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2012 pop culture newsmakers

Looking back at the pop culture headlines of 2012, the topics are disparate.

It was the year that gave us Honey Boo Boo, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and a rapping hologram of Tupac Shakur.

There were stories about Amanda Bynes’ driving troubles, Fred Willard being arrested in an adult theater and semi-nude photos of several members of the British royal family.

And let’s not forget that we now live in a world where Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is a mom.

Here are a few of the top newsmakers and a look at what is to come.

Lindsay Lohan


If there was one name that popped up throughout the year, it’s that of perennial headline fixture Lindsay Lohan.

Things were looking up for the actress at the start of the year. Lohan was finishing up community service in a drunken-driving case and received praise from a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.

But you just knew that wasn’t going to last.

Since being removed from supervised probation in March, she has been arrested twice in New York over incidents at nightclubs, been involved in a vehicle crash on a California highway, had paramedics sent to her hotel room by worried movie producers after she failed to show up for work and got in an argument with her mother that prompted a police response to her childhood home.

A much-heralded turn as host of “Saturday Night Live” in March earned brutal critiques.

It was announced in April that the actress would portray the late Elizabeth Taylor in a Lifetime movie. “Liz and Dick” debuted in mid-November to largely negative reviews and strong – but shy of record – ratings.

In late November, prosecutors in California filed three misdemeanors against Lohan related to the June highway crash. She faces three counts of reckless driving, lying to a police officer and obstructing an officer from performing duties. Because of the charges, a Los Angeles judge revoked Lohan’s probation in December and scheduled a hearing to decide whether she violated her probation in the case of a necklace removed from a store without permission in 2011.


Lohan stars in a new thriller, “The Canyons,” planned for release in 2013. She also shot a scene with Charlie Sheen for “Scary Movie 5,” due for an April release.

But those legal troubles aren’t going away. Lohan’s probation violation hearing is slated for Jan. 15. In March, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner warned the actress that she could face up to 245 days in jail if she violated her probation again.

The Associated Press contributed to this item.

Celebrity Relationships


Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel got hitched, as did Wynonna Judd, Alec Baldwin and couple Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.

But the biggest celebrity relationship news items were the splits.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes quickly divorced in the summer. That breakup captured more headlines, but was perhaps not as surprising as the separation of Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman after 30 years of marriage. Among other couples visiting Splitsville were Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, Seal and Heidi Klum, and David Arquette and Courteney Cox.

Perhaps hitting fangirls the hardest was the news mid-year that “The Twilight Saga” star Kristen Stewart had cheated on co-star and longtime boyfriend Robert Pattinson with her “Snow White and the Huntsman” director. The pair split briefly, but reconciled just in time to promote the final movie in the franchise together in the fall.


Several high-profile engagements were announced in 2012 that might mean wedding bells this year, though no dates have been revealed. Longtime couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were engaged at the start of the year, and Pitt recently hinted that a wedding could happen soon. Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger, and Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux might also be tying the knot after announcing engagements in 2012.

On the other side of the street, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are, yes, still married and have a court date in February to set a trial date to try to dissolve or annul the couple’s 72-day marriage from 2011.

Talk Shows


Ann Curry was ousted as co-host of NBC’s “Today,” replaced by Savannah Guthrie.

Former football player Michael Strahan was tapped to replace Regis Philbin on the renamed “Live! With Kelly and Michael.”

Co-host Robin Roberts took medical leave from “Good Morning America” to have a bone marrow transplant after being diagnosed with MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease.

Katie Couric led a field of new talk show hosts that included Steve Harvey, Jeff Probst and Ricki Lake.


Roberts is still recovering but will likely return to “GMA” this year.

It has been announced that Anderson Cooper’s daytime talker will end after the current season wraps up mid-year.



There was Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and fun.’s “We Are Young.” There were a couple of boy bands – One Direction and The Wanted – making young girls to scream. And Taylor Swift released another huge-selling record, seeming to guarantee that she is never ever going to fade away – like, ever.

Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was summer’s ubiquitous diddy but perhaps the biggest music sensation was YouTube discovery Psy and his “Gangnam Style” song-and-dance routine, which amassed more than 1 billion views on the video site. After months of appearances in the U.S., the South Korean rapper got into hot water in December with the surfacing of a 2004 rap that included anti-American lyrics.

Adele started the year by sweeping the Grammy Awards for her “21” album and wrapped it up with a baby and the theme to the latest James Bond film, “Skyfall.”

Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter, Blue Ivy, became the youngest artist to ever appear on the Billboard charts when a sample of her crying was included in a song from her father only days after she was born.


Artists with new albums due include Cher, Bon Jovi and 50 Cent.

Country legend George Jones is slated to make his Farewell Grand Tour.



The big winner at the box office came early with “The Avengers,” but films such as “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Ted” also roared into theaters over the summer. Some others made barely a whimper depite big buzz – we’re looking at you, “Rock of Ages.”

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” wrapped up that blockbuster franchise while “The Hunger Games” began a new one.


“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is scheduled to continue the franchise with a November release date. Here is a look at some of the blockbusters-in-waiting:

“Iron Man 3,” (May 3): The private world of Tony Stark (aka, Iron Man) is shattered and he takes on the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).

“Star Trek Into Darkness,” (May 17): The crew hunts for “a one-man weapon of mass destruction” played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

“Man of Steel,” (June 14): The plot has so far been a secret, but the film is seen as a reboot of the Superman tale starring Henry Cavill.

Some others:

•“The Great Gatsby” (May 10)

•“The Hangover: Part III” (May 24)

•“The Lone Ranger” (July 3)

•“The Wolverine (July 26)

•“300: Rise of an Empire” (Aug. 2)

•“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” (Aug. 16)

•“Paranormal Activity 5” (Oct. 25)

•“Thor: The Dark Worlds” (Nov. 8)

•“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Dec. 13)



•Snoop Dogg announced that he will now be known as Snoop Lion.

•Britney Spears and Demi Lovato joined “The X Factor” as judges.

•Remember that thing Angelina Jolie did with her leg at the Oscars?

•Long-time TV series “Desperate Housewives,” “Chuck,” “CSI: Miami,” “House,” “One Tree Hill,” “Gossip Girl,” “Jersey Shore” and “The Closer” all closed out their runs.

•Longtime “Saturday Night Live” stars Kristin Wiig and Andy Samberg left the series. Abby Elliot also exited the show.

•TV cook Paula Deen revealed she has diabetes.


•William and Catherine, the duke and duchess of Cambridge, have a baby due.

•On “American Idol,” Keith Urban and the already-feuding Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey debut as judges.

•TV series “30 Rock,” “The Office” and “Fringe” end their runs.

•Seth MacFarlane hosts the Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

Dates to know

Presidential Inauguration: Jan. 21
Grammy Awards: Feb. 10
Academy Awards: Feb. 24
Primetime Emmy Awards: Sept. 22


Among notable deaths in 2012 were those of singer Etta James, singer Whitney Houston, singer Robin Gibb, singer Davy Jones, actor Michael Clarke Duncan, actress Phyllis Diller, director Tony Scott, actor Ernest Borgnine, actor Jack Klugman, actor Andy Griffith, singer Andy Williams, actor Charles Durning, director Nora Ephron, singer Donna Summer, producer Dick Clark, author-editor Helen Gurley Brown, actor Sherman Hemsley, newsman Mike Wallace, actor Larry Hagman, musician Dave Brubeck, “Soul Train” host Don Cornelius, musician Ravi Shankar and singer Jenni Rivera.

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