This Is How Gary Coleman Lost All Of His Money

Gary Coleman became a huge child star thanks to playing the character of Arnold Jackson on "Diff'rent Strokes." The popularity of Coleman and the long-running series would have seemingly set the actor up with plenty of wealth. Unfortunately, his life took some challenging turns throughout his adult years and he ultimately lost nearly everything he'd initially built up.

According to Biography, Coleman started "Diff'rent Strokes" at the age of 10. He had already navigated some difficult life experiences by that point, having been born with numerous health problems been adopted as an infant. He had two kidney transplants before he was an adult, and his health issues stunted his growth. He was only 4 feet 8 inches tall, but his big personality made him the perfect pick for "Diff'rent Strokes."

When Coleman started doing "Diff'rent Strokes," Gary Coleman Productions was created to handle his business affairs. The young actor's parents, Willie and Sue Coleman, managed both him and his career during those days. "Diff'rent Strokes" ended in 1986, and his IMDb page detailed more than two dozen subsequent gigs or television show appearances. He wasn't able to maintain the level of popularity he'd experienced on his childhood show, though, and financial difficulties developed.

Legal troubles and heartbreak overshadowed Gary Coleman's later years

In 1989, Gary Coleman sued his parents and claimed they'd mismanaged his finances, CNN reported. At the time, Coleman's trust fund should have been worth up to $18 million dollars, People noted. However, when he was 17 and wanted to utilize it, he found merely $220,000, Biography detailed. Coleman pursued a judgment of $3.8 million, and the suit was settled in 1993 for $1.3 million (per ABC News).

That judgement didn't tide Coleman over for long. He maintained the mismanagement issues caused ongoing financial problems, and he filed for bankruptcy in 1999. Legal issues and medical problems continued throughout Coleman's adulthood. He married Shannon Price in 2007, but a "Divorce Court" appearance revealed this didn't help Coleman's financial status or mental health.

"People will stab you in the back, mistreat you, talk about me behind your back, steal from you. And they're not really your friends. They're only there because you're a celebrity or because they want to get something from you," Coleman explained (via ABC News).

When he died, ABC News noted that Coleman's assets were minimal. Despite that, a war over his estate brewed. His Utah home, residuals, licensing rights, and a Screen Actors Guild pension were enough to prompt a battle between Coleman's ex-wife Price and an ex-girlfriend. Both in life and death, Coleman's successes were overshadowed and squandered via a difficult life and people who took advantage of him.