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Here's How Nicolas Cage Cleared $6 Million Worth of Debt and Refused to Declare Bankruptcy

Here's How Nicolas Cage Cleared $6 Million Worth of Debt and Refused to Declare Bankruptcy

When financial woes plagued famous actor Nicolas Cage, he could have simply filed for bankruptcy, but instead, he chose to work hard, and pay back every cent he owed.

Nicolas Cage recently sat down with CBS’ Sharyn Alfonsi on "60 Minutes," to discuss various aspects of his career, and he candidly addressed his financial struggles head-on.

In spite of his astounding success in he actor recalled being heavily indebted to the tune of $6 million, and explained what he did to remedy that situation.

Addressing The Source Of The Problem


Most people have faced financial challenges at one point or another, and in spite of their income-earning potential, celebrities aren't exempt from experiencing debt and having to contend with monetary difficulties.

Journalist Sharyn Alfonsi called out the actor during a recently aired episode, by rhyming off a list of some of his over-the-top purchases.

“We wanted to ask him about reports that he blew through his fortune, buying exotic cars, mansions around the globe, even a dinosaur skull,” Alfonsi said, in a voiceover. She then addressed Cage by asking him if his over-spending on big ticket items was the cause of his financial demise. “

I was over-invested in real estate, it’s not because I spent $80 on an octopus,” Cage replied.

Here's What Really Happened

Nicolas Cage admitted to being deeply affected when the real estate market crashed, and spoke out about his investments suddenly diminishing, as a result.

"I was over-invested in real estate. … The real estate market crashed, and I couldn't get out in time," the 59-year-old actor explained.

Of course, what was now a matter-of-fact discussion, and re-telling of past events lacked the intensity of the hardship Nicolas felt at the time.

The actor had grown accustomed to living a certain lifestyle, and was admired by millions of fans across the globe. He had the ability to generate millions of dollars with each box office hit, but the reality was, he owed such a significant amount of money that it continued looming over him, and he had to figure out what to do to get himself out of the stressful situation.

Journalist Sharyn Alfonsi then said, "That had to be a dark period for you." Cage responded, "It was dark, sure," and shared how booking roles "no doubt" helped him through it.

Admitting To The Errors


Nicolas Cage addressed his financial situation without hiding behind his mistakes. He admitted to being heavily indebted and offered some honest explanations.

"But yes, it's no secret that mistakes have been made in my past that I've had to try to correct," he said.

"Financial mistakes happened with the real estate implosion that occurred, in which the lion's share of everything I had earned was pretty much eradicated. But one thing I wasn't going to do was file for bankruptcy."

He expressed how he felt about the situation by saying he had "this pride thing where I wanted to work my way through anything" rather than file for bankruptcy.

Working Hard To Regain Financial Traction


Upon evaluating his options, Nicolas Cage established that he was not the type to file for bankruptcy as a simplified method of wiping his financial slate clean.

"I paid them all back, but it was about $6 million. I never filed for bankruptcy," he said, while referencing his creditors.

The famous actor explained how he threw himself into his job and refused to be defeated by the enormity of his debt load. It wasn't a simple process but he knew if he took on a number of acting roles, he could catch up on the bills.

"Work was always my guardian angel. It may not have been blue chip, but it was still work," he said.

He described what it was like to take on back-to-back jobs to clear his debts.

He noted that he was often ridiculed over acting in a string of direct-to-video movies, and explained that he as doing what was needed at the time.

"Cage also defended the often-ridiculed string of direct-to-video movies he made during that time period: "

"Even if the movie ultimately is crummy, they know I'm not phoning it in, that I care every time."

He had previously echoed this sentiment in a previous interview with GQ.

"When I was doing four movies a year, back to back to back, I still had to find something in them to be able to give it my all," he said.

"They didn't work, all of them. Some of them were terrific, like Mandy, but some of them didn't work," he admitted

Never Giving Up


His road to financial recovery was a long and challenging one, but Nicolas Cage refused to give up. His sheer determination to pay back the $6 million he owed inspired him to be laser-focused on his work. He took on more roles, but was adamant that he remained devoted to delivering a good performance each and every time.

Nicolas Cage spoke about his decision to take on numerous roles for financial reasons during an August 2019 interview with The New York Times Magazine.

Back in August 2019, Cage told The New York Times Magazine about taking jobs back to back for financial reasons.

"I can't go into specifics or percentages or ratios, but yeah, money is a factor. I'm going to be completely direct about that. There's no reason not to be," he noted at the time.

"There are times when it's more of a factor than not. I still have to feel that, whether or not the movie around me entirely works, I'll be able to deliver something and be fun to watch," he said.

That's still a philosophy he fosters today, and he touched upon his devotion to each movie in his 2023 interview on "60 Minutes."

He admitted to taking multiple roles simply to pay off his debts, but he remained passionate about his work in spite of the struggle. "But I never phoned it in," said Cage. "So if there was a misconception, it was that. That I was just doing it and not caring. I was caring," he told Alfonsi.

Finding Purpose In His Life


Financial woes didn't keep him down, but they did keep him focused on the task at hand. Now that Nicolas Cage has cleared his debts and balanced his finances, he is able to reflect on his career, and how critically important it is to him to be an actor - but not just for financial reasons.

"Not all the movies have been blue chip, but I've kept getting closer to my instrument. And maybe there's been more supply than demand, but on the other hand, I'm a better man when I'm working," he explained.

"I have structure. I have a place to go. I don't want to sit around and drink Mai Tais and Dom Pérignon and have mistakes in my personal life. I want to be on set. I want to be performing."

Cage reminds us that hard work and focus can get us through any difficult time!

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