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Many of us are fans of certain celebrities. We enjoy keeping up with our favorite celebs by watching a movie they are in or supporting their music. Then you have the superfans, who need to have every album on vinyl or every movie on Blu-ray. They might even have a closet full of their merch. Then you have the next, more obsessed level and this is where it gets weird. These are the people who will bid to buy their favorite famous person’s toothbrush on eBay.

People have been idolizing celebrities for years. This is especially true with artists/bands like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and BTS. But it’s a phenomenon that has existed for decades: Michael Jackson and Madonna had their obsessives. There was “Beatlemania” in the ’60s. In the ’50s, kids were obsessed with Elvis Presley.

The internet and social media have taken celebrity worship culture to new levels by providing constant access to content about their favorite pop stars and movie stars.

Any person who is “in the public eye” can be the object of a person’s obsession. This includes authors, politicians, athletes,  and journalists, among others. Some research suggests they are more likely to be someone from the world of television, film, and music.

Since they’re scrolling celebrities’ “personal” social media feeds, fans can more easily get overly invested in their idols’ personal lives. This is depicted in several documentaries like the crowds of screaming, crying superfans depicted in Billie Eilish’s documentary or Eminem’s co-produced “Stans” documentary based on superfans.

Celebrity Worship Syndrome

According to Psychology Today, “Celebrity worship syndrome has been described as an obsessive-addictive disorder where an individual becomes overly involved and interested (i.e., completely obsessed) with the details of the personal life of a celebrity.”

The term “celebrity worship” was first coined by researchers Lynn E. McCutcheon and John Maltby. Their 2003 study, a clinical interpretation of the attitudes and behaviors associated with celebrity worship, used the Celebrity Attitude Scale and the Revised Eysenck Personality Questionnaire to categorize celebrity worship syndrome.

What Does It Look Like?

PsychCentral reported that celebrity worship can be mild in some cases. For example, you may name your firstborn child after your celebrity idol or change the way you dress based on your favorite celebrity. The obsessive-addictive properties of celebrity worship can also be presented in more intense ways.

This includes having cosmetic surgery to look like your favorite celebrity. Then there’s the more extreme display of celebrity worship. This can take the form of harassment, stalking, or otherwise inappropriate attempts at interaction.

Take a look at some of the top signs you may have celebrity worship syndrome below.

  • Obsessive Fixation

    Your social life and personal relationships suffer because you constantly find yourself steering conversations toward the latest updates or news about the celebrity. This makes it challenging to engage in meaningful interactions with others. For example, during a dinner with friends, instead of participating in conversations about shared interests or experiences, you find yourself steering the discussion towards the latest gossip about the celebrity’s personal life or career moves, dominating the conversation. Sorry, but not everyone wants to hear what “Swelcie” ate for lunch today.

    Envy. Jealous Girl Listening To Her Friend Talking About Her Great Life Sitting On Couch At Home. Selective Focus

    Prostock-Studio/ Getty Images

  • Extreme Loyalty

    Being loyal to your favorite celeb is great. Until it isn’t. Any negative media coverage or criticism of the celebrity feels like a personal attack, leading you to defend them even when their actions may be questionable or harmful. Let’s say a tabloid publishes a critical article about the celebrity you idolize, accusing them of unethical behavior. Rather than assessing the information presented, you fight tooth and nail for the celebrity online. This includes engaging in heated arguments with strangers who express differing opinions. Maybe even feeling personally attacked by any negative comments directed towards the celebrity.

    Angry woman using cellphone outdoors.

    KristinaJovanovic/ Getty Images

  • Extreme Measures to Emulate

    You find yourself adopting the mannerisms, speech patterns, or even fashion choices of the celebrity in an attempt to emulate them. This can sometimes cause you to lose sight of your own unique identity in the process. You might decide to undergo extensive plastic surgery to alter your appearance to resemble the celebrity you admire. This includes actions like getting lip injections to mimic their full pout or undergoing rhinoplasty to match their nose shape, ultimately losing sight of your own natural features and uniqueness in pursuit of something unattainable.

    Closeup of crop anonymous female patient getting filler injection in lips in cosmetology clinic

    evgenyatamanenko/ Getty Images

  • Financially Reckless Behavior

    Another sign is engaging in excessive spending on celebrity-related activities. This includes attending concerts, purchasing memorabilia, or traveling to events, despite financial constraints or mounting debt. For instance, you find yourself continuously following a popular musician on tour, attending multiple concerts in different cities. Each concert you go to has several expenses for travel, accommodation, tickets, and merchandise, pushing you further into financial distress. Despite warnings from friends and family about your unsustainable spending habits, you prioritize your idol’s concerts over your financial well-being. This ultimately leaves you facing severe financial consequences.

    Business woman holding an empty wallet, she hasn't money

    andriano_cz/ Getty Images

  • Delusional Fantasies of Personal Connection

    You experience intense jealousy or resentment towards anyone who you perceive as having a closer connection to the celebrity, whether it’s other fans, their friends, or even their romantic partners, leading to irrational behavior or hostile attitudes towards these people. You might even spend hours researching the celebrity’s favorite hangout spots or following their social media activity to determine their whereabouts. Suppose you happen to spot them in public. In that case, you may impulsively approach them, convinced that if they just got to know you, they would want to befriend you or pursue a romantic relationship despite the unrealistic nature of these expectations.

    Top view, relax and woman sleeping on bed at hotel on vacation, holiday or trip. Phone mockup, travel dream and happy female in bedroom at motel, resort or lodge with camera, laptop and headphones

    PeopleImages/ Getty Images

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