How did Brett Butler go broke? 'Anger Management' star, 63, once battled alcoholism and abuse

How did Brett Butler go broke? 'Anger Management' star, 63, once battled alcoholism and abuse
Brett Butler thanks Charlie Sheen for once saving her from poverty (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Actress Brett Butler, famous for starring in the 1990s ABC sitcom 'Grace Under Fire', has admitted that she is broke and "ashamed to death" about the same. Her dire financial crisis came to light recently after her friend Lon Strickler started a GoFundMe to help her with the basic necessities. At the time of writing this article, her GoFundMe had raised $30,120 while the goal was set at $20,000.

"Friends and loved ones are reaching out and asking for fans of actress Brett Butler to help her through her time of need. We all love and know Brett from her TV series, Grace Under Fire, as Grace Kelly, and her many TV and stage appearances. But like many others, this past year has put her in a critical situation and desperation has set in. I’m not exaggerating using those words. It is urgent. Brett has exhausted all of her resources and the stress of looming eviction is straining her mentally and physically," her friend mentioned in the GoFundMe description. Fans have generously poured in support for their favorite actress, who is remembered for her classic portrayal of single mother Grace Kelly in the sitcom. She has also played guest roles in 'Anger Management', 'How to Get Away with Murder', and 'The Walking Dead'


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How did Brett Butler go broke?

At the peak of her career in the mid-1990s, Butler once earned a staggering $250,000 per episode of 'Grace Under Fire'. However, her present net worth of $10,000 does not reflect her past prosperity and success. So how did the 63-year-old actress go from being a highly successful TV star to falling six months behind on her rent? 

In a candid interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Butler reflected on her journey, riddled with struggles throughout. The sitcom 'Grace Under Fire' which chronicled a single mother struggling to raise her three kids alone, after divorcing an abusive husband, was actually based on Butler's own real-life experiences. She had been divorced twice already prior to her TV breakthrough. By the time she was discovered as a New York-based stand-up comedian, Butler had also overcome alcoholism, addiction, and abuse for years. 

The pressures of being on TV took a further toll on her well-being as she fell prey to Vicodin addiction. The medicine was originally prescribed to her as a painkiller for sciatica but Butler slowly grew dangerously addicted to it. In fact, she had been in a daze often while shooting and remembers only around 80 of the total 112 episodes she starred in. "At the bloody bitter end, I really was difficult, I was out of my mind. Drugs will do that to you. The show should have been pulled sooner than it was,” she admitted.

The series aired on ABC from 1993 to 1998, after it was abruptly canceled in its fifth season. However, Butler feels the cancellation was a boon for her as she got sober after the show ended. However, poorly planned financial decisions and investments left her at the brink of poverty. “I was a little bit too trusting with some people that worked for me, and I had a lot of things stolen. That’s just stupid on my part, not to have insurance for those things. And to loan and give a lot of money away. I really just felt so guilty for having it — I almost couldn’t get rid of it fast enough," the actress shared. In addition, the 2020 pandemic contributed largely to her present financial crisis. 

She had a similar financial situation back in 2011 when actor Charlie Sheen reportedly helped her out. She remains forever grateful to him for convincing the producer of 'Anger Management' to offer

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