There's no disputing that 2020 has been a doozy, but there have been good moments too! Wonderwall.com is rounding up the stars who brought us laughs and lifted our spirits during this crazy year, starting with our unlikely quarantine bestie on Instagram — Leslie Jordan! The character actor — who was previously best known for his role as Beverley Leslie, Karen's frenemy, on "Will & Grace" — took to social media early in the year to share funny videos addressing his fellow "hunker-downers" during the coronavirus pandemic. His adorable accent and silly content ended up scoring him a seriously massive following. By April, he'd reached 250,000 followers, and by the end of the year, he'd hit 5.5 million! Many of his silly videos went viral and brightened people's moods during dark times. Keep reading to see the other stars who helped cheer us up in 2020…
One star who certainly delighted her fans during this crazy year? Taylor Swift! After her tour was canceled due to the pandemic, she released a special on ABC in May, "Taylor Swift: City of Lover Concert," which had previously been filmed in Paris in September 2019. After that, she decided to seriously improve 2020 for Swifties with the drop of a surprise album, "folklore," in July. The superstar followed that with a surprise Disney+ special in November, "folklore: The Long Pond Sessions," where she performed tunes from the 2020 project with her collaborators in person for the first time. But Taylor wasn't done yet! For her 31st birthday in December, she gifted her fans with a second surprise full-length album, "evermore"!
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Thank goodness for Bravo in 2020! The network kept the quality reality programming flowing all year long — providing new seasons of nearly every "Real Housewives" franchise — and a lot of credit goes to big Bravo honcho Andy Cohen. Andy, who contracted COVID-19 early in the pandemic, pivoted perfectly when the world shut down. As soon as he recovered from the coronavirus, he got back to work entertaining Bravo fans by moving "Watch What Happens Live" from the studio to his own home office. He interviewed both A-list and Bravo celebrities alike via Zoom and continued to give us good gossip. He also served as the host of numerous "Real Housewives" reunions — some virtual, some filmed, giving us the first in-person reunions since March with "The Real Housewives of New York City" in August and "The Real Housewives of Potomac" in November.
Dolly Parton started reading children's stories aloud on YouTube Live during quarantine on her channel, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library — which is also the name of her organization that serves kids in East Tennessee and mails 1 million books a month to children around the world to help them build their own libraries. The sweet gesture wasn't the only nice thing Dolly did this year: She also donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for coronavirus treatment research.
When we needed them most, the Roses of "Schitt's Creek" delivered! The sixth and final season of the addictive Canadian sitcom hit Pop TV in January and later came to Netflix in November, tying up the story of the quirky and lovable Rose family with David and Patrick's sweet wedding. It also set records at the Primetime Emmys in September, sweeping all seven major comedy awards — including all four acting awards! — claiming the most Emmy wins for a comedy in a single season. Ever.
In the early days of quarantine, one new celebrity couple could always be counted on for some entertainment — Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas. The duo, who met filming the upcoming thriller "Deep Water" in late 2019, were spotted almost daily by paparazzi going for strolls near Ben's Los Angeles home with their dogs. Their budding romance really blossomed this year, and though they spent a few summer months keeping a lower profile, they wrapped up the year with more out-and-about appearances, including with Ben's kids — showing just how serious the relationship is these days.
Sure, Mindy Kaling was a permanent fixture in our living rooms thanks to constant "The Office" rewatches, but she also gave us some brand new Netflix entertainment via her standout series "Never Have I Ever," which dropped in April. The show, which is inspired by Mindy's upbringing, centers around an Indian American high schooler. Aside from giving us plenty of laughs, Mindy also dropped some much-needed happy news this year when she revealed on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" in October that she secretly gave birth to her second child — son Spencer — weeks earlier.
We all missed dining in at our favorite restaurants in 2020. To make us feel better, one of our Food Network favorites, Guy Fieri, changed up his classic series "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" to make it COVID-19-friendly. In April, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Takeout" debuted. It showed Guy checking in with chefs all over the country to see how they've changed business to cope with the pandemic. They also gave him the ingredients to their best recipes to teach him how to make their dishes at home. And that wasn't the only thing Guy did this year: He also helped raise $21.5 million for out-of-work restaurant employees in seven weeks!
Right when we needed a virtual vacation, Netflix and Lily Collins delivered in the form of "Emily in Paris." The addicting series debuted in October and gained instant fans desperate for some glamour and fashion from the City of Light. Lily also delighted fans when she announced her engagement to director Charlie McDowell in September.
Lizzo can always be counted upon to cheer us up — and her quarantine musical meditations were a great way to help fans relax. She also was vocal about her own mental health issues in these strange times and encouraged her followers to work on self-love. Aside from being open and helping everyone get a little more Zen, she also participated in Lady Gaga's "One World Together at Home" virtual concert, singing "A Change is Gonna Come."
Love her or hate her, Clare Crawley — and the anticipation of her disastrous season of "The Bachelorette" — kept us on our toes until its October release. The show, which was postponed for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic, ultimately took all of Clare's suitors and quarantined them at a resort in La Quinta, California, so the popular ABC reality show could play out safely. Rumors swirled early on that the oldest "Bachelorette" star in the franchise's history found love early and departed the show prematurely, and once the season debuted, fans learned it was true — and that it truly was "the most dramatic" in the franchise's history! Both diehard Bachelor Nation members and those new to the franchise united to check out this unprecedented season that saw Clare quit the show just 12 days into filming as she fell for (and accepted an engagement ring from!) contestant Dale Moss, leading fan favorite Tayshia Adams to take over as the new lead.
From making headlines for that sweet run-in with Jennifer Aniston at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January to their reunion on Zoom at the "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" charity table read in September, Brad Pitt's public interactions with his former wife delighted fans of the former famous couple in 2020. Though they split way back in 2005, fans were dreaming of a 2020 re-coupling thanks to these cute moments. Unfortunately, dreams were dashed when it was revealed in August that the Oscar winner was dating a 27-year-old German model. Fortunately for his admirers, the relationship had fizzled by October. Brad delivered another boost of serotonin in November when photos popped up of him looking as hunky as ever while volunteering and handing out groceries to families in need.
Chrishell Stause had a major 2020 that saw her provide us all with a much needed escape as we watched — not one, but two! — seasons of "Selling Sunset." The Netflix reality show heated up just as we all continued to stay safer at home, with season 2 debuting in May and season 3 dropping in August. The latter chronicled Chrishell's shocking and high-profile divorce from "This Is Us" actor Justin Hartley. Then in the last quarter of 2020, she charmed audiences as a competitor on "Dancing With the Stars." After she was paired with Gleb Savchenko, rumors swirled that his sudden split from his wife was a result of a showmance between the two — but once the show ended, it was revealed she'd actually been spending time with a different pro dancer, Keo Motsepe.
Though her book was released pre-quarantine in February, the words of Jessica Simpson offered a welcome distraction for many people during lockdown. Her memoir, "Open Book," talked candidly about everything from her high-profile relationships with Nick Lachey and John Mayer to her personal struggles like overcoming sexual abuse and an alcohol addiction. Those listening to the audiobook got an extra treat: It was read by Jessica herself — and named one of the year's best audiobooks by Apple Books.
Just like co-star Mindy Kaling, many of us saw John Krasinski while binging "The Office" over and over. But his performance as Jim Halpert wasn't the only way he cheered us up in 2020. John also launched his very own web series, "Some Good News," in March. The short episodes provided some much-needed good news from all over the world and included appearances by special guests — including his "The Office" co-stars like Steve Carell and Jenna Fischer as well as musical guests like Billie Eilish and the Jonas Brothers on a very special prom episode.
Megan Thee Stallion didn't just give us some memorable music to get us through 2020. She was also active on TikTok. Her song "Savage" and her controversy-sparking tune with Cardi B, "WAP," both quickly became the soundtracks for two very popular dances on the platform, and Megan herself started her own dance challenges on TikTok while everyone was locked down.
We all needed a new crush during quarantine, and Paul Mescal filled that slot when "Normal People" debuted on Hulu in April. The Irish drama series based on author Sally Rooney's book of the same name starred Paul as Connell, who strikes up a tortured romance with schoolmate Marianne (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones). The former footballer quickly charmed audiences in the role, so much so that the chain his character wore got its own Instagram account during quarantine that amassed more than 100,000 followers.
Though she left our television screens in 2019, Bethenny Frankel still helped save 2020 thanks to her disaster relief initiative bstrong. Her organization raised almost $17 million for personal protective equipment for hospitals and helped create "corona kits" to distribute across the country. She also brightened up our earbuds in September with the launch of her podcast, "Just B."
Will Smith launched "WFH: Will From Home" on Snapchat in April, giving fans a nice break from quarantine life by providing them a glimpse of his famous family's life at home. The star also inadvertently served up salacious headlines when singer August Alsina alleged in June that he'd enjoyed a relationship with Will's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, with Will's blessing. The couple originally denied the rumors and later opened up about the relationship on Jada's Facebook Watch show "Red Table Talk" — where she characterized it as an "entanglement" that did indeed happen more than four years ago when the married couple were privately separated.
The last couple months of 2020 had everyone talking about one show — the addictive murder-mystery series "The Undoing" starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. In the midst of the hype, Nic was suddenly super-active on social media! Yep, the A-lister got very involved with all of the other celebs guessing who the killer might be — from rappers to reality stars. It was definitely fun to see the surprising interactions — almost as fun as following the HBO series every Sunday to try to solve the mystery ourselves!