It's tough to be a celebrity. The fame... the fortune... the deranged fanatics who obsess about you day and night, convincing themselves at any cost that they know you, love you, own you, or even are you! The concept of privacy is a fleeting thing. And for those determined souls who feel some kind of ownership of our entertainers, it isn't hard for them to find what they're looking for!
But let's face it... Stalkers gonna stalk! Celebrity stalkers have been creeping since long before smartphones started acting like one big tracking device. Just ask Abe Lincoln how the once famous and hunky actor John Wilkes Booth stalked him at Ford Theater one fateful night. Oh wait, you can't. Because he's dead! (Sure, he'd be dead by now anyway, but you get the idea).
Best case scenario when it comes to stalkers: the issue can sometimes be resolved with nothing more than a restraining order and an extra bodyguard at your side. Other times... not so much. These 15 cases of creepy celebrity stalkers either ended in a pool of blood or with an epic twist that no one expected! Some celebrities live to tell about their experiences. Others must have it told for them.
So before you go out there and try to make your dreams of becoming rich and famous a reality, sit back and learn a little something about these 15 unlucky celebrities. And just remember, reading about a celebrity's personal life is the first step to becoming a stalker yourself!
Is your favorite celebrity on this list?
16 Britney Spears vs. Masahiko Shizawa
When Britney Spears' Baby, One More Time hit the charts in 1999, you would have been hard-pressed to find a young gentleman who wasn't somewhat captivated by the teen vixen. And of course, there were probably more than a handful of creepy old guys as well.
Before she began her downward spiral of “Toxic” relationships (see what I did there?), periodic bouts of shaving her head, and popping out a couple of death-defying babies, the pop star toured the world in skimpy outfits and a burgeoning bosom, attracting men from around the globe. One of these men was 41-year-old Japanese resident Masahiko Shizawa.
Shizawa began sending Spears letters, emails, and photos of himself. (Odds are he would have had a much better chance if he hadn't sent the photos, but that's just one man's opinion.) As a result, Spears filed a restraining order against Shizawa. As this is obviously not a great way to start a relationship, Shizawa must have realized he overstepped his bounds and figured he'd do some damage control the best way he knew how: by suing Britney!
Shizawa's lawyer claimed that his love letters, which included lines such as “I'm chasing you!” was a cultural misunderstanding. He went on to say that Shizawa was a “VIP” in Japan and did not intend to harm her. The lawsuit, which cited emotional distress caused when one of Spears' bodyguards pointed a gun at Shizawa was quickly dismissed.
15 Justin Timberlake vs. Karen McNeil
One man who did reciprocate the love of Britney is ex-N*SYNCer, Justin Timberlake. Justin's rise to fame virtually mirrored Brittney's, though he was decidedly less troubled. After all, being a solo female act must have a few more challenges than being in an all-male quintet. But that's not to say the men can't get a little of that oh-so-creepy stalker love!
Enter a crazed fanatic named Karen McNeil. Karen tried to get her sexy back in November of 2009 when she showed up uninvited at Justin's home. In her mind, the intrusion was justified. (Sick of the puns yet? No? Me neither.) McNeil's defense was simple: She was God and she was destined to rule the world together with JT. Oh yeah, and on top of that, she was being chased by Babylon witches who were trying to cast an evil spell on her. One would think that if she was God, she might not have to worry about Babylon witches, but who am I to question?
Anyway, Justin was able to win a three-year restraining order against the Almighty—er... McNeil—without ever having to actually meet her face to face. That's the good news. The bad news is that Justin did not get the honor of being the first celebrity to slap the deluded deity with legal troubles. McNeil had previously been arrested years earlier after stalking her first celebrity victim, Axl Rose.
14 Selena Gomez vs. Thomas Brodnicki
We've already established that being a celebrity can be a hard gig. But being a stalker can be hard too. If all the time and effort you put in doesn't wear you down, the emotional conflict surely will.
Meet 46-year-old Thomas Brodnicki, a professional stalker who, in 2011, became obsessed with 19-year-old Selena Gomez. Brodnicki had been arrested several times over the years for stalking and cyber-stalking, which even lead him to a three-year jail sentence. While seeking psychiatric help, he confided in his doctor that he had considered killing Gomez after he spoke with God (presumably not Karen McNeil). Fortunately for Gomez, Brodnicki—the Harvey Twoface of stalkers—thought that God might be a bit off his rocker and decided to take the hero route.
Instead of killing her, Brodnicki apparently urged Gomez to get a restraining order against him, suggesting that it was the only way to keep her safe. Gomez got the restraining order, and in 2014, Brodnicki returned, sending her an email saying “I love you more with each passing day”.
13 Justin Bieber vs. Dana Martin
The Biebs has had more than a few young ladies after him over the course of his career. After all, how can they resist the perpetually-prepubescent crooner with his golden locks, saggy diaper pants, and multiple tattoos that declare his eternal love for the Lord above? You just can't help but want to take care of him. He's like a fuzzy baby Christian duckling with VD. But step aside, ladies! The one Belieber out there who takes home the creepiest stalker award is a man by the name of Dana Martin.
Martin, who has a tattoo of a “shaved Bieber”, because in his words, “you do not want a hairy Bieber” (good one, Dana), was spending life in a New Mexico penitentiary after allegedly raping a fifteen-year-old girl. But as the saying goes, there's no rest for the wicked! Martin found a way to stalk Bieber from behind bars with the assistance of a former prison-mate, Mark Staake. Together with his nephew, Staake was hired by Martin to kidnap Bieber during a concert at Madison Square Garden, castrate him, and bring his "Bieblets" back for Martin to keep as a trophy.
Fortunately for Bieber (and a Brazilian hooker or two who might rely on him for a steady income), Staake and his nephew were arrested before they could carry out their plan, and Justin is once again only stalked by twelve-year-old girls who want his body intact.
12 Ivanka Trump vs. Justin Massler
What do Roger Rabbit, Jesus Christ, Harry Potter, Neo from the Matrix, and the Messiah have in common? They are all alter-egos of certified schizo and Ivanka Trump stalker, Justin Masser.
Masser has been obsessed with the newly-appointed first daughter since 2010 and admitted to “terrorizing” her over a span of two years. He once purchased an $800 pair of earrings from her own jewelry department and asked that they be delivered to her as a gift, even requesting that they tell her it's “from some guy named Justin Massler who wrote you a kind of crazy seeming creepy stalkery letter along with it”. He then threatened to kill himself right there in the store.
Masser was arrested, but that wasn't the end of him. There have been several other incidents throughout the years. Most recently, he was arrested while staying at a hotel with his brother just a block from Trump Tower. Fortunately for Ivanka, her father has access to the best security on the planet. (Remind her to thank Putin for that one!)
11 Paula Abdul vs. Paula Goodspeed
Paula Abdul had the rare obligation of inviting her stalkers directly into her workplace to audition their pipes just ten feet away from her. Not only that, she had to crush two dreams with one stone as she told them that, not only would they not be going to Hollywood, they should probably stop singing altogether. Being the host of American Idol for eight seasons, Paula saw her fair share of wackos. But of all the strange, overenthusiastic songbirds who fluttered before her with misguided aspirations, it's a safe bet that one name sticks in her mind more than any other: Paula Goodspeed.
Goodspeed (who, at age 16, changed her name from Sandra in honor of Abdul) was a certified fanatic, dressing like her namesake, mimicking her moves, and studying to draw her. A hopeful Goodspeed belted out her take on CCR's “Proud Mary” as Paula cringed, stifled a laugh, and destroyed the bubbly young woman's dreams in the nicest way possible.
But apparently, Paula's words weren't as comforting to the tone-deaf singer as she hoped. After a unanimous kick to the curb from the judges, Goodspeed stormed out of the studio, recycling the same weak excuses and insults as every other failed contestant. Unfortunately, only two years after her American Idol appearance, Goodspeed was found dead outside of Paula Abdul's house due to an overdose of prescription drugs.
10 Dolly Parton vs. Jolene's Mother
Ample chested country singer Dolly Parton had a strange case involving an obsessed fan she never actually met. In fact, no one knows who she really is. Because just as quick as the phantom woman crept to the gates of Dolly's home, she disappeared without a trace. But not before leaving something behind that would absolutely shock Dolly and her husband Carl.
Let's travel back to 1974 when Dolly rose to super-stardom with her hit song “Jolene”. Parton immediately began dealing with crazed fanatics pretty early on in her career. According to Dolly, “We came home one day and there was a baby in a box at our gate with a note in it. The note said, ‘My name is Jolene, my momma has left me here and she wants you to have me'.”
Freaked out and not able to take care of a baby themselves, Parton and her husband called Human Services. After Baby Jolene was taken away, Dolly never heard another word about her, leaving her to wonder if the child grew up ever knowing what had happened or if the name even stuck.
Keep this in mind next time you encounter a 43-year-old woman named Jolene!
9 David Letterman vs. Margaret Mary Ray
8 David Letterman may look somewhat stalkerish himself nowadays with that bushy white beard he's probably been waiting to unleash since his first talk show debuted in 1982. But in 1988, a brown-haired, clean-shaven Letterman caught the eye of a woman named Margaret Mary Ray.
Ray was arrested one day for refusing to pay a three dollar toll at the Lincoln Tunnel which connects New York with New Jersey. But the plot twist came when it was discovered that Ray was actually driving Letterman's Porsche! It turns out she had stolen the car from his driveway and decided to go on a joy ride along with her 3-year-old son.
Now, to some, this situation might seem a little awkward. But Ray was a quick thinker. She told authorities that she was Letterman's wife and that he was the father of her son. (Whether she actually believed this or not is up for speculation. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised either way.)
Ray continued to stalk Letterman over the years, eventually ending up in a psychiatric ward for almost three years. When she was released, it seems that her obsession with Letterman had been cured. Because in 1994, she began stalking astronaut, Story Musgrave.
After Ray died from throwing herself in front of a train in October of 1998, both Letterman and Musgrave both expressed sympathy for her. Now I know what she saw in them!
7 John Cusack vs. Marieretno Subali
John Cusack is no stranger when it comes to dealing with creepy characters in his professional life. But perhaps the creepiest of all came in real life just last year. A woman named Marieretno Subali became obsessed with Cusack, apparently after watching him in the 2001 film, Serendipity.
At first, she took the tried-and-true approach to stalking. She lurked around his house, sent letters and emails to him and his family, claimed that he visited her in a dream. But, as they say in the click-bait headlines, what she did next will SHOCK you! Subali (who incidentally has some amazingly creepy youtube videos) did the one thing that's illegal in almost every fight: she hit below the belt! She sent a letter that claimed she was going to cast a “black candle spell” on Cusack's cueballs, rendering him impotent for the rest of his life. Dirty pool, my dear, dirty pool!
What is a typical punishment for threatening to cast a penis hex, you ask? A standard 100-foot restraining order, same as anything else. Come on, judge! Get creative!
6 Jodie Foster vs. John Hinckley Jr.
You may remember watching Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs or Panic Room and thinking to yourself, “How does she end up in these situations?” Well long before Foster played these women who became the object of a deranged man's obsession, she was being stalked in real life by a man named John Hinckley Jr.
Hinckley was a fellow Yale student who enrolled in a writing class in Spring of 1981 just to be near Foster. He had fallen in love with her after seeing the 1976 movie Taxi Driver in which Foster plays an underage prostitute. Hinckley began his stalking career by passing love notes under the doors of her classes and calling her repeatedly. But when his efforts failed to catch any positive attention, he decided a grand gesture might do the trick.
Taking a lesson from Robert DeNiro's titular character in Taxi Driver, Hinckley plotted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Shortly before the attempt, he sent a note to Foster that included the line: “The reason I'm going ahead with this attempt now is because I cannot wait any longer to impress you.”
The attack happened on March 31 when Hinckley shot at Reagan six times. Perhaps he should have done some target practice leading up to the event because he missed Reagan completely. Reagan did, however, catch a ricochet to the chest and spent some time in the hospital, but unfortunately for Hinckley, it wasn't enough to impress Foster.
5 Selena vs. Yolanda Saldivar
Back when Selena Gomez was but a wee fetus, spending her days floating in a warm sack of amniotic fluid, another singer named Selena shot to the top of the U.S. charts. This Selena, too, had a stalker. Unfortunately, her story resulted in a much sadder ending.
Selena Quintanilla-Perez actually became friends with her stalker, Yolanda Saldivar, in 1991 when Saldivar became the president of her fan club. Saldivar worked hard to bring 1,500 fans to join the fan club in less than four years, all the while managing Selena's clothing boutiques. However, after years of friendship and trusted service, Saldivar was fired for embezzling money from the company.
On March 31, 1995, two weeks before Selena's 23rd birthday, she met Saldivar at a motel in Texas to retrieve financial papers. Saldivar pulled a gun and shot Selena as she tried to escape. Selena died shortly after, and Saldivar received a life sentence. Sadly, Selena's height of stardom came after her death when radio stations all across the country began flooding the airwaves with her music, and a popular biopic was released starring Jennifer Lopez in a breakthrough role.
4 John Lennon vs. Mark David Chapman
John Lennon, for you kids out there, was the founder of a relatively short-lived band called the Beatles. Their credits include 13 LPs, 5 feature films, and being the most famous band ever in the history of the world! Like... ever.
And that fame was reason enough for a man named Mark David Chapman to decide that Lennon needed to die.
While working as a security guard in Hawaii, Chapman—who looked suspiciously like Stephen King in a fat suit (How about that for a plot twist, Stephen?)—made a short list of celebrities that he thought would be worthy of catching his bullets, including Johnny Carson and George C. Scott. (Again, kids, I swear these were all very famous people!)
Chapman ultimately decided that Lennon was the most famous out of the bunch. On December 8, 1980, Chapman waited outside Lennon's apartment and asked Lennon to sign a copy of his new album. Lennon obliged and continued on to record an interview. When he returned around 10:30 pm with his wife Yoko, Chapman fatally shot Lennon in the back four times.
After the attack, Chapman waited patiently for the police to come while reading a copy of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Still in jail, Chapman was recently quoted as saying he was ashamed of committing the act. Hindsight's always 20/20, huh Chapman?
3 George Harrison vs. Michael Abram
Like his fellow Beatle John, George Harrison had his own share of stalkers. Known as the “quiet one”, George lived a relatively private life, though he consistently churned out hits through the '80s and '90s. He was highly spiritual, practicing Hinduism, visited India regularly, and collaborated with his good friend, sitarist Ravi Shankar.
But being a man of peace and serenity couldn't keep him under the radar from a few psychopaths. On the night of December 30, 1999, a man named Michael Abram broke into Harrison's home, an 1889 neo-gothic mansion that Harrison had purchased during the final days before the Beatles disbanded. Abram attacked Harrison with a kitchen knife, stabbing him more than 40 times and puncturing his lung. Harrison's wife Olivia eventually fended off Abram by hitting him in the head with a lamp.
It was later discovered that Abram was obsessed with the Beatles. Perhaps he took a lesson from Mark David Chapman, knowing that his act would forever make him a small part of the Beatles' legacy. Fortunately, Abram didn't succeed in his plot. Unfortunately, Harrison only had a few more years to live anyway, eventually succumbing to cancer on November 29, 2001.
2 Terry Melcher vs. Charles Manson
Recognize the name Terry Melcher? Probably not. Melcher was a record producer in the '60s who worked with the likes of the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Mamas and the Papas. He was also the only child of singer Doris Day.
He wasn't the most famous producer of all time, but he was stalked by one of the world's most infamous psychopaths. During his heyday, Melcher caught the attention of an aspiring musician named Charles Manson. Manson actually had some success in his short-lived music career, writing songs that were recorded by the Beach Boys, and forever connecting himself to the Beatles' “Helter Skelter”. However, when he wanted Melcher to give him a record deal, Melcher decided against it. This decision led to one of the most gruesome murders in history. Though Melcher had no part in it.
Manson wanted his revenge on Melcher, and convinced his “family” (more of a cult, really) to go to the house Melcher was leasing and kill everyone inside. However, when this occurred, Melcher no longer leased the house. It was instead being leased by director Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate. Tate, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was murdered along with three of her friends.
In this strange case of revenge, neither the stalker nor the stalkee were present for the murders. That makes this one of the strangest and most well-known cases of stalking to this day.
1 Everyone vs. Vanessa Sky Ellis
This final stalker takes the number one spot for a very good reason. She has apparently stalked over ten thousand celebrities, and she's only 26!
Vanessa Sky Ellis is an ambitious young lady who is most well known as the “Pauly D Stalker”. She has appeared on Mr. D's show, Jersey Shore, as well as TLC's My Crazy Obsession. She considers herself a professional stalker and has accrued over a thousand followers on Twitter. How does she do it? According to her, she spends 12 hours a day planning on when and where to meet her next celebrity, and sometimes she only sleeps two hours a night.
Is she really all that creepy? Depends on who you ask. But her motive behind her obsession doesn't seem all that bad. She began her hunt in 2007 after her mother died of a heart attack. Whether it was something they did together or just something she came up with to take her mind off it, we're not sure. But as long as she keeps the intentions stay good, none of the celebrities really seem to mind.
(Bonus Stalker Trivia: After snagging her 10,000th celebrity photo, who did Vanessa say she was most star-struck by? Johnny Depp!)