Being rich and famous may come with plenty of perks, but there’s always a dark side to it all. While the life of an A-lister does include lavish vacations in exotic locales and walking the red carpet at star-studded events, many celebs also have to deal with disturbingly determined super “fans” who may be threatening not only their own safety but, oftentimes, the safety of their families.
For example, pop singer Justin Bieber would have become the victim of a gruesome kidnapping, castration, and murder if one convicted felon had his way, while a man obsessed with marrying his “queen” Lana Del Rey was arrested mere feet from the concert venue he allegedly planned to snatch her from.
These stories prove that being a celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Here are seven stars whose stalkers will make you glad, for once, that you aren’t rich and famous.
1. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has had to deal with more than her fair share of disturbing behavior from obsessed “fans” during her career. One alleged stalker, a man named Frank Edward Hoover, took being an aggressive fan to a whole new level in 2015 when he began sending the pop star's father, Scott Swift, disturbing letters promising to kill their entire family. Hoover referred to himself as the “real son of God,” called the Swifts “the evil family of devils,” and wrote, “This article is not a joke and is why god is going to burn them into the desert for me,” TMZ reports, citing an indictment more than 100 pages long.
Hoover was arrested in 2016 after allegedly following Swift and her family from a concert venue to the airport where they were scheduled to board a private plane, according to TMZ. He allegedly got as close as 25 to 50 feet to Swift’s car before the singer’s bodyguards stopped and questioned him, at which point he reportedly said that his reason for being there was to get a photo with Swift and to “possibly accompany Taylor wherever she goes.”
A judge sentenced Hoover to 10 years of probation last April. Unfortunately for Swift, receiving disturbing letters from “fans” isn’t an uncommon occurrence. A 26-year-old Texas man was arrested and is currently facing federal charges after allegedly writing that he wanted to rape and kill her.
2. Keira Knightley
Meowing through someone’s door? It doesn’t get much creepier than that.
A man named Mark Revill is alleged to have terrorized actress Keira Knightly, her husband, James Righton, and their then-2-year-old daughter in 2017 by stalking them, delivering handwritten letters to the family’s home, and tweeting out threats. On one memorably disturbing occasion, Revill, 50, reportedly showed up at Knightley’s home and meowed through the letterbox, prompting her husband to literally chase him away, The Telegraph reports. Revill, a musician, also sent Knightley a USB drive with music about cats that Knightley’s lawyers described as “bizarre,” according to the outlet.
Revill, who reportedly had a prior conviction related to turning up nude at a woman’s home, allegedly referred to himself as a “public executioner” on Twitter. He seemed to refer to the couple multiple times, writing in one tweet, “JR and KK are not going to get much help from the police.”
“If Righton iz play the devil, maybe i iz play public executioner yah? Of course not iz death threat,” he reportedly wrote in another. He also posted inappropriate photos of a topless young girl online at one point, alarming Knightley even further, according to The Mirror.
Revill claimed to be in love with Knightley and wanted to show her his music, but according to a victim impact statement read in court, his actions left the actress feeling scared every time she left the house, The Telegraph reports. A court ultimately ordered Revill, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, to be held in a psychiatric hospital indefinitely, according to The Mirror.
3. Justin Bieber
Canadian pop star Justin Bieber was almost the unfortunate victim of one of the most disturbing stalking plots of all time in 2012, after a convicted criminal came up with a plan to kidnap and mutilate Bieber, all because Bieber didn’t respond to his fan mail.
Dana Martin, a convicted felon serving life in New Mexico for rape and murder, conspired with former inmate Mark Staake and Staake’s nephew Tanner Ruane to kidnap Bieber while he was in New York City for high-profile performances, CBS New York reports. The trio planned to kill four people: two individuals that Martin knew, Bieber’s bodyguard, and then, finally, Bieber himself, according to an affidavit obtained by the outlet. Police reportedly said that Ruane was supposed to castrate Bieber before killing him, but the plot was foiled when Martin turned in his co-conspirators to police, per the outlet’s report.
Martin, who reportedly has a Bieber tattoo on his leg, later told investigators that he was “infatuated with Bieber” and was offended when the “Sorry” singer never returned his letters, according to the New York Post.
“This perceived slight made Mr. Martin upset and that, coupled with Mr. Martin’s perception of being a ‘nobody’ in prison, led him to begin plotting the kidnap and murder,” reads an affidavit obtained by the site.
Martin, who reportedly planned to pay $2,500 for each of Bieber’s testicles, outlined his sick Bieber fantasies in a disturbing 2013 interview with The Atlantic, commenting, “If I was free, here’s what I’d want to do — put Bieber in a cage, rape him repeatedly, and put it on YouTube.”
4. Lana Del Rey
A Florida man was sentenced to one year in prison in October after allegedly stalking singer Lana Del Rey and making disturbing Facebook posts suggesting that he was planning to kidnap the singer after one of her concerts.
Michael Shawn Hunt, a Florida resident who was 43 years old at the time of his arrest, was taken into police custody on Feb. 2, 2018 after police received tips that Hunt had posted “cryptic and threatening” messages about Del Rey on social media. He referred to Del Rey, whose real name is Elizabeth Grant, as his “queen” and “wife,” and wrote that he was preparing to meet her at an upcoming concert in Orlando and that “from that day forward our decisions will be as one,” the Orlando Sentinel reports.
“I love you so much Lana I can’t wait to be back in your arms in a few days baby,” he wrote in one post, according to the outlet. He wrote in another that “it’s probably my last day on Facebook. I hope to see y’all on the walk about in your life be good and Ill see you on the other side everybody … ”
Police arrested Hunt before he could reach Del Rey, when he was only a couple hundred feet from the venue, according to a police report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. Authorities found a three-inch folding knife on his person, and he was booked on charges of attempted kidnapping with a weapon and aggravated stalking with a credible threat.
He ultimately agreed to a plea deal, pleaded no contest to a stalking charge in October, and was sentenced to one year in prison in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges related to carrying weapons and aggravated stalking, Billboard reports.
Del Rey, who police said was in “fear for her safety” after learning about Hunt’s threats, later addressed her stalker’s arrest on social media, commenting that attempting to bring weapons to her show was “on another level.”
5. Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez once had to deal with a stalking situation that was so disturbing that it may have even factored into her decision to sell a multi-million-dollar mansion.
Within days of moving into a 7,200-square foot home in Calabasas, California in 2014, a man who was later identified as 20-year-old Che Cruz was arrested for trespassing onto Gomez’s property twice in one week, TMZ reports. On the first occasion, Che broke into Gomez’s guest house after first ringing the doorbell and asking the singer’s friend if Gomez was home, according to the outlet. He seemed to leave then, but he was later found in the guest house.
A judge placed Cruz on probation, ordered him to keep his distance from Gomez and her property, and sentenced him to 45 days in jail, USA Today reports. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office confirmed that Cruz spent two days behind bars before he was released, and he was arrested again hours later, after allegedly hopping a fence to get back onto Gomez’s property, according to the outlet.
Cruz, described as homeless by Billboard, pleaded no contest to stalking charges in June of that year, and a judge ordered him to stay away from Gomez and her house for a full 10 years, in addition to completing six months in a residential treatment facility and then undergoing psychological treatment for a year, according to Billboard’s report.
Beyonce is no stranger to having to deal with conspiracy theories (Illuminati rumors, anyone?), but one crazed fan took bizarre speculation to a whole new level a few years ago.
The “Formation” singer was scheduled to perform in London for the Sound of Change concert in 2013, but apparently had to make sure that she and all her staff kept an eye out for a fan who believed that she was secretly an imposter, The Independent reports. Beyonce had previously had an unpleasant brush with the British fan, a man named Bassey Essein, in 2009 when he allegedly tried to give her a personalized book full of notes on religion because he believed it would “help” her, the outlet reports.
He is alleged to have later sent Beyonce threatening letters that accused her of being an imposter who killed the real Beyonce, court documents obtained by The Independent state, leading the court to slap Essein with an anti-harassment order.
7. Gwyneth Paltrow
A man previously convicted of stalking actress Gwyneth Paltrow is alleged to have done so for nearly 20 years.
Dante Michael Soiu was accused in 2016 of sending Paltrow 66 letters and packages between the year 2009 and 2015, the Los Angeles Times reports. Prosecutors claimed that some of the packages contained pornography, and that Soiu talked about marrying her in some of the letters, according to the outlet.
Soiu was previously found not guilty in 2000 as part of a separate case involving claims that he’d sent Paltrow pornography and sex toys; he attributed his behavior to insanity, and a judge sentenced him to undergo treatment at a mental health facility, but he was arrested again in 2015 when he began sending Paltrow letters again, according to the Times.
“This is a case that has gone on for Ms. Paltrow for 17 years. Her sense of security has been shattered by this man,” Deputy district attorney Wendy Segall said during one court hearing, according to BBC News.
Paltrow called the ordeal a “very long and very traumatic experience” during her testimony, and said that it left her feeling “very upset.”
Soiu told a jury that he wrote to Paltrow after his earlier conviction in an attempt to earn her forgiveness, and to let her know that he was still interested in marrying her, according to another report by the Los Angeles Times.
A jury eventually found him not guilty of an attempted stalking charge, as well as a felony stalking charge, per Reuters.
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