On Tuesday, Gary Busey filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. That’s not all that shocking–plenty of celebrities have sought bankruptcy protection. Entertainers like Gary Coleman, Burt Reynolds and Jerry Lee Lewis, businessmen like P.T. Barnum and Donald Trump, socialites like Patricia Kluge, professional athletes like Lenny Dykstra and Lawrence Taylor. Even Abraham Lincoln and Walt Disney filed bankruptcy. Their reasons for filing bankruptcy, like those of ordinary non-celebrity folks, run the gamut: bad investments, bad economies, getting swindled, or getting sick. It can happen to anyone, if the wrong thing happens at the wrong time.
What was a little shocking to me about Gary Busey’s filing was that his bankruptcy petition reports less than $50,000 in assets. Busey’s manager issued a statement calling the filing the final chapter in a process of “jettisoning the litter of past unfortunate choices, associations, events and circumstances….” I’m guessing it was a long process, if all that’s left of a fairly lucrative career is $50k, but that’s fairly typical, too. Most people wait until they have jettisoned their assets and savings, along with their unfortunate choices, before filing bankruptcy. It kind of goes with the territory. By the way, read the whole statement by Busey’s manager. It’s priceless, and I wish I could hire this guy to write a statement explaining the circumstances of all my clients’ bankruptcies. With this guy on your side, you couldn’t help but believe you were on your way to better things.
And that brings me to the real point of writing about another celebrity bankruptcy. Celebrities, and regular people, use bankruptcy to get their lives and businesses back on track. To make a fresh start. To move on to more stable and productive lives. That’s the lesson, folks. If you’ve been slammed by a bad economy or an illness, or victimized by a swindler, or if you just need to jettison the litter of unfortunate choices and associations, and start over fresh, bankruptcy may help you, too.
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Last modified: June 3, 2013