Risk | Threat/Hazard

Ask the Expert: What Security Concerns Should I Have if I Marry Into a Wealthy or Famous Family?

April 10, 2020 | 3 min read
Marrying into the spotlight scaled

When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in 2018, the event was hailed as a fairy tale: she was an American who’d lived a normal, private life, become a successful actress, then met and married a member of the British royal family. Romantic as it seems, Markle — an actress and public figure who was likely already living under more layers of security than most private individuals — stepped into a world very different than the one she was used to, and the strain showed. Earlier this year, she and Prince Harry stepped back as senior royals.

This sort of strain is common for partners of public figures. Earlier this year, makeup artist and YouTube personality Jeffree Star went through a break-up with his boyfriend, Nathan Schwandt, a private person who didn’t want to be in the spotlight anymore.

It’s almost a cliche that fame and money come with challenges. Many of those challenges, however, are security-related. Furthermore, fame and fortune come with their own distinct sets of security issues.

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What security issues come with instant fame?

If you suddenly find yourself in the spotlight, either by being romantically linked with a famous figure or by becoming famous yourself, your biggest issue will be exposure. You’ll likely find yourself on the receiving end of unwanted attention of all kinds.

Journalists will feel it’s their job to expose your secrets and details from your private life. Both journalists and fans will want to take your picture all the time. Fans will feel entitled to information about your private life. Stalkers or obsessed fans may threaten you. If you’re dating or married to a famous person, you might draw the ire of your significant others’ admirers.

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What security issues come with wealth?

If you’re marrying into money, chances are you’ll be worrying about internal security issues as well as external ones.

Wealthy families often worry about protecting their own stake in the estate, and don’t like the idea of an outsider marrying into the family and possibly diluting an inheritance. People from your own past may also take advantage of you, asking for money, raising the price of services to scam you out of money, or even trying to sue you.

While all of these issues are uncomfortable, others like kidnapping and ransom, are legitimately dangerous. Members of wealthy families are often accustomed to kidnapping threats and concerns about interstate and international travel, but new members of the family might not even consider these worries.

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How can you protect yourself if you’re entering the spotlight?

There’s a reason celebrities often have teams surrounding them; when we offer protection to families, the security often looks more like a commercial space than a residential space — there are cameras, guards, background checks for staff and frequent visitors. It can be intimidating, but it’s important to take security seriously.

If you’re new to the limelight, you should seek out experts who can help keep you safe and offer advice on the sorts of threats you may face:

  • Executive protection experts who can keep you safe.
  • Attorneys who can advise you on kidnapping insurance and other legal issues
  • A public relations team or spokesperson to handle the press

You should also be sure to speak to the non-professionals in your life. Confide in your friends and family about your new lifestyle, and make sure you have a good core group of friends and family you can trust. That will make some of your new challenges easier to face.

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