Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has taken to the stand in an LA court to testify against a man accused of stalking her since 1999. Paltrow reportadly told the court that she felt scared while at home with her children and had been forced to get an attack dog, capable of “attack” and “bite” commands, to protect herself and her family.
According to The Guardian, the actress became distressed as she discussed the details of the case, explaining that he wrote upsetting letters containing death threats, his intention to marry her and unsolicited gifts. Dante Soiu is accused of stalking the Oscar-winning actress over 17 years, but the case focuses on the most recent batch of almost 70 letters he’s sent her between 2009 and 2015.
Paltrow broke down when she explained she feared for her safety as well as that of her children, adding that at least one letter had been directly sent to her home. “I’m scared because the communications completely defy logic,” she said. “I’ve been dealing with his for 17 years with the communications from this man.”
“I felt very upset by it,” Paltrow said. “This has been a very long and very traumatic experience already.” Paltrow’s ex-bodyguard also testified to the many disturbing messages she had been sent, some of which were reportedly pornographic in nature.
The Huffington Post reports that Soiu’s attorney, Lynda Westlund, told the court he was harmless and said Paltrow misinterpreted his letters, many of which were “biblical in nature and meant as religious messages” to the actress. She added that he had written many other letters to public figures who “didn’t feel threatened.”
This is the second time Soiu has been accused of stalking the actress. In 2000, Soiu was committed to a mental institution for six years after a trial about messages he sent to the Shakespeare In Love star, but was rearrested last year after allegedly contacting the actress once again. He has pleaded not guilty to the current charges. The case is to continue into the week.
For all the benefits that surely come with being rich and famous, harrowing cases such as this are a reminder of the scary downsides that can stem from a life in the public eye.