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These Celebrities Faced Bankruptcy and Personal Ruin, But Roared Back

Who doesn’t love a great comeback story? Whether it’s the Patriots roaring back against the Falcons in the Super Bowl or someone fighting tooth and nail to escape bankruptcy, we all enjoy a good redemption tale. It can be inspiring in our personal lives, too. Especially when we experience a career hiccup or are struggling with our finances, it can be comforting to know other people have gone through similar troubles — even celebrities.

If you keep an eye on the tabloids, you know even the rich and famous experience trouble with money. Or perhaps their careers fall apart due to addiction or illness. The point is celebrities are exposed to the same things us “normies” are. But that doesn’t mean they — or you — have to take it lying down.

A new project from GoCompare called There & Back Again tracks the up and downs, bankruptcies, and career derailments of 20 celebrities. It includes actors, sports stars, and musicians. And it might make you feel better about your own situation — especially because all of them were able to make a comeback after experiencing some sort of strife. We pulled 15 of the best stories to explore in further detail on the following pages.

Up first? This man famously saved the world from invading aliens — more than once.

1. Will Smith

Will Smith lives the opposite of a celebrity lifestyle in the movie Hancock

Will Smith lives the opposite of a celebrity lifestyle in the movie Hancock Actor Will Smith lives the opposite of a celebrity lifestyle in the movie Hancock. | Columbia Pictures

As hard as it might be to believe, there was a time when Will Smith found himself in serious financial trouble — bordering on bankruptcy. This was after he got his big break starring as the Fresh Prince and became an overnight success and a millionaire. But he was young and overlooked an important part of being an adult: paying taxes. The IRS sent him a bill for $2.8 million, and Smith saw his earnings evaporate. Within a few years, though, he was able to get out of debt and go on to become a bona fide movie star.

The Fresh Prince is only the beginning. You won’t believe the other big names who nearly lost it all at a young age.

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