Gwyneth Paltrow testified Monday against a man accused of stalking her for almost two decades, at times breaking down in tears while she explained how the alleged stalker’s unwanted gifts made her fear for her safety, Reuters is reporting.
For 17 years, Dante Michael Soiu, now 67, has allegedly been obsessed with the Academy Award-winning actress; at one time between 1999 and 2000, he even spent some time in a mental institution because of his obsession with Paltrow.
Prosecutors say Soiu has sent Paltrow “hundreds” of letters and packages to the actress over the decades, quoting scripture, talking about her death, and containing bizarre religions ramblings.
“I have a goal to marry Gwyneth Paltrow… You are hopelessly lost. Now you must die. Yourself, must die so that Christ can have preeminence.”
Gwyneth Paltrow testifies her 'stalker' wrote her letters about ridding her of sin with a SCALPEL https://t.co/BiVBQ81eJt
— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) February 8, 2016
The letters were often accompanied by unsolicited “gifts,” such as pornography, sex toys, items of clothing, and earrings, according to Fox News. He also allegedly showed up at Paltrow’s parents’ home, according to WBNS (Columbus).
Paltrow got a respite from the alleged stalking after Soiu was locked away, but the alleged stalking resumed in 2009. Between 2009 and 2014, Paltrow says, Soiu sent her about 70 letters, a cookbook, and other items. The most recent package arrived in January 2015.
“I felt very upset by it. It defied logic, and I found it very, very upsetting. This was something I had been through a very long and traumatic experience with already.”
According to Deputy District Attorney Wendy Segall, the pattern of menacing, sometimes pornographic, letters and strange gifts has upset Paltrow to her very core.
“This is a case that has gone on for Ms. Paltrow for 17 years. Her sense of security has been shattered by this man.”
During her testimony, Paltrow read portions of the letters her alleged stalker had sent to her. And when the prosecutor asked Paltrow, who has two children, if she felt fear over the letters, she wept and said, “Yes.”
Paltrow’s head of security, Terry Abbott, testified that he always told Paltrow whenever he received a letter from her alleged stalker, but that after a while, he stopped providing much detail because it upset her.
Gwyneth Paltrow is not the only person to have been stalked by Soiu. According to WBNS, in 2013 Soiu, who lives in Ohio, was charged with stalking an Ohio woman. Prosecutors claimed that Soiu violated an order of protection a Dublin, Ohio, woman had taken out against him. He allegedly sent her hundreds of emails and even showed up at her place of work.
If having to contend with Soiu’s alleged stalking isn’t enough, Paltrow has also found herself menaced by a different stalker as well. As Huffington Post reports, in 2012, Nickolaos Gavrilis managed to sweet-talk his way into Paltrow’s London home, saying he had an appointment with the actress. He tried the same thing again — and failed — in 2013. Then in 2014, he tried to enter Paltrow’s Los Angeles home.
Paltrow and her then-husband, Chris Martin, took out a restraining order against the stalker.
“[Gavrilis has been] stalking and harassing Petitioner on two continents, has not stopped despite warnings from police, has previously been convicted of harassment by a criminal court and presents an immediate danger that great or irreparable harm would result if an order did not issue immediately.”
Gwyneth Paltrow’s testimony against her alleged stalker came just a day after she appeared at Super Bowl 50, cheering on halftime performers Coldplay (her ex-husband, Chris Martin, is the lead vocalist for the band).
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]