A celebrity stalker is any person who becomes so obsessed with a public figure that they cross the traditional boundaries between fan and celebrity. When this line is crossed, the stalker may put the celebrity’s safety at risk.
Actors, musicians, models, and other public figures are common targets for celebrity stalkers.
Celebrity stalkers may do things like break into a celebrity’s home or visit places they believe their victim will be in an effort to get closer to them. Celebrity stalkers may also telephone the celebrity’s home or send them letters or packages. In some cases, celebrity stalkers may even put a celebrity in danger so that they can step in and "save" them.
An estimated one in ten celebrity stalkers suffer from erotomania, a condition wherein individuals are overwhelmed with erotic feelings that are directed towards a public figure. These people mistakenly believe that the celebrity they obsess over is in love with them. This delusion triggers a desire to make contact with the celebrity even if the affection they feel is clearly not reciprocal. Any contact from the celebrity, including the issuing of a restraining order, can be misconstrued as evidence of the connection the stalker and the celebrity share. Erotomanic celebrity stalkers are generally females who direct their attention towards male celebrities. Many suffer from schizophrenia.
More commonly, celebrity stalkers are simply obsessed with their celebrity victims. They may feel that if they can’t be with the celebrity then no one should. A celebrity stalker may also feel the need to punish the celebrity for any questionable professional or personal decisions they make. These stalkers are frequently male and are often likely to harm their victim or damage their property. They are often socially awkward and struggle with personal relationships. They typically exhibit jealousy, paranoia, insecurity, and feelings of powerlessness.
Some suggest that celebrity stalking is a symptom of modern, image-dominated culture. Some even believe that because celebrities willingly put themselves in the public eye, they deserve the attention of stalkers. As blogs and social media accounts further blur the boundaries between celebrities and the public, it becomes easier and more normalized to fantasize about trespassing into the lives of these public figures.