Imagine that every move of your daily life is subject to photographers who hide in your bushes, hover in helicopters, jump out from behind cars, and wait by your child’s school. Think about the most painful break-up you have ever experienced, and then picture what it would be like for the details of the relationship, some true and some fabricated, to be splashed across every tabloid magazine. What would it be like to wonder if someone who wanted to hurt you was lurking in the crowd whenever you spent time in public? For the men and women who have achieved that often craved “celebrity” status in our country, these scenarios are not hypothetical. Many will argue that living your life under a microscope is just an expected side effect of fame, and in most instances the attention is nothing more than a constant annoyance. However, there have been some tragic instances in which the spotlight led to obsession and violence.
One of the most tragic instances of celebrity stalking occurred when Rebecca Schaeffer, best known for her role in the television series My Sister Sam, was shot and killed at her front door by a young man who had been following her for three years. The man, Robert John Bardo, wrote Ms. Schaeffer several letters and even arrived on the set of her show with a knife. It was only after getting her address from a private investigator that Bardo made his way directly to her home and committed his murderous act.
Many other female celebrities could tell their own harrowing stories of feeling vulnerable and threatened as a result of being in the public eye. Uma Thurman had a stalker who tried to visit her home and movie trailer on several occasions and sent her a disturbing picture of a headless bride. He was sentenced to three years’ probation. Last year, Jennifer Aniston was granted a restraining order against a man with a history of criminal stalking who drove across the country with a sharp object and duct tape and who had the intention of finding Aniston and marrying her. ESPN correspondent and Dancing with the Stars alumnus Erin Andrews discovered that a man shot nude videos of her through a hotel room key hole and then published them on the internet. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. These are just a few examples of the hundreds of famous women who have faced similar dangers.
When you think about the threats that celebrities face from a deranged fan or perhaps someone trying to make some quick money, it is no wonder that they go to extravagant lengths to protect themselves. Locked gates, security cameras, full-time bodyguards, and the periodic restraining order are all part of the must-have accessories for today’s high-profile individuals.
Fortune’s Secrets, the new release by author Emily K. Reuter, is a gripping novel that introduces readers to Yelena Vega, an international celebrity who is forced to live surrounded by high walls and security guards to insulate her from the constant threat of violence, kidnapping, and attempts to harm her body and her reputation. With a storyline that features family ties to the mafia, stunning descriptions of vicious attacks, a love triangle between Yelena and the only two men outside of her family with whom she has been able to form a close relationship, and a realistic telling of the trappings of celebrity, this crime drama will be a perfect read for anyone who is looking for a unique take on the world of the celebrity—in this instance a celebrity who has the same struggles with love, family, and loyalty as any other anonymous person walking the street but must have the issues played out on a much more public and dangerous field.
Fortune’s Secrets by Emily K. Reuter is available through Amazon.com and through Mill City Press.
Sarah Moore is a writer and editor for Writers in the Sky, a company based in Nashville, Tennessee that offers a wide range of writing services.