We often envy celebrities many things: looks, fame, fortune, or talent. However, there is a darker side to celebrity status that most of us simply cannot comprehend. A life without privacy, with fans following their every move, even mistaking them for the characters they play. This is not to say that stars don’t love their fans or that there is no healthy type of fandom. There are just some people whose love turns to worship, which can quickly become dangerous.
Plenty of fans have gone a bit overboard. From the woman who tattooed “Drake” on her forehead to the one intent on collecting Robert Pattinson’s hair to make a voodoo doll, some fans have obviously developed what you could call an obsession. Although these people may seem crazy, there are others out there who literally are. Believe it or not, there are people who could usurp Annie Wilkes as someone’s “number one fan.”
Whether it’s loneliness, mental illness, or both, certain people find the lines between their lives and someone else’s hopelessly blurred. Some of these actions are merely shocking, but others literally altered the course of history. Either way, it may make you rethink your opinions on fame. Here are 16 Disturbing Times Fans Took Celebrity Obsessions Way Too Far.
16 Attempting to assassinate the president to get Jodie Foster’s attention
John Hinckley Jr. became obsessed with Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film, Taxi Driver, as well as its young star, Jodie Foster. So enamored was he by the actress, that Hinckley Jr. moved to New Haven, Connecticut in order to stalk Foster when she began attending Yale University. After repeated failed attempts to establish a connection with her, he took the most drastic of measures to “impress” Foster.
Initially Hinckley Jr. fixated on killing President Jimmy Carter, but when that opportunity passed him by, his attention turned to Ronald Reagan. On March 30th, 1981, he wounded President Reagan, a police officer, a Secret Service agent, and the Press Secretary when he fired on them in Washington, D.C. Twenty-six year-old Hinckley Jr. was found not guilty by reason of insanity and the resulting controversy led to the Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984.
15 Ignoring Mila Kunis’s restraining order
It all started in 2012 when twenty-seven year old Stuart Dunn broke into Mila Kunis’s West Hollywood condo – luckily, the actress had already vacated – and lived there for at least two weeks. After he was caught, Kunis filed a restraining order against Dunn, one that he completely ignored. Just a couple of months later, Dunn waited outside of her gym for three full days before he was arrested once again.
Dunn was sentenced to spend six months of his five years probation in a psychiatric facility. It would’ve appeared that Kunis’s ordeal had ended there…except it hadn’t. In 2015, Dunn broke out of the court mandated mental health center by climbing out the bathroom window and scaling a barbed-wire fence. Authorities caught up to him just a few days later.
14 Secretly living in Pamela Anderson’s guest house
In 2001, Pamela Anderson thought that she was losing her mind. Items kept going missing from her Malibu home, like the Baywatch star’s jean jacket or a loaf of bread. Anderson, alone with her two young children, even saw a face in the window. She called security, but they found no one.
When twenty-seven year old Frenchwoman, Christine Roth, was finally discovered – sleeping in Anderson’s bed – it did not appear that she wanted to hurt the star. Her intention was ostensibly just to be close to her. Apparently, it wasn’t even the first time that Roth had been on the property. Aside from living in Anderson’s guesthouse for three or four days, Roth was found wearing her trademark red Baywatch bathing suit. Roth was deported and told to seek help.
13 Trying to scare Michael J. Fox into getting a divorce
Beginning in 1988, within a year’s time, Tina Marie Ledbetter mailed almost 6,000 letters to Michael J. Fox. The running theme was, “Michael, I will kill you. I will kill your wife if you don't divorce her. I will kill your unborn baby.” A couple of times, all the twenty-six year old mail clerk sent were rabbit droppings.
Fearing for his wife, Tracy Pollan, and their unborn child, twenty-seven year old Fox took Ledbetter to court. Thousands more letters, as well as a shrine to the actor, were found at Ledbetter’s residence. Although there was evidence that she considered buying a gun to shoot Pollen, no proof of an actual weapon was found. Ledbetter wound up in a psychiatric facility as a condition of her bail.
12 Swimming to Taylor Swift’s home
Unfortunately, Taylor Swift has had her fair share of stalkers. However, twenty-six year old Lucas Vorsteveld would have to be the most persistent. In 2013, he was caught after trying to swim to Swift’s Rhode Island residence. Police picked him up at 2:15 in the morning. Reportedly, he swam a mile to Swift’s mansion, before seeing her security team and turning back. Following that, he was found wandering the private road near her home.
This wasn’t the only time that Vorsteveld has attempted access to Swift’s property. Last year, he was detained after repeatedly ringing the buzzer at her New York condo. According to Vorsteveld, he was seeking help for his aspiring music career. Thankfully, the singer was not home and he was taken to the hospital for a psych evaluation. A police source stated that Vorsteveld was suffering from untreated schizophrenia.
11 Communicating with Miley Cyrus through Hannah Montana
Like Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus is no stranger to being stalked. However, the worst offender would have to be Mark McLeod, the man who – without a hint of irony – claimed to be her “number one fan.” The fifty-three year old not only thought that he was engaged to the performer in 2009, but also stated that she was communicating with him secretly through her TV show, Hannah Montana. McLeod even said that Billy Ray Cyrus had given them his blessing.
Miley Cyrus was just sixteen years old at the time and McLeod attempted to make contact with her on several occasions, and was arrested more than once. He did offer to invite the arresting officer to his wedding though. McLeod was sentenced to two years probation and forced to undergo a psychological evaluation.
10 Breaking into Sandra Bullock’s home to give her a letter
Few succeed at breaking into a celebrity’s dwelling and even fewer when that star is actually home. Unfortunately, Sandra Bullock was forced to live through this nightmare in 2014 when she came face to face with forty-one year old Joshua Corbett in her own house. Bullock, who was alone, locked herself in her bedroom and called 911.
Corbett stated that he was only breaking into Bullock’s Hollywood Hills mansion to prove that her security system was vulnerable and that his intention was to keep her safe. However, he was carrying a letter stating, “You are my wife by law, the law of God and belong to me.” Referring to the actress as “Sandy,” Corbett begged Bullock not to press charges as police dragged him away.
9 Stealing David Letterman’s car
Margaret Ray was first arrested in 1988 when she was caught driving David Letterman’s Porsche through the Lincoln Tunnel. When she couldn’t pay the toll, thirty-six year old Ray identified herself and her son as Letterman’s wife and child. Over the next several years, she was arrested repeatedly for stalking the late night talk show host. Ray also became obsessed with retired astronaut, Story Musgrave. Her trespassing convictions added up to about thirty-four months in jails and mental institutions.
Ray suffered from schizophrenia and lost her battle with the illness in 1998 when she committed suicide by kneeling in front of a train. Despite making jokes about the situation on the air before Ray’s death, Letterman admitted that he felt deep sympathy for her and often avoided pressing criminal charges.
8 Threatening Catherine Zeta-Jones
Michael Douglas may have starred in Fatal Attraction in 1987, but in 2004 his life mirrored that of his character, Dan Gallagher, a bit too much. Shockingly, it was that film which began thirty-three year old Dawnette Knight’s infatuation with the actor. After she read about an alleged affair that his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, was having – in a tabloid – Knight sent her dozens of menacing letters.
In her correspondences, Knight threatened to carve up Zeta-Jones and feed her to dogs. She later claimed that she and Douglas were having an affair and that he had paid her off to keep quiet, but no one really took this seriously. Knight’s lawyer claimed she was never a danger, but her threats felt very real to a terrified Zeta-Jones, who nearly suffered a nervous breakdown. The woman was sentenced to three years in prison.
7 Trying to kidnap Steven Spielberg
“I genuinely in my heart of hearts believe I could have been maimed or killed. The same thing could have happened to my wife or kids,” Steven Spielberg said of his close call with thirty-one year old Jonathan Norman. The former bodybuilder developed a sexual obsession with the Jurassic Park director, which quickly turned dangerous.
When Norman was arrested in front of Spielberg’s Pacific Palisades home in 1997 – the auteur was in Ireland – Norman had in his possession three pairs of handcuffs, duct tape and a box-cutter. Not only had the stalker expressed his growing to desire sexually assault Spielberg, but further investigation also yielded some terrifying results. He had a shopping list, which included items such as eye masks, chloroform and dog collars. Because it was Norman’s third strike, he was sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison.
6 Sending a bomb to Björk
Ricardo López’s obsession with Björk began in 1993, but had completely spiraled out of control by 1996. The twenty-one year old made a video diary over the course of nine months, ruminating on the object of his “affections” as he made a letter bomb intended to kill or maim her with sulfuric acid. López sent the package from his home in Hollywood, Florida to Björk’s London residence shortly before filming his suicide. When the video diary – as well as a handwritten one – was found with his corpse, the police were able to contact Scotland Yard, who intercepted the bomb.
López’s plots were detailed in both diaries. Although he’d been consumed for years, it was Björk’s romantic relationship with Goldie that appeared to be the turning point. His diary contained 408 references to her and his videos showed the evolution of his terrifying obsession. What began as Lopez fantasizing about creating a time machine to befriend Björk in the ‘70s ended in his perceived betrayal and desire to punish her.
5 Shooting Selena
While it is true that the twenty-three year old singer’s tragic death was ultimately about money, it was still the result of thirty-five year old Yolanda Saldívar’s obsession her. Saldívar became fixated on Selena Quintanilla-Pérez shortly after hearing her for the first time in the early ‘90s. She soon began a fan club for Selena, of which she became president. Saldívar did such an excellent job with the club that she was promoted to the manager of the singer’s fashion boutique…until she was caught embezzling money.
Three weeks after Saldívar was fired, Selena agreed to meet her to retrieve financial records that the woman had been holding hostage. She shot Selena in the back, severing an artery and the artist did not survive. Saldívar was convicted of first-degree murder in 1995 and was sentenced to life in prison. She will be eligible for parole in 2025.
4 Threatening Madonna
In 1996, Madonna’s bodyguard shot thirty-eight year old Robert Dewey Hoskins as he was climbing over the fence into her Hollywood Hills estate. Hoskins had tried to gain access to the singer several times, once telling her secretary that he would slit her throat and kill everyone in her home if the Material Girl wouldn’t marry him. Hoskins also left a note stating, “I love you. You will be my wife for keeps.”
Madonna was subpoenaed to testify against her stalker in court – something that she very much wanted to avoid doing. In the end, she was forced to face the man who had given her nightmares and Hoskins was sentenced to ten years in prison.
Hoskins was later moved to a psychiatric facility, which he escaped from. He had also fixated on Halle Berry, who was extremely grateful when he was once again behind bars. The actress was so frightened by the stalker’s threats, that she had considered leaving the country.
3 The prison plot to murder Justin Bieber
Forty-five year-old Dana Martin was already in prison for the sexual assault and murder of a fifteen-year-old girl when he became fixated on Justin Bieber. Years before, Martin had befriended fellow inmate Mark Staake and was able to convince him to carry out his incredibly detailed plot to murder the teen pop star. Martin, who has a tattoo of Bieber’s image, felt slighted when the singer didn’t return his affections.
From there, Staake enlisted his nephew, Tanner Ruane to aid him in Martin’s plot – which would also include murdering Bieber’s two bodyguards and castrating him. Luckily, these two were pulled over after missing their turn and Staake was arrested on outstanding warrants. Following that, Ruane let the cat completely out of the bag by recounting Martin’s plan to him that same day, in a phone call that was recorded by the prison guards.
2 Killing John Lennon
The most well known case of a celebrity obsession turning deadly is Mark David Chapman’s murder of a music legend, John Lennon. His plan allegedly began to take shape three months before he killed the musician. He had been a huge Beatles fan until John’s infamous quote about the band being “more popular than Jesus.” Chapman, who considered himself a devout Christian, took grave offense to the statement, and began to fixate on all of the reasons that he should end Lennon’s life.
On December 8th, 1980, Chapman waited for Lennon outside of his New York City home and shot him in the back several times. After committing this horrific crime, the killer remained at the scene, reading A Catcher in the Rye – which he claimed was his “statement.”
Although his legal team attempted to mount an insanity defense, Chapman felt that he had done the work of God and pled guilty to second-degree murder. He was sentenced to twenty to life and has been in prison ever since. As of 2016, his parole had been denied nine times.
1 The Tate-LaBianca murders
Everyone knows about the infamous Manson Family, who carried out the Tate-LanBianca murders in 1969. However, not everybody is aware of Charles Manson’s reason for inciting his followers to commit these atrocious crimes. It was the cult leader’s twisted obsession with the Fab Four that inspired his insane plot for world domination.
Thirty-four year old Manson took The Beatles’ eponymous record – also known as The White Album – as dogma that lined up with the Book of Revelations. In his warped mind, “Helter Skelter” was calling for a race war, which the Family attempted to begin with the murders. Manson felt that The Beatles were the four angels and that he could become the fifth.
The idea was that after the smoke of the racial conflict had cleared, African Americans would emerge victorious. At that point, the Family would come out of hiding and take up their rightful spot as rulers of the free world. Manson drew numerous connections between The Beatles and the Bible, convincing his acolytes that the musicians were counting on them to carry out their plan.
As ridiculous as Manson’s theory was, prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi was able to mount his case around it, using various Family members to testify to its veracity. Charles Manson is currently serving multiple life sentences in California State Prison.
Do you know of any other frightening celebrity obsessions that went too far? Let us know in the comments!