Earlier this week, Taylor Swift was granted a restraining order against Timothy Sweet, a man who has been stalking her since January, 2011.
According to legal documents filed by the singer, and obtained by TMZ, Sweet has been sending Swift a barrage of disturbing letters, e-mails and social media posts for the past three years in which he claims that he is married to her and threatens to kill anyone who stands in his way, including Taylor's family and Secretary of State John Kerry.
This has, understandably, left poor T. Swift quite concerned about her safety as well as the safety of her family. As a result of the restraining order, Sweet must stay at least 100 feet away from the singer and her family.
We may like to tease the celebrities of the world for whining about some of the more superficial pitfalls of fame and fortune, but stalkers are no laughing matter. Castration plots, decapitation plans and troubled and obsessive fans who will do anything to to meet -- and often harm -- the object of their obsession are an all too common side effect of celebrity.
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, among others, have been troubled by the overenthusiastic orchestrations of people who believe they're destined to be together and are more than happy to engage in a lot of trespassing to prove it. Madonna, Beyonce, Selena Gomez and Bjork have all been terrified by the threats of so-called devoted fans who brutally turned against them. John Lennon and Selena even died at the hands of theirs.
Here are 14 of the the creepiest cases of musical celebrity stalkers.
Ricardo Lopez (Bjork stalker)
Lopez, a socially isolated pest control officer from Florida, became a Bjork fan in 1993, but his fandom took a dark turn three years later when the Icelandic singer became involved with Goldie in 1996. Incensed that the object of obsession was involved with a black man, Lopez began documenting his plans to kill Bjork in a series of eleven video diaries. These videos culminated in the distraught man’s on-camera suicide -- to the music of Bjork -- but not before he mailed a cyanide-laced package to the singer’s London home. Detectives from Scotland Yard were able to intercept the package <a href="http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1996-09-18/news/9609180034_1_bjork-hollywood-police-obsession" target="_blank">before it could harm anyone</a>.
Dana Martin, Mark Staake and Tanner Ruane (Justin Bieber castration plotters)
Incensed that the young Canadian pop star had not responded to any of his messages in 2012, Dana Martin, who is serving two life sentences in New Mexico for the murder of a 15-year-old girl, enlisted the help of his prison buddy Mark Staake and Staake’s nephew, Tanner Ruane in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/12/justin-bieber-murder-castration-plot-staake-ruane_n_2289451.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-music&ir=Canada%20Music" target="_blank">plot that involved the murder and castration of Justin Bieber</a> and his bodyguard, among others. Staake and Martin were caught at the Canadian border before they could execute any of their twisted plans.
Yolanda Saldivar (Selena's killer)
Tejano music star Selena was on the brink of massive crossover success when Yolanda Saldivar, the former president of her fan club and manager of her clothing stores, shot and killed her in 1995. Saldivar had recently been fired from her positions after the singer’s family discovered that she’d been embezzling from the fan club. She claims that she killed her idol because she couldn't bear to be separated from her. Saldivar was convicted of 1st degree murder later that year and won't be <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/US/9510/selena/10-23/pm/index.html" target="_blank">eligible for parole until 2025</a>.
Paula Goodspeed (Paula Abdul stalker and 'Idol' auditioner)
After years of mental health issues and criminal activity -- and a less than successful audition on American Idol in 2005 -- Paula Goodspeed, an obsessive Paula Abdul fan was found dead of an apparent suicide in her car in November 2008, surrounding by Paula CDs and merch. She was parked a few doors down from Abdul's L.A. home. According to a rep for the singer and former Idol judge, Abdul and her staff had been aware of Goodspeed for a <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=6241069" target="_blank">number of years</a>.
Mark David Chapman (John Lennon's killer)
Perhaps the most notorious celebrity stalker of all, Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon outside of the The Dakota building in New York City on December 8, 1980. According to a statement Chapman made in a 2012 parole hearing, he shot Lennon "because he was very famous." <a href="http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/29/13553386-chilling-details-of-john-lennon-shooting-recounted-at-chapman-parole-hearing?lite" target="_blank">Chapman plead guilty</a> to Lennon’s murder in 1981 and was sentenced to 20 years-to-life. He has been <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/culture/1981/aug/25/artsfeatures" target="_blank">denied parole</a> seven times since becoming eligible in 2000.
Bassey Essien (Beyonce stalker)
Convinced that Beyonce was an impostor who had murdered the original Bey and taken over her life, a British man named Bassey Essien sent the star a number of threatening letters. He also tried to give her a book of his own religious writings when he met her in 2009. Beyonce won an anti-harassment order against Essien in the <a href="http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/beyonce-wins-court-order-against-1696334" target="_blank">British High Court in 2011</a>.
Daniel Lechamp, Masahiko Shizawa (Britney Spears stalkers)
Desperately in love with Britney Spears, Canadian Daniel Lechamp decided to ingratiate himself to the Spears clan by showing up at Brit's mom's house in Kentwood, Louisiana and allegedly harassing the pop star's parents in April, 2004. After being arrested on their property, Lechamp plead no contest to two charges of stalking and was sent home to Quebec on probation. Although the self-styled musician promised to honour the terms of his probation and stay away from the Spears homestead, he was not quite so ready to give up on his efforts to woo the pop princess. He shaved his beard in an effort to look less like a stalker, he wrote a song for her and then went on to perform that song on an episode of Celebrity Justice. This came on the heels of Britney filing for a restraining order against a 41-year-old Japanese man named Masahiko Shizawa in 2003, after he sent her a number of notes that read "I'm chasing you" and attempted to contact her at her L.A. house. <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/2693199.stm" target="_blank">Spears and Shizawa's people</a> were able to come to a deal and she eventually dropped the <a href="http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/71500/spears-to-drop-stalking-case" target="_blank">restraining order bid</a>. Shizawa then tried to sue Spears and her security guards for a stalking-related altercation that <a href="http://www.today.com/id/5039179/ns/today-today_entertainment/t/judge-rejects-mans-claimagainst-britney-spears/#.UxfpWWjZ58s" target="_blank">happened outside of her house</a>, but the lawsuit was quickly dismissed.
Thomas Brodnicki (Selena Gomez stalker)
In 2011, Thomas Brodnicki, a convict with a history of stalking, told his therapist that he had plans to kill the young pop star, that he'd discussed his plans with God, and that he'd traveled from his home in Chicago to Los Angeles on <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2011/10/17/selena-gomez-death-threat-restraining-order-thomas-brodnicki/" target="_blank">three separate occasions to meet her</a>. He also harassed the singer, her fans, and her then-boyfriend Justin Bieber on Twitter. Gomez placed a restraining order against Brodnicki, and he claimed that he would respect it, but broke that order by sending her a <a href="http://voxxi.com/2014/02/07/selena-gomez-stalker-threats-again/" target="_blank">disturbing e-mail last mont</a>h.
Jason Luis Rivera (Miley Cyrus stalker)
In October 2013, 40-year-old Jason Luis Rivera tried to break into the pop star's L.A. home with a pair of scissors. When he was caught, he reportedly told the officers at the scene that he was friends with Cyrus, adding "She's my wife. Me and Miley have been friends for five years." He was subsequently convicted and jailed for trespassing. Cyrus was also granted a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/miley-cyrus-stalker-restraining-order-jason-luis-rivera_n_2079133.html" target="_blank">three-year restraining order</a> against him.
Robert Dewey Hoskins (Madonna stalker)
Robert Dewey Hoskins stalked Madonna all over California in the early-90s and once threatened to cut the singer from "ear to ear." After several attempts to scale the fence of her home, Hoskins was arrested and convicted of stalking her in 1995. In 2012, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/10/showbiz/madonna-stalker/" target="_blank">he escaped from the state hospital</a> where he was being held, but was found and arrested a week later.
Junior Bradshaw and Kevin Liverpool (Joss Stone stalkers)
Police arrested Junior Bradshaw and Kevin Liverpool in June of 2011 when residents of Joss Stone's neighbourhood noticed the pair acting suspiciously close to her home. The two reportedly had a collection of samurai swords, knives, a hammer, a black bag, and gloves with them when police found them, and notes in their car detailed their plan to decapitate the British singer and dump her body in a river. Other notes in the car suggested that this plot had come about because the two men were angry that Stone had been invited to the royal wedding. Bradshaw and Liverpool were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/04/joss-stone-murder-plot-junior-bradshaw-kevin-liverpool_n_3016905.html" target="_blank">found guilty on charges of conspiracy to murder</a> in 2013.
Daniel Bedard (Celine Dion stalker)
The 36-year-old Daniel Bedard broke into the chest-beating superstar's Montreal mansion in September of 2011. Celine and her family weren't there at the time, so the man went ahead and made himself at home. He ran a bath and helped himself to pastries he found in the fridge. When police arrived on the property, Bedard walked down the stairs to greet them, saying "Hey, guys what are you doing here?" He was promptly arrested.
Jonathan Whooper (Rihanna stalker)
Claiming to be Rihanna's "future husband," Jonathan Whooper made a number of attempts to break into the pop star's L.A. home in the fall of 2013, the most violent of which saw him throwing a chair through one of Rhianna's glass doors and burglarizing the property. Citing "substantial emotional dresses and concern for her personal safety," the star was granted a <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2013/10/31/rihanna-granted-permanent-restraining-order-against-stalker-who-caused-emotional-distress-4168519/" target="_blank">permanent restraining order</a> against Whooper in October, 2013. She was also granted a restraining order against Robert Melanson, a man who violated his probation by trespassing on her roof. While all of this was going on, Rihanna put her <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2013/10/08/rihanna-moving-out-of-stalker-plaged-burglarized-l-a-mansion/" target="_blank">clearly cursed house</a> on the market.
Karen McNeil (Justin Timberlake stalker)
Convinced that she was destined to rule the world and marry the "Cry Me a River" singer, 48-year-old Karen McNeil repeatedly trespassed on his property in 2009, once showing up with a taxi full of her own belongings. Timberlake was granted a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/24/justin-timberlake-gets-re_n_332554.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-music&ir=Canada%20Music" target="_blank">restraining order</a> in November of that year.
More Celebrity Stalkers
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/07/pradeep-manukonda-mark-zuckerberg-stalker_n_819990.html" target="_blank">Mark Zuckerberg filed a restraining order against his stalker, Pradeep Manukonda</a>, in 2011 after he wrote the Facebook CEO handwritten letters and threatening Facebook messages. He also tried contacting Zuckerberg's sister and girlfriend and was reportedly seen outside Facebook headquarters and Zuckerberg's home. Manukonda said he was merely seeking advice from Zuckerberg <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2011/02/07/mark-zuckerberg-restraining-order-facebook-social-network-santa-clara-county-stalker-letters-priscilla-chan/" target="_blank">in an interview with TMZ</a> and that he did not mean to scare him. "I'm a peaceful guy ... I'm sorry he thought I was trying to harm him," said Manukonda. "I'll respect his privacy."
In August 2013, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/22/jennifer-lopez-stalker_n_3794467.html" target="_blank">a man broke into Lopez's Hamptons home and remained undetected in the guest house</a> for six days. J.Lo already <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2013/08/22/jennifer-lopez-hamptons-mansion-stalker-arrested/#ixzz2f56hGGiv" target="_blank">had a protective order against him</a> for contacting her mother earlier in the year.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/01/ashley-tisdale-stalker-arrested_n_3372229.html" target="_blank">Ashley Tisdale filed a restraining order against Nicholas Fiore</a> after her sent her no fewer than 18,000 tweets, most of which can be described as "delusional" and "dangerous." The harassment, she felt, was putting her and her boyfriend in danger.
In 2010, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/20/jason-peyton-jennifer-ani_n_652955.html" target="_blank">Jason R. Peyton traveled cross-country in a delusional attempt to marry Jennifer Aniston</a>. Police found him with a sharp object, duct tape and love notes to the "Friends" star. Authorities said he was stopped after spending days trying to find Aniston on Sunset Boulevard.
Dawnette Knight, 35, <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/4666313.stm" target="_blank">stalked and threatened Catherine Zeta-Jones multiple times between 2003 and 2004</a> after she claimed she was in love with Zeta-Jones' husband, Michael Douglas. In a letter Knight wrote to Douglas, she said she was "going to slice [Catherine Zeta-Jones] up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs."
Jack Jordan, a 37-year-old pool cleaner and lifeguard, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/06/jury-convicts-uma-thurman_n_100380.html" target="_blank">stalked the "Kill Bill" and "Pulp Fiction" star from 2005 to 2008</a>, with an intense high school crush. He showed up on Thurman's Greenwich Village doorstep and on the Manhattan set of her movie "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" and sent her bizarre cards and letters, at least 20 of them after he was committed to a Maryland mental facility.
A Canadian actress, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/alec-baldwin-stalker-ordered-to-stay-away_n_1414339.html" target="_blank">Genevieve Sabourin, was arrested on charges of stalking and aggravated harassment</a> after sending Alec Baldwin emails for several weeks and disturbing notes professing her love for him. Sabourin showed up at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where Baldwin was hosting a screening of "Last Tango in Paris," and she had to be removed by security. She also turned up unannounced at his home on Long Island and went to his address in lower Manhattan's Greenwich Village neighborhood while he wasn't there.
Reverend David Ajemian, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20071107/conan-o-brien-stalking/" target="_blank">a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston, was arrested on charges of stalking late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien</a> by writing him threatening notes on parish letterhead, contacting his parents and showing up at his studio. The letters and e-mails, which started coming in Sept. 2006, continued even after Ajemian was asked to stop.
Zack Sinclair, 34, <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1076228,00.html" target="_blank">a drifter from Idaho, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2005 for stalking Mel Gibson</a>. Sinclair was arrested in Sept. 2004 after violating a restraining order that banned him from going within 100 yards of Gibson's Malibu compound where Gibson maintained a residence, children's school and chapel. "My wife was upset and worried," he said. "She didn't want to find him in the living room drinking tea."
John Hinckley Jr., a 23-year-old who became obsessed with Foster after seeing her in "Taxi Driver," <a href="http://gawker.com/367076/people-cannot-stop-stalking-jodie-foster" target="_blank">followed her around Yale's campus, called her on the phone, and eventually shot president Ronald Reagan</a> and three others in an attempt to impress her.
An Illinois insurance executive, <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=4998324" target="_blank">Michael David Barrett, secretly shot nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews</a> in hotel rooms. He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for interstate stalking after prosecutors accused him of following the reporter to at least three cities and shooting the videos through hotel peepholes.
Margaret Mary Ray <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/07/nyregion/the-woman-who-stalked-letterman-is-a-suicide.html" target="_blank">went in and out of jail for repeatedly stalking David Letterman</a>. She was first arrested while driving Letterman's Porsche through the Lincoln Tunnel and later for trespassing on his property in New Canaan, Conn., breaking into his house, and trying to reach him by telephone and in person. She later committed suicide in 1998.
Paris has had more than one stalking incident. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/05/james-rainford-paris-hilton-stalker_n_890025.html" target="_blank">James Rainford was arrested after he attempted to grab Hilton's then-boyfriend</a>, Cy Waits, outside a Los Angeles courthouse where the pair testified against another man who attempted to burglarize the hotel heiress' home in the Hollywood Hills. Another man, Nathan Lee Parada, allegedly showed up outside the socialite's home wielding two knives.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/13/alyson-hannigan-restraining-order_n_2682318.html" target="_blank">Hannigan received threatening messages from John Hobbs</a>, 43, and was granted a restraining order against him. Hannigan stated that Hobbs "posted a barrage of threatening messages directed at me and my family on various websites." The actress wrote that she had never met Hobbs, but his messages have suggested he would rape her and take her to the "after-life."
After showing up to the set of "Gossip Girl" and contacting her mother, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2101308/Blake-Lively-stalker-Sergei-Mifle-hit-restraining-order.html#ixzz2f5jm7GNI" target="_blank">Blake Lively was forced to get a restraining order against Sergei Mifle</a>.
Threats made against Page via Twitter like "I'm going to murder Ellen Page. She's dead," caused the actress to be granted a search warrant to find the man behind the threatening posts. <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2013/01/16/ellen-page-restraining-order/#ixzz2f5lK9Cf4" target="_blank">The investigation yielded one suspect, a man named Joshua Michael Myers</a>, who was ordered not to contact the actress in any way for three years.