While celebrities might live very different lives than the average person, they are still just people. That means that, like the rest of us, they need to pay attention to their finances. Even if they’re making billions, it behooves them to be smart with their money.
For most big-earning celebrities, this means hiring a money manager—and not living a life of extravagance, of course. But not every celebrity out there is so diligent. Nicolas Cage was once a millionaire, but now the IRS is after him for spending his fortune on the craziest things—here’s why.
Hollywood actors don’t often hurt for cash. Between their killer salaries and all of the swag they receive, they aren’t all that worried about just how much cheddar they happen to have in their bank accounts.
Nicolas Cage, however, is an exception to the rule. Between 1996 and 2011, the actor earned over $150 million. But by 2009, Cage had blown through his finances! What exactly was he buying? Well…
1. Lamborghini Miura SVJ ($450,000): Plenty of rich celebs have a passion for collecting sports cars, but Cage takes it to another level entirely. This Lambo was actually purchased from the late Shah of Iran in 1997.
2. Superman #1 ($3,200,000): Cage has never made it a secret that, when it comes to comics, he adores Superman. (He named his second son Kal-El, for Pete’s sake!) When he had a chance to add this multimillion-dollar first edition of the book to his collection, he just couldn’t say no.
3. Two islands ($7,000,000): Honestly, paying $7 million for not one but two small islands in the Bahamas actually sounds like a steal! For all that cash, Cage got more than 40 acres of private island living.
4. Luxury yachts ($20,000,000): If you’re going to own more than one island, it might makes sense to have more than one luxury yacht in your possession, right? Cage took it to the extreme, buying a total of four yachts.
5. A haunted house ($3,450,000): Cage really digs the supernatural. He digs it so much that he bought this house in New Orleans that once belonged to a socialite serial killer named Madame LaLaurie. Her victims are said to haunt the place. Hopefully, he got a discount…
6. Dinosaur skulls ($300,000): Cage is a huge fan of both dinosaurs and skulls. Knowing this, it’s not exactly surprising that he beat out other A-listers (including Leonardo DiCaprio) for a 67-million-year-old Tarbosaurus skull. It’s not the only dino skull he’s reported to own, either!
7. A private jet ($2,000,000): When you’re a celebrity you spend a lot of time on planes traveling around the world to different film locations. For some, traveling first class is perfection, but for Nicolas Cage nothing but his own plane will do.
8. Houses and mansions ($45,000,000): Cage invested in a lot of real estate—15 homes and mansions, to be exact. He’s got house keys for digs in Aspen, San Francisco, New York, Newport Beach, Rhode Island, New Orleans, and Venice Beach, just to name a few!
9. Two castles ($24,000,000): When you have 15 palatial estates all over the world, you might think that you’re done buying property. Not if you’re Nicolas Cage. The actor bought an $8,000,000 castle in Bath, England, and spent millions remodeling it. He also bought an 11th-century Bavarian castle in Germany, just because!
10. Albino king cobras (value unknown): The actor also happens to love snakes. He loves them so much that he somehow managed to acquire two gigantic albino king cobras! Rumors abound that he uses the literally priceless (and illegal) snakes as protection… or to enhance his prowess in the bedroom. You do you, man.
11. Cars and motorcycles (value unknown): Cage is such a massive collector of all things automobile-related that it’s impossible to calculate how much he has spent on cars. That said…
His collection includes nine Rolls Royces and even an ultra-rare Ferrari Enzo worth more than a million dollars. It’s clear that even for a collector, Cage has a special place in his heart for cars.
12. A shark ($1,000): Here’s something fun: if you ever plan on buying an animal that is large enough to kill a human being, its price point will always be set at a thousand dollars or higher to dissuade you from doing it. It did not dissuade Cage.
13. A tomb (value unknown): Cage loves the city of New Orleans. During one visit to the place, he actually impulse-bought a massive (we’re talking nine feet here) pyramid tomb in a local cemetery. “Impulse buy” usually means gum, but this works, too.
14. Rare art (value unknown): Although the grand total of their value is unknown, Cage is rumored to have had an art collection that boasted more than 50 pieces that most museums would drool over.
15. Shrunken heads (value unknown): According to an anonymous source who visited one of Cage’s homes, the actor owns a large collection of shrunken Pygmy heads. Items like that are so rare that most of those in existence are actually kept in museums.
16. A crocodile ($1,000): Cage used a part of his vast fortune to buy a single crocodile. Why? Because he’s Nicolas Cage. And also probably because there weren’t any shrunken heads on eBay that week.
17. An octopus ($1,000): At this point, it’s probably not surprising to learn that Cage considered turning one of his homes into a zoo. He never got there, thank goodness, but this octopus was still a beloved pet—with a hefty price tag!
We all splurge on ourselves from time to time, and as long as it doesn’t break our banks, it can have a positive effect on our emotional well-being. While celebs like Nicholas Cage can surely afford a luxury item or two, some stars really took it to the next level.
1. Move over Ghostbusters, we can call Lady Gaga now. Gaga believes firmly in paranormal activity and is deadly afraid of ghosts, particularly one simply named Ryan, so she drags her ghost-detecting machine (a $47,000 Electro Magnetic Field detector) on the road with her to stay safe at all times.
2. Contrary to popular belief, Flavor Flav didn’t actually steal or buy his life-size statue of O.J. Simpson; it was gifted to him by radio host Mancow Muller (who actually got a fairly good deal on it). Still, the piece is worth a lot of money these days; Flav is trying to sell it for at least 6 figures.
3. Have you ever dropped your smartphone and dreaded shelling out $100 to get the screen replaced? You probably won’t be able to relate to Victoria Beckham, whose gold-plated iPhone set her back $33,000. Now imagine dropping THAT.
4. Despite the Christian meaning behind her stage name, Madonna’s spirituality is focused more towards the wisdom of Kabbalah these days. She insists on drinking only Kabbalah-blessed water, which sells for $5 per bottle. The Vogue-singer must be pretty thirsty because she orders $17,000 worth of the holy water every month.
5. Bono is often spotted wearing hats, but his most prominent one is a sand-colored woven cowboy hat. In fact, he is so fond of this particular headgear, he paid $1,700 so it could have its own seat on an airplane.
6. Tyrese Gibson purchased a whole island as a Christmas present for his daughter. He called it “Love Island.” It sounds like we’ve got to start being nicer to Santa.
7. Gibson is not the only one buying odd gifts for his loved ones. When Katie Holmes was pregnant, Tom Cruise bought her an ultrasound machine so they could look at their unborn child from the comfort of their own home.
8. Expensive sneakers are a pretty common phenomenon, but shoes that cost nearly $38,00o are hard to believe. Still, that’s how much Tinie Tempah spent on his Nike Air MAGs from the movie Back To The Future. They are supposed to lace themselves, but we’re not sure that price tag is worth the luxury of not having to bend down.
9. Most rich people just buy diamonds, but that wasn’t enough for Akon, who purchased a whole diamond mine but wouldn’t tell anyone how or why. Maybe he’s just trying to meet more “beautiful girls” since diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
10. We know Beyoncé is always stunting when it comes to her outfits, so regular leggings simply won’t do for this R&B Royalty. In fact, Queen Bey spent $100,000 on her pair of gold tights. Still, they’re not even her most extravagant purchase…
11. Beyoncé may treat herself hard (as she should), but her daughter Blue Ivy isn’t left wanting more either. For her first birthday, she received a Barbie doll that cost her parents $85,000. What’s so special about this doll? Barbie is covered in diamonds and white gold jewelry. Life in plastic must really be fantastic.
12. With mother and child happily spoiled, Dad can’t be left behind! Jay-Z does not really ride horses, but he apparently loves to see them race. He bought a famous champion of the Kentucky Derby, California Chrome, for a whopping $55 million.
13. Amanda Seyfried owns a stuffed mini horse. And a stuffed zebra. And a lion. And dozens of other dead animals. Seyfried has a love for taxidermy and has collected quite a few beasts. Hopefully, she’ll stick to animals and won’t go full Norman Bates on us…
14. People might confuse Celine Dion’s previous home for a hotel or a waterpark. She used her land to install an enormous pool in her backyard complete with gazebos, slides, a fire pit, and a lazy river. When she was done splashing around she could also go inside and turn on her $2 million humidification system.
15. Daniel Radcliffe doesn’t have the need to show off his wealth, but he does prefer luxury when it comes to the comfort of his home: he spent $17,000 on a mattress. For that price, it must be pretty magical, and a lot more comfy than sleeping under the stairs.
16. For those of us who aren’t Harry Potter but are a big fan of the series, a movie prop will probably do. Liam Payne purchased the Weasley family’s Ford Anglia for at least 6 figures. For that kind of money, it better be able to fly (just not into the Whomping Willow).
17. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes $20 million to buy that village. That is how much Kim Basinger paid for the town of Braselton, Georgia. Her plans to make it a tourist attraction failed, and she sold it for only $1 million. Real estate is a tough business.
18. Mike Tyson might not look like it, but he’s a man who loves a bubble bath! In fact, he loves ’em so much that he spent $2.2 MILLION on a solid gold bathtub. Hey, if you’ve got it, why not?