10 celebs who were almost murdered

It's easy to look at the life of a celebrity and think they've got it easy. The money, the adoring public, gorgeous houses, traveling around the world…who wouldn't want that? There's a reason why everyone idolizes them but sometimes, that idolization can go way too far. Many celebrities have stalkers, it's a sad fact of life in the spotlight. But sometimes, it goes way beyond just having a stalker, and it becomes an obsession that nearly turns deadly. These stars have come terrifyingly close to having their lives ended by murder.

Gordon Ramsay

In 2011, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay headed out to Costa Rica for the filming of a show called Sharkbait. The show was part of a Channel 4 series called Big Fish Fight, highlighting some of the practices of the fishing industry. Ramsay's segment was on shark hunting, and he was investigating a horrific practice of catching sharks and cutting off their fins before leaving them to die.

Ramsay went head-to-head with one group of the Taiwanese shark-fin smugglers who made it known with no uncertainty they didn't approve of having him and his camera crew anywhere near their activities. Ramsay reported to The Telegraph, "It is a multi-billion dollar industry, completely unregulated. We traced some of the biggest culprits to Costa Rica. The day before we got there, a Taiwanese crew landed a haul of hammerhead sharks — police searched the boat and found bales of cocaine."

These were no small-time criminals, and when Ramsay persisted in trying to film their operations, he stumbled on thousands and thousands of shark fins drying on a series of rooftops, all destined to become ingredients in shark fin soup. Things came to a head when gang members doused him with a barrel of gasoline, a threat that was very, very clear. Later, after he managed to talk his way onto another boat, he and his crew were forced to stand against a wall and threatened at gunpoint. That's when the police showed up again, Ramsay said… and ordered them to leave the country.

Justin Bieber

The possibility of a murder plot being hatched to take out pop star Justin Bieber was first reported in December 2012, and more details were released in February 2013. According to ABCNews, the whole thing was orchestrated by Dana Martin, an inmate at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility. Martin was serving a 978-year sentence for murder and rape when he contacted former associates to start planning.

Authorities had taped phone conversations in which Martin gave his associates directions that included how to strangle Bieber with a scarf, and the part of the plan that involved castrating Bieber — and his bodyguard — with hedge clippers. Before they could get close to him, Martin's accomplices, Mark Staake and Tanner Ruane, were arrested after accidentally crossing the border into Canada.

According to CNN, the pair ultimately had plans to kill four people, and they were in Vermont when they took a wrong turn that led them into a confrontation with US Border Patrol. Staake was arrested immediately, and when Ruane was released he called Martin to tell him what was going on. Even though they spoke in code, the call was recorded and Ruane arrested for conspiracy to commit both murder and aggravated battery.

Mick Jagger

He's one of the most iconic figures in the music world, and even though the Rolling Stones have been around for decades, it was only in 2008 that details of an assassination attempt with Mick Jagger as the target came to light. Details were finally released in a BBC documentary called The FBI at 100, and according to presenter Tom Mangold's conversation with The Telegraph, the plot started with the events of one of the most infamous events in rock history: Altamont.

In 1969, the Stones held their Altamont Speedway Free Concert, and for security, organizers hired the Hell's Angels. By the time the concert was over, four people were dead and the nightmarish scene the free concert had become heralded the end of an era. For their part, Rolling Stone reported the band members initially refused to play when they found out just what the arrangements were, but knowing that would lead to rioting, they tried to go out, play, and close the whole thing down before things went south. Obviously, that didn't happen.

One of the dead was 18-year-old Meredith Hunter, and three different cameras filmed him being beaten to death by the Hell's Angels that were supposed to be providing security. When the Stones — and specifically, Mick Jagger — made their disgust perfectly well known, the Hell's Angels decided he needed to be taken out.

The plot was an elaborate one, with members of the gang getting a boat to approach Jagger's Hampton home from the seafront, dodging security. It's likely he was only saved by virtue of something that sounds completely implausible: a freak storm. The boat carrying the would-be assassins capsized, and although everyone survived, they abandoned the plan to kill Jagger… who never even knew he had been targeted.

George Harrison

On December 30, 1999, a man scaled the wall of George Harrison's 34-acre estate, making it to the house without setting off security lights or alarms, only alerting the sleeping Beatle and his wife that someone was in their home with the sound of breaking glass. The next day, The Guardian reported on a terrifying series of events.

Harrison called a housekeeper living on the estate, who phoned the police. By the time they arrived, they found he had been stabbed several times as he fought with intruder, Michael Abram. It was Harrison's wife, Olivia, who put an end to the fight, knocking Abram out with a lamp. When paramedics finally got to the scene, they found out how close Harrison really was to dying: the knife has missed his heart by inches.

According to The Guardian, the would-be assassin was a recovering heroin addict who had gone through phases of being obsessed with different musicians. At the time, it was The Beatles. In spite of being attended to by psychiatrists, he was known around Merseyside for being eccentric at the least. According to his mother, "He started to wear a Walkman to play music to stop the voices in his head."

In 2002, the BBC reported that he had issued an apology in the wake of what was seemingly a bizarre sentencing – or lack thereof. His 2000 trial found him not guilty of attempted murder on insanity charges, and he was sent to a medical facility. He was released from the facility in 2002, saying, "I can only hope the Harrison family might somehow find it in their hearts to accept my apologies. I am ashamed of what I did and deeply sorry it happened." The Harrison family was less sympathetic, with Olivia and their son issuing a statement saying, "We can never forget how brutally close Abram came to killing dear George and myself, nor the trauma inflicted on our son and family."

Sandra Bullock

No matter who you are, your home should be a private sanctuary. That's what makes Sandra Bullock's confrontation with stalker Joshua James Corbett even more terrifying.

USA Today reported that he broke into her home on June 8, 2015, after spending several days on the outskirts of the property. He had with him a notebook, where he had written extensively about his obsessive love for her. When he broke into her home, he had a letter with him, proclaiming his love and signed, "Always and forever, Love, your husband."

News.com.au released the 911 call Bullock made from her closet, where she hid after spotting the stranger in her home, along with further details about the journal Corbett was keeping. In it, he wrote not only about his love, but his desire to have sex with her and a careful chronicle of all the security features she had in her home. Even though he wasn't armed when he broke into her house, he was also charged with possession of illegal assault weapons, machine guns, and tracer ammunition. It gets even creepier, with US Weekly reporting that Bullock first ran into Corbett when she was coming out of the bathroom after getting ready for bed, meaning it was impossible to tell whether or not he had been standing there the whole time she was showering.

Monica Seles

In 1993, American tennis player Monica Seles was at the top of her game and on April 30, a man tried to kill her on a court in Germany. Around 6,000 people were in the crowd watching as Seles took on a Bulgarian player named Maggie Maleeva. She was leading, and as she sat on the bench during the changeover, a man leaned over the barrier and stabbed her in the back.

ESPN would include that day in their list of most shocking moments in the history of the sport, and in the end, Seles was extremely lucky. The 9-inch long blade, wielded by a 38-year-old German factory worker obsessed by one of Seles's biggest rivals, Steffi Graf, just missed her spine and miraculously didn't puncture any internal organs. She survived, but what followed was a spiraling depression, an eating disorder, and darkness.

Seles hasn't talked much about that day, but she did write, "What was wrong with me? There was a problem that no CAT scan or MRI readout could diagnose. Darkness had descended into my head. No matter how many ways I analyzed the situation, I couldn't find a bright side."

It was made worse when not only did the governing body of women's tennis refuse to freeze her rankings for the 28 months she was away from the game, but her refusal to testify against her attacker in a German court was cited as one of the reasons that attacker walked free, slapped with a suspended sentence and probation instead of the attempted murder charge he had been up on. Seles never went back to Germany, and said that there was no way she could go into court, where she would have to sit with her back to him. She did return to tennis, but not to a championship level.

Larry Flynt

Larry Flynt is the controversial mastermind behind Hustler magazine, and he was fighting obscenity charges in a Georgia court when he was shot on March 6, 1978. The gunshots sent him to intensive care, and he was ultimately paralyzed from the waist down. The gunman wasn't caught until a few years later, and when Joseph Paul Franklin was arrested for his connection to the murder of an interracial couple, his secrets start spilling out. His attempt to kill Flynt was only one in his long list of crimes, which were all racially motivated.

In 2013, Flynt penned a piece for The Hollywood Reporter, where he talked about whether or not his would-be murderer should face the death penalty. According to Flynt himself, Franklin had shot him because of one specific spread that he had chosen to run in Hustler, featuring a white woman with a black man. For Franklin, who once told CNN he was trying to start a race war (via The Telegraph), that was all the reason he needed to target Flynt.

After Franklin's conviction, he started serving consecutive life sentences amassed during his 3-year murder spree. He never served most of those years, though, executed via lethal injection on November 20, 2013. One of the most outspoken opponents of his execution was Flynt, who wrote, "I would love an hour in a room with him and a pair of wire-cutters and pliers, so I could inflict the same damage on him that he inflicted on me. But, I do not want to kill him, nor do I want to see him die." Flynt went on, "I have had many years in this wheelchair to think about this very topic. As I see it, the sole motivating factor behind the death penalty is vengeance, not justice, and I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself."

Steven Spielberg

In 1998, Jonathan Norman was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his plot to break into the home of Steven Spielberg, take his family hostage, and do some pretty terrible things to the director himself. The BBC reported that when Spielberg spoke to the court, he said, "Had Jonathan Norman actually confronted me, I genuinely, in my heart of hearts, believe that I would have been raped or maimed or killed. If he's out on the street, I will live in fear. I place myself in your hands. The prospect that Jonathan Norman might have another opportunity to carry out his threats is beyond frightening to me."

Norman had been arrested after two attempts at breaking into Spielberg's Pacific Palisades estate. That was in 1997, and when he made his attempts he had with him duct tape, handcuffs, and a knife. Spielberg wasn't home at the time, reported the LA Times, and that didn't make Norman's actions less terrifying. He had gone as far as to lease the same car as the one Spielberg's wife drove, hoping to use it to get past security. Even though Norman's lawyers tried arguing that he was only getting a stiff penalty because his target was famous, his previous felony convictions allowed the courts to hand out the max penalty with a guilty verdict.

Joss Stone

In 2013, two men were found guilty of plotting to kill singer Joss Stone. They had been arrested two years prior, after Stone's neighbors noticed them, and when police got there to apprehended the suspicious pair, they found they were armed with swords, and were carrying a body bag and rope. Rolling Stone reported that it wasn't long after the arrest that handwritten notes surfaced, detailing a disturbing plan to behead her. They also reported that the reason for the murder plot was Stone's connection to Britain's royal family, and that she is longtime friends with Prince William.

The BBC shed even more light on just how detailed the plans were. Kevin Liverpool and Junior Bradshaw had planned to first kill her, then dispose of her body in a nearby river. The two had driven from Manchester to East Devon in a car packed with hammers, knives, garbage bags, duct tape, hose, and swords, and bizarrely, they were even involved in an incident with police in Gloucestershire. They were stopped after fleeing from a gas station without paying, and police (who didn't know about the theft or the weapons) let them go on their way. Stone was home at the time the two men were asking locals for directions to her house, and according to Det. Sgt. Martin Sutcliffe of the Devon and Cornwall Police, "When you look at the contents of the car, I think it gives a very clear picture of their intentions."

Theresa Saldana

Arthur Richard Jackson tried to kill actress Theresa Saldana in 1982, not long after she had appeared in Raging Bull as Joe Pesci's wife. She went on to have a successful TV career and was most well-known for her role in The Commish as the title character's wife, but in between she was the target of an attack that changed stalking laws across the country.

In 2004, she sat down with Larry King to tell the story of just what happened that day. Jackson had tracked her down by calling her mother and pretending to be Martin Scorsese's assistant, looking for her address. Unsuspecting, her mother gave out the information, and that was when Saldana's manager first alerted her to the fact that someone was stalking her. Jackson spent 18 months tracking her down, finally confronting her at 10 a.m. on the streets of LA. After confirming her identity, he started to stab her. By the time a bystander named Jeff Fenn was able to subdue him, she had been stabbed 10 times.

Jackson was arrested and sentenced to the maximum: 12 years. But the LA Times reported that he was up for parole in 1989, having had his sentence reduced because of good behavior. That was in spite of the fact that he had continued to write about his intentions to kill Saldana when he was released, calling himself "the benevolent angel of death", and saying it was his destiny to take her to heaven.

In addition to resuming her acting career, Saldana also became a voice for victims. Her advocation against his release led to him serving additional time, and he was ultimately extradited to England and sentenced to a psychiatric hospital for his involvement in another murder. He died there in 2004, Gizmodo reported. Saldana died in 2016.