Tag Archives: Selena Gomez

For Selena Gomez and Others, Not a Good Season for Celebrity Stalker News

Selena Gomez

What a year poor Selena Gomez is having in terms of unwanted fan interaction.  Boyfriend Justin Beiber gets hit with a bogus paternity suit, and then there’s Selena’s own problem with an obsessed fan trailing her around for months.  The 19-year-old pop star-actress testified that she felt “extreme fear” when stalker Thomas Brodnicki threatened to kill her.  The judge on the case dropped a felony charge against Brodnicki last month, but agreed to extend a temporary restraining order until a January 6 hearing — an order that requires Brodnicki to stay 100 yards away from Selena.  Just a football field away doesn’t seem all that far.

Shania Twain

Shania Twain’s admitted stalker, Giovanni Palumbo, was released from prison in mid-November and put on probation.  A Toronto judge ordered him not to go within a half mile of the country singer or  her family.  That’s more like it.

Uma Thurman photo by Jiyang Chen

Uma Thurman’s long-time stalker was freed last month as well after a year in jail, on a half-million dollars’ bail.  He acknowledged that he was “very guilty” of trying to contact the star he was initially convicted of stalking in 2008.  That case has been transferred to Brooklyn’s mental health department.

It is, unfortunately, a big season for celebrity stalker news.

Halle Berry once jokingly said a star hasn’t made it until they’ve got their own stalker — but she and other stars know all too well that there’s nothing funny about fans that cross the line.

A 2003 study conducted by psychologists at the University of Florida and Southern Illinois University, concluded that about one-third of Americans suffer from an obsessive-addictive disorder in which they obsess over famous movie, sports or other stars.  Referred to as the Celebrity Worship Syndrome, the disorder contains three sub-categories: The first, comprising about 20 percent of the population, follows celebrity news for social purposes. The second, about 10 percent of the population, develops an “intense” relationship with a star, such as the belief that the fan and star have some special bond.  The third and scariest group, roughly one percent of the population, display “borderline pathological” behavior, and are willing to hurt themselves or other people in the name of a star.

The most horrific cases of this are well known:  John Lennon was shot dead outside his New York apartment in December of  1980 by obsessed fan Mark Chapman.  “My Sister Sam” star Rebecca Schaeffer was gunned down in her doorway by a fan.  (Legislation to keep the Department of Motor Vehicles from giving out drivers’ addresses was passed as a result.)

Last week in Washington, D.C., Judge Paul Friedman held a multi-day hearing to consider a request, by John Hinckley, Jr.’s attorneys and the psychiatric hospital where he resides, to permit him to stay with his mother for up to 24 days at a time —  up from his current 10-day visits.  Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting of President Ronald Reagan and three other men in 1981.  He believed that by assassinating the President, he would impress the object of his obsession, Jodie Foster.

Mental health experts and Secret Service agents testified in the hearing.  Agents revealed that they observed Hinckley going to a book store and reading about assassinations and Presidents earlier this very year, when Hinckley was supposed to be going to the movies.

Scary stories are legion of unbalanced fans.  A woman was arrested for breaking into Brad Pitt’s home and sleeping in his bed; police found a book on witchcraft and a foot-long safety pin in her possession.  She was sentenced to three years’ probation and psychological counseling.  Steven Spielberg had a stalker — eventually diagnosed as schizophrenic — who was found outside his home with paraphernalia including duct tape, handcuffs and a knife, purportedly planning to kidnap and rape the filmmaker. A man was arrested for repeatedly breaking into Madonna’s house and threatening to kill her if she didn’t marry him.  Conan O’Brien was stalked by a deranged fan who sent threatening letters and DVDs to him; he turned out to be a Catholic priest, later defrocked.  David Letterman stalker Margaret Ray broke into his home several times and stole his car.  She committed suicide in 1998.

Britney Spears, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Avril Lavigne Will Smith, Jada Pinkett, David Spade, Katie Holmes, Meg Ryan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Love Hewitt are just a few of the show business names who have fended off stalkers.  “The fear of having some nutter knowing where I live and where my family lives is just horrible,” said Keira Knightley when she was pursued by an obsessed fan to her parents’ house in London.

No wonder so many stars surround themselves with security devices including electronically-controlled gates and fences, motion sensor floodlights, trip alarm wires and connections to security and police stations, as well as 24-hour bodyguards. The expense is enormous.  Some celebrities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to shield themselves from the threat, and even then, it might not be enough.  Ben Stiller once admitted that he never replies to or even reads fan mail for fear of attracting stalkers.  Rapper Eminem bought a $5 million mansion in 2004, and then stayed away from it, reportedly because he came to believe it wasn’t secure enough.

Apparently sometimes all the money and fame in the world can’t buy you peace of mind.

Maria Canals Barrera: From Emotional ‘Wizards’ Goodbye to Tom Hanks Film

Maria Canals Barrera Disney Channel photo

With “The Wizards of Waverly Place” having wrapped its final episode for airing July 24, series mom Maria Canals Barrera admits she’s getting a lot of questions about what she’s doing next.  Fortunately for her, she has “Larry Crowne” opening July 1, with none other than Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

“I’m looking forward to the premiere June 27,” notes the actress, who plays one of Tom’s fellow community college students — in teacher Julia’s classroom — in the feature the actor coscripted (with Nia Vardalos) and directed as well.  “Tom is fun and relaxed on the set and yet very focused and professional,” Maria notes.  “It was a lot of fun to see him in action as a director, finishing a scene and then saying, ‘And, cut’ — then rushing to the monitor to see the playback.”

The film has Tom’s character moving from coping with life after job loss — to a new life.  “I think it was very wise of them — Tom and Nia — to write the script in these times when unfortunately, a lot of people have to reinvent themselves.  Or fortunately,” Maria adds, “because sometimes when people have to reinvent themselves, they are able to move toward their original passion and become a more fulfilled person in the end.”

Maria is facing big life changes herself.  With her long-time series now concluded, she’s had to say goodbye to her “Waverly Place” family — Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jake T. Austin and David DeLuise.  Of the forthcoming hour-long series finale, she says, “I believe the fans will get what they’ve been craving.  The beauty of it is, it has adventure, total heart-tugging drama and suspense, humor, wackiness, randomness and a ton of special effects.  It was fun doing it.  We were all emotional.  At the very last scene, we were crying and toasting and making speeches.”

The wrap party had a prom theme and the cast and production team received show “yearbooks” in keeping with the graduation of the young  “Wizards” actors.  Of her onscreen offspring, she notes, “They really are great people in that they each have a good head on their shoulders.  They’re very professional, focused on their work, they enjoy it and they realized the show was a blessing and appreciated it.”

MEANWHILE:  Maria says she texted back and forth with Selena recently when the 18-year-old It Girl took ill and was hospitalized after a “Tonight Show” appearance.  “She sent me a note that she was feeling much better,” reports the actress, who adds that she didn’t ask the nature of her former TV daughter’s ailment.  Having played mom to both Selena and Demi Lovato (in “Camp Rock” and its sequel), she’s aware of the fact both young stars are constant tabloid targets, with Demi having recently made her bipolar condition public, and Selena paparazzi bait as she dates teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.

“I don’t now how they can handle it.  It must be incredibly difficult at their age,” she says.

But Maria — who has two young daughters of her own — would much rather rhapsodize about her small screen daughters.  “What are the chances of two little girls who are best friends, both extremely talented, winding up becoming so wildly successful?  Demi is like — she glows.  She has that megawatt smile, and so much passion and enegy.  I love, love, love her voice.  She’s an incredible singer.  And Selena, she is so naturally an actress.  She was fully present, emotionally there, at 12 years of age and she’s just gotten better and better — amazing, especially when we were doing dramatic scenes.

“I really love them both to pieces,” she adds.

We guessed.

Selena Won’t Go the Way of Lindsay, Says Her TV Dad David DeLuise

Selena Gomez, David DeLuise Disney Channel photo

Selena Gomez won’t be going down that road to wreckage and ruin traveled by other young female pop star/actresses – not according to her “Wizards of Waverly Place” father, David DeLuise, anyway.

Last month, he notes, “I was driving downtown and there were 10 helicopters surrounding the area because Lindsay Lohan was going into jail again.  Well, I’m not blaming her parents because I don’t know.  But I do know that Selena has Mandy and Brian, who are very concerned about her well-being – not only her career, but her well-being,” he stresses.  “They’re great parents.”

DeLuise, who has 17 and 12-year-old daughters of his own, has come to know Selena’s mom and step-dad fairly well through the run of the show.  “We hang out, go over to their house or they come to my house.  We watch movies, go to barbeques.  Obviously, that’s slowed down because Selena has become so busy.  On weekends, she goes on mini tours.  Yes, they do mature very quickly,” he adds with a smile.  “Selena was this little adorable girl and now she’s like a grownup woman wearing high heels.  It’s so weird and so great.  I just heard her on the radio. They played Justin Bieber, and then Selena – on some list of teen singing sensations.  I’m very happy for her.  She’s very talented.”

DeLuise acknowledges that with Gomez and her series brothers – David Henrie and Jake T. Austin — maturing so fast, the cast shouldn’t be idle long after the completion of the series’ final season.  They’ll need to go into production on the next “Wizards of Waverly Place” movie pretty fast.

“I have not seen a script for the film, but.it’s going to be one of two things.  It will be a wrap-up on the show” – including the long-awaited answer as to which of the three “Waverly Place” siblings will become a full-fledged wizard – “or a movie about what happens to the family when only one kid is doing the magic.”

He adds, “They chose to do it as another TV movie.  I do not mind saying I feel that was a mistake.  I feel a feature film would have done great. But for some reason, they chose to make it a Disney Channel Movie, and I’m very happy to participate.  As I sometimes tell the kids, ‘This is what we have to do, and trust they have their reasons.”

‘Bittersweet’ Times for ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Creator as Final Season Progresses

David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Selena Gomez, David DeLuise, Maria Canals Barerra

Selena Gomez just got her driver’s license last week, joining “Wizards of Waverly Place” cast mates David Henrie and Jennifer Stone as legal behind the wheel of a car.  Her TV younger brother Jake T. Austin, meanwhile, has applied for his learner’s permit – and has undergone a dramatic growth spurt since last season.

That’s the word from “Wizards” creator-producer Todd J. Greenwald, who is back into production of the popular Disney Channel series — for what will be its fourth and final season.  “It’s definitely bittersweet,” admits Greenwald.  He says he’s set up the number-being-served sign on the show’s deli set so that “it’s counting down the episodes we have left to shoot.  When we get down to zero, it’s going to be pretty emotional.”

On the sweet side, both the series and its 2009 telepic spinoff are up for Emmy honors.  Last year, “Wizards of Waverly Place” was named Outstanding Children’s Program.  The awards will be a family affair for Greenwald, whose mom is coming from New York to be on hand – and whose real-life son and daughter, Jordan and Julia, served as the models for Henrie’s and Gomez’ characters on the show.

As “Wizards” fans are well aware, the series is moving toward a day of reckoning when one of the three siblings will become a full-fledged wizard and the other two will go on to lives as mere mortals.

“Alex is going to have a wave of not wanting to be a wizard and then really wanting to be a wizard.  Max is definitely getting a little wiser, beginning to look like someone who could win.  And Justin, who has graduated from high school, is becoming more prominent in the wizarding world,” he notes of Gomez’, Austin’s and Henrie’s characters, respectively.  “With their maturity, anyone could win competition.  What I’m really looking forward is doing that episode.  It’s where we’ll go for broke.  We’re getting so many ideas, from classic games shows to shows like ‘Survivor,’ to high tech productions like ‘Avatar.’”

As for the already-greenlit next “Wizards” TV movie, he says, “I think it’s a great idea to explore what the family is like after one of the kids becomes a wizard – what happens after the big event.”

Hutch Dano Gets a Kick Out of Playing Not-So-Nice

Hutch Dano

Hutch Dano, best known as the first half of “Zeke & Luther” on Disney XD, says he got a real kick out of playing a not-so-nice guy for a change in his “Den Brother” Disney Channel Original Movie, coming up Aug. 13.  In it, he’s a self-absorbed high school hockey player who winds up posing as the den mother – complete in old lady gear — of his little sister’s Bumble Bee troupe.  He then takes advantage of the situation and uses the little girls as his personal servants.  “I read the script and thought, ‘This guy is the worst big brother ever,’” notes Hutch, who has a little sister himself.

He is much nicer in real life, of course, and also as Henry Huggins – the children’s literature character he plays in “Ramona and Beezus,” opening today (7/23).  Dano admits he didn’t know Huggins until prepping for the part.

“I was trying to figure him out, to get as many layers as possible.  Not so much that he’s complex, but I had to find that gentle balance of his fun side and his shy side, and his wanting to be with Beezus,” he says, referring to Selena Gomez’ character in the 20th Century Fox adaptation of the beloved Beverly Cleary book.

“One of the best things about working with Selena is, she’s a very giving actor,” he observes.  “She’ll help other actors with scenes.  I’ve seen her ask, ‘Would you like me to read this a different way?’  It’s really nice.”

With Season 2 of “Zeke & Luther” airing, Dano is awaiting word on Season 3.    “I’ve heard a lot of rumors that it’s happening,” he says of the series, which has performed well with the male kid and tween audience at which it’s aimed.  “But I try not to get too excited about anything until it’s confirmed.  I love doing the show.”