As social media has become more and more ingrained in our society, it feels like we’re more attached to our favorite celebrities than we’ve ever been. Because of that, celebrities no longer have to go through traditional sources (print or online) to communicate with their fans. That can really come in handy during a scandal, especially, because people can now directly communicate with their fan-base without fear of their comments being taken out of context. Perhaps not surprisingly, that has actually backfired a lot this year on celebrities, especially those implicated in the #MeToo movement (We’re looking at you, Kevin Spacey). Despite that, traditional media sources still drive most of the celebrity news stories out there and this list is really proof of that. So, let’s take a look at the Top 15 Celebrity News Stories of 2017!
15. Usher’s Ulcers
In what has to be one of the most embarrassing moments for a celebrity/sex symbol perhaps ever, singer/dancer Usher Raymond reportedly paid a woman over $1 million dollars to settle a lawsuit after she sued him for giving her a sexually transmitted disease (which in this case was herpes… Gives a whole new meaning to the song “Burn”). The lawsuit claimed that Usher was aware that he had herpes but despite that still engaged in unprotected relations with the woman without informing her of his status. When news of that lawsuit hit, a second woman filed another lawsuit for essentially the exact same thing. Beyond the fact that none of that was a good look, the appearance of the second woman brought, even more, shade Usher’s way as she was objectively “portly and sort of dumpy” (according to people on Twitter). That lawsuit sought $10 million dollars in damages based on negligence, battery, and emotional distress. While Usher adamantly denied the latter allegations, it definitely wasn’t the best year for the singer whose career has been waning as of late anyway.
14. Kathy Griffin’s Faux-Paux
Kathy Griffin has never been one to back down, even if she’s completely in the wrong, which was especially the case earlier this year when she was photographed holding a rubber likeness of President Donald Trump’s severed head, covered in blood. She claimed that it was a parody, of what exactly no one knew and really regardless of your politics you should never reference the murder of a President for multiple reasons. The backlash was pretty immediate from both sides of the aisle, as it really detracted from reasonable criticism of the new President by making everyone on the left look like they were basically incapable of reason or empathy. Terrified that her career was over, Griffin apologized, but the damage was done and she was fired from a lot of her gig’s and lost all of her sponsors. She held a press conference with her lawyer after that that was widely considered to be a disaster as she attempted to play the victim by saying that the Trump family was “bullying” her. Beyond that, she’s since basically attempted to make money off of the fiasco and seems proud of it, which shows that her apology was disingenuous and solely done to quiet the furor.
13. Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Moment
When you’re a celebrity you definitely have to pick which products you endorse closely, as a celebrity’s personal brand is often as important (if not more important) as the brands they’re partnering with’s. When it comes to a massive global brand like Pepsi, though, you’d think that it’d be a no-brainer to work with them as they clearly have the experience and know-how to generate a campaign that’ll work for everyone involved. That clearly wasn’t the case when Kendall Jenner found herself smack-dab in the middle of a controversy because of a Pepsi commercial she starred in this April. In it, she attempts to create unity between police and protestors by offering one of the police officers a can of Pepsi. The ad (as well as Jenner herself) was labeled “Tone Deaf” at minimum and extremely offensive at maximum, especially considering the state of the country at the time, the fact that most of the protestors are black and Jenner is white and the fact that it just felt like Pepsi was exploiting a very personal and important situation to sell sugar water. Beyond that, it did show that not everyone is a fan of the Kardashian/Jenner clan and so it was probably not the best idea to attempt to paint Jenner as the savior of a race of people, especially one that was protesting the murder of their own. While it wasn’t her fault, per se, it was something she definitely took hard.
12. Taylor Swift’s Trial
Occurring well before the #MeToo movement gave women everywhere the collective strength to name and fight back against their abusers/years of systematic sexism, Taylor Swift was fighting for women everywhere by counter-suing a radio DJ who (the courts have found) groped her during a meet and greet in June of 2013. After Swift complained about the DJ he claimed that she had made up the entire ordeal and sued her for millions of dollars, Swift counter-sued the DJ for $1 and ended up testifying in the case herself. The jury ended up deliberating for around four ours before handing down their decision in mid-August. They found that the former DJ, David Mueller, was indeed guilty of groping her while they took a picture. While Mueller still claims that he didn’t grope Swift and that she was using the entire thing for publicity, it showed that Swift was willing to fight for what she believed in and for her body and it’s made her one of the poster women for the #MeToo movement, even if it occurred months (or years, really) before the movement began (which is a fact that some took issue with when Swift was chosen for the cover of Time Magazine’s Person/People of the Year issue).
11. Ariana Grande Concert Explosion
Sadly, 2017 was the year of terrorist attacks during large concerts, the first of which occurred outside of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England in May of this year. As fans left the 21,000 seat Manchester Arena, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the arena’s rotunda, killing 22 people (including an 8-year old girl) and injuring 60 others. It was quickly ruled a terrorist attack and it was reported that Grande’s mother helped rush several people to safety backstage after hearing the bomb go off. Grande was unharmed physically but reportedly took the event to heart emotionally and Tweeted the following upon returning home to the United States; “broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don’t have words.” She returned to Manchester for a charity concert in early June in a show that also included Coldplay, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and more. Over $13 million was raised with the proceeds going to the victims and their families.
10. Oscars Flub
In what was the biggest flub in the show’s illustrious history, the Oscars almost went completely off the rails earlier this year after Hollywood legends Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong winner for the final (and largest) award of the night in Best Picture. Warren opened the card first and looked at it with a puzzled look, a reaction that people in the audience took as a joke, he then handed it to Dunaway, who announced that the winner was the musical “La La Land”. As the people behind that film took the stage and began their speeches it was clear that something was wrong, but it wasn’t the fault of the presenters as they were handed the wrong card by the accountant in charge of those cards (he lost his job). The real winner was “Moonlight”, and while some people felt like it was too bad that they didn’t have the full-time to accept the award it had to feel nice to learn that you’ve won after thinking you got that close but didn’t come through.
9. The Kardashian’s are Pregnant
Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West have had two children, but they’ve had issues with both pregnancies as Kim’s having a lot of health issues, especially with her most recent child. Because of that, her doctors advised her that she shouldn’t attempt to have a third child, so her and Kanye decided to find a surrogate for their third child. She’s not the only person in the Kardashian clan that’s expecting a child in 2018, as her younger sisters Khloe and Kylie are also expecting children, both of which will be firsts for the youngest Kardashian and Jenner women. Khloe was married to former basketball player Lamar Odom for years, but they struggled to get pregnant while he also struggled with an addiction to drugs. She’s over 30 years old and because she’s struggled to get pregnant in the past some thought she may never become a mother. However, that all changed with the exciting news that she was expecting with her boyfriend, current NBA player Tristan Thompson. The most surprising pregnancy news of the three was that 20-year old Kylie Jenner was expecting her first child with rapper Travis Scott. TMZ broke the news that was later confirmed by People Magazine, while that sounds like a disaster (as they’d only been together for a short period of time before she found out), she obviously has a large support system (and bank account) to fall back on if/when she ends up as a single mother because… You know… Scott is a rapper.
8. Celebrity Twinning!
Celebrity pregnancies were all the rage in 2017, and not just regular pregnancies! Both George and Amal Clooney and Beyonce and Jay-Z announced that they were expecting twins and both couples gave birth to their bundles of joy this year. The Clooney’s were the first to announce and deliver their twins, making George Clooney (who had been a celebrated bachelor for most of his life) a father for the first time in his 50’s, along with his wife Amal who is a world-famous human rights attorney. Exactly a week later, Beyonce and Jay-Z welcomed their second and third children, who they named Sir and Rumi (a boy and a girl). Their children were premature and thus had jaundice, which is normal, but they’ve been healthy ever since. The phenomenon of famous people having twins was all the rage in 2017, though, so much so that people think that perhaps they’re choosing twins at the doctor and undergoing IVF therapy.
7. Hugh Hefner Died
Few individuals are more responsible for the sexual revolution that took place in the United States during the mid-to-late 60’s than Hugh Hefner. Founder of Playboy Magazine, he was famous for creating what was the most popular men’s magazine of all-time at one point, his multiple blonde girlfriends, his mansion and his penchant for wearing a robe while smoking a pipe. A renaissance man through and through, Hefner passed away at the age of 91 in September of this year inside of the Playboy mansion while surrounded by family and friends. In a statement, his only son Cooper said, “My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights, and sexual freedom.” Hefner passed away after going into cardiac arrest while suffering from respiratory issues and eventually respiratory failure.
6. Tom Petty Dies
Legendary Rocker Tom Petty, frontman for groups like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and The Traveling Wilbury’s and whose career spanned five-decades passed away in October of this year at the age of 66. He had actually just finished a long tour before succumbing to cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of October 2nd. His longtime manager broke the news on Twitter by saying the following: “On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty. He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”
5. Death of Chris Cornell/Chester Bennington
Every year celebrities die, that’s part of life and why they have the “In Memory” portions of award shows, however, the back-to-back deaths of former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and current Linkin Park (at the time) frontman Chester Bennington were so unexpected and tragic that they shook pop culture to the point of numerous conspiracy theories popping up in the days, weeks and months after. Both Cornell and Bennington had struggled with mental health issues their entire lives, perhaps that’s what drew them together as they were also really close friends (so much so that Bennington was the Godfather to one of Cornell’s children). Cornell performed a final concert in Detroit and then made a phone call to his wife who noticed something off about his voice so she called security to check on him, it was too late though as he had hung himself with an exercise band in his hotel room. A few weeks later Bennington followed his friend and hung himself as well, which is where the conspiracy theories come in (Illuminati did it, etc.). If there’s any shadowy organization that these deaths highlighted it’s depression, not the Illuminati.
4. Bill Cosby’s Trial
During the peak of his career, there was no person that better represented America’s “Dad” than Bill Cosby himself. He built a career as a stand-up and actor by mostly using and participating in wholesome and family-friendly material/content and while there were rumors about his sex life for years it was only after a joke by stand-up Hannibal Burress was filmed by an audience member that his entire life, reputation, and almost freedom were changed forever. Burress’ “joke” was that Cosby, who had often lectured the black community over … Basically, everything had no right to be smug because he was a rapist. For whatever reason, that joke went viral and Cosby’s victims were able to finally have their stories heard. While most of the instances were outside of the statute of limitations there was one that wasn’t and that ended up going to trial in Pennsylvania earlier this year. That jury ended up being “hopelessly” deadlocked and after six days the judge declared a mistrial. Reports were that 10 of the 12 jurors found him guilty, with only two being unable to find him guilty. The prosecution had to decide whether or not to retry the case and they decided to do just that, with a second trial being slated for spring of 2018.
3. Prince Harry Proposes to Meghan Markle
The hearts/hopes/dreams of women (and men, really) across the world were shattered this month when the most eligible bachelor in the world, Prince Harry of the United Kingdom, proposed to his longtime girlfriend Meghan Markle. Markle, an American actress who is best known for her role on the USA drama ‘Suits’ was married once already and is bi-racial, two things that (depending on who you ask) either have never been a part of the royal family or have only been a part of the royal family once. Markel, whose mother is black and whose father is white, is showing girls around the world that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up as long as they’re insanely gorgeous. Which is always a nice message. Where as Prince Harry is also giving gingers around the world hope, as long as they’re born into a monarchy. There have been a ton of reports about their upcoming nuptials in recent weeks but it does look like the couple have picked a date and are heavily considering a religious ceremony. Should be adorable.
2. Las Vegas Massacre During Jason Aldean Concert
On October 1st of this year the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States took place in Las Vegas during a country music festival in Las Vegas. Country singer Jason Aldean was on stage at the time at the Route 91 Harvest Country music festival when a gunman began firing down onto the crowd of around 25,000 people who had gathered across the street from his 32nd floor hotel room suite. When the carnage ended 58 people were dead and over 500 were injured. Afterwards, Aldean wrote on Instagram, “Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that Me and my Crew are safe,” he wrote. “My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken #stopthehate.”
The obvious choice for the number one spot on this list is the #MeToo movement, which is quickly becoming a watershed moment in the history of the Western world that’s been a long time overdue. It all started with a bombshell report in The New York Times that described a decades-long career of sleaze-baggery, assault, rape, hush-money, career-threatening and ruining and power abuse that was undertaken by one of the most powerful executives in the history of Hollywood in Harvey Weinstein. The fact that his behavior was essentially an “open secret” lead to more and more people (men and women, but mostly men) being outed as predators and it while the response has been a long time coming some fear that the one-size fits all mentality of the roving rage mobs online may do more harm than good in the long run. But for now, it’s looking like a lot of industries are cleaning house with countless hyper-famous people from film to music to the restaurant industry dropping like flies. Celebrities like Louis CK, Dustin Hoffman, Charlie Rose, Al Franken and more have been forced into retirement and it feels like we’re still only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of the impact of the #MeToo movement. Who knows, it could be the top story in 2018, as well!