Why some rock stars can’t seem to control their spending

For some, making more money means being able to buy more stuff. Instead of prudently putting cash aside for that rainy day, they go on a neverending spending spree. Big celebrities, including music stars who find themselves swimming in money, can be especially prone to dropping plenty of dosh on things they really don’t need. The Hollywood Reporter looks at why.

The same year that Nicolas Cage outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for a $276,000 tyrannosaur skull, he also bought three homes, nine Rolls-Royces and 47 pieces of art. (Losing bidder DiCaprio, meanwhile, contacted the commercial paleontologist and ordered up another skull.) Since then, Cage, who reportedly blew through $150 million, and Johnny Depp, who apparently mislaid $650 million, have become bywords for financial ruin. Depp bought 14 houses worth $75 million, while environment-lover DiCaprio went for a $150,000 pet octopus.

“This runaway spending is more common than anyone realizes. It happens just as frequently as drugs and alcohol; in L.A., it happens all the time,” says Mari Murao, a Beverly Hills- and Topanga-based shrink who treats stars for bad buying habits that often “arise from childhoods where they haven’t been supported with healthy coping skills.” Overspending is “motivated by wanting love and attention.”

Recently, a patient — a working actress since her teenage years — told Murao that “it’s a known fact that people in this industry usually stay the emotional age they were when they became famous.” The cure can be part of the problem, adds Murao: “When someone makes it, they get a good financial manager to handle everything,” which can be infantilizing.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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