a novel by JOHN GRABOWSKI

Gwyneth Paltrow’s stalker

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I’m betting you didn’t know she had one, did you? Well, most celebrities do. Including Welsey Shaw.

They just really would rather not talk about it. Including Welsey Shaw.

In Gwyneth’s case, a man has been harassing her for seventeen years.

Yep, let me say that again—seventeen years.

And after numerous incidents, including encounters that sent him to a psychiatric facility back in 2000, he was just found not guilty of harassing her yet again.

The actress was clearly disappointed in the verdict. “I’ve been dealing for 17 years with the communications from this man … I felt very upset by it [the verdict] … this has been a very long and very traumatic experience already.”

The man’s attorney says he is harmless. Furthermore, she says, he is misunderstood. “He just needs the right medication,” she maintains.

I can’t imagine Ms. Paltrow is much comforted by those words.

The sad truth is the famous and easily-recognizable have to deal with this every day. We know who they are. They don’t know who we are. Which is why so many people who seek out the glow of fame later come to regret it.

Paltrow gave evidence in the case in which she claimed she was sent around 70 messages between 2009 and 2015.

She said the letters ranged from “religious to pornographic to threatening.” Some even talked about her death.

This struck me because there is a similar subplot in Entertaining Welsey Shaw. It could almost have been ripped from the Paltrow case, except that I started writing it first, or at least before anyone ever knew GP had a stalker. In the beginning, to a large degree, Welsey Shaw was modeled on Gwyneth Paltrow. (I’ve since moved away from that to modeling her after a large number of actresses to making her largely her own person, with a pinch of this celebrity and a dash of that.)

What’s truly frightening, and what I wanted to point out with Welsey’s stalker, is that there’s no real defense against people like this. You can get restraining orders, have them put away somewhere, but those orders always expire, those sentences are eventually up. You can’t keep the person away forever. And you never really know when they’re going to end up on your doorstep. After all, they don’t send you a note saying, “Hey, they let me out today!” —Or they do, which is perhaps even scarier.

Paltrow said her stalker “wanted to marry her.” Ironically, that’s exactly the plot line I’d devised for Welsey. Her stalker also wants to walk her down the aisle!

He too gets put away. He too is eventually let out, and attacks again. And there’s not much Welsey can do about it.

Sadly, this is a very bad case of life imitating art. There should be better ways to safeguard celebrities who are stalked, but I have no idea what they could be.

 

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