Image: Getty / Kevin Mazur
On more than one occasion, Tori Spelling has made up excuses for her financial hardships. “In all honesty, I grew up a certain way. I never had to worry about money … that was my reality,” the Hollywood heiress says. Tori Spelling was born into a world of opportunity that is beyond our wildest dreams. Unfortunately, it seems that no one told the “poor little rich girl” that someday she would be pinching her pennies to get by. From endless shopping sprees to children’s birthday parties with hefty price tags, to even getting sued by her credit card companies, Tori Spelling has found herself in hot water when it came to finances. Has she managed to pull herself up by her bootstraps, or is she still just ultra strapped for cash?
Born Into Royalty
Actress Tori Spelling was born into the world of the rich and famous. Born to a father who was a millionaire film and TV producer, Aaron Spelling, Tori was blessed with a rare opportunity. She was handed opportunities for advancement through her life that most could only dream of.
Tori’s father, Aaron, was a big-time producer responsible for some of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of his time. He was the mastermind behind The Love Boat, Charlie’s Angels, and Melrose Place. His net worth was estimated at $600 million, and he pampered himself and his family until he felt they had received enough.
She Grew up in a Castle
Tori Spelling was blessed with all types of privilege, and she was raised just as a princess would be. In fact, her childhood home was so huge that you might even consider it a castle. Her father had their home, The Manor, built to become the largest house in Los Angeles. That’s not even the craziest part.
Their home had tons of terrific amenities. It was made of 123 rooms, at least 14 bedrooms, more than 20 bathrooms, tennis courts, a pool, and even a bowling alley. When the Spelling family moved on from this beautiful mansion, it was sold to a British heiress for $85 million in 2011. She sold the home again in 2019 for $119.7 million, setting a record for the most expensive home in California at the time.
She Used Her Father’s Mega-Star Status to Jump-Start Her Career
Who could blame her, really? Hollywood’s original daddy’s girl was able to use her dad’s status in Hollywood to land roles for herself, including her breakout role on Beverly Hills, 90210. Things overall went pretty smoothly for Tori. What could go wrong?
She had a role on a hit show and a bottomless trust fund… or so she thought. Her dad was able to help her jump-start her career, but he spoiled her so much that she quickly spun out of control when it came to spending. Eventually, she would have to learn the hard way that a little bit of success would not be enough to sustain her lifestyle long-term.
Her Time on Beverly Hills 90210 Only Added Fuel to Her Spending Fire
Tori Spelling grew up with the world at her fingertips. Anything she wanted (and we mean anything), was available at her disposal. Thanks to her father’s position of power in the entertainment business, it wasn’t hard to see she was destined to be cast in any role she wanted.
Unfortunately, though, she wasn’t truly aware of how quickly something could change. She spent through her Beverly Hills, 90210 earnings and didn’t quite have a backup plan in case her perfect life went south. That was the first mistake in a long line of financial woes to come.
She Was Known For Her Lavish Shopping Sprees
Spelling followed in her childhood habits as a young adult and spent everything she had made on “bad shopping habits.” She wasn’t unlike any other young girl who wanted to buy her favorite things whenever she wanted them. She had the means to, but after she started working, she was mainly financially independent.
Spelling was largely unprepared for the realities that would come with her lavish habits. Just before Beverly Hills, 90210 was canceled, she found herself in a destructive pattern. “Bad shopping habits die hard,” she explained to ABC News. “In all honesty, I grew up a certain way. I never had to worry about money … that was my reality.”
Should She Have Been “Too Proud to Beg?”
In an interview with ABC News, Spelling proclaimed that she never planned to ask her father for help, but why was that? “That means, in my mind, [that] I was what everyone thought I was, taking money from my dad, the rich little girl that he paid for everything. And I just refused to be that—[I would] rather be bankrupt,” Spelling stated.
In order to pull herself out of the financial hole she found herself in, she went back to work. Spelling found herself taking any TV role she could get, and even then, she was still in so deep that she was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy. Soon, her father Aaron would pass away, and she fully expected to receive more in her inheritance. She was due for a major surprise.
Did We Mention Her (First) $1 Million Wedding?
This one is hard to skim over, but she was briefly married from 2004 to 2006 to Charlie Shanian. Their wedding was pricey as ever, even when hosted at her father’s mansion, The Manor. They planned such a lavish wedding that the price tag was estimated to be just over $1 million.
Just a year after she was married, she was on the Lifetime movie Mind Over Murder set in Ottawa and met someone who would change the course of the rest of her life. It was there that she began an affair with the also-married Dean McDermott. You might even say this was the beginning of the end for her.
Her Marriage to Dean Came With a Series of Failed Business Ventures
Once Spelling and McDermott ended their marriages and were married themselves, this couple joined the world of reality show stardom. She took any job to pay the bills, including starring alongside her husband in Tori and Dean Inn Love. That wasn’t the couple’s only business venture throughout their years together.
The couple took on several reality shows, both together and alone. Spelling launched her own jewelry line just before launching their reality TV career, but unfortunately, neither one of them ended up working in her favor. The two began to confuse the spotlight with real success, which is where their financial woes really began.
Tori Was Shocked By Her Inheritance
When her father passed away due to complications from a stroke, Tori was beside herself. She was devastated by the loss of the man who gave her the world. She was equally devastated by the meager inheritance that her father left her upon his passing. She couldn’t fathom how little she had been left.
She was appalled to learn she was only left less than $1 million, around $800,000. She and her brother were utterly blindsided when they were informed of what their dad left behind for them, especially because their mother received the bulk of it. However, Spelling admitted to ABC News that she somehow felt this could have happened.
Why Did She Get Such a Small Inheritance?
Spelling speculated all over the place about the low inheritance, just $800,000 each for her and her brother Randy, of their father’s $500 million estate. Her relationship with her parents had indeed imploded when her first marriage went down the drain. She had strained relationships with her parents individually, one that continued to remain with her mom.
In her financial struggles in adulthood, her mother has mostly denied financial assistance to her daughter. However, she has stepped in to contribute to necessities, putting her grandchildren in mind. She wanted her daughter to be ok, but she had to deal with the consequences of her actions. She didn’t want her grandchildren to suffer for their parents’ irresponsibility.
The Inheritance Was Spent Quickly
In the world of extreme wealth, $800,000 can go by in the blink of an eye. It is hard to say for sure just what Spelling spent her inherited fortune on, but sources speculate up and down about just what these purchases could be. Of course, one theory of how she spent it was shopping, but wait until you hear how addicted she was…
“She would close a store and drop $50,000 to $60,000,” her mother Candy stated. “I never did anything like that. She just went crazy.” Other financial moves that were not her brightest ideas included throwing lavish, expensive parties as well as some unnecessary real estate investments (remember the small inn they owned for a brief period?)
She Underestimated the Cost of Having Kids
New parents have a learning curve to deal with, and Spelling and her husband are no exception. Not only had they overspent on various indulgences throughout the earliest years of their marriage, but they also spoiled their kids to new levels. Their kids didn’t get the same treatment that Tori did as a kid, but they were far from needy children.
Their kids never quite had to live without, but there was a time when their parents had been so irresponsible with money that their grandmother needed to step in to make sure the kids had their school fees paid for as well as other necessities for them to be taken care of.
Her Financial Woes Started to Catch Up to Her
When bills don’t get paid, debt collectors will come knocking on your door to ensure that you pay what you owe. Well, in Spelling and McDermott’s case, they got a bit more than that. The couple owed banks and credit card companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. There was no way for them to hide.
“I am not great with money, and I know a lot of people read a lot of stuff about my financial things going on. I had a business manager since I was 18 years old, so I never handled any of my money,” she once said on one of her reality shows, Tori Tried and True. There’s an excuse for everything…
She Bit Off More Than She Could Chew With Spending on Her Kids Birthday Parties
There’s always one party girl that never entirely changes her ways. In this case, that’s Spelling, and she’s channeled her old habits hard through her children’s birthday parties. Spelling did not hold back from party favors to the venue when making sure her kids had the time of their lives.
Tori Spelling has broken the bank on throwing lavishly-themed birthday parties for their children, not sparing any expense. For her daughter Stella’s sixth birthday, she booked out a spa and spent more than $6,000 for her daughter and her pals to have a day of pampering.
The $6,000 Birthday Party
We’re no strangers to the world of expensive birthday parties for kids (hello bar mitzvahs and sweet 16’s!) Still, Spelling managed to throw a party that no child could ever forget. These pampered kiddos got a whole spa experience, complete with every service under the sun. Makeovers, organic facials, playing dress-up; you name it, these little girls did it.
This party was held at the Le Chic Spa in Tarzana, California, catered with sushi and cupcakes. Their gift bags had a range of gifts, including Barbies, lip gloss, DVDs, and plenty of other goodies. This party was filled with expenses that someone being sued by multiple creditors should have avoided spending on.
“We’re Too Poor for His Vasectomy”
Back when Spelling and McDermott were in the thick of things, they complained that they had to keep having children because they couldn’t afford to have a vasectomy. There are definitely other options for family planning beyond a vasectomy, Tori. Did she blow it all before they could arrange the procedure?
By the time Tori told People that she couldn’t afford a vasectomy for her husband, the couple had already had four kids between the ages of 14 months and six years. “We don’t have a series on the air right now, so we have to be more restrictive of what we can spend, just like anyone who doesn’t currently have a steady job,” she stated when probed for details.
Are They Finally Done Procreating?
Even into the darkest days of their relationship, these two still keep pumping out babies like it’s their job. They currently have five kids but had reportedly been thinking about adding a sixth to the mix. This couple may need to learn that a public display of both financial and marital problems might not convince anyone else that having more is a good idea.
As of now, they’re sticking with five. The state of their marriage is constantly rocky, so buckle up. Infidelity, fraud, excessive spending, and general legal havoc have rocked their relationship. One essential question to ask; is their entire relationship built on a foundation of financial irresponsibility?
The Mooching Husband
Did Tori really know what she was getting into when starting her love affair with Dean McDermott? Though they’ve been together for a while, their relationship was built on infidelity on both parts. They started out as secret lovers on-set, while both were married to other people. McDermott was for sure a “mooch,” and he certainly did not try hard to hide it.
Not only did it seem like McDermott wasn’t finding much meaningful work as a screenwriter, but he was also spending their limited funds to treat the women he cheated on his wife with. He was constantly having affairs and getting called out for them; apparently, he couldn’t take the heat and had a full-on breakdown about it while filming True Tori on Lifetime.
She’s Been Sued by American Express, More Than Once
You never want to get your finances so out of hand that the biggest credit card companies in the world take you to court. That sounds like a giant red flag in itself, and it was Spelling and McDermott’s reality for years. Things were so harsh that between creditors and banks, she owed more than $600,000. That’s a lot of cheddar.
To make matters worse, Tori and Dean reportedly refused to pay the debt collectors, and more official court documents were drawn against them. “These amounts remain due; both owed and unpaid. Interest, attorney’s fees, and costs continue to accrue,” one stated. Spelling’s American Express debacle resulted from at least three years that not a single payment had been made. When she finally made a payment of just over $1,000, it bounced. She owed the credit card company more than $110,000, and after refusing to make payments for years, in 2020, she finally had money seized from her account.