Was it planned? Was it a skit? Where was the punchline? Oscar viewers took to social media to express shock and confusion after Will Smith stormed the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock across the face after Rock made a joke about Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith's baldness.
Rock announced he wouldn't press charges for the March 27 assault. But the Academy's Board of Governors banned Smith from attending the Oscars and all other Academy events for ten years.
Smith has since apologized to Rock. Appearing on "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah" in November, Smith said, "That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. You know, there's many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know?"
The slap overshadowed Smith's Oscar win for best actor in the tennis biopic "King Richard".
Farewell to Queen Elizabeth II
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Although she was 96, it was still a shock when the monarch passed away on Sept. 8. She sat on the British throne for 70 years and was a constant in our lives. Her son, King Charles III, is now head of state for the United Kingdom, Canada, and 13 other nations.
Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard
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The ex-spouses' sensational live-streamed trial, which kicked off on April 11 and lasted until June 1, heard allegations of defamation between the actors and gave viewers a shocking peek at the stars' personal lives. Heard claimed that Depp had abused her physically, which he denied.
He claimed $50 million in damages; she counterclaimed $100 million in damages. The jury ruled in Depp's favour — and so did social media.
The World Is Harry's House
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Harry Styles
What a year for Harry Styles. His third solo record, 'Harry's House', was one of the year's biggest hits. The 28-year-old singer-songwriter scored six Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
He also starred in two movies, "Don't Worry Darling" (directed by his now ex-girlfriend, Olivia Wilde) and "My Policeman." In addition, he performed a 15-night run at Madison Square Garden and headlined April's Coachella Festival.
It's Harry's world. We just live in it.
Pete Davidson Keeps Pete Davidsoning
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It was another headline-generating year for the BDE originator. His love life continued to make the news as he dated Kim Kardashian — and her ex, Ye (a.k.a. Kanye West), publicly slammed him and wrote pointed lyrics threatening him.
In March, it was announced he would be on board Jeff Bezos's fourth Blue Origin flight, but a week later, he had bowed out of the space trip. By August, Kardashian and the 'King of Staten Island' star had split.
The following month, his movie 'Meet Cute' was released, and by November, he was dating Emily Ratajkowski.
Drake's All Canadian North Stars
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Drizzy kicked off this year's OVO Fest with the All Canadian North Stars concert featuring Canadian hip-hop and rap artists he says "paved the way". Choclair, Jully Black, Kardinal Offishall, Keshia Chanté, Maestro Fresh Wes, Glenn Lewis, Shawn Desman, Frank-N-Dank, Saukrates, Rascalz, and In Essence performed.
Desman says Drake gave him a life-changing pep talk backstage, which spurred his first single in seven years. His hit "Maniac" was released in November.
Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen Divorce
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After 13 years of marriage, two children together, and months of speculation, the consummate football star and the Brazilian model announced their divorce in October.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback came out of a scant 40-day retirement in March, and his decision to return to the game for a 23rd season is widely believed to have fanned the flames of the split.
The Ticketmaster–Taylor Swift Fiasco
It's a blunder for the eras. In November, Ticketmaster was overwhelmed by the demand for tickets to Taylor Swift's 2023 "Eras" tour.
The first round of tickets was sold via Ticketmaster's Verified Fan pre-sale program, but astronomical demand caused the site to crash, logging users out or stranding them in an online line of 2,000 that did not move. As fans waited for hours for their chance to buy tickets, they could see tickets being posted on resale sites for thousands of dollars by scalpers that the Verified Fan program was meant to outsmart.
Despite the outage, two million tickets were sold, breaking the record for the most concert tickets sold by an artist in a single day.
Two days later, Ticketmaster announced that ticket sales to the general public were cancelled due to "extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand."
Ticketmaster apologized to Taylor Swift and her fans for the ticketing debacle, and all was forgiven. Just kidding. The U.S. Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into the owner of Ticketmaster, focused on whether the company has abused its power over the multibillion-dollar live music industry.
On the February 9 episode of the "Call Her Daddy" podcast, host Alex Cooper asked actress Julia Fox whether she was then-boyfriend Kanye "Ye" West's muse. Sounds straight-forward enough.
She replied, "Yeah. A little. I mean, I was Josh Safdie's muse when he wrote Uncut Gems, you know?" Hardly ground-breaking information.
But it was Fox's elaborate and drawn-out pronunciation of the words "Uncut Gems" that TikTok users seized on. Suddenly, the "Uncah Jams" meme was everywhere. Users garnered millions of views by recreating the moment with their imitation of her "Unka Jhaaaams" pronunciation. In response, Fox issued an explanation and a plea: "Omg, I was stoned. Leave me alone! Hahahahahah 😂😂😂," she wrote.
In February, the "Diamonds" singer and fashion mogul announced she was expecting her first child with her partner, rapper A$AP Rocky.
Rihanna and A$AP Rocky, both 34, started dating in November 2020 after years of friendship. They welcomed their baby boy in May.
'Funny Girl' Drama
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Who could really live up to Gaga? Insiders claim that Lady Gaga was originally approached to star as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of "Funny Girl," but scheduling conflicts kept her away. TikTok Broadway gossip Sweaty Oracle says Idina Menzel was then lined up to star until suddenly, she wasn't.
Lea Michele felt like an obvious choice for the role, since her Rachel Berry character scored the role in "Glee" and because Michele, who appeared in Broadway's "Les Miserables" when she was just 8, had been campaigning for the role for a decade.
But were producers reluctant to work with her after the 2020 allegations that she had acted like a racist bully on the "Glee" set?
"Booksmart" star Beanie Feldstein won the role, but after negative reviews, she left the role in July and Michele was announced as the replacement.
A back injury caused Michele to miss a performance in November, but she was back in action in time to perform the show's iconic song, "Don't Rain On My Parade", to open the televised American Thanksgiving Day Parade. But will the rain hold off backstage, or will the drama keep coming?
Kim Kardashian channels Marilyn Monroe
The reality star-turned-superstar made headlines when she walked the Met Gala red carpet in the vintage Bob Mackie gown Marilyn Monroe wore in 1962 when she famously delivered a sexy rendition of "Happy Birthday" to John F. Kennedy.
Eagle-eyed critics alleged that Kardashian, who dropped 16 pounds in three weeks to fit into the legendary garment, damaged the gown. However, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, which owns the dress valued at over $10 million, issued a statement denying any damage.
Louis Theroux, Rapper
Claire Boxall, Public Domain
"My money don't jiggle jiggle, it folds / I'd like to see you wiggle, wiggle, for sure."
The man behind one of TikTok's most delightful earworms of the year is a bookish 52-year-old documentary filmmaker.
A remix of a snippet of a novelty rap he performed in 2002 became the soundtrack to a dance craze choreographed by Jess Qualter and Brooke Blewitt. Snoop Dogg, Megan Thee Stallion and Rita Ora posted videos of themselves taking part, while Shakira performed the dance on "The Tonight Show". Anthony Hopkins took part in the craze, and the cast of Downton Abbey jingle-jingled on the red carpet.
The accidental TikTok star teamed up with Jason Derulo for a music video version of the viral TikTok hit but has disappointed the masses with his disinterest in pursuing a rap career.
Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images
The unbelievable true story of Anna Sorokin, a Russian-born fraudster who pretended to be a wealthy German heiress, captivated audiences this year. In February, Netflix released "Investing Anna," and the miniseries was the top-watched program on Netflix during the week it was released.
Now Sorokin — who's currently promoting herself as an artist — has signed a deal to star in a reality show about her life since her release from prison. She's also working on a book and a podcast about her time in jail.
The wannabe socialite's story has already been the subject of an episode of "American Greed", "Generation Hustle", "20/20" and "60 Minutes".
Adam Levine Crosses The Line
The Maroon 5 frontman drew massive backlash after allegations surfaced in September that he had cheated on his pregnant wife, Behati Prinsloo. Multiple women came forward claiming that he had inappropriate relationships with them, including Sumner Stroh, who claimed they had a year-long affair.
Bob Saget's Untimely Passing
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The beloved comedian and TV dad was found dead in his Florida hotel room on January 9. The medical examiner concluded that the 'Full House' star, 65, died from an accidental blow to the head, likely from a backwards fall.
Photo: P. Lehman/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck eloped in Las Vegas in July and hosted another wedding celebration with A-list friends and family in August at Affleck's Georgia home.
In a newsletter to fans, JLo wrote, "We did it. Love is beautiful. Love is kind. And it turns out love is patient. Twenty years patient," referencing their first engagement 20 years ago.
The Sad Demise of Aaron Carter
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The pop star-turned-rapper, who struggled with legal and substance abuse issues over the years, was found dead in his home on November 5.
The younger brother of the Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter shot to fame in 1997 after releasing his self-titled album at just nine years old. After the success of his second album, "Aaron's Party," he became a regular on Nickelodeon. He has since been to rehab numerous times and appeared on "Dancing With The Stars" and in the Broadway production "Seussical."
The 32-year-old is survived by his infant son, Prince.
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Takeoff, one-third of Migos, died in an early morning shooting on November 1 at a Houston bowling alley.
At 28, Takeoff (aka Kirsnik Khari Ball) was the youngest member of the "Bad and Boujee" hitmaking trio. Quavo was his uncle, and Offset was his cousin.
Elon Musk's Twitter Takeover
In October, Musk closed a $44 billion deal to purchase the social media heavyweight. Since then: chaos. Massive staff firings, a surge in racist and antisemitic tweets, a plan to sell verified checkmarks, and content like Musk's tweet supporting a conspiracy theory about Nancy Pelosi's husband and his attacker have prompted some high-profile celebrities and advertisers to jump ship. Even Donald Trump declined to return to the platform.
Will Twitter survive? Its decline has been brutal to watch, but some users are having a tough time quitting the site, despite their feelings about its new owner's direction.
From 'Golddigger' To His Own Gravedigger
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What a year to be Ye. His divorce from Kim Kardashian concluded in March while he was busy harassing her new beau, Pete Davidson, via social media and a creepy music video.
He dated Julia Fox, Chaney Jones, and Juliana Nalú and released his eleventh record, ‘Donda 2’, exclusively on his Stem Player.
But his artistic output, and even his love life, was far overshadowed by his stunning, self-induced downfall. He flaunted his “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at Paris Fashion Week, then found a dark new low by expressing rampant antisemitism and love for Hitler on social media and in interviews.
As a result, he lost lucrative partnerships with Adidas, Balenciaga and the Gap and in turn, lost his billionaire status. His Instagram and Twitter accounts were suspended, and his private school closed. His talent agency dumped him, and Madame Tussauds removed his wax figure.
His presence is such powerful kryptonite that his recent dinner with Donald Trump and white nationalist Nick Fuentes turned into a PR nightmare — for Trump.
So, So Many Worries About 'Don't Worry Darling'
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From casting shakeups to an on-set romance, the psychological thriller's behind-the-scenes drama threatened to overshadow the project from the start, when Harry Styles replaced Shia LaBeouf in one of the lead roles. But did director Olivia Wilde fire LaBeouf, or was his departure due to a scheduling conflict?
Then Wilde and Styles became a couple, just weeks after news that Wilde had split from her longtime partner Jason Sudeikis, with whom she shares two children.
In April, Wilde was served custody papers while on stage promoting the film at CinemaCon.
Ahead of the film's Venice Film Festival premiere, star Florence Pugh was conspicuously absent for the film's photocall and press, feeding rumours of on-set drama between her and Wilde.
In September, fans dissected a viral clip of Styles and co-star Chris Pine at the premiere, with some people theorizing that Styles spilt on Pine, launching the 'Spitgate' conspiracy.
The film's added conflict and social media buzz helped it top the box office on its September 23 opening weekend.