Harry Styles' Girlfriend Receives Death Threats. Is it Safe to Date a Teen Idol?

Getty Images, Twitter


Here's your teen report of the day: One Direction star Harry Styles is so over Taylor Swift and has reportedly moved on with new girlfriend Shaniece Nesbitt—quick, someone get her a body guard! Apparently dating a teen idol is downright dangerous.

According to every teen gossip website, One Direction fans discovered that the Irish beauty began dating Styles recently after meeting him in the audience of his concert in Belfast. Upon merely hearing that the two hung out for the evening (and sources deny the two even slept together), Nesbitt's Facebook and Twitter accounts were bombarded with angry messages saying Nesbitt "deserves to die", forcing her to shut down her Facebook account.

It's no secret that celebrity couples get their share of harassment but when a teen idol couples off particularly with an "Average Joe", the union can be even more vulnerable to public scrutiny. In February 2009, former hairdresser Danielle Deleasa, wife of Jonas Brother's star Kevin Jonas allegedly got harassed by a group of women at Jessie Mac show who called her a "nasty skank" and "whore." Long before the era of Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, the former YouTube star was dating Caitlin Beadles, the now-18-year-old sister of a Bieber family friend. After the relationship was over in 2011 (and while Bieber was dating Gomez), TMZ reported that Beadles was threatened by a 14-year-old blogger who went by the name KILLSGANDCB (many believe the initials SG and CB stand for Gomez and Beadles) who posted on Tumblr that Beadles will not know what happened to her until "she wakes up in bed with a knife next to [her]." And in May 2012, One Direction's Zayn Malik's ex-girlfriend Perrie Edwards allegedly had to quit Twitter over receiving death threats.

Celebrity-obsession is nothing new but with a lack of celebrity tween tabloids in existence today (Remember the days of Tiger Beat and BOP?), stars as young as 14 have dominated adult magazines and websites, attracting a larger, older, and more diverse fan base who are hungry for the scoop on their love lives.

The popularity of Twitter also plays a role. Unlike Facebook where one has to be granted permission to appear on someone's exclusive news feed, Twitter is an open platform where anyone with a mouse pad and typing fingers can send a message to their favorite boy band member. Being able to easily connect to one may make fans feel more invested in stars' personal lives and that includes their relationships. And since research shows that people are more likely to be mean when communicating over the computer or phone (versus in person), it may be the reason why girlfriends and wives of celebs receive so much online vitriol from their partner's fans. 

And finally, when an ordinary person snags a heartthrob, some fans may come down with a case of "It coulda been me." Seeing their favorite celeb hang with an ordinary Joe may evoke feelings of jealousy and anger that someone else is, so to speak, living the dream.