When it comes to celebrity news, 2017 was a year we'll likely never forget. Let's look back at some of the more monumental stories from the year that was, starting with the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal and its massive fallout. It really was a watershed moment for Hollywood and it reverberated through the industry. On Oct. 5, The New York Times published a bombshell report claiming that the high-profile producer made unwanted sexual advances on Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan as well as multiple female employees. Ashley had detailed a time in which she was a young actress meeting Harvey in his hotel room to discuss, she thought, business. Clad in a bathrobe, he asked her to watch him shower or let him give her a massage. The report also claimed the mogul had reached at least eight settlements with women, including Rose, related to claims of sexual harassment or unwanted physical contact. That initial NYT story opened a Pandora's box…
Early on, Harvey Weinstein didn't really deny the sexual harassment accusations. In an initial statement, he even seemingly admitted to some of the bad behavior: "I came of age in the '60s and '70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then. I appreciate the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it. Though I'm trying to do better, I know I have a long way to go." Meanwhile, the biggest names in Hollywood, including many onetime friends, denounced him. Ben Affleck said Harvey's actions were "completely unacceptable." George Clooney called his behavior "indefensible." A few days after that initial report in The New York Times, still more women came forward (many in an explosive piece in The New Yorker, as well as in a second NYT piece and elsewhere) to claim they were victims of Harvey's unwanted sexual advances, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosanna Arquette and Angelina Jolie. In an email to the NYT, Angelina said, "I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did. This behavior towards women in any field, any country is unacceptable."
By the end of October, more than 80 women had leveled accusations of sexual misconduct or worse against Harvey Weinstein. But long before it got to that point, his wife left him. He was fired by the board of his own company. He also spent a week in outpatient rehab reportedly to address sex addiction issues. Things also went from bad to worse as more allegations of rape came to light. He flatly denied those claims (his lawyers maintain every encounter was consensual). On Oct. 10, The New Yorker reported that Harvey raped actress Asia Argento. In early November, New York City police said they had been investigating a claim that Harvey raped "Boardwalk Empire" star Paz de la Huerta twice in recent years. Detective Nicholas DiGaudio, who's leading the probe, told Vanity Fair on Nov. 3, "I believe, based on my interviews with Paz, that from the NYPD standpoint, we have enough to make an arrest." Other investigations were launched in London, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.
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Kevin Spacey's life did a complete 180 on Oct. 29 when actor Anthony Rapp alleged that he was at Kevin's house in 1986 when the Oscar winner placed him on a bed, climbed on top of him and made sexual advances toward him. Anthony was 14 years old at the time. Kevin was 26. Kevin was slammed for his response to Anthony's claim — he said he didn't remember it and called it "inappropriate drunken behavior" — because he conflated it with an announcement that he's gay. As with the Harvey Weinstein news, after Anthony went public, more people emerged with tales of Kevin's alleged sordid behavior. Kevin's fall was grace was in full swing.
Beginning on Oct. 30, multiple men came forward to make allegations against a suddenly disgraced Kevin Spacey. There was a Mexican actor, a filmmaker, a few bartenders, a theater usher, a journalist and even Richard Dreyfuss' son, Harry — all them said Kevin made unwanted sexual advances toward them in some form, and several of them were minors. On Nov. 1, Kevin's publicist said the actor was seeking unspecified treatment (the publicist and Kevin's agent then parted ways with him). On Nov. 8, a former TV anchor in Boston said Kevin sexually assaulted her son at a bar near Boston in July 2016 when he was 18 years old. "Whether he was over 21 or not, Kevin Spacey had no right to sexually assault him," Heather Unruh said. "There was no consent. Kevin Spacey bought him drink after drink after drink, and when my son was drunk, Spacey made his move and sexually assaulted him." Now police could get involved. Heather's son filed a police report and gave evidence to investigators, she said.
In the court of public opinion, the verdict was swift, and Kevin Spacey's employers listened. As fervor grew, Netflix fired the Oscar winner from his own show, "House of Cards" (eight current or former employees of the show have said Kevin made the environment "toxic" because of a pattern of sexual harassment). Netflix also said it wouldn't be going forward with another project it had planned with Kevin. He was cut from a "Carol Burnett Show" special. On Nov. 8, Sony Pictures confirmed that the actor was also being cut from "All the Money in the World," in which he played J. Paul Getty, less than two months before its release and that scenes involving Kevin would be re-shot with a new actor. Hollywood is doing its best to not just distance itself from Kevin, but to totally erase him. Adding insult to injury, his own brother even blasted him. "I've long suspected there was a dark side to him," Randy Fowler told The Sun. "I just hope he gets the help he needs so nobody else is harmed by him."
The fallout was fast for Louis C.K. too. On Nov. 9, The New York Times published a story in which five different women (four of them on the record) went into great detail about how the comedian allegedly pressured them to watch or listen as he masturbated. The incidents were said to have taken place between the late '90s and 2005.
When Louis C.K.'s story was published, TV and movie executives went into full-blown damage control as they tried to distance themselves from the comedian. The premiere of his new movie, "I Love You, Daddy" — which he reportedly self-financed — was canceled, and the entire release was scrapped (it was supposed to hit theaters on Nov. 17). An appearance on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" was also canceled. He was dropped from the cast of "The Secret Life of Pets 2." FX announced it was cutting ties with him; Netflix also dropped him, saying it would no longer be moving forward with a comedy special. HBO said it was removing his work from its on-demand services, and his participation in "Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism Programs" was also cut.
About 24 hours after the story ran in The New York Times, Louis C.K. admitted his guilt. "These stories are true," he said. "The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly… I have been remorseful of my actions. And I've tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I'm aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves and cautious around other men who would never have put them in that position… I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn't want to hear it. I didn't think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it. There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with…"
On Nov. 29, the sexual misconduct scandal that swept through the country took down one of TV's most familiar faces, NBC's Matt Lauer. The veteran newsman, who ruled the airwaves for over 20 years, was fired after an allegation of sexual misconduct. Andrew Lack, the NBC News president, said in a memo to the staff that read, "On Monday night, we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer." The allegation, the letter said, "represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company's standards. As a result, we've decided to terminate his employment… While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he's been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident." Multiple media outlets were apparently investigating claims made against the fallen TV icon. Several respected media outlets said the woman alleged that the inappropriate behavior occurred while Matt was in Russia covering the Winter Olympics in 2014, but they continued to be involved with one another in some capacity afterward, as well. Savannah Guthrie made the announcement at the top of the "Today" show. "We are devastated," she said.
Only hours after Matt Lauer was fired at NBC, Variety, who had been investigating claims made against the newsman, published a damning report. Among other things, Variety said Matt once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present, which also included a note that indicated how he'd like to use it on her. Another time he allegedly showed his penis to a woman in his office and became upset when she didn't perform a sexual act. Variety said it investigated Matt for two months and spoke to dozens of current and former staffers, many of whom had similar stories of sexual misconduct at work. "There were a lot of consensual relationships, but that's still a problem because of the power he held," a former producer told Variety. "He couldn't sleep around town with celebrities or on the road with random people, because he's Matt Lauer and he's married. So he'd have to do it within his stable, where he exerted power, and he knew people wouldn't ever complain." Matt's conduct was somewhat of an open-secret at "Today." While speaking at Business Insider's IGNITION conference, Megyn Kelly, who is relatively new to NBC, said, "I had heard rumors about Matt, but that's all they were… I had no inside knowledge at all, but I knew people were sniffing around the issue and hoped it wasn't true,"
Jeremy Piven was just another in a long line of men in Hollywood who were accused of bad behavior in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations. He, however, has denied any wrongdoing. On Oct. 30, actress Ariane Bellamar alleged that the actor groped her on two separate occasions. "Hey @jeremypiven! 'Member when you cornered me in your trailer on the #Entourage set? 'Member grabbing my boobies on the without asking??," she tweeted, later adding, "Jeremy Piven, on two occasions, cornered me & forcefully fondled my breasts & bum. Once at the mansion & once on set." Jeremy adamantly denied the allegations. "I unequivocally deny the appalling allegations being peddled about me. It did not happen," he said. "It takes a great deal of courage for victims to come forward with their histories, and my hope is that the allegations about me that didn't happen, do not detract from stories that should be heard." HBO said it never heard the accusations either.
A few days after the initial accusation, two more women said Jeremy Piven harassed them too. He reiterated his innocence, claiming the accusations "are absolutely false and completely fabricated." He wrote, "What am I not able to do is speculate as to the motivations of these women, as a human being I feel compassion for the victims of such acts, but I am perplexed as to the misdirection of anger with false accusations against me and hope they do not detract from the stories that should be heard." On Nov. 13, the actor even took a lie detector test to try to prove his innocence. He passed with flying colors.
In early November, writer Anna Graham Hunter wrote a story for The Hollywood Reporter in which she claimed Dustin Hoffman groped her and made inappropriate comments about sex to her while she worked as a production assistant on a film with him in 1985. She was 17 years old at the time. "Yes, he was gross," she wrote. "But he could also be sweet and wanted me to like him. Which I did. I would be more comfortable if I felt nothing but revulsion for a man who had power over me and abused it. But I still like watching him onscreen." After the story hit, Dustin expressed remorse. "I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation," he said in a statement. "I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."
Tragedy stuck in Manchester, England, on May 22 at an Ariana Grande concert. As fans exited the show inside the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena that evening, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the venue's rotunda, killing 22 and injuring more than 60 others. British authorities quickly ruled it a terrorist attack. It was reported that Ariana's mother helped rush several fans backstage after hearing the bomb go off. Several hours later, Ariana flew home to Florida and tweeted: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words."
On June 4, Ariana Grande returned to Manchester for the One Love Manchester benefit concert, which also included music heavyweights Coldplay, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams and the Black Eyed Peas. About $13 million was raised, with proceeds earmarked for victims and their families. "I love you guys so much, and I think the kind of love and unity you're displaying is the medicine the world needs right now," Ariana told the crowd of 50,000.
The numbers were jarring: 58 people were dead and more than 500 injured after a gunman opened fire during a country music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. Jason Aldean had been on stage and only four songs into his set when the madman began shooting down on the crowd of 25,000 from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel. The shooting went on for more than 10 minutes. It was the worst mass shooting in United States history. A few hours after the shooting ended — and the gunman took his own life — Jason took to 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."
A few days after the horrific shooting, Jason Aldean and his wife returned to Las Vegas to visit with victims in the hospital. Just six days after the shooting, he performed on "Saturday Night Live," opening the show by stating, "This week, we witnessed one of the worst tragedies in American history. Like everyone, I'm struggling to understand what happened that night and how to pick up the pieces and start to heal. So many people are hurting. There are children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends — they're all part of our family. So I want to say to them: We hurt for you and we hurt with you. But you can be sure we're going to walk through these tough times together, every step of the way, because when America is at its best, our bond and our spirit, it's unbreakable." Celebs from all musical genres — including Celine Dion, Kid Rock, Florida Georgia Line, the Chainsmokers and more — began donating money to victims. Others like Jennifer Lopez and Ellen DeGeneres urged people to donate blood. Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, a Las Vegas native, used his platform to call for gun control. "Tell your congresspeople to do something," he said. "It's not enough to send your love and prayers."
George Clooney and wife Amal Clooney became parents to twins on June 6. The couple announced the birth of their son and daughter in a statement that, as usual, employed a little humor at the actor's expense. "This morning Amal and George welcomed Ella and Alexander Clooney into their lives. Ella, Alexander and Amal are all healthy, happy and doing fine. George is sedated and should recover in a few days," the new parents shared. The twins were born in London, where they will also reportedly be raised. In October, George opened up about the kids, telling "Today," "They're born with personalities. Ella is very elegant and dainty and she has these big beautiful eyes; she looks like Amal … He's just a thug, he's a fat little boy, he laughs louder than everyone in the room; it's the funniest thing."
It was one of the most epic baby confirmations of all time — some would argue the most epic: On July 13, Beyonce posted a photo on Instagram showing her holding her twins, Sir and Rumi, close to her chest. "Sir Carter and Rumi 1 month today," she captioned the shot of the little ones, who she and husband JAY-Z welcomed in a Los Angeles hospital in June. Bey donned a flowered dress and a flowing baby-blue veil while standing in front of an oversized floral arrangement. The Pacific Ocean can be seen in the background. It's one of the most "liked" images in the history of Instagram. On Nov. 10, the twins were photographed publicly for the first time. Both were being held by their grandmothers while the family was in Miami.
The ultimate "playboy," Hugh Hefner, died at 91 on Sept. 27 at the famed Playboy mansion. In a statement, his son Cooper Hefner 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. He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history." According to his death certificate, Hef, the founder of the Playboy empire, passed away after going into cardiac arrest and suffering from respiratory failure. Hef changed the way we see sex and sexuality today.
On May 18, the music world suffered a devastating loss when Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell was found dead in a Detroit hotel room at the age of 52. A medical examiner's report said he committed suicide by hanging. His wife, Vicky Cornell, speculated that his death could actually have been the result of Chris taking too much Ativan, a mood-stabilizing medication. "I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life," she said in a statement on May 19. Just hours before his death, Chris had finished a concert at the MGM Grand Detroit. Vicki said he seemed off when she spoke to him following that final show. Toxicology tests showed Chris, a recovering addict, had several prescription and over-the-counter drugs in his system at the time of his death including, TMZ reported, naloxone (Narcan), butalbital (a sedative), lorazepam (Ativan), pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) and barbiturates. The coroner, however, stated that "drugs did not contribute to the cause of death."
Then came another tragic death: Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington died on July 20 after hanging himself in his California home. His body was found by his housekeeper. The rocker was 41. July 20 would have been Chris Cornell's 53rd birthday — Chester and Chris were incredibly close. In fact, Chester performed "Hallelujah" at Chris's funeral. No evidence of drugs were found at the scene, but there was a half-empty bottle of alcohol inside the room. No suicide note was found. Chester is survived by six children and his second wife. A day after his death, Linkin Park canceled its tour and on July 22, the band set up a tribute site for Chester before breaking its silence on its website a few days later. "Our hearts are broken," the post said. "The shockwaves of grief and denial are still sweeping through our family as we come to grips with what has happened. You touched so many lives, maybe even more than you realized. In the past few days, we've seen an outpouring of love and support, both public and private, from around the world. Talinda and the family appreciate it, and want the world to know that you were the best husband, son, and father; the family will never be whole without you."
TV icon Mary Tyler Moore passed away at the age of 80 on Jan. 25 after battling a number of health problems. Before her death, reports indicated that she was in "grave condition" and had been on a respirator for more than a week in a Connecticut hospital. A statement announcing her passing said, "Today, beloved icon Mary Tyler Moore passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine. A groundbreaking actress, producer and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile."
This was an absolute shocker. Bill Paxton, star of "Big Love," "Jurassic Park," "Weird Science" and more, passed away at 61 on Feb. 25 after suffering a stroke following heart surgery. He had gone in to have a heart valve replaced and an aortic aneurysm corrected when complications arose. The surgery was on Feb. 14. He died in the hospital 11 days later. Director Doug Liman said Bill was nervous about the surgery beforehand and had sent him an email that read, "Thanks for the good wishes. It will help me face this ordeal."
Tom Petty, a rock icon whose career spanned five decades, died on Oct. 2. He was 66. Confusion enveloped much of the day of his death after several media outlets reported in the afternoon that he'd passed away when he hadn't. Tom's daughter, AnnaKim Violet Petty, denied that her dad was dead as reports made their way across the internet. That evening, his manager confirmed the sad news on Tom's Twitter page. "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."
Get ready for baby No. 3! On Sept. 4, Kensington Palace announced that Prince William and Duchess Kate were expecting a sibling for Prince George and Princess Charlotte. "Their royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child," the palace said in a statement posted to Twitter. "The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news." The statement also said that Kate was again suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, better known as acute morning sickness. In October, Kate made her first public appearance since announcing the pregnancy and was "bump shamed" by critics who felt her belly was too small. The palace later announced she's due in April.
At long last, we have a royal engagement! On Nov. 27, Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had gotten engaged. The wedding will be in May 2018 at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Queen is expected to attend. The day the engagement was announced, Harry and Meghan spoke together for the first time, telling the BBC that the proposal happened at their cottage in Kensington Palace. "It was a cozy night," Meghan said. "We were roasting chicken. It was just an amazing surprise. It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got down on one knee." Harry said, "It was a really nice moment — it was just the two of us. I think I managed to catch her by surprise." Meghan said, "Yes, as a matter of fact I could barely let you finish proposing! I said, 'Can I say yes now!'" Harry designed the ring himself. While they didn't share the exact date of the proposal, it came not long after the duo made their first public appearance as a couple in September at the Invictus Games in Toronto. The couple initially sat apart at the beginning of the games, but they emerged on Sept. 25 holding hands as they walked to a wheelchair tennis event, which they watched sitting side by side. The palace had previously confirmed that Harry and Meghan were dating, but this was their first real "look at us" moment. May 2018, circle your calendars.
It had all the feeling of a royal wedding, but it wasn't. It was close, though. On May 20, Duchess Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, married financier James Matthews in Englefield, England. Kate's sister said "I do" in a custom Giles Deacon gown. As expected, attendees included Prince William, Kate and their kids, pageboy Prince George and bridesmaid Princess Charlotte, as well as Prince Harry. Pippa and James celebrated their honeymoon in French Polynesia and Australia.
By and large, Hollywood is not Trump territory. As if there was any doubt, just point to Jan. 21. Men and women — including many celebrities — of all races and backgrounds marched to protest the president's personal and political views, which they perceive as anti-women, and advocate for legislation and policies promoting human rights, reproductive rights, positive immigration reform and civil rights. It was officially called The Women's March, and it was hard to ignore. Peaceful protests were held all over the world. Stars including Jessica Biel, Miley Cyrus and Kerry Washington marched in Los Angeles. Chrissy Teigen, Katy Perry and Emma Watson let their voices be heard in Washington. Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chelsea Handler marched in Park City, Utah, during the Sundance Film Festival. After all was said and done, it was the largest single-day protest in United States history.
They were one of Hollywood's most adorable couples for years… until they weren't. On Aug. 6, Chris Pratt and Anna Faris announced that they had split after eight years of marriage. Chris wrote on Facebook, "Anna and I are sad to announce we are legally separating. We tried hard for a long time, and we're really disappointed. Our son has two parents who love him very much and for his sake we want to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward. We still have love for each other, will always cherish our time together and continue to have the deepest respect for one another." Anna released a similar statement on Instagram. Chris and Anna share son Jack, 5. There were reports that indicated that faith or lifestyle was to blame (she supposedly wanted to stay put in Los Angeles, whereas he liked that his work took him all over the world for weeks or months at a time). Anna moved on quickly with a new man, cinematographer Michael Barrett. They were first seen out together in September, and reports confirming that they were dating emerged in October.
Perhaps the most surprising celebrity split of the year came when Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor revealed on May 26 that they had separated after almost two decades together. "With tremendous love and respect for each other, and the 18 years we spent together as a couple, we have made the decision to separate," they said in a joint statement. "Our priority will continue to be raising our children as devoted parents and the closest of friends. We kindly ask that the media respect our privacy at this time." Admit it, you didn't see this one coming.
Another one bites the dust. Fergie and Josh Duhamel announced on Sept. 14 that they had split after eight years of marriage. "With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year," the stars said in a joint statement. "To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public. We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family." The duo share a son, 4-year-old Axl. The split seemed to hurt. "I wanted to stay married forever," Fergie told Wendy Williams a month later, adding that divorce "wasn't my plan." While tearing up, the Fergalicious one continued, "I love Josh, he's the father of my child, we forever have that project together and we're doing the best we can."
Hollywood was ground zero for thieves in 2017. A large number of singers, actors and reality stars all fell victim to robbers this year. The worst of them all, from a financial standpoint, appears to be Alanis Morissette. It was a tough (and jagged little) pill to swallow for Alanis. In early February, her Los Angeles-area home was broken into and the crooks got away with a whopping $2 million in jewelry. The singer was not home at the time of the heist. She had often posted images of her jewelry on social media before the burglary. Others who were robbed this year include Mariah Carey, Hilary Duff, Rachel Bilson, David Spade, Emmy Rossum, Jason Derulo, Kendall Jenner, Nicki Minaj… and way too many others to name.