LOS ANGELES—Revealing that the success of such relationships is far less certain than typically assumed, a report released Wednesday by UCLA’s Department of Sociology found that only 40 percent of celebrities ultimately end up marrying their stalkers.
The comprehensive, multiyear study determined that actors, recording artists, and other public figures who are subject to constant verbal harassment and physical intimidation by an obsessive stalker choose to wed this person in less than half of all cases, with researchers concluding that marital bliss between a celebrity and the individual fanatically tracking his or her every move is by no means an assured outcome.
“After examining thousands of instances in which a stalker forcibly intruded on a celebrity’s private life, we discovered that such behavior led to a long, happy marriage between them just four times out of 10,” said the report’s lead author, Brian Lewis, explaining that famous individuals don’t necessarily feel a strong romantic connection with the people who show up unannounced at their homes in violation of multiple court-issued restraining orders. “Remarkably, for those individuals who root through a celebrity’s garbage can or leave them rambling voicemail messages multiple times a day, the odds of the object of their fixation entering into a lifelong relationship with them are actually slightly against them.”
“In fact, a given movie star or television personality quite frequently will not seek a future with the person who is repeatedly caught hiding in the shrubbery outside his or her bathroom window,” Lewis added.
The UCLA researchers found that, in most cases, celebrities did not pursue courtships and ultimately accept marriage proposals from the men and women who routinely followed them at a short distance as they went about their days, a finding that suggests public figures are not automatically attracted to such intensely obsessed individuals.
Indeed, the collected data revealed that three-fifths of all reality show contestants, character actors, Olympic figure skaters, bestselling authors, and TV weathermen deliberately spurn such individuals who break into their penthouses and steal several items of their clothing.
The report also revealed that a narrow majority of pop stars opted not to spend the rest of their lives with those ex-convicts and former fan club presidents who were intercepted by bodyguards before having the chance to deliver a tattered notebook containing hundreds of hand-scrawled poems detailing their undying devotion.
“While we determined that some types of celebrities, such as swimsuit models and cable news anchors, tend to marry their stalkers slightly more often, it turns out that, in general, most famous people prefer to have no romantic contact with these individuals whatsoever, or will only date them for a couple of months,” said report co-author Erica Tarver, pointing to just a few dozen instances in the past year in which an A-list Hollywood starlet eloped with a stalker and then moved into his squalid one-bedroom apartment with him. “Interestingly, we found that some subgroups of celebrities, such as soap opera actors, will settle down with the individuals who push their way past security in order to tearfully confront them on set just 30 percent of the time.”
“Then again, former Disney Channel actresses fall madly in love with the men who follow their existing boyfriends home from work and threaten them with a hammer about three quarters of the time,” she continued. “But overall, it averages out to little more than a third of our nation’s biggest stars and their stalkers saying ‘I do.’”
The report concluded that the likelihood of celebrity-stalker marriage varies considerably depending on the dedication of the stalker, with public figures being far more likely to tie the knot with someone who proves capable of overcoming whatever legal and physical obstacles are placed in their way over several years of pathological obsession.
“While the statistics are against stalkers marrying celebrities, those who remain most persistent in their efforts have a better-than-average chance of convincing their beloved that they are meant to be together, no matter how much time they spend in prisons or mental facilities,” Lewis said. “However, it’s important to remember that just because a daytime talk show host may choose to exchange vows with the person who posed as an electrician in order to install a surveillance camera in her dressing room, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their marriage is fated to last. After all, given the national divorce rate, that 40 percent chance of staying together for the rest of their lives is actually closer to 20 percent.”
“But that doesn’t mean there aren’t many celebrity-stalker couples out there beating the odds,” continued Lewis. “After all, Jay Z stalked Beyoncé for almost a decade, and look at the two of them.”