While everyone else was watching Netflix during quarantine, Taylor Swift was secretly recording new music… and she released it at midnight on July 24. Surprise! Just hours before dropping "Folklore," the pop star said on Instagram, "Most of the things I had planned this summer didn't end up happening, but there is something I hadn't planned on that DID happen. And that thing is my 8th studio album, 'folklore'. Surprise." Taylor said she "wrote and recorded this music in isolation." On July 23, she released a video for the album's debut single, "Cardigan." "Before this year I probably would've overthought when to release this music at the 'perfect' time, but the times we're living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed," Taylor explained. "My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world." There are conspiracy theories floating around Twitter that Taylor released the album on that particular day to compete with the release of longtime nemesis Kanye West's "Donda: With Child" album — which was delayed in the wake of Taylor's news.
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Kanye West's Twitter posts and mental health were huge topics of discussion throughout the week. On July 19, the rapper held a rally in South Carolina to support his longshot bid for president, but the rally was widely viewed as a disaster. During a rambling monologue, the rapper-designer slammed abolitionist Harriet Tubman and said wife Kim Kardashian West might want to divorce him afterward (something he later said he's been considering) after he revealed they almost aborted daughter North West, 7. He also didn't get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in South Carolina. Then, on July 20, Kanye took to Twitter to shade mother-in-law Kris Jenner and claim Kim tried to have him involuntarily committed. As the week progressed, he continued to tweet about his family, referring to Kris as "Kris Jong Un" and saying Kim was "out of line" for meeting with formerly incarcerated music star Meek Mill about prison reform in 2018. Kim took to social media to ask fans and the media for compassion while acknowledging that Kanye was having a severe bipolar episode — none of which, by the way, will be featured on the family's reality TV show.
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"Demi Lovato engaged"… It's got a nice ring to it! On July 22, Demi accepted a marriage proposal from her boyfriend of a few months, soap opera star Max Ehrich. The singer spoke about the engagement on social media. "When I was a little girl, my birth dad always called me his 'little partner' — something that might've sounded strange without his southern cowboy like accent. To me it made perfect sense. And today that word makes perfect sense again but today I'm officially going to be someone else's partner," she captioned a slideshow of photos of herself and her new fiancé showing off her massive engagement ring. "I knew I loved you the moment I met you. It was something I can't describe to anyone who hasn't experienced it firsthand but luckily you did too. I've never felt so unconditionally loved by someone in my life (other than my parents) flaws and all. You never pressure me to be anything other than myself. And you make me want to be the best version of myself. I'm honored to accept your hand in marriage. I love you more than a caption could express but I'm ecstatic to start a family and life with you. I love you forever my baby. My partner. Here's to our future!!!!"
Orlando Bloom is mourning the loss of his dog, Mighty. On July 22, seven days after the dog went missing, Orlando announced that the pooch had passed away. "Mighty's on the other side now," he captioned an Instagram video that shows him getting tattooed with the dog's name. "After 7 days of searching from sunrise to sunset and into the wee hours, today, the 7th day ~the number of completion~ we found his collar… I have wept more this week than I thought possible, which has been very cathartic and healing." Orlando said he "left no stone unturned, crawled thru all the man holes, under the roads, searched every back yard and creek bed. Had two separate sniffer dogs do their best as well. I feel so grateful to have learned from my little Mighty man that love is eternal and the true meaning of devotion. I feel sure he was looking down on me whistling in every back yard and knowing that I was doing all I possibly could to respect our bond. He was more than a companion. It was a soul connection for sure." A few days before the collar was found, Orlando said he was "broken wide open" from the dog's disappearance.
Mama Minaj! On July 20, Nicki Minaj announced on Instagram that she and her husband, Kenneth Petty, are expecting. "Preggers," she captioned a photo of herself cradling her baby bump. In another image showing off her bump, she added, "Love. Marriage. Baby carriage. Overflowing with excitement & gratitude. Thank you all for the well wishes." Nicki posted several other stunning pregnancy images as well. The reveal wasn't totally news to diehard fans, as the rapper had been dropping pregnancy clues for several weeks.
It's love. Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly have been attached at the hip for a few months, but they're now opening up about their white-hot (and still fairly new) romance. In chatting with the "Give Them Lala… With Randall" podcast on July 22, the "Midnight in the Switchgrass" co-stars said they had an instant connection. "Our trailers were next to each other so I just waited outside on my trailer steps everyday I worked just to catch one glimpse of eye contact," he said. "She has the most gorgeous eyes I've ever seen." Megan added, "The second that I was in a room with him and said hello to him and looked into his eyes, I knew right away that he was what I call a twin flame. We're actually two halves of the same soul I think. I said that to him almost immediately. I felt it right away." Megan's ex, Brian Austin Green, meanwhile, is single again.
Family of four? A new report claims that Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel secretly welcomed a second child. All week long, media reported that Jessica gave birth to a baby boy in Montana in mid-July. The stars, who share 5-year-old son Silas, have not commented on reports, but Justin said on Instagram on July 16 that "summer's gonna look a little different this year." The Daily Mail, which broke the news, noted that Jessica has avoided showing her body on Instagram since March, and she has not been photographed publicly since then either.
Model Bar Refaeli has been convicted of tax evasion in her home country of Israel. On July 20, the former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl confessed in court that she and her mother evaded taxes on income of about $10 million. Bar was sentenced to serve nine months of community service. Her mother got a much stiffer sentence — 16-months in prison. The women were also ordered to pay a $1.5 million fine on top of millions in back taxes. The convictions came after they agreed to a plea deal in June.
"Jeopardy!" legend — and recent birthday boy — Alex Trebek was forced to clarify a statement he made in his new memoir about stopping cancer treatment. "That quote from the book was written BEFORE my current regimen, and I was going through some bad times," Alex said on July 22 via the "Jeopardy!" Twitter account. "My current numbers are very good, but we will have to be patient with this new immunotherapy program that I am on. But, if it were to stop being successful, I would return to my previous chemo treatment — NOT stop all treatment." He added, "I apologize for any confusion, and want everyone to know that I am optimistic about my current plan, and thank them for their concerns." The 80-year-old game show host was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in early 2019.
They've come to an agreement. Actress Heather McDonald and former "The Real Housewives of Orange County" star Jim Bellino have settled their defamation lawsuit, TMZ reported on July 20. Terms of the deal are confidential. In a joint statement, Jim and Heather said they've "reached a settlement of the dispute on mutually satisfactory terms." The joint statement also says Heather "never intended to cause any of the damage" to Jim's reputation or that of his business. Jim, the ex-husband of Alexis Bellino, first sued the comedian in the summer 2019 after she spoke about him during a live taping of her "The Juicy Scoop" podcast with Shannon Beador and Tamra Judge. He said Heather "shamelessly dished and peddled unsubstantiated gossip" about his marriage.