, N.Y., mansion since 2007. Lower court rulings have deemed foreclosure premature, according to People Magazine. However, an appeals court reversed that decision and the $4.2 million estate now appears to be at risk.

The house, which was used in the short-lived show that brought the Gottis into the limelight, "Growing Up Gotti," was part of a divorce package from her ex-husband, Carmine Agnello. "This should finally put to rest all the government lies and rumors that I have $200 million buried in my backyard," Gotti told the New York Post.

Willie Aames, former star of 1970s and '80s hit shows "Eight is Enough" and "Charles in Charge," joined the ranks of recession-hit celebrities when he held a garage sale at his suburban Kansas City, Kan., home. Dozens of fans showed up score a piece of Aames' TV memorabilia along with antiques, artwork and mounted deer heads.

According to the website TMZ, Aames filed for bankruptcy last year, and his home is in foreclosure. The garage sale was his latest move to stay afloat.

Former "Full House" star Jodie Sweetin is struggling to keep a house of her own. In November, the mom and former meth addict reportedly filed court papers detailing her crumbling marriage to Cody Herpin and the sad state of their financial affairs.

"Our house is in foreclosure, our water has been shut off twice. Currently, all of our other utilities are overdue," Sweetin said in papers filed Nov. 19 in an Orange County, Calif., People magazine reports. Sweetin may be able to pay some bills with the proceeds from her new tell-all. The New York Post reported that she will bare her past as a secret drug abuser in "UnSweetined," coming from Simon Spotlight Entertainment.

She's photographed some of the world's most famous faces and is an icon herself, but Annie Leibovitz is struggling to stay out of debt. In September, the New York Post reported that the 58-year-old photographer has racked up $715,000 worth of debt, citing court documents.

"American Idol" fame isn't helping R&B crooner Ruben Studdard pay his bills these days. In August, the season two winner was hit with property liens for allegedly failing to pay nearly $200,000 in state and federal taxes, according to court records, the AP reports. Studdard's attorney, Byron Perkins of the Cochran Law Firm, told the Birmingham News that he believes Studdard will be able to pay off the taxes.

ABCNews' Nathalie Tadena contributed to this report.