I am a Celebrity, get me an IVA!

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing really. What came first, the debt problems or the stint on I’m a Celebrity? There’s a trend forming here. Some might argue that putting yourself up for ritual humiliation, bug-eating, creepy-crawly wearing and perpetual back-biting is itself a sure-fire sign that all is not rosy with the bank balance. However, as much as celebs hitting the self destruct button makes for great television, there is no arguing against the fact that careers can be rekindled by a gung-ho stint in the Aussie Outback. Just look at Pete and Katie. Sadly, we have also seen that these things the extent to which these things can go wrong. Just look at Pete and Katie.

The financial fallout of the show has surfaced yet again, as despite the £25,000 winnings, another of the bush-tucker alumni was facing dire financial difficulties. Ex-EastEnder Joe Swash has now joined an illustrious line up of former I’m a Celebrities in being declared bankrupt, less than a year after walking out of the Australian jungle with his winnings. He joins the once Atomic Kitten and face of frozen food, Kerry Katona and the other, other Baldwin, Stephen, in the celebrity insolvency club.

Starting with staggering £120,000 worth of unpaid tax, the news of bankruptcy proceedings against the 27 year-old became public just before he set off for the outback. Despite being able to pay off £100,000 of his outstanding debt, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs could wait no longer for the outstanding balance and the bankruptcy proceedings have been recently finalised, with the Official Receiver having now taken control over his assets. Could his financial circumstances have been solved by taking advantage of another potential debt solution? Did he exploit the right channels and take proper advantage of the debt help that is out there? Obviously, everyone’s circumstances are slightly different and there is no one-size-fits-all, quick fix debt solution. The insolvency application has been put down to purely tax reasons and there are no other creditors listed on his petition. It has come at a time when things looked to be improving for Swash. After the lows of being axed from Eastenders in 2006 and the resulting quite spell, the stint on I’m a Celebrity looked to have paid dividends with a run of TV appearances, including the current role opposite Pamela Anderson in Living TV’s ‘Living with my Idol.’ He had recently moved into a £400,000 flat in North London, which may not be wholly secure now that the Official Receiver is in control of his money and assets. Had he gone for an IVA, he may have had to relinquish a proportion of the equity in any property but his home would’ve been secure. However, if the property is only rented, bankruptcy might have been the right option. If you want to find out more about the different debt solutions on offer, take the free 15 second debt wizard at Harrington Brooks.

Another I’m a Celebrity icon, the onetime pop star and hawker of frozen foods Kerry Katona was declared bankrupt in 2008. This was again the result of unpaid taxes and once again, in spite of a huge effort to cut her tax bill from £417,000 to £82,000 Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs went ahead with the insolvency petition. Katona left Atomic Kitten in 2001 but returned to the celeb spotlight in 2004 on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here. She earns an estimated £750,000 a year from Iceland adverts and £400,000 as a columnist for OK! This is supplemented by other revenue streams, like her workout DVD and autobiography. However, unlike Swash, Katona’s bankruptcy petition did name more than the taxman. Her bouts of retail therapy have included a £1.5m luxury home in Cheshire, a £115,000 Lamborghini for hubby Mark, a £90,000 Range Rover and a £70,000 Porsche Cayenne GTS.

The Bankrupt Ex-I’m a Celebrity club extends across the pond too. Usual Suspects star Stephen Baldwin, perpetually in the shadow of big brother Alec, filed for bankruptcy revealing debts amounting to $2.3m (£1.4m). While he was appearing in the US version of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, Baldwin was apparently on the receiving end of 125 insect bites and left the Costa Rican set after contracting an infection. Having obviously had his fill of bloodsuckers, Stephen decided it was time to face up to his mounting debt. He owed $1.2m (£733,000) on a double mortgage, on a property in up-state New York. Baldwin also accumulated about $70,000 (£42,766) worth of credit card debt. Now a born-again Christian, Baldwin co-hosts a radio programme with evangelist Kevin McCullough and has recently released a novel. Baldwin extended his newfound Christian charity to a homeless man who he allowed to live on his property. Sadly though, he was actually using this as a base-camp from which to sell heroin.

Perhaps the free Harrington Brooks debt wizard could offer you the debt help that you need by showing you what debt solutions are on offer which allow you to avoid bankruptcy.