Entertainmentwise looks back at the bombshells that have rocked the world of celebrity over the past twelve months...
Joaquin Pheonix kicked off the New Year in spectacular style by falling off the stage at LAVO nightclub in Las Vegas, where he was launching his new rap career. The Gladiator actor's ridiculous appearance and behaviour fuelled speculation he was playing a 'character' for a mockumentary being filmed by his brother-in-law Casey Affleck, but all involved insisted Joaquin was deadly serious about his new direction. Later in the month Jessica Simpson's weight became a major talking point when she was snapped looking heavier than usual while performing on stage. A host of stars, including her sister Ashlee, vocalised their support for the curvy star, whilst Jess herself shrugged off the jibes about her body shape, branding them "pointless."
In February we listened to a leaked audio tape of Christian Bale unleashing a torrent of verbal abuse in the direction of the happless director of photography on 'Terminator Salvation' who apparently got in his line of vision as he filmed an intense scene. Chris Brown was involved in a brutal altercation with then-girlfriend Rihanna, earning himself a community service stint and five years' probation for felony assault. Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie had their highly-anticapated 'Oscar Showdown', which involved Jen looking very uncomfortable as she presented an award on stage, while Angie looked angelic and laughed in all the right places from the front row.
In March, 'Octomom' Nadya Suleman gave birth to eight babies and a reality TV show concept, Britney Spears' 'Circus' rolled into town (New Orleans to be precise), and Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer split for the third and (at the time of writing) final time. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was among those who paid tribute to 'Big Brother' star Jade Goody, who lost her battle with cancer at the age of 27.
The world (and the US in particular) took Susan Boyle to their collective bosom after her unexpectedly tuneful warbling of 'I Dreamed A Dream' on UK talent show 'Britain's Got Talent'. Mel Gibson's wife filed for divorce after 28 years of marriage and seven children, amid rumours he was romancing a mystery woman, and Phil Spector was sentenced to at least nineteen years in prison after being found guilty of second degree murder for the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson. Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt tied the knot for real (after one previous hoax ceremony), and Ashton Kutcher was crowned 'Twitter King' after becoming the first member of the microblogging site to bust through the million follower barrier.
May was all about the sad demise of Katie and Peter, who announced they were separating after three-and-a-half years of marriage and two children together. Like the rest of their relationship, which began on the 2004 series of 'I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here', their messy split has been played out in the public eye, with some cynical folk suggesting it is all a big publicity stunt. As of now, the pair are yet to reunite in a blaze of publicity.
Michael Jackson’s sudden death stunned the world in June. The star’s death – which occurred as he prepared for an historic comeback tour - was eventually ruled a homicide, caused by the powerful anesthetic Propofol. June also saw Charlie's Angels beauty Farrah Fawcett lose her long battle with cancer at the age of 62, and the tragic death of Mike Tyson's daughter. Susan Boyle – by now affectionately known as SuBo – sought refuge in the Priory after struggling to cope with her newfound fame and being parted from her beloved cat Pebbles. Madonna finally had her adoption of four-year-old Mercy James approved, after Malawi's Supreme Court of Appeal overturned and earlier ruling, and Robert Pattinson was clipped by a New York taxi while trying to avoid being mobbed by fans. In lighter news, Eminem had a close encounter with Bruno's (aka Sacha Baron Cowan's) bare bottom at the MTV Movie Awards, prompting the rapper to storm out in a huff. It later emerged that the stunt was staged, and performed with Eminem's full blessing.
In July Jessica Simpson suffered the indigity of being dumped by her American football star beau Tony Romo on the eve of her 28th birthday, while Jennifer Aniston was inevitably linked to her latest romantic comedy co-star Gerard Butler. Mischa Barton was hospitalised for undisclosed medical reasons, and placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold. Her unhealthy, bloated appearance immediately before her hospital stay, helped fuel speculation she was being treated for the fall-out from too much partying, speculation which her camp strongly denied.
After a tragic 2008 which saw the murder of her mother and brother, Jennifer Hudson celebrated the birth of her firs child, a baby boy called David Daniel Otunga Jr, in August. Kerry Katona was dropped by Iceland after a UK tabloid obtained video footage of her apparently snorting cocaine, whilst fellow low-rent celebrity mother Katie Price sparked a Ulrika Johnnson-style guessing game when she revealed she had been raped by another celebrity who she refused to name. Unlike the Ulrika episode, the identity of the alleged rapist never became common public knowledge, and Katie attempted to play down her rape allegation. DJ AM tragically died from an accidental drugs overdose, just eleven months after he and friend Travis Barker survived a horrifying plane crash. August was also the month that SJP and co slipped into their designer threads for the filming of the Sex and the City sequel.
Kanye West was briefly public enemy number one after invading the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards as country music star Taylor Swift was collecting an award. His interruption of her acceptance speech - which began with, 'I'm a let you finish...but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time...' became infamous and inspired a viral phenomenom. Even Barack Obama branded him a “Jackass”. Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Nicole Richie gave birth to a little boy called Sparrow, and Katherine Heigl adopted a girl called Naleigh from North Korea. A coyote ran off with Jessica Simpson's dog, and Randy Quaid and his wife Evi were accused of running off without paying their hotel bill. Lady GaGa said her “beautiful vagina is very offended” at suggestions she is a hermaphrodite.
Boyzone star Stephen Gately's sudden death while on holiday in October left fans shocked and the singer's bandmates "totally devastated". Leona Lewis was sixty minutes into a three-hour book signing at a London bookstore when she was punched in the face by a man – later revealed to be a mentally disturbed former X Factor contestant - who had queued with hundreds of others to meet her. Robbie Williams made a wide-eyed appearance on the X Factor live-show, his first live TV performance in, oh, ages. Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift were rumoured to be dating, whilst Katy Perry and British comedian Russell Brand were less coy about their blossoming romance. Miley Cyrus stunned fans by deleting her Twitter account “for good reason.”
As Amy Winehouse showed the results of breast augmentation surgery off at every opportunity, her dad Mitch confirmed her new boobs were “fantastic”, before adding, “I shouldn't have said that, should I?” Mel Gibson crowned himself Octo-daddy after his girlfriend gave birth to his eighth child, while Andre Agassi revealed in his autobiography he was on crystal meth during a period of his tennis career. Jedward mania was at it's disturbing peak, and the Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart romance rumours went into overdrive when they were pictured apparently holding hands. Oh, and Twilight sequel New Moon hit cinemas...
Tiger Woods' squeaky clean image was shattered by tabloid allegations of infidelity, which grew by the day as more waitresses, hostesses and porn stars were linked to the married golf superstar. Rage Against the Machine ended the Simon Cowell's dominance over the festive chart, by beating X Factor winner Joe McElderry to the covetted Christmas number one spot, powered by a campaign that began on Facebook.
By Cher Tippets entertainmentwise.com