Erin Heatherton filed for bankruptcy, has $560K in credit card debt

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I don’t know which is worse for Erin Heatherton: the fact that she’s bankrupt or the fact that every article about her bankruptcy identifies her as “Leo DiCaprio’s ex-girlfriend.” Erin Heatherton is/was a model and quite a famous one at that. She’s not Gisele-famous, but Erin walked Victoria’s Secret runways and she booked some big runway jobs and editorials. She made serious money at one time in her career. But now she’s broke as hell and she has more than $500K in debt.

Former Victoria Secret’s model Erin Heatherton has filed for bankruptcy and is over half a million dollars in debt, but lists one of her most valuable assets as something from the wife of Leo DiCaprio‘s best friend, Tobey Maguire. According to court documents, Heatherton – real name Erin Bubley – filed for Chapter 7 earlier this year, listing $6,465.57 in assets and $560,242.13 in liabilities.

The model said her average monthly income is $1,089.91 (with $221 coming from family/friends) but spends $1,074 on expenses, leaving her without much.

Her property includes $750 in electronics, $995 for a “What Goes Around Comes Around” vintage Japanese jacket, $500 in other apparel, and a $945 Jennifer Meyer diamond letter disc necklace (Meyer is Maguire’s ex). She also has $919 in her checking accounts.

Her debts include large amounts of credit card debt, specifically lines of credit opened a year before she started dating Leo. Erin and Leo dated from December 2011 until October 2012. The docs note in 2010, the model took out three credit cards with City National Bank. She currently owes $11,514 on one card, $9,485 on another and $194,602.49 on a third for a total $215,601.49.

She also owes another $201k to City National for a line of credit, $100k from a legal battle with a former business partner, and $41k in back taxes to the state of New York. Heatherton made $226,596 for 2017, $18k in 2018, and $2,820 so far in 2019. The model also lists a long list of clothes and shoes she hawked to third parties prior to filing for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy case is still ongoing.

[From The Blast]

I honestly don’t understand how people can keep spending so much using credit cards. I only keep a balance on one credit card and I keep it below $1000 and even that makes me mad. How in the world can people accumulate more than $100,000 on credit cards, for the love of God? Granted, I know that in the sketchy world of American health care, some people are charging their necessary medical treatments or medications, but I don’t think that’s the case with Erin Heatherton. I think she just likes to shop and she’s not getting any work these days. Also: a model’s shelf-life, huh? Erin is 30 years old and I guess she didn’t save any money from her actual modeling heyday.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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48 Responses to “Erin Heatherton filed for bankruptcy, has $560K in credit card debt”

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  1. Lisa says:

    Wow. I could not imagine being in that kind of debt.

    • Lex says:

      Her thigh bulge in the photo in white outfit makes me feel better. I jut out below thr hips quite a bit (saddlebag style), as does she in that pic. Makes a normal gal feel more normal…….

  2. stephanie says:

    wow! $228K in one a year sounds like a lot but if she was living the high life in a place like nyc – that wont go very far if she is living in a luxury apartment and buying jimmy choos and designer clothes.

    sounds like she is unemployed. can’t she file for unemployment benefits to survive?

    bummer – time for a real job like the rest of us. maybe she can go back to school (though that takes lots of money) and find a career.

    • Kylie says:

      I don’t think she would qualify for unemployment. Models aren’t typically employees, they are essentially contractors.

  3. Kat says:

    How does she make so little monthly? Has she considered full-time work? Granted I know minimum wage is shit, but I feel like she could use her connections to have some sort of viable income.

    • Abby says:

      That’s what I’m wondering. You could make more than that at lots of different jobs. Even part-time!

    • lucy2 says:

      She must not be actually working. Minimum wage in NY or LA is more than what she’s claiming as income.
      What happened that she is no longer booked for any jobs? Can’t she be an instagram “influencer” or whatever that nonsense is?
      Modeling does have a short shelf life for most, so it’s really foolish to not save and plan for another career in the future.

      • Fiona says:

        I wonder what city she’s currently living in. I know she sold her NYC apartment a years ago for a few million dollars and I think for a profit, so what happened to that money?

        If I were her, I would move in with my family to save money and start shilling out instagram ads lol

    • Saltydog says:

      I don’t understand it either. I live in L.A. and currently don’t have a job other than doing extra work and audience work (paid to clap at game shows) and I make more than that a month.

    • teehee says:

      I think the point is missed: this is a legal gesture to free her from at least the majority of the 560k debt.
      Even if she earned 5-6k a month, she can NEVER pay off that debt.

      The credit card company wont bat an eyelash about that sum as they continue to make profits;
      This would however ruin her entire life and she could still die in debt.

      Thats the point, more.

      I know it isn’t a fully correct line of thought, if she “earned” the debt, but I also dont find credit companies literally making billions off of the poor to be so “right” either.

      All these companies, all this GD money– and look at the state of the world today. F!ck em.

  4. Hotsauceinmybag says:


    I’m the same way as the OP with my credit card and debit/checking balance. I can get quite obsessive and with my credit balance I don’t usually go over 1,000 unless it’s for travel related expenses.

    Before the ACA, a delinquent medical bill (for $600) messed up my credit and I spent 3 years meticulously repairing it so I’m paranoid when it comes to cc debt.

  5. Jensies says:

    Wow. So I was feeling bad for her until I saw she was making $800 a month. There are actual people in poverty in this country for whom making that amount is what they can earn. For a model who made $200k two years ago, making that is a choice. It means she’s not taking jobs, not seeking out new ones. She could take catalog jobs, small jobs, and make a lot more than that. She could even, gasp, get a job outside the modeling industry. This is a choice, and a poor one. There are people who are really struggling. This is not that.

  6. minx says:

    She’s young, she should get some sort of…..job. Go to school and get a skill.

  7. Steph says:

    A lot of models are relying on YouTube and Instagram. She should be getting sponsorships on Instagram. She has around 500 000 followers and she already has a “fanbase “

    • Annie says:

      That’s what I’m thinking. 500k followers is enough to monetize that page. I know Instagram models get a ton of shit but look, in this economy if you find ways to make good money, do it. I don’t care. Make money however you can. Most jobs for young people are very low paid anyways. If you can find something that will help you move to the next level, do it. I used to judge the hell out of influencers (and maybe I still do), but you know what? If you can create new ways to make money, do it. Just pay off that debt, go back to school, problem solved.

    • Eliza says:

      She’s probably waiting for bankruptcy to wipe out her debt, then she’ll monetize. Right now she’s so behind she won’t make the money to live the life she wants to.

      • QuidProQuo says:

        I think this happened to Mick Jagger’s x – I million in Debt- who kept spending money to keep us as an high profile man’s GF. This seems the very bottom of the delusion, both heartbroken and financially broken. Hope she gets help!

  8. Jb says:

    Wow I don’t want to feel bad for her because she’s obviously lived a charmed life and blew her money away on frivolous things and she made awful choices on her own BUT damnnnn. Financial planning is a skill I hope one day will be taught in schools because it’s a huge LIFE skill especially for women, the ability to successfully control your finances is essential for self sufficiency! Hopping off my soapbox…gurl get a JOB and start hustling and never forget how you got so low so you never get to that point again!

    • Surly Gale says:

      I’m 65 and I sure as heck wish I’d had some help and instruction on how to do budgets and the like. much earlier in life. After my son’s dad died (before he was 2) I accumulated 10,000 in debt and 30 years later it is STILL dragging us down. I made enough to keep the two of us housed, fed and clothed with nothing left over. Once I got it under $5,000 but my son, now a man, made a HUGE mistake and needed help, so now 1/2 of it is his, though in my name. we’ve been beating on it for ever, and still, at this exact moment in time, it’s $11,000…..and I’m still hitting it with everything I’ve possibly can each month. Debt sucks the soul right out of life. Limits choices. Drags down your hopes and dreams. I will never retire, so that’s a bummer, cause I have no savings, only fuc*ing debt, debt, debt.

      • Snowslow says:

        I so feel you.

      • ClaraBelle says:

        I had a similar scenario….kid’s father died when they were toddlers and I struggled through the next many years trying to cover both basic costs and “surprises”. They also made costly mistakes, like car accidents when they were teens, accidents which called for emergency money. Finally I was in similar debt (10 grand) which guaranteed to ruin the rest of my life. THAT is why bankruptcy exists, and I am so grateful I was able to come out from that unbearable load.

  9. leskat says:

    I think about this all the time when it comes to these types of jobs- you have to save like today is your last day working because those opportunities won’t be around forever. Models, musicians, any sort of entertainer… if you strike it big, for the love of all that is good and holy, SAVE IT. I know it’s probably so overwhelmingly hard to not keep up with the lifestyles you see around you but I don’t know how you could amass so much credit card debt. That’s bonkers. Use all that money you made to get a degree, create a back up plan.

    • Elkie says:

      According to that article I once read on, apparently up to 60% of NBA players and 80%(!) of NFL players are bankrupt or “under financial stress” within five years of retiring.

      The mind truly boggles.

      • Veronica S. says:

        That isn’t surprising when you consider how massive the lifestyle costs of some of those players are. Not a whole lot of people have the ability to scale down so readily after losing their continuous income flow. One of the big reasons the 2000s recession was so damaging is because people in the middle class were tied to so much debt that when they lost jobs, it just started to pile up because they were stretched thin enough that there was no safety catch available to start with.

      • leskat says:

        I totally believe it! The pressure to live up to some lifestyle standard must be insane and there also must be pressure from those around you who know what you make and teasing you like “oh what, you can’t afford that?” People must be all over you to give them money and I can see how it can go very fast for those reasons. Every time I see someone with a new $250000 chain in the shape of a flamingo or buying 10 Bentleys I just shake my head because that’s foolish. That’s MC Hammer level shit.

    • Millenial says:

      Yeah, it’s amazing to me. You’d like someone like her agent or manager would have hooked her up with a financial planner once she started making decent money.

    • SK says:

      I know three models.

      One (my girl friend’s girlfriend) is a very successful French model (covers of magazines, etc.) who has been modelling since she was in her early teens. She has no education, is quite dumb, and has absolutely no exit plan. She is very generous and spends money like it’s going out of style. She buys the expensive handbags and travels constantly and lives very well. Her career is already slowing down (she is in her late 20s) and her agency is moving her around because her rates are high and not everyone is willing to pay them anymore. She has no skills, no education, no plan, no back up. God knows what she will do in the end. I have asked my (very intelligent and career driven) friend and she says her girlfriend has no financial skills and no plans for her post-modelling life and is spending all her money.

      Another is a very successful Australian model based in NYC (covers again). She finished school and has gotten herself a tertiary education while she models – even though she’s been modelling since she was a teenager. She is smart, she has an exact exit plan and knows exactly what she will do when her modelling career ends. She also has a number of side businesses and projects already. She never buys expensive stuff and thinks designer gear is a rip-off. She does sometimes get given it or get paid in it. I’ve seen her buy fake sunglasses from a vendor in the street. She gets her beauty treatments at the same salons we all do. Her only splurge is that she lives in a really nice apartment with expensive rent. Otherwise, she worked out what her friends her age were making on average, pays herself that average amount as a salary, and gets her father, who works in finance, to invest the rest of her earnings for her. Clever girl.

      The third model I know was reasonably successful but never a cover girl. She’s in her 30s and still working steadily. She worked out a long time ago that editorial work is more prestigious but commercial work pays waaaaaay more. So she does commercial work and is really good at it. She’s smart and educated and lives a normal lifestyle saving the rest. She has more longevity because commercial models have more longevity. She will be fine

      I also know a top European influencer who is spending all of her money she’s making and saving nothing. She’s super educated and has some side skills and businesses too. She’s decided that she wants to have fun now when she’s young and spend it. So she flies business class everywhere and stays in fancy places and lives in a fancy apartment. She’s only 25 and she thinks she’ll be fine living cheaply on a budget later on and doesn’t care about not saving anything. I personally think that’s a silly choice that she’ll regret later; but it is her life. She also turns down lucrative (and fun) jobs all the time and fails to get people to pay correctly due to poor business skills.

      A lot of models and athletes end up in debt. They think the money they’re making is more than it is and they don’t consider their futures once their careers fade. They are people around them living the high life and want to do the same. For models, their agencies charge them insane amounts of money for just about everything and large numbers of them end up in debt as a result. It’s a seriously messed up business model!

  10. Reef says:

    With her credentials I’m super confused why she’s broke. A young pretty blonde MODEL with Leo as an ex and almost 900k followers on IG. Does she need a manager? lol Unless she has a drug problem, she’s broke by choice.

    • leskat says:

      I agree with you 1000%. She’s not in debt because she needed to put a roof over her kids heads or was hard up for groceries. She did it because she thought a $1000 jacket was a great idea.

      • Wow says:

        Unless the industry just cut her off because she wouldn’t follow their sick creepy offers probably that’s why she’s broke because in the end they’re all just puppets working for the elite !

    • K-Peace says:

      I once spent some time reading on a forum that discusses models & the modeling industry where a lot of people in that industry post; it was a thread about Erin, and, yes, people on there were strongly insinuating that Erin has a drug problem, as well as other personal struggles. And as for her former modeling career and why she can’t return to it, last i knew, Erin had gained a significant amount of weight. Last i knew, she no longer looked at all like she did in her heyday. The last photos i saw of her (this was maybe a year or two ago), it looked like she had really let herself go. I felt/feel sorry for her.

      • Reef says:

        From her recent IG posts (She posts about once a month), she looks fit, healthy, and model ready. She’s getting legitimate branding offers in her IG posts. lolololol Her management company is true garbage if she’s broke for real.

    • Rose says:

      I don’t remember her but I don’t pay attention to VS models anymore. I took a quick look at her IG and there’s a photo of her at an aerial yoga gym. That’s expensive! Maybe she went for free since she listed the name of the gym? I like aerial yoga too but can’t afford the classes so I bought the setup on amazon on prime day and had my brother install it in my home. It was maybe $50.

  11. Annabel says:

    I think it’s insanely irresponsible to accumulate that kind of debt. I also think that shopping addiction is a real thing. For some people, “just stop buying stuff you don’t need!” is about as useful as “just stop drinking!”, advice-wise. This might be someone who’s in a really dark place and needs some professional help.

    I don’t understand her income, though. Go get a job, Erin.

  12. MM says:

    Her modeling career must be well over, time to find another profession and start making money the old-fashioned way. I feel like this happens to all models but most of them just end up marrying a rich man.

  13. osito says:

    I’m wondering if there’s something deeper at play here, like maybe she’s surviving through mental illness, physical illness, PTSD, or something of the like. I love schadenfreude as much as anyone else, but it feels wrong to jump to “Why not work, tho?” without confirmation that there isn’t a more serious issue under the surface.

  14. M says:

    I don’t know about her but it is a reality for many people to have to use credit cards just to get by. I’m an attorney as well as my partner but we have crippling student loan debt and then my partner lost his job and couldn’t find work for 1.5 years. I was pregnant at the time and we have a son with a chronic illness. Substantial Medical bills are a reality for us and we pay out a high deductible every year. We ended up having to charge the cobra insurance balance each month ($1300) while my income and our savings went to things we couldn’t charge like mortgage, student loan debt and daycare. It was a struggle we are still trying to get out of

  15. Veronica S. says:

    *shakes head* I can’t imagine living under the shadow of that kind of debt. It makes me nervous enough knowing that I’m going to be pushing six digits of debt when I go to medical school, but at least that’s a career that will pay off financially in the long run.

    I have about $5K in credit card debt, but it’s on cards whose APR doesn’t kick in for another year, and I put hefty payments on them monthly, so it should be gone by the time it does. The reason it’s so high is because I paid for half of my one degree out of pocket, and it just seemed smarter to put it the last few thousand on something without interest than take out private loans. I can’t imagine the guilt and regret that comes from knowing you created your own hole on frivolous mistakes.

  16. Karen2 says:

    She took financial risks to get rich & famous Im assuming. & Looks like she wasnt handed expensive gifts when she was the girlfriend. Makes you wonder why she did it.

    Good Luck to her paying off those debts. Its a tough life for many working women.

  17. Annie says:

    Tons of models don’t make as much money as people think. You can blame her for being a shopping addict, but we don’t have evidence of that. It’s just speculation. The problem is that one day the phone stops ringing and the industry has moved on to someone else. And in the meantime these girls start paying for things with credit cards.

    The more I learn about modeling, the less appealing it seems. The girls are treated pretty badly, they don’t make nearly enough money to justify the weird lifestyle and they’re discarded as soon as they turn 27. Watch the Vogue docuseries The Models. Many girls are in debt and turn to prostitution to pay the bills. Glad that at least Erin didn’t feel like doing that.

    She should become an Instagram model tbh. Those girls can make anywhere between 5K-50K per Instagram shill. Girl, whatever you need to do to save your ass and make some money DO IT. Start posting ads on Instagram and do whatever it takes to have money.

    It’s crazy but these Instagram models everyone makes fun of for not being “real models” are making more money than real models. True story. They all get paid to go to Coachella repping clothing brands. Even the girls from The Bachelor are making serious bank posting ads and launching clothing lines and accessories. Wine labels. I think any model who has lost work should create an online brand. That’s what it’s becoming anyway. Traditional modeling is dying. At least online you run your brand. Not a sexist agency.

    • Beach Dreams says:

      Sure, but like Kaiser said, Erin made a lot of money in her heyday. Getting a spot on the modeling roster of Victoria’s Secret means you receive a nice, steady paycheck (it’s known that they pay more than most modeling gigs). It’s even better if you become one of their more prominent models like Erin was at one point. I have no idea if she ever got to Angel status, but she was at least one of the regular faces for the brand. There’s no reason she couldn’t have done some proper investing and saving with that money.

      I remember people were bewildered when Karlie Kloss signed a contract with VS a few years ago; some thought she was cheapening her brand by venturing outside of high fashion. The commercial profits and exposure that come with a VS contract can be way more beneficial than HF. But it obviously doesn’t last forever so these ladies need to make the most of it.

  18. Kristen says:

    Maybe there’s more going on. Maybe mental health or substance abuse concerns. If she’s depressed, she might not have the wherewithal to troubleshoot her career options. She still looks amazing and she does have almost 1M followers on Insta. That would be my first line of attack if I were her! She can get back on her feet for sure. Sending Erin good vibes!!!!!!!!!!! xo

  19. stephanie says:

    She kinda looks like she is living a normal life according to her instagram.

    I wonder if she is just a surf bum now and shying away from modeling? She really doesn’t look like a super model in her instagram.

    I was surprised to see that she is not an influencer. Do people who file for bankruptcy want to stop earning money until after the creditors are settled? I’m wondering if any cash flow will get siezed.

  20. mycomment says:

    I bet her manager is doing fine… otoh, Jamie dimon can just take it out of his coffee fund.. from the wapo today:

    Wall Street banks and other parts of the financial sector spent close to $2 billion on lobbying and campaign contributions in the 2018 election cycle, a 36 percent jump from the last non-presidential campaign year, according to a new report released Tuesday. …

    The surge in Wall Street’s political spending came as commercial banks saw record profits, in part because the Republican tax law of 2017 also lowered their overall tax burden. Wall Street spent more during the 2018 midterm elections than it ever has on a non-presidential campaign cycle, the report found.

  21. Alyse says:

    Currently paying off $10k credit card debt, so this article is making me feel a lot better!

  22. K says:

    To be honest, she never seemed as popular as some of the other VS models. I’m not surprised that her career seems stalled or cut off. That’s a lot of debt and with high APR, she will probably never pay that off.

  23. NicoleInSavannah says:

    That photo in the white outfit is from 2.16.16. She could have easily NOT gotten into this spot, but that is without knowing if she has any mental issues, drugs, etc. And yes, a shopping addiction is very real. How I miss MTV Tru Life.