Willow Smith recently secured a temporary restraining order against a man who has allegedly been stalking her online. A private investigator unearthed information verifying that the suspect is also a registered sex offender.
Walter James Whaley, the suspect in question, traveled on a Greyhound bus from Oklahoma attempting to break into Smith’s Los Angeles home in Dec. 2020, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ.
Concerned for her safety, Smith took legal action against the 38-year-old cyberstalker, including surveillance footage stills that showed Whaley trespassing on her property after he hopped the fence. Smith pointed out that she was frightened by Whaley’s persistence, explaining that he “will do whatever possible to make physical contact with me.”
According to the “Whip My Hair” singer, Whaley first initiated contact via social media, leaving harassing comments proclaiming that he wanted to wed and have kids with her. He then journeyed 1,300 miles to gain entry to the 20-year-old’s home.
TMZ reported that Whaley never successfully entered Smith’s house due to her security notifying the police who arrived promptly but did not take the suspect into custody at the time.
Earlier this month, a judge granted Smith’s restraining order and declared that Whaley must stay 100 yards away from her in addition to ceasing all communication. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lost Hills Station tweeted on March 3 that Whaley had been arrested.
Thanks to the public, tips received led to the arrest of Walter James Whaley III this morning. #WantedWednesday
— LASD Lost Hills Stn. (@LHSLASD) March 3, 2021
Around the time of the attempted intrusion, Smith candidly opened up on an episode of Red Table Talk about her struggles with “extreme anxiety.”
“Four days ago, I was having extreme anxiety. I couldn’t talk, I had to just cocoon and like be with myself for a moment,” Smith shared on the Facebook Watch show. “That was so important because it would have been so much more intense if I had been looking to you to be like, ‘Help me!’ And then, when I was ready, I opened the cocoon.”
“There’s shame. There’s guilt. There’s sadness. There’s confusion,” she added. “And then you don’t even want to talk about it because you’re like, ‘I feel crazy. I feel crazy for feeling this way and I don’t want them to think I’m crazy, so I’m just not going to say anything.”
This is not the first time Smith admitted to struggling with anxiety since she opened up about her history with self-harm in 2018.
“I feel like I lost my sanity at one point,” Smith revealed. “It was after that whole ‘Whip My Hair’ thing and I had just stopped doing singing lessons and I kind of was in this gray area of: Who am I? Do I have a purpose? Is there anything I can do besides this? I never talk about it because it was such a short, weird point in my life. But you have to pull yourself out of it.”