6 Celebrities whose Reputations Were Unfortunately Tainted by Their Wealth and Fame


The combination of success, fame and massive amounts of money can be confusing and tempting for everyone. Yet, when you add a larger-than-life personality to this equation, the results might be extreme to the point of self-destruction.

This list includes those celebrities, who made a habit of boundary testing and went a little too far, some even resulted in their death.

1. Whitney Houston

Houston is one of pop music’s best-selling music artists of all times, with an estimated 170-200 million records sold worldwide. In 1992 she married singer Bobby Brown and gave birth to her only daughter a year later. It was about this time that her much-documented substance abuse began, and by 1996 she was a daily user.

Press reports at the time said that she was becoming difficult to work with if she turned up at all. Her weight fluctuated wildly and her voice began to fail her. She was admitted to rehab three times, and on February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in her guest room at a hotel in California. She had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors.

2. Michael Jackson

The King of Pop’s personal life included many aspects which generated controversies, such as his changing appearance, personal relationships, and behavior. Small wonder when your net worth is of $1.178 billion.

Known for his extravagant lifestyle, his beloved Neverland Ranch was bought in 1988 for a sum variously reported to be 16.5 to 30 million US dollars. It was closed in 2006 as a cost-cutting measure, and there were numerous reports around that time that Jackson was having financial problems. Jackson died of acute intoxication on June 25, 2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest.

3. Marilyn Monroe 

This timeless sex symbol lived quite a wild life. Monroe had three marriages, all of which ended in divorce. The final years of Monroe’s life were marked by illness, personal problems, and a reputation for unreliability and being difficult to work with.

The circumstances of her death, from an overdose of barbiturates, have been the subject of conjecture. Though officially classified as a “probable suicide”, the possibilities of an accidental overdose or a homicide have not been ruled out. Her property was sold for a total amount of $13,405,785.

4. James Dean

Dean quit college to act full-time and quickly rose to stardom. In 1954, he became interested in developing an auto racing career and competed in several races. He was scheduled to compete at a racing event in California on September 30, 1955.

On his way, he crashed into a car whose driver was trying to turn away from an intersection. His premature death cemented his legendary status. Although dating many famous women, he was rumored to be gay. One of Dean’s closest friends stated, fifty years after Dean’s death, that their friendship had included some sexual intimacy.

5. Anna Nicole Smith 

The American model, actress, and television personality first gained popularity in Playboy. Her highly publicized second marriage to the aging J. Howard Marshall resulted in speculation that she married him mainly for his money, which she denied. Following Marshall’s death, Smith began a lengthy legal battle, claiming for half of her late husband’s $1.6 billion estate.

The case had gone on for more than a decade. Smith was addicted to prescription medications and was reported to have had a borderline personality disorder. She died on February 8, 2007, in a Florida hotel room as a result of an overdose, which also caused the death of her beloved son Daniel six months earlier.

6. Elvis Presley

Presley is one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues, and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, with estimated record sales of around 600 million units worldwide. Forbes named Elvis Presley as the 2nd top earning dead celebrity, with $55 million as of 2011.

After his divorce in 1973, his extreme lifestyle started to take a toll, and his health deteriorated. He was addicted to prescribed medication and overdosed several times, spending one time in a coma for three days. Hugely overweight, his mind dulled by the pharmacopeia he daily ingested, he was barely able to pull himself through his abbreviated concerts. On August 16, 1977, he was found dead on his bathroom floor.

This may be sad; hence, it is more saddening to know that there were also some child stars who completely destroyed themselves by their money and fame.

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