Scarlett Johansson is denied restraining order against obsessed fan who believes he fathered one of her two children

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Written By Maya Cantina

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  • The actress, 39, saw her restraining order against Michael Joseph Branham denied because her attorney failed to serve him papers  
  • She filed for a restraining order in November 2023 after claiming Branham’s antics left her family terrified  
  • Branham claims to have fathered her son Cosmo, who the actress welcomed in 2021 with comedian Colin Jost 

Scarlet Johansson has seen her restraining order against an obsessed fan who claims to have fathered her son rejected by a judge. 

The actress, 39, filed against her stalker, named by The Blast as Michael Joseph Branham, in November 2023 after his infatuation left her family terrified. 

But the Superior Court of California was forced to dismiss her restraining order on a technicality because the papers could not be served to Branham. 

The outlet said Johansson’s attorney Michael Goldstein confirmed he was unable to serve the unhinged fan the restraining order, meaning all temporary restraining orders were also dissolved. 

Johansson claims she has been targeted by Branham since August 2022, alleging that his fixation escalated until she filed the restraining order. 

Scarlet Johansson has seen her restraining order against an alleged stalker rejected, despite saying that his obsessive actions have left her family terrified

According to the actress, the stalking grew during that time until Branham began showing up outside her home, and notes in her reported filing that this included trips on ‘November 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19’. 

On November 19, she claims Branham followed one of her neighbors for over 30 miles, believing it was Johansson behind the wheel. 

When the neighbor realized what had happened, they reported it to the actress’ assistant as they were left frightened by the stalker’s behavior. 

In her rejected restraining order, Johansson said the incident caused her and her family ‘significant fear and concern.’

‘Respondent’s ongoing and escalating pattern of harassment combined with his determination and ability to travel has created heightened safety concerns given several upcoming public events that I will be attending,’ the filing continued. 

Most alarmingly, Branham is accused of obsessively trying to reach Johansson’s son Cosmo as he believes he is his biological father. Johansson welcomed the child in 2021 with comedian Colin Jost. 

The wild allegation stems from when Branham reportedly began turning up at Johansson’s Los Angeles mansion, leading the actress to hire private investigator Jon Perkins. 

Johansson, pictured in March 2023 in a covert outfit on the streets of New York City, said her stalker's antics caused her and her family 'significant fear and concern'

Johansson, pictured in March 2023 in a covert outfit on the streets of New York City, said her stalker’s antics caused her and her family ‘significant fear and concern’ 

The stalker claimed to be the biological father of Johansson's son Cosmo, who she welcomed in 2021 with her husband, comedian Colin Jost (pictured together)

The stalker claimed to be the biological father of Johansson’s son Cosmo, who she welcomed in 2021 with her husband, comedian Colin Jost (pictured together)

He was tasked with investigating Branham’s recent behavior, including leaving a number of letters and children’s toys outside Johansson’s mansion. 

Perkins told The Blast that he found images Branham had shared online from outside the home, ominously captioned: ‘Here I am and where I’ll be forever.’ 

The notes he left also allegedly saw the stalker express his wish to meet Cosmo and spend time with him as his father.

Branham had claimed he needed Johansson to send him money, and asked for her forgiveness after he began stealing due to his financial problems, Perkins said. 

Johansson is far from the only celebrity to deal with obsessive fans, with songstress Taylor Swift a particularly popular target for unsavory supporters. 

In January, one Swift obsessive was arrested on the streets of Manhattan after a failed attempt to get into her apartment building. 

The man, referred to at the scene as ‘David’, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failing to respond to a summons, and had previously been spotted lurking outside the Tribeca apartment on other failed attempts. 

Johansson is far from the only celebrity to deal with obsessive fans, with songstress Taylor Swift (pictured) a particularly popular target for unsavory supporters

Johansson is far from the only celebrity to deal with obsessive fans, with songstress Taylor Swift (pictured) a particularly popular target for unsavory supporters 

An alleged stalker was arrested in January after trying to break into Taylor Swift's Manhattan apartment

An alleged stalker was arrested in January after trying to break into Taylor Swift’s Manhattan apartment

Swift’s home in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood has become a common meeting place for her most fervent fans, often camping out in hopes of catching a glimpse of their favorite artist. 

In May 2023, alleged stalker Mitchel Taebel, 36, from Indiana, was arrested after he visited Swift’s Nashville home, following a string of bizarre antics.

Police said he sent pictures of weapons to members of Swift’s team threatening to ‘destroy them’, before leaving a message with the singer’s father saying he was her ‘soulmate’ and ‘he is the only one that can make her secure.’

In March, Taebel posted a bizarre TikTok video in which he urged fellow Taylor Swift fans to prepare for the Eras tour by ‘being a step ahead of Taylor wherever she goes… watch her every move.’

In July 2022, ‘Swift mania’ also saw Brooklyn resident Joshua Christian fly into a frenzy in court after he was caught trying to sneak into the same TriBeCa apartment, and hurling threats through the intercom.

As he faced a judge, he began screaming: ‘Are you all the biggest jokers in history or actually real? Prove you’re real. Prove you’re real.’ 

Mitchel Taebel, 36, from Indiana, was arrested last year after he visited Swift's Nashville home, following a string of bizarre antics.

Joshua Christian, 35, flew into a frenzy in court last in 2022, screaming: 'Are you actually real? Prove you're real. Prove you're real'

Swift’s megastar status has attracted its fair share of unsavory supporters, including Mitchel Taebel (left) and Joshua Christian (right) 

In September 2020, stalker Eric Swarbrick (pictured) was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to following and sending threatening letters to Swift

In September 2020, stalker Eric Swarbrick (pictured) was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to following and sending threatening letters to Swift 

Swift's home in Manhattan's TriBeCa neighborhood has become a common meeting place for her most fervent fans, often camping out in hopes of catching a glimpse of their favorite artist

Swift’s home in Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood has become a common meeting place for her most fervent fans, often camping out in hopes of catching a glimpse of their favorite artist 

The manic support that Swift conjures also saw Texas resident Eric Swarbrick plead guilty in September 2020 to stalking and sending threatening letters and emails to her record label.

He was sentenced to 30 months behind bars after reportedly sending over 40 letters and emails to Big Machine Label Group in January 2018. 

In 2021 Swift opened up about her growing fear of stalkers and creepy fans, telling Elle: ‘My fear of violence has continued into my personal life.

‘I carry QuikClot army grade bandage dressing, which is for gunshot or stab wounds… you get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things.’

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