VIP heavies: How stars from Adele to Lady Gaga use same bodyguards

VIP heavies for hire: How the world’s biggest stars from Adele to Lady Gaga use the same exclusive bodyguards

  • Celebrities are rarely seen without their bodyguards – but many look familiar…
  • Some private security guards have protected dozens of A-Listers in their career 
  • Just this week Prince Harry and Megan hired Kim Kardashian’s former guard 

Through break-ups, scandals and arrests, there is one person never more than a few paces from an A-list celebrity… their personal bodyguard.

The world’s greatest stars have long had to deal with over-zealous fans, paparazzi and even stalkers, so it’s little surprise that many take their personal safety, and that of their loved ones, very seriously.

But the world of VIP heavies for hire is a surprisingly close-knit community, with top security personnel being hired by not just one celebrity,  but multiple, as their reputation grows among the world’s crème de la crème.

Stars from Adele and Lady Gaga, to the Beckhams and Jennifer Lawrence, and Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have all been seen with the same muscle in tow.

So who are the bodyguards to the stars? MailOnline has everything there is to know. 

Lady Gaga steps out in vivid green as she is seen in Manhattan, New York with her bodyguard in tow

Peter Van der Veen 

Professional bodyguard to the stars Peter Van der Veen has worked with all manner of A-Listers – from Lady Gaga to Iggy Azalea and Adele.

He set many Adele fans’ hearts aflame when he burst onto the scene as her protection, towering over most fans and rarely being absent from her side.

It’s little wonder so many big names have turned to him for bodyguard services, as the former bodybuilder was crowned Mr Europe in 2005.

Born in the Netherlands, he has even appeared on backing tracks for Gaga.

He worked with her from 2010 to 2015, before rejoining team Gaga in 2018. 

Lady Gaga accompanied by her bodyguard Peter Van der Veen (left) in New York, 2015

The singer has used Mr Van der Veen all around the world, being seen with him here in Paris in 2018

He also guarded singer Adele during a trip to the US in 2015

Adele poses for photos with fans as Peter Van der Veen stands by as her bodyguard

Simon Newton

Londoner Simon Newton, in his early 40s, boasts one of the widest portfolios in celebrity protection.

He is known for being a bodyguard to some of the most famous people in the world – including Michael Jackson, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Rita Ora.

Mr Newton formerly served in the British army before beginning his personal protection role in the Middle East for the American oil company KBR.

He served in Canada and on operations in Iraq for four years before leaving the military in 2004.

After a number of years operating in Iraq as a bodyguard he was appointed as a Close Protection Officer with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Afghanistan. 

In 2009, he made a return to the UK when he began his own protection agency in London. 

Alongside his high-profile security gigs, Mr Newton has also turned his attention to pursuing a film career, having already starred as a body double for Dave Bautista in 2018 thriller Final Score and acting alongside Robert Downey Jr in Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows. 

Other A-listers he has counted as clients include Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Middle-Eastern royalty. 

Kendall Jenner used Simon Newton’s services during a trip to London Fashion Week in 2015

Bella Hadid attends a Dior Backstage event in London in 2018, accompanied by bodyguard Simon Newton

Rita Ora is seen during Milan Fashion Week in 2019 with Simon Newton

Mr Newton (left) was one of a five-man bodyguard team for singer Michael Jackson

Alberto Alvarez 

Alberto Alvarez is not the standard celebrity bodyguard with his criminal record and history of being fired by his clients.

In the summer of last year Alvarez was hired as head of security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. But he has already been fired from the role, reportedly after they became concerned due to his past convictions for driving under the influence and domestic violence.

Mr Alvarez has 15 years’ experience providing security services to celebs, most notably a five year stint serving for Michael Jackson and his family.

In March, 2010 TMZ reported that Alvarez was fired by the Jackson family after it was revealed he had two DUIs and there were allegations of domestic violence against him.

The site claimed that the Jacksons got rid of the security guard ‘after they discovered he had a criminal record and no longer felt he should be near the family’s large brood of children’.

Alvarez had worked as a bodyguard for Jackson for more than five years. He was pictured by the singer’s side during Jackson’s 2004 child molestation trial in Santa Maria, California, and again in Beverly Hills in May 2009 just days before Jackson’s death.

Alvarez was later hired by boy band One Direction for their security. 

Alberto Alvarez (left) with Michael Jackson (right) in West Hollywood

Mr Alvarez was pictured accompanying Prince Harry on a bike ride in May 2022


Pop sensation Taylor Swift reportedly gave up her personal bodyguard Jimmy for royalty in 2021.

Although his full name is not known, he has been spotted with the star on multiple occasions, including on dates with her former boyfriend Joe Alwyn.

But when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visited the US in September 2021, Jimmy and at least one other member of Ms Swift’s security team were spotted accompanying them instead of the singer.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were driven around and guarded by the security detail, including a former NYPD officer who is also Ms Swift’s head of security.

A tall, balding man in his 50s known only as Jimmy has dealt with stalkers and intruders who made their way into the singer’s apartment in the past.

Another guard joined Jimmy on the royal outing, who has also been seen guarding Swift, including during her appearance at the 2019 VMAs.

It is not clear if Swift loaned Meghan and Harry her guards during their stay in New York as a favor or if the Sussexes happened to hire them from a company.

The two guards were seen at the posh Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side every day while Meghan and Harry were staying there.

They were spotted out front coordinating with other security personnel, including those who claimed to be with the Department of Homeland Security.

Whenever the Sussexes went anywhere, the two men – who wore blazers, chinos and had their shirts untucked – always went with them.

Jimmy (left) was photographer with client Taylor Swift and her then-boyfriend Joe Alwyn in 2019

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were accompanied by a massive security detail during their whistle-stop tour of New York City in 2021

The two guards, previously spotted with Taylor Swift, were seen at the posh Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side every day while Meghan and Harry were staying there

Matt Fiddes

Personal trainer and martial arts guru Matt Fiddes protected singer Michael Jackson for ten years – before becoming a multi-millionaire and property developer.

He stepped into the limelight as he defended the star following his death, and even claimed one of Jackson’s sons as his own child.

The martial arts master, who provided protection for Jackson in the UK, claims he gave the star a sperm donation in 2001 after Jackson told him he wanted an ‘athletic’ child – a year before son Blanket was born. 

More recently he has been pictured with Love Island’s Megan Barton-Hanson, who he was seen doing personal training with and accompanying her on nights out.

He has given a number of other celebrities self-defence and martial arts classes, including Saffron Hart and Hayley Hughes. 

Matt Fiddes (left) was pictured holding an umbrella over Michael Jackson as he opened a new football stadium in Exeter in 2002

Matt Fiddes appears with Love Island’s Megan Barton-Hanson in London

Justin Riblet 

At 6ft 3in tall, Justin Riblet towered above a 5ft 8in teen Brooklyn Beckham, who he was frequently seen guarding while employed by the Beckhams.

He is a former US special forces sergeant, having graduated in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University, New Jersey.

Besides guarding members of ex-England star David’s family, he also spent time as a bodyguard for actress Jennifer Lawrence. 

Brooklyn Beckham is shadowed by Justin Riblet during a US music festival

Mr Riblet was also spotted with Jennifer Lawrence (right) at LAX airport in 2014

Bodyguard to One Direction star and Lindsay Lohan

This unnamed bodyguard has also seen a variety of clients through the years. He has been frequently pictured alongside One Direction’s Niall Horan and child star Lindsay Lohan. 

Niall Horan (left) attends the 2017 Brit Awards, accompanied by his towering bodyguard

Lindsay Lohan is escorted through crowds by the same bodyguard as she left a South Kensington club in 2008

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