Scots violinist Nicola Benedetti has told how she has been targeted by stalkers and had to take a restraining order out against one obsessive fan.
The 30-year-old former BBC Young Musician of the Year revealed her fears over her safety and said she had been a victim of stalking in “three or four” serious cases.
One fan threatened to take his own life when he found out she had a boyfriend while another followed her around Japan when she was performing there and jumped out on her as she walked through hotel lobbies.
Benedetti, of West Kilbride, Ayrshire, has been forced to call in police and had to take court action against one stalker.
She now keeps her address in London a secret and her team has had to monitor the whereabouts of a man who has previously followed her.
She said: “I’ve had three or four more serious cases, one really bad. I had to get a restraining order because it was a source of such stress.
“My worst experience was a guy in Japan who found every hotel I was staying in. He would appear from behind a pillar when I walked through the lobby.
“There is also someone with a severe mental instability who does scare me. We try to be careful, to be aware of where he is. But I am not overly worried. He has been in the same vicinity as me many times and has never tried to attack me.
“I’ve learnt to live with it.”
In 2010, a man tried to gain entry to Benedetti’s London flat – an incident which she said left her too scared to stay at home alone.
The classical musician, who was only 16 when she was named Young Musician of the Year and who signed a £1 million recording contract at the age of 17, has said she has been approached by obsessive fans before, some of whom proposed marriage.
Benedetti, who performs with a 301-year-old Stradivarius violin valued at £10 million, also told how she is not ashamed of scars on her neck caused by years of playing the instrument and refused to cover them up.
She added: “They don’t hurt, they’re just numb. I’ve never known how I look without them as they developed at such a young age.
“But I always request for them not to be covered by make-up. Photographers frequently want me to do that, and I ask for them to be left alone. I guess that says I’m proud and comfortable with them.”
The musician was in a relationship with German cellist Leonard Elschenbroich for ten years before they split last year but the pair remain friends and have continued to perform together.
Fellow classical violinist Vanessa-Mae was hounded by a stalker for ten years. David Martin, from Brighton, bombarded her with letters and kept a diary of her movements.
He was banned from approaching her after being caught with a knife near her West London home and later sentenced to six months in prison after breaking the restraining order.