What do you think have been the biggest stories of 2008? Here’s our top five and have your say in the comments section below.
Number 5 - D.I.V.O.R.C.E.
Two big stories squished into one here - one from the start of the year and one from the end. It had been an undercurrent for all of 2007 but Paul McCartney and Heather Mills‘ divorce case only reached the High Court in February this year. Heather is said to have wanted £100million but after two weeks of hearings, it ended with Heather granted a settlement worth £24.3million - and her (already dodgy) reputation ripped to shreds by the overseeing judge. Then in July, there started to be rumblings that Madonna & Guy Ritchie were set to split but the rumours were swept back under the rug with denials until October when they finally confirmed they were done. Guy could have challenged for a fair chunk of Madonna’s estimated £300million fortune but he’s said to have settled for around £30million all in and joint custody of their kids. Imagine the court case if Madonna was divorcing Paul McCartney though…
Number 4 - Britney Spears‘ conversatorship and comeback
By the end of 2007, we were so bored with writing about Britney Spears. We thought one day we’d have to wake up and write about a suicide attempt overnight or an accidental overdose - and we didn’t want to face that over our cornflakes. 2008 looked like it was going to go the same way, with her custody dispute (aka the time she held Jayden hostage) at the very start of the year then two hospitalisations in less than a month on mental health holds. But then her dad Jamie Spears (and estate lawyer Andrew Wallet) were appointed her legal guardians and she started to turn her life around again. By September, she was already on her professional comeback path with three MTV VMA awards under her belt and her new album ‘Circus’ was well received earlier this month.
Number 3 - Ashley Cole cheating on Cheryl Cole
It might not have registered much internationally since they’re pretty much only known in the UK but when Chelsea and England star Ashley Cole was outed as being unfaithful to Girls Aloud wife Cheryl Cole in January, it was huge news over here. The drunken one night stand kiss-and-tell was followed up by other similar claims but Cheryl defied expectations by returning to Ashley, determined to make their marriage of a year work.
Number 2 - Miley Cyrus‘ photo scandals
Various candid photos of the then-15 year old flashing her belly and her bra while posing with boys started trickling out at the start of the year but it was when she took her clothes off - albeit in a reasonably covered-up and classy way - for Vanity Fair that the fit hit the shan. She probably could have successfully argued that she wasn’t showing any more flesh than in a bikini or a backless top but instead, probably given her Hannah Montana role, she kicked off by apologising for them, which made the controversy considerably bigger than it needed to be. In terms of visitor figures, it was our biggest story of the year, but that says more about people wanting to see nudey pics than it does about the photo’s cultural impact.
Number 1 - our biggest story of 2008 - Heath Ledger’s untimely death
This was the news story that hit us like a 4ft plank this year: Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment. Specific locations aside, it was like River Phoenix all over again - a very talented young actor cut down in his prime because of an accidental overdose. There was initial speculation that something iffy was afoot - not foul play exactly but questions about where the drugs had come from and why Mary-Kate Olsen was called before the paramedics but the coroner decided it was just a tragic accident and the subsequent investigation was called off. Since then, all eyes have been on his ex-girlfriend Michelle Williams and their daughter Matilda - but while Michelle has said she misses Heath more as time goes on, she is also moving on and is now dating director Spike Jonze.
Thanks to everyone who’s read Fametastic over the last 12 months and even bigger thanks to those of you who’ve commented, voted in polls and sent us emails. It’s not been an easy year for us here - our terrible twos - but we’re set to turned 3 years old at the end of January and hopefully things will be easier again after that.
Have a wonderful New Year everyone, and we’ll see you again in 2009.