The celebrity life can indeed be a glamorous life.

VIP treatment everywhere from restaurants and salons to airports and the DMV. Designers clamoring to dress you. Ever so much fawning. And oh, the freebies. Clothes, makeup, cleaning products, energy bars... So many goodies in exchange for hashtag exposure or a red carpet mention.

Yet even those drool-inducing perks only go so far toward leading an actual life, with taxes, house and car payments, school tuition, insurance, utility bills, data plans and all that the daily grind entails. Some people may be flush enough to be able to leave their average, everyday expenses for a business manager to deal with, but that probably then means those everyday expenses are exceptionally high. There's no such thing as a zero-dollar footprint in Hollywood.

And while there are infinite opportunities to spend money in increasingly outlandish ways, there are only so many stratospheric incomes. And even when the income is stratospheric, there are ways to shrink that sum right down to size.

As celeb life has acquired even more of a glossy sheen, thanks to Instagram and other social media-driven ways of making brunch look like a million bucks, Johnny Depp's recent highly publicized financial issues have served as a harsh reminder that money is far easier to spend than make, no matter how much you're making. The Oscar-nominated actor, whose Pirates of the Caribbean films alone have grossed billions of dollars worldwide, sued his former business manager in January for $25 million, claiming The Management Group padded its own bottom line and recklessly let Depp's financial situation devolve.

The Management Group, in turn, sued Depp for breach of contract, alleging he was the architect of his own potential ruin and he owed them money.

Since the story of Depp's money issues initially blew up, the two sides have quieted down, leaving their lawyers to the case. Last month Depp set about promoting the fifth Pirates film (it's taken in $151 million at the domestic box office to make it the lowest performer of the bunch, but it still grossed $650 million worldwide), he's in the upcoming remake of Murder on the Orient Express and, slated to play the Invisible Man, he's been indoctrinated as a member of Universal Pictures' Dark Universe.

He's refilling his coffers as we speak.

But though the massive numbers at play in this case are unusual, Depp's hardly the only celebrity who's found himself at odds with the company he hired to look after his money.

Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales, Premiere

Rich Fury/Getty Images

"I'd like to say something," accountant Kenneth Hellie of Hellie, Hoffer & Co. told Variety over the weekend. "Obviously a lot of it's like the Johnny Depp situation. I can't say anything just yet."

Hellie is referring to a $10 million lawsuit filed against him and his firm on June 12 by Alyssa Milano, who's alleging that gross mismanagement of their money left her and husband David Bugliari "with millions of dollars in debt and their credit in ruins."

According to a copy of the suit obtained by E! News, Milano and Bugliari allege that Hellie, Hoffer & Co. failed to pay the couple's bills, mortgage payments and income taxes on time; placed their money in highly risky investments; and "engaged in a cover-up of the escalating financial chaos they created" by withholding information from the couple. The defendant also forged the plaintiffs' signatures on financial documents before and after Milano and Bugliari fired them, the suit further claims.

The complaint states that the money trouble really started to develop when Hellie was entrusted with overseeing a home renovation project for them and allegedly let the bills balloon to $5 million while the property itself was only worth $3 million.

Referring to the case as a "Johnny Depp situation" indicates that the defense's position is that Milano and Bugliari are at fault for the "financial and reputational devastation" they claim to be in. (Hellie has not yet returned E! News' request for comment.)

Who's the Boss, Tony Danza, Alyssa Milano

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Coincidentally, Milano, like Depp, has been famous since the 1980s. Her breakout role was playing Tony Danza's tomboy turned teen-cutie daughter on Who's the BossThe hit sitcom ended in 1992, after which Milano scored what was then considered the true crime role du jour of Amy Fisher in the TV movie Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story.

Giggle factor aside, the actress has worked almost constantly since her child star days, joining Melrose Place in 1997 then going on to star on Charmed from 1998 to 2006, which helped her bridge the "'80s and '90s star" gap that so many celebs fell into before the '00s, never to emerge. After Charmed she had a 10-episode run on My Name Is Earl, she had her own short-lived sitcom, Romantically Challenged, and then most recently hosted three seasons of Project Runway All Stars and starred on ABC's Mistresses.

In fact, Milano claims in her lawsuit, she would have perhaps done a third season of Mistresses if she'd known she needed the money so badly. Instead, she left the show when it moved production to Vancouver to cut costs, stating that it wouldn't work for her family.

Mistresses, Cast


"It's with a heavy heart that I have decided that I can't relocate. I have two babies under 4," Milano, who has a son and daughter with Bugliari, said in October 2014. "Being a mother and wife comes first and I just can not uproot my children and separate the family by moving away."

The suit states Milano would have earned $1.3 million for that third season, and had the potential to negotiate more for a fourth season. (ABC canceled Mistresses last September after four seasons. Jennifer Esposito joined the show after Milano left.)

"Alyssa and David relied on the advice of their business managers for financial advice," the couple's attorney, Ellyn Garofalo, tells E! News. "Their trust was sorely misplaced. Hellis failed to disclose, and concealed, critical financial information from the couple—including that loans on very unfavorable terms were being taken on their behalf, while Hellie was also using Milano's money to make substantial loans to other Hellie clients. Hellie also invested large sums of money in questionable investments in which he was an investor, without disclosing this fact to Milano."

The suit alleges Hellie got Milano to approve a $50,000 investment in a parking lot venture without telling her that he too was an investor. "Hellie knew, or should have known, that this was a highly risky investment," the complaint states. Between June 2009 and February 2016, the suit further contends, Hellie approved "at least $351,323.17 in capital contributions" for the venture without telling Milano or Bugliari or otherwise obtaining their approval.

Hopefully the paper trails and literal receipts will provide answers and the deserved outcome for all involved. But if you've ever signed any type of contract, or had any official business dealings whatsoever, you know that a "paper trail" only sounds tidy. Multiply a normal contract by the millions of dollars involved in celeb-level dealings, and you've got more of a paper swamp than anything else.

And history has shown that sometimes one side is clearly in the right, and at other just gets to be too much and both sides are compelled to cut their losses.


Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

In 2012 Rihanna sued her former accountants, claiming that the firm, Berdon LLP, had taken advantage of her inexperience when she hired them at 16 and taken "exorbitant" cuts of her concert grosses, among other mismanagement. The suit claimed she was never told that her 2009 Last Girl in the World Tour was losing money, while the accountants made millions, 22 percent of the touring revenue to her 6 percent.

Berdon fired back in court documents, obtained by TMZ, in which they denied any mismanagement and insisted it was Rihanna's (or those around her's) "own financial action or inaction" that caused her to lose money.

They reached an undisclosed settlement and Rihanna dropped the suit in 2014, per Reuters. Neither side immediately commented, though the Washington Post speculated in 2015 that RiRi's "Bitch Better Have My Money" was about one of her ex-accountants.

Elton John memorably lost a years-long legal battle against his former manager and accountants in 2001, leaving him with roughly $10 million in legal fees to pay. It was during the course of the litigation that John's famously extravagant spending came to light, including more than $400,000 on flowers over a 20-month period.

"I don't think he will cut back on his flowers," Frank Presland, John's lawyer and manager, quipped to the Guardian after a judge ruled against the artist.

Elton John, Billy Joel

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Also right after the verdict, John said that he was considering an appeal. "As everyone in business knows, it is notoriously difficult to succeed in a claim for negligence against professional advisers." (Coincidentally, John's touring partner at the time, Billy Joel, could sympathize. The "Piano Man" singer sued his ex-manager and ex-lawyer for $90 million in 1992, alleging fraud and conflict of interest. He quietly withdrew the complaint in 1993; his attorney told The New York Times in 1995 that Sony had paid Joel $3 million to drop the suit, as one of the defendants was one of the most influential lawyers in the music business.)

Two months after John's court loss, a British judge rejected his bid to appeal the ruling regarding his accountants, doubting an appeal "would have any real prospect of success."

Nicolas Cage is another star whose profligate spending came to light thanks to a legal battle with a former advisor. The Oscar winner sued Samuel J. Levin for $20 million in 2009, alleging in the lawsuit Levin "lined his pockets with several million dollars in business management fees while sending Cage down a path toward financial ruin." To which Levin replied in a counter-complaint that Cage paved his own road.

Per CNN, Levin alleged in his own suit that, after Cage hired him 2001, he advised the actor he needed to be making at least $30 million a year to cover his expenses and should sock away at least $10 million in savings; then, as early as 2005, he advised Cage to tone down the purchases (which over the years included 15 homes, four yachts, 22 cars and one island), and "reduce his real estate holdings." Cage ended up losing four homestwo in New Orleans, one in Las Vegas and one in Los Angeles—to foreclosure.

Cage had alleged that he was left in the dark about the state of his financial affairs as his debts piled up; Levin denied it. They reached an undisclosed settlement in 2010 and both suits were dismissed.

Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

And then there are the nightmare scenarios, such as Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick's ill-fated investment with Bernie Madoff, who, before he was sent to prison for the rest of his life, lost roughly $65 billion of his clients' money in a massive Ponzi scheme.

"There are so many people in this country who have been more betrayed than we were," Sedgwick mused to Redbook in 2012, several years after the scandal erupted. "We gave our money to a mentally ill person. We're responsible for that. It's not our fault, I don't blame us, but we're responsible...I'd encourage every woman to learn about her money and not apologize for making it."

Trudie Styler, Sting, Watch What Happens Live

Charles Sykes/Bravo

Also on the criminal end of the mismanagement spectrum was Sting's onetime accountant, Keith Moore, who was sentenced to six years behind bars in 1995 for embezzling more than $9 million from the singer between 1988 and 1992.

"I always judged clients, particularly those in the music business, on a 'meeting tolerance' scale," Moore told the Daily Mail while serving his sentence. "My recollection of Sting is that his 'meeting tolerance' level was near nil. He was easily bored and was quite content to leave the business side of things to others."

During the course of the trial, per London's Independent, Sting said that Moore had devised a financial system for him involving 108 accounts, making it "hard to get a handle on" what Moore was up to. Trudie Styler testified that she never looked at her husband's bank statements because of lingering hurt over tabloid speculation she had married Sting three years prior for his money.

In case anyone is wondering why it can take awhile to get this type of thing sorted out.

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