Rosemary Conley suffers blow to fitness empire as two companies go into administration


Rosemary Conley

Diet guru Rosemary Conley has suffered a major blow to her health and fitness empire, as two of the companies she owns have gone into administration. Her fitness classes are still going strong - but the diet side of her empire appears to be in trouble.

Fortunately, there are plenty of celebrity business people who have bounced back from this sort of disaster.

Conley was a household name in the 1990s, with her combination of low fat diet plans and fitness programmes that promised us all we could look better. Her Hip and Thigh diet became a bestseller, and she went on to publish 34 more weight loss books. In 2006 the Telegraph reports that her empire was worth £13 million.

However, the Daily Mail says that sales of her food products and her magazine have halved since the peak of her fame. She has been forced to close Rosemary Conley Food and Fitness (which sells slimming and health products as well as fitness regimes) and Quorn House Publishing (which publishes her magazine).

She told the BBC: "It's a day which the team and I have worked incredibly hard to try to avoid but the board and I believe that this is the most responsible course of action to take." She said she had invested much of her own money, and had not taken a salary for months. The Telegraph reported that last year she lost £850,000.

Bounce back?

On the plus side she still has 20 members of staff, and runs a successful fitness class franchising business - which sees franchisees hold classes for 50,000 members. Conley has a reputation for overcoming adversity, so this is highly unlikely to be the last we hear from her. And there are plenty of examples of celebrities who built up empires from the ashes.

Donald Trump has never personally done bankrupt, but some of his businesses have. In the early 1990s his Atlantic City hotel and casino venture went under, and in 2004 he was forced to declare a business bankrupt again.

Henry Ford's went bankrupt in his first attempt to start a car company. Two years later he went on to create the Ford Motor Company.

Walt Disney's Kansas City cartoon studio went bust in 1923 after a major deal fell through. He moved to Hollywood and created Mickey Mouse five years later.

Shane Filan, the Westlife singer was made bankrupt in 2012 after investing in a property construction project in Ireland that ran out of cash and left him broke. He says that financially he is still not secure, but last year he launched his solo career, and he's soon to go on tour.

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has had a much-chronicled stormy relationship with money. In 2009 she closed her US business as it was deeply in debt. In 2010 she was filmed trying to accept money for access to Prince Andrew in an attempt to pay off her debts. However, in 2011 she was reportedly debt-free again. Whether she remains that way, we'll have to wait and see.

The famous faces of bankruptcy

The famous faces of bankruptcy