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Michael Jackson was 'the highest-paid dead celebrity of 2018,' but the singer died in debt. Here are some of the most extravagant things he spent his fortune on.

Rachel Askinasi , Business Insider US
 Oct 19, 2019, 04:44 PM
    • Michael Jackson was known as the King of Pop, and he had the crown jewels to show for it.
    • While the "Thriller" singer is said to have been a millionaire who lived like a billionaire, he actually died millions of dollars in debt.
    • But Forbes reports that the performer's estate has made millions more since his death - both from auctions of his collections and memorabilia and from music that's still being played and marketed today.
    • Jackson bought and renovated the Neverland Ranch he lived on - outfitting the property with a zoo, themed-park, train station and arcade. He also bought jewelry as gifts for friends like Elizabeth Taylor, and he even purchased a pet monkey named Bubbles, among other things.
    • While the prices Jackson paid for certain items aren't confirmed, take a look at some of the more extravagant - and sometimes unusual - things he spent his money on and collected over the years.
    • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

    Michael Jackson topped Forbes' list of the highest-paid dead celebrities of 2018 after raking in around $400 million (R5.8 billion) that year alone.

    Phil Walter/Getty Images

    Source: Forbes


    But before he died, the singer was millions of dollars in debt. According to William R. Ackerman, a forensic accountant, Jackson was spending thousands of dollars more than he was making.

    Source: Los Angeles Times, Money


    Ackerman, who testified in a 2013 case involving the singer, reportedly said that Jackson was making $30 million-a-year payments toward his debt at the time of his death. But Ackerman said he was simultaneously spending lavishly on things like jewelry.

    Source: Newsweek


    It wasn't a secret that the king of pop had a bizarre fleet of collectibles, but it wasn't until he died and things were put up for auction that the public got to see the full roster.

    Source: The Richest, Reuters


    He owned the gloves Johnny Depp's character wore in "Edward Scissorhands" ...

    Mark Sullivan/Contributor/Getty Images

    Source: TIME, Billboard, CNN, Forbes


    ... several replicas of his own face in different expressions ...

    Gabriel Bouys/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: The Richest


    ... a robotic replica of his head as seen in the "Moonwalker" film starring Jackson ...

    Mike Marsland/Contributor/Getty Images

    Source: Go Social, The Richest


    ... and life-sized figures of fictional crime-fighters like Batman ...

    Gabriel Bouys/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: The Richest


    ... Superman ...

    Gabriel Bouys/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: The Richest


    ... and Spider-Man.

    Gabriel Bouys/ Staff/Getty Images

    Source: The Richest


    He also had figures of sci-fi characters like E.T. ...

    Ethan Miller/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: Getty Images


    ... Yoda ...

    Laura Cavanaugh/Contributor/Getty Images

    Source: Getty Images


    ... and villains like Darth Vader.

    Gabriel Bouys/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: Getty Images


    According to NBC, Jackson paid $1.5 million for the Academy Award statue that was awarded to 1939's Best Picture winner, "Gone With the Wind."

    Source: NBC, Reuters


    Forbes reported that Jackson purchased the oil on canvas painting seen below for $46,000. The painting, called Cleopatra's Last Moments, was reportedly signed by the artist, D. Pauvert, and dated 1892.

    Public Domain

    Source: Forbes


    The Neverland Ranch was an enormous expense for Jackson. Entertainment Weekly reported that the singer paid $19.5 million for it in 1988.

    Source: Entertainment Weekly, Business Insider


    Jackson also made additions to the property and house, like the Disney Parks-themed train station ...

    Source: Business Insider


    ... a working train that passed through the station ...

    Source: Business Insider


    ... and bronze statues of children that littered the property and could be seen from the train as it went around the grounds.

    Source: Business Insider


    Some of the statues were available for purchase at the 2009 auction.

    Gabriel Bouys/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: Getty Images


    Entertainment Weekly reported that, at one point, it cost Jackson $10 million to keep up the ranch and all of its amenities, including the train, theme park, zoo, and theatre.

    Source: Entertainment Weekly


    Jackson wasn't living at the ranch at the time of his death, though. He was reportedly paying $100,000 a month to rent this Bel-Air mansion, according to Forbes.

    Source: Forbes


    He also collected cars, like this personalised Rolls Royce limousine.

    Gabriel Bouys/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: The Travel


    The limousine was customised by Jackson and featured leather seats and an embellished ceiling.

    Gabriel Bouys / Staff/Getty Images

    Source: The Richest, Hot Cars


    Jackson's spending didn't stop at cars. In the early '80s, he famously purchased a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles.

    Hulton Archive/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: The Richest


    According to Newsweek, Jackson's "extreme debt" dates back to 1994 when he owed $30 million.

    Source: Newsweek


    Billboard reported that it was the 1993 legal battle — when Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy — that benchmarked the turning point in Jackson's career as well as his mental, physical, and financial health.

    Getty Images/Pool/Getty Images

    Source: Billboard


    Jackson reportedly paid the family $25 million in 1994.

    Pool/Getty Images

    Source: NBC News


    While he was spending on going to trial in the '90s, Jackson was still making money. He was collecting roughly $75 million a year during that time from owning the rights to his music library as well as that of the Beatles — which he bought for $47.5 million in 1985 — according to The Daily News. Still, he reportedly spent more than he made.

    AFP/Stringer/Getty Images

    Source: The Daily News, Business Insider


    The 2009 auction was actually planned before the singer died in June. It was set to feature items belonging to Jackson himself as well as collectors around the world.

    Emmanuel Dunand/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: Forbes


    At the 2009 auction, the iconic, white spandex, Swarovski-encrusted glove that became synonymous with the King of Pop sold for $350,000.

    Jason Kempin/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: Reuters


    Julien's auction house estimated the worn-in, sweat-stained glove would sell for up to $200,000.

    Source: Forbes


    Forbes reported that just before the auction was set to take place, Jackson had made between $200 million and $300 million from his planned London concert tour.

    Source: Forbes


    The day before the first public exhibit of belongings on offer, Jackson filed a lawsuit against Julien's to prevent the auction from happening. The suit ultimately resulted in Jackson paying a reported $2 million worth of expenses — plus an undisclosed additional amount — Julien's had already taken on in planning the auction.

    Jamie McCarthy/Staff/Getty Images

    Source: Forbes


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