While becoming famous might seem like it would be amazing, being a celebrity also comes with its fair share of downfalls. Sure, you might get paid a lot of money and be adored by millions of people, but you’ll also be held under a microscope and can pretty much kiss your private life goodbye. Whether it’s being written about negatively in the tabloids or being chased by paparazzi to get a priceless photo of you, fame means that you can no longer be anonymous. Taking a trip to the grocery store for milk will turn into being accosted by dozens of screaming fans, star-struck by the larger-than-life personality in front of them.
Another harsh reality associated with celebrity is the risk of being stalked. Some fans become so obsessed with their singer or actor of choice that they begin to become consumed by them, trying to gain as much access to their life as possible. For most superfans, this is limited to buying frequent tickets to concerts or trying to go to a meet and greet but others take things to a whole new level. We’ve compiled a list of the 15 scariest stalker stories below that are bound to have the hairs on your arms standing up. From death threats to home invasions and obsessive messaging, these fans need to take a serious step back and re-evaluate their life’s priorities.
15. Taylor Swift
In 2014, pop star Taylor Swift successfully got a temporary restraining order against 33 year-old Timothy Sweet, who had been obsessively stalking her. Since 2011, he had been sending Swift thousands of messages that often included up to 14 tweets per day. Sweet had convinced himself that he would one day marry the songstress and made death threats online towards anyone who would come between himself and the object of his affections. Sweet has a court order to stay 100 yards away from Swift and her family for the next three years.
14. Selena Gomez
Imagine having a stalker make their way onto your property twice in one week? If you’re Selena Gomez, that nightmare is unfortunately a very accurate reality. In 2014, a 20-year-old man named Che Cruz broke into the singer/actress’ home – while she was inside of it. He was later released from jail on probation then got caught jumping the fence to her Californian home just hours afterwards. While Gomez’s stalker was proven to be mentally incapacitated, it doesn’t make his actions any less terrifying.
Earlier this year, Rihanna dealt with a concerning stalker who sent her death threats on social media. Using two different aliases on Twitter under the names of Alex Mercer and Ralph Alexander, the man figured out where Rihanna lived in Los Angeles and posted a selfie outside of her house. He then tweeted “Should of killed @Rihanna a minute back, I would be good right now” and sent her photos of guns. While police were unable to catch the man, this isn’t the first of Rihanna’s stalker woes – the singer has had numerous people try to break into her home over the course of her career.
12. Miley Cyrus
After being arrested for breaching a security perimeter on the 2009 set of Miley Cyrus‘ movie The Last Song, Mark McLeod was released and travelled right back to the set – getting arrested a second time. Cyrus’ stalker claimed that he was engaged to the singer/actress and that her father Billy Ray Cyrus had given him his blessing. He also claimed that Cyrus was sending him secret messages through her television shows and songs and admitted to spying on her on her hotel balcony. When he was arrested, he attacked a police officer and head butted another.
11. Ashley Tisdale
In 2013, an obsessed fan named Nicholas Fiore attempted to access actress Ashley Tisdale‘s property twice – even pretending to be a delivery man to get past her security gates. Tisdale got a restraining order soon after that to ensure that Fiore would leave her alone, but he soon broke the rules by tweeting at her over 18,000 times – yes, you read that right. What’s even more concerning is that he threatened to shoot the actress and still managed to avoid jail time by agreeing to sign up for outpatient therapy.
10. Jennifer Lawrence
In 2013, Canadian citizen Han Cong Zhao was arrested and held without bond for repeatedly stalking and harassing Jennifer Lawrence. After being unable to gain contact with the actress, Zhao began obsessively contacting her brother Blaine – sending him thousands of computer messages via a program that concealed his identity that left him hundreds of voicemails. He threatened him and the rest of Lawrence’s family with death if they didn’t tell him where the actress was and claimed that all hell would break loose if he didn’t get his way.
9. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber was haunted by perhaps the most bizarre and terrifying stalker. From jail, 45-year-old Dana Martin ordered an uncle and nephew duo to castrate and kill the singer using a pair of garden shears in 2013. The two were on their way to New York City when they took a wrong turn and were pulled over by police. Martin is serving two consecutive life sentences for raping and killing a 15-year-old girl and has a prison tattoo of Justin Bieber’s face drawn on his leg. We can’t imagine what he intended to do with Bieber’s private parts had his plan succeeded.
8. David Letterman
From the late 1980s straight through to the end of the 1990s, a woman named Margaret Mary Ray relentlessly stalked talk-show host David Letterman and was jailed several times as a result. She first began her harassment by stealing his Porsche and driving it through the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City, getting caught by police officers when she was unable to pay a toll booth fee and claimed her son in the front seat was David Letterman Jr. and she was the talk show host’s wife. Her arrest history included trespassing on his property, breaking into his home, trying to reach him by phone and trying to initiate contact in person. Ray committed suicide in 1998.
7. Paula Abdul
In 2008, Paula Goodspeed parked her car several doors down from singer Paula Abdul‘s home and overdosed on prescription pills – committing suicide. Her car was filled with Abdul CDs and photos. Goodspeed had been a die-hard Abdul fan for years and had sent her more than one hundred letters, made several phone calls to her and attempted to visit her numerous times. She had even once sent the singer flowers signed with her boyfriend’s initials with a note that said “Here’s my new cell number” in an attempt to have Abdul call her. She also auditioned for American Idol but was quickly rejected by the judges.
6. Sandra Bullock
In 2014, Sandra Bullock‘s home was broken into by her stalker Joshua James Corbett. Corbett jumped a fence to her property and made his way into her home through a locked sun room, unarmed but bearing love letters and magazine cut-outs of the actress. Upon realizing that a man had entered her home, Bullock locked herself in the closet and called 9-1-1, who took 13 minutes to arrive at her property. In the meantime, Corbett stood banging on her bedroom door. She has largely avoided public appearances since, likely due to the trauma that the break-in caused her.
5. Catherine Zeta-Jones
In 2004, a woman named Dawnette Knight claimed that she and Catherine Zeta-Jones‘ husband, Michael Douglas, had engaged in an extramarital affair. Knight had a fatal attraction to Zeta-Jones’ husband and convinced herself that the actress was the only thing standing in her way of being with him. She tracked Zeta-Jones down at a hotel and told a receptionist that she knew the actress was there and was going to kill her. Despite her horrific threats, Knight was sentenced to only three years in jail.
4. Britney Spears
In 2002, a Japanese man by the name of Masahiko Shizawa was charged with stalking popstar Britney Spears. He proclaimed to be madly in love with her and began sending Spears love letters, e-mails and pictures of himself with captions reading “I’m chasing you.” Despite being served with a restraining order, Shizawa showed up outside of Spears’ home on two separate occasions and also tried to access her parents’ home before becoming involved in an altercation that ended with her bodyguard pointing a gun at him.
After being threatened with several kidnapping threats in 2007, singer Beyonce once again had to deal with a terrifying stalker in 2011. Bassey Essien claimed that Beyonce was just a fraud who had been killed by the original popstar and sent the singer countless threatening letters. He even met her at a function and gave her a book he had written about religion and his beliefs about her past life. Worried for her life, the singer nearly cancelled a show of hers in London after fearing that he would once again somehow make it past security. She has since obtained a restraining order against him.
In 1996, Robert Hoskins jumped the wall of Madonna‘s property and threatened to kill her if she did not agree to marry him. He was shot by one of her bodyguards and sentenced to 10 years in prison for stalking her. Prior to that, Hoskins had broken into Madonna’s property several times and had given her staff notes about how he wanted to slit her throat. After finishing his sentence, he had been getting treatment in a mental institution when he escaped in 2012 and sparked a massive manhunt before being recaptured into custody. He also had set his sights on actress Halle Berry, who reportedly planned on fleeing the country with her husband and children upon hearing of his escape.
1. Joss Stone
In 2013, two men by the name of Kevin Liverpool and Junior Bradshaw were arrested and sentenced to 10 years and 18 years respectively in prison for a foiled plot to murder singer Joss Stone. The childhood friends had low IQ and suffered from mental disorders, becoming obsessed with the idea of killing Stone. A resident of the singer’s neighborhood called the police when the two men got lost in her neighborhood and asked him where she lived. They were soon apprehended and were found in a car containing swords, hammers, chisels and a body bag. They planned on robbing the $1 million dollars they believed Stone had in a safe then dumping her body into a river. We can’t imagine how terrifying this must have been for the singer and the extent of the emotional trauma it must have caused her.