Stalkers are often thought of as fodder for horror films and something to irrationally fear. Celebrities have all kinds of fanatical fans, but that does not mean that any of them intend to cause harm. This, however, is not always the case. Some people take their fandom to another level, and this level sometimes causes danger for the person they are following. Celebrities have to navigate the reality that people genuinely love and adore them, possibly to the point where they want to hurt them.
Most people are rational, and even if we feel as though we may know a celebrity, we know we don’t. There are some people that we watch every day and feel as though we would get along with them. Unfortunately, there are thousands or even millions of people who feel the same way, and these celebrities don’t have time to entertain every fan’s friendship. There are some delusional people amongst us though. They take the feeling that we all get and expand on it. They think they really love these celebrities, and don’t understand why their subject doesn’t love them back. As you can see from these 15 examples, these deranged individuals can be extremely dangerous to the celebrities they stalk.
15. Matthew Hooker
Matthew Hooker is an accused stalker of actress Nicole Kidman. He wrote her letters and poems, called her on the phone and even showed up to her house. Kidman brought him to court over the matter, and the judge ordered him to stay 250 yards away from the actress at all times. This was a temporary restraining order, which Kidman sought to make permanent when she returned to court. Hooker, for his part, vehemently denied the accusation that he was a stalker. He contested that he just wanted a date with the actress, and that his “threats” were just misunderstood attempts at trying to woo her. Of course, unprompted letters, calls and visits are not the best way to show you aren’t creepy, but Hooker wanted to tell his side of the story and clear his name. He claims that this was all an attempt to sabotage his political career (Hooker wanted to make an un-ironic presidential run) by naming him a “stalker.”
14. Paula Goodspeed
Paula Goodspeed was the stalker of the singer and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul. She was so obsessed with Abdul that she legally changed her first name to “Paula” when she was only sixteen. She also based her vocal style and appearance after Abdul. When she auditioned for American Idol, she expressed her love and adoration for the singer. Sadly, in 2008, Goodspeed was found dead in her car outside Abdul’s Sherman Oaks, California home. She had overdosed on prescription pills, and her death was ruled a suicide. It is said that Goodspeed sent Abdul a bouquet of flowers before killing herself. Her mark on the American Idol show was notable, as many major media outlets reported her death at the time.
13. Jack Jordan
Jack Jordan was (probably still is) obsessed with actress Uma Thurman. He stalked her for years, sending her cards and drawings that insinuated his intentions. One of the drawings sent was especially creepy, as it depicted a man standing over an open grave with a razor blade in his hand. He was sentenced to probation for his stalking behavior in 2008, but had to spend time in jail in 2010 for violating the terms. He had called the actress several times during his probation, and the judge ordered a psychiatric examination of Jordan. He was ordered to take his medication, which he refused and was again jailed for his non-compliance. While direct and explicit threats have been more vague, it is still terrifying to know that there is someone out there who is watching your every move.
12. Justin Massler
Justin Massler was sent to jail for six months for stalking President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka. Massler Tweeted at her and sent her emails detailing his intent. One such message told Ivanka that he intended to kill himself in her presence. He even sent her a photo of himself covered in blood. After his prison sentence, he continued to contact the Trump family for a while. More recently, he’s turned his attention to TV producer Lenora Claire. Claire is now the one who receives his creepy messages and threats on a daily basis, and she has publicly asked for Ivanka’s help in dealing with him. It appears that she hopes to bring more attention to this man’s delusions, and hopefully put him back in jail or in a mental institution.
11. Selena Gomez Stalkers
Actress and singer Selena Gomez has been the target of multiple stalkers during her short time in the spotlight. One such stalker professed to have communication with God, and admitted that God had told him to murder Gomez. He even urged the actress to take out a restraining order on him, stating that it would be the only way to protect herself from him (apparently God isn’t a huge Selena fan). Another stalker of Selena’s has been arrested for breaking into her home on multiple occasions. He was sentenced to jail time and a psychiatric evaluation, but was not detained for an extended period of time. More recently, the actress has actually sold her house because of the invasion of privacy.
10. Joshua James Corbett
Joshua James Corbett is the dangerous stalker of famous actress Sandra Bullock. Corbett thought that he was Bullock’s true soulmate, even though they had never met before. He believed that he loved her, and even broke into her house with a gun to prove his love. Apparently, this act of love was not perceived in the way it was meant, as the petrified Bullock called police from a safe area in her room. Police found a letter on Corbett when he was arrested, that detailed that he loved the actress and was disappointed that she chose other people over him. Over the course of the trial, Corbett’s lawyers have argued that Corbett had no intent to harm Bullock, but it doesn’t appear to be a convincing stance.
9. Margret Mary Ray
Margret Mary Ray was an obsessed fan of The Late Show with David Letterman. She genuinely loved Letterman and even believed that she was his wife. Ray was schizophrenic, which explains some of her delusions and her erratic behavior. Ray didn’t stalk from afar like some others. She broke into Letterman’s house and even stole his car. Letterman never pressed charges against her, as he saw Ray as a troubled individual who didn’t need more problems. He would even joke about the situation while he was hosting his show. Ray moved on from Letterman, but didn’t stop stalking people altogether. She moved her attention, instead, to retired astronaut Story Musgrave. Sadly, Margaret Mary Ray took her own life in 1998 by kneeling in front of an oncoming train.
8. Robert Dewey
Madonna is the type of celebrity that seems to have multiple stalkers. One of those stalkers was Robert Dewey. Unlike other stalkers who are content to send letters and make calls, Dewey explicitly threatened the star by saying he would either marry her or slit her throat. He was shot by her security when he jumped the fence of her estate, and was put on trial for stalking soon after. He spent ten years in prison for his crime, after which he was transferred to a mental institution. He actually escaped the institution in 2012 and was recaptured a week later. It was clear by Dewey’s actions that he wasn’t making idle threats. In court, Madonna said that he was haunting her dreams, and that she could hardly stand to be in the same room as him.
7. Dawnette Knight
Dawnett Knight was an obsessed fan of the actor Michael Douglas. She felt as though she truly knew him, and that they were in love with each other. She even created a fantastical romance that the two partook in, even though they were never in the same room together. When Michael Douglas began to date actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, Knight was extremely jealous. She sent two dozen threatening letters to Zeta-Jones, and called her to threaten her further. One of the letters even told the actress that Knight intended to cut her up and feed her to her dogs. When she was arrested on a stalking charge in 2004, she overdosed in her jail cell and almost died. A psychiatric evaluator determined her competent to stand trial, and Knight was later convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.
6. Grim LeRogue
Grim LeRogue has the kind of name that doesn’t surprise you when you find out he did something creepy. When he stormed onto the field at Yankee Stadium in 2010, it was assumed that he was just another drunk goofball trying to get on TV. When the police arrested him and took him to a holding cell, they found out the real reason he was there. He was apparently obsessed with actress Cameron Diaz, who was dating Alex Rodriguez at the time. When he was searched, police found five pictures in his pocket. One of the pictures was of A-Rod, with an X over his face and a gun to his head with the note, “You have to go bud, you’ve ruined too many of our white queens.” Another picture showed Diaz and the message, “We’ll be together soon.”
5. Dante Michael Soiu
Dante Michael Soiu is a 66-year-old deranged stalker of actress Gwyneth Paltrow. By the year 2000, Soiu had sent hundreds of letters and packages to Paltrow, many of which had religious references and veiled threats. He even sent p*rnographic material and a vibrator, along with accompanying letters that described the sexual acts he planned to perform. He traveled to California on two separate occasions to visit Paltrow’s parent’s house, but was arrested on his second trip. He plead guilty to stalking, but was later found innocent by way of insanity and sentenced to three years in a mental institution. This didn’t end the stalking, however, as Soiu continued to write the actress and even told her that she now needed to die. He’s back in court fighting another stalking charge that stemmed from the most recent letters, and we can only hope that this will be the end of his activity with Paltrow.
4. John Hinckley Jr.
The film Taxi Driver had a profound and dangerous impact on at least one individual, John Hinckley junior. Hinckley became obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, who was taking time away from acting to pursue her degree at Yale University. In order to get closer to Foster, Hinckley enrolled as a student at the college. He would write to Foster, telling her of his intentions, but his last note was particularly sinister. The note was written on March 30, 1981, and in it Hinckley detailed his plot to assassinate then President Ronald Reagan. For some reason, he thought that this would make Foster attracted to him (remember his Taxi Driver influence). He wasn’t all talk, as he followed his letter by driving to Washington DC and shooting President Reagan. Reagan survived, and Hinckley was arrested for his crime. During the trial, Hinckley plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but was ordered to spend his remaining days locked in a mental institution.
3. Robert John Bardo
Robert John Bardo was the stalker of actress Rebecca Schaeffer. He began stalking her in 1986 after the death of his previous subject, Samantha Smith. He began by writing Schaeffer letters, but wanted to meet her in-person so he attempted to get onto the set of My Sister Sam (a show starring Rebecca Schaeffer). He eventually got her address by hiring a detective agency, who reached out to the California DMV. When Bardo showed up at the actress’ apartment, he chastised her for appearing in a sex scene in one of her films. He contested that she had lost her innocence. Schaeffer, as a way to appease Bardo, signed an autograph for him. Bardo left, and Schaeffer thought she was safe, but he returned an hour later with a gun. When she opened the door, Bardo fired a single shot, striking and killing the actress. During the trial, Bardo claimed that the U2 song “Exit” had motivated him to kill her. His lawyer used the insanity defense, but Bardo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
2. Mark David Chapman
Marc David Chapman may have been the most notorious celebrity stalker in history. Even if you don’t know his name, you assuredly know what he’s done: Chapman was the person who murdered music legend John Lennon. Chapman was obsessed with the Beatles, and was one of the advocates that Paul McCartney was actually dead. He was an obsessive individual who preoccupied himself with conspiracy theories, hard drugs, Catcher in the Rye and Beatles fandom; namely John Lennon. He found religion, which took him away from the drugs but made him even more fanatical than before. When Lennon said that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, Chapman took it literally and it angered him. His affection for the musician turned to hatred, as he believed that John Lennon was a phony and that he didn’t believe in what he was singing about. All of this came to a head on December 8, 1980, where Chapman waited outside Lennon’s hotel with a gun. He fired five shots at Lennon, four of which hit their mark and resulted in Lennon’s death.
1. Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez was another famous case of a celebrity stalker at his most dangerous, but his story may be the most disturbing on the list. What makes Lopez’s case so creepy is that he filmed his descent into insanity, and those videos are now posted online. Lopez was obsessed with the singer Björk, and he believed that the two would be close friends or even lovers if they met. He realized that he would never meet his idol, so he decided that the only action he could take to influence her life was to kill her. He filmed his plot in a series of dairy-style videos, where he details how he plans to execute his ideas. He decided to send a letter-bomb in the mail, and even showed the camera how he would make it happen. He successfully sent the letter, and in his final video his madness reaches its peak. Lopez can be seen shaving his head and painting his face to the blaring sound of a Björk song playing in the background. Assuming his plan had succeeded; Lopez took out his revolver and shot himself in the head on the last note of the song. Police found his body accompanied by the tapes, and were luckily able to intercept the bomb before it reached its destination.