H'Wood Financial Woes: Willie Aames Rebounds, Nicolas Cage Sues

Aames reportedly plans to be a financial adviser; Cage sues former biz manager.

ByABC News
March 30, 2009, 10:43 AM

Nov. 4, 2009 — -- Celebrity financial problems are making headlines again this week, with Nicolas Cage pursuing a lawsuit, and Willie Aames trying to make a comeback.

A documentary chronicling Aames' efforts to rebuild his life will premiere Thursday on VH1. The documentary is called "Broke and Famous: Willie Aames," and it will show the star of "Eight Is Enough" and "Charles in Charge," who has struggled with a home foreclosure and bankruptcy, working with a financial guru and life coach. He is trying "to reshape his financial future," VH1 said in a statement.

Evidently, Aames has already succeeded -- he told the show "Entertainment Tonight" that he, himself, now plans to become a financial advisor.

"I never dreamed I would want to be or become a financial advisor," he said, according to a statement released by "Entertainment Tonight" this week. "I am well on my way."

"Entertainment Tonight" broadcast an interview with Aames on Monday.

While things may be looking up for Aames, film star Nicolas Cage has seen his financial straits turn so dire that he's selling off multiple properties. In a lawsuit filed last month, Cage said former business manager Samuel J. Levin is to blame.

In a claim filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Cage accuses Levin of commiting "gross mismanagement," by involving Cage in "highly risky and speculative real estate investments" and failing to obtain proper insurance for Cage's investments, among other things.

Cage also said Levin failed to pay Cage's taxes on time. Cage owes the IRS more than $6.6 million in income taxes according to a federal tax lien notice obtained by TMZ.com last month.

Levin did not immediately return a call for comment.

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

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

She's photographed some of the world's most famous faces and is an icon herself, but Annie Leibovitz has struggled to stay out of debt -- so much so that it nearly cost the famed photographer a lifetime's past work.

Last year, Leibovitz put up several homes as well as copyrights to all her photos to secure a $24 million loan with Art Capital Group. But last July, Art Capital sued Leibovitz, claiming she breached an agreement with the lender, the Associated Press reported.

Leibovitz's fortunes changed for the better last month, however. The two sides reached an agreement Sept. 11. Art Capital dropped the lawsuit, extending Leibovitz's loan and selling her back the rights to act as exclusive agent in the sale of her real estate and the copyrights to all of her present and future works.

Stephen Baldwin, the star of films including "Bio-Dome" and "The Usual Suspects," filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York in July.

The court documents show that the 43-year-old actor and his wife, Kennya, owed more than $2 million, Reuters reported.

The Baldwins owed a reported $1.2 million on two mortgages for their home in Rockland County, N.Y., valued at $1.1 million. Court filings also showed the actor owed $70,000 in credit card debt and more than $1 million in taxes.

The born-again Christian and brother of actor Alec Baldwin paid $515,000 for the home and 1.4-acre lot in 1997, according to the Associated Press. The star recently appeared on reality shows such as "The Celebrity Apprentice," and "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!" where he baptized Spencer Pratt.

After unsuccessfully trying to sell the house in 2006, Baldwin and his wife Kennya defaulted on over $824,000 in payments to their mortgage, according to the AP.

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 July 7, said his lawyer, Walter Hackett.

Dykstra, 46, a star when the Mets won the 1986 World Series, also faces more than 20 lawsuits, including suits filed by his wife for divorce and his brother over a dispute regarding their partnership in a carwash. However, Dykstra's decision to file for Chapter 11 did not have anything to do with the lawsuits, Hackett said.

The main reason, he said, for the Chapter 11 petition was the foreclosure sale of Dykstra's $18 million California mansion. Hackett said Dykstra is a victim of mortgage fraud by a lender at Washington Mutual, now JP Morgan Chase.

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.

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 describing 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., and reported by People Magazine. 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," from Simon Spotlight Entertainment.

"American Idol" fame isn't helping R&B crooner Ruben Studdard pay his bills these days. In August, Studdard , the winner of "Idol's" second season, was hit with property liens for allegedly failing to pay nearly $200,000 in state and federal taxes, according to court records, the AP reported. 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.