Credit where credit is due: Tracy Anderson, exercise guru and personal trainer to Gwyneth and Madonna, knows how to fake it till you make it. Indianapolis Monthly has a very detailed story about Anderson's rather sketchy habit of failing to pay her rent, business partners and sewage bills, even while she, herself, was staying at $1,500-a-night hotels. Long before she was famous or successful, Anderson misrepresented herself as a former Pink Power Ranger (really) and "hired a celebrity photographer for promotional photos, drove a luxury SUV through a neighborhood where her husband was thousands of dollars behind on homeowners-association dues, signed leases for businesses but didn't pay the rent, and lived in a meticulously maintained Noblesville subdivision but didn't pay the sewer bill."
Anderson's financial missteps date back to 2001, when the former dancer opened her first studio. It closed a few years later, because, in what would become a habit, Anderson was behind on her rent. She quickly fell behind on payments for her next studio as well. In 2005 a judge ruled that Anderson owed her former landlords $84,375 and $250,000, respectively. The day of that ruling, the seriously jacked blonde started a company with locations in Los Angeles and Indiana with a new business partner—who would eventually have to sue her for payment, too. Seeing the pattern yet?
Anderson later commissioned an Indiana businessman to custom build her 12 "Hybrid Body Reformer," the machines she would eventually use to convince Gwyneth and Madonna to become her clients. But back in 2005, she couldn't even pay for them. Her business partner sued her in June 2006, "which marked the sixth time in 27 months that Tracy Anderson or one of her companies had been sued in Hamilton County." She was even arrested at one point when she failed to pay $271.32 to a chimney sweep shortly after signing Madonna as a client. Her studio in Indiana was shut down, clients weren't reimbursed for pre-paid sessions, and in July 2007 her house was taken over by the Homeowners Association and Ford sued her for owing $5,014 on a Mazda MPV.
Naturally, Anderson has an explanation for all the drama. "I know that I am not a great businesswoman and have made many mistakes in the past," she says, although she doesn't seem interested in taking full responsibility. "The most painful part of this is that no one knows the entire truth," she says. "Clients and the public don't see what goes on behind the scenes." Riiight.
At least she's in the midst of paying everyone back—something she can now afford to do—so perhaps her creditors should consider themselves lucky. And maybe it's a good thing she made a name for herself. If she hadn't, she probably would have continued scamming people out of their cash. And poor Gwynnie would probably be about five pounds heavier right now.