Nicolas Cage, Michael Jackson, Lindsay Lohan and More Strapped for Cash

Nicolas Cage joins glut of celebrities hit hard by tough economic times.

ByABC News
March 30, 2009, 10:43 AM

April 9, 2009 — -- Nicolas Cage can no longer afford to lord over his castle -- well, at least one of them.

The actor, who bought Germany's Schloss Neidstein in July 2006, has sold the castle because of the economy.

"Due to the difficult economic situation, unfortunately, I was no longer able to keep it," Cage told German celebrity weekly Bunte. "Even if Neidstein castle is no longer in my possession, it will always have a firm place in my memory."

Konrad Wilfurth, Cage's legal advisor in Germany, took the castle off the actors' hands, according to Cage's publicist. Though she refused to reveal how much Wilfurth paid, other media outlets report Cage sold the castle for $2.3 million.

In spite of the fact that Cage's latest movie, "Knowing," has brought in almost $60 million so far and was the No. 1 movie at the box office the weekend it opened, the actor can't cough up enough dough to maintain the 28-room castle, which boasts 10 bedrooms, five bathrooms and sits on a hill in the middle of 395 acres of Bavarian forest.

But the actor isn't so hard up for cash that he has to go without a residence fit for a king; he still owns Midford Castle in England, which he bought in July 2007.

Cage isn't alone. Hit by tough times and lack of opportunities, stars including Michael Jackson, Jodie Sweetin, Ed McMahon and Annie Leibovitz have auctioned their wares, sold their multimillion dollar homes or declared bankruptcy and foreclosure.

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

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

He may still be the king of pop, but Michael Jackson doesn't have royal amounts of wealth to go with his title. Last year, he sold his famous Neverland ranch, and he was supposed to auction 2,000 items from the estate in April. The auction is currently in doubt, however, after Jackson filed a lawsuit earlier this month to halt the sale because he said he did not give permission to sell the items.

That may be because Jackson has a new payday set: a series of 50 concerts kicking off in London in July. Some 750,000 tickets sold out in four hours. Jackson reportedly stands to earn between $1 million and $2 million per show.

Former "Full House" star Jodie Sweetin is struggling to keep a house of her own. In November, the mom and former meth addict 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., court.

Once one of Hollywood's most promising young stars, Lindsay Lohan may have fallen into financial trouble as her career goes downhill. The much-scrutinized star, whose new movie will go straight to cable TV instead of movie theaters, has been relying mostly on credit cards and cash from now ex-girlfriend Samantha Ronson, according to The New York Daily News.

The paper cited evidence that Lohan has been spending above her means, like purchasing a new Rolex watch for $30,000. The 22-year-old actress's lack of major acting roles and her recent split from Ronson can't be helping her bottom line.

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, according to court documents

She allegedly owed money for unpaid taxes, an aborted book project and equipment rental fees. She was also overdue in paying for renovations to her New York City town house, according to court documents.

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Leibovitz is trying to rectify her financial woes by hocking her photographs. In December, she borrowed $10.5 million from the Art Capital Group, on top of the $5 million she borrowed from the same firm in the fall. She put up as collateral the rights to all her photographs, along with her town house and a country house.

"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.

Times are tough for Johnny Carson's former right-hand man. Ed McMahon shocked fans last summer when he announced he was on the brink of foreclosure. Things seemed to take a turn for the better when at least two people offered to buy McMahon's six-bedroom Beverly Hills mansion, including Donald Trump, who said he would lease the home back to McMahon.

Even though an unidentified potential buyer outbid Trump and then backed out of the deal in September, the real estate mogul said he still wants to help McMahon.

"We are currently working with the broker who is coordinating the efforts of the various lenders that have interest in the McMahon property," Trump's spokesman Michael Cohen told CNBC. They're hoping to come to terms soon."

Meanwhile, McMahon's health is declining. The ex-"Tonight Show" sidekick was hospitalized with bone cancer in February.