by Rebecca Macatee | Wed., Nov. 23, 2016 7:00 AM
Thanksgiving is upon is, which means families all across the country will be gathering around the table to eat, drink and... well, probably argue over politics.
These conversations, while important on any other day, tend to escalate quickly. When this happens, you're left with three options: Egg on Aunt Edna until she explodes, STFU and pass the stuffing (and confiscate the wine), or divert the discussion to something far less contentious...like celebrities.
We can almost guarantee that your most outspoken cousin has a strong opinion on Taylor Swift's love life, and you know Grandma's been keeping up with the Kardashians. Pop culture unites us all, and it can actually lead to fun and, shall we say, less heated debates around the table.
Or really heated debates, but at least they're about celebrities, right?
As is always the case, though, it's important to go into even these conversations well-informed and up-to-date on current events. Fortunately for you, we've put together a nonpartisan primer to get you up to speed on all the stars just in time for Turkey Day.
Ready for a refresher? Here's the CliffsNotes version of everything you need to know to keep the conversation flowing:
The Kardashians: A lot has changed since last year. Rob Kardashian's a dad now, he and fiancée Blac Chyna having welcomed daughter Dream earlier this month (yay, first Thanksgivings!). Khloe Kardashian has been dating Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kourtney Kardashian is still broken up with Scott Disick, but they've looked increasingly cozy again lately, prompting speculation they're trying to reconcile.
Kim Kardashian has been keeping a low profile since she was robbed at gunpoint last month in Paris. While she was physically unharmed, her emotional recovery is, understandably, taking a bit more time. Just this week, Kanye West abruptly canceled the remainder of his Saint Pablo Tour for the year and was hospitalized Monday afternoon, suffering from mental exhaustion.
As for the Jenner sisters? Kylie is very much a makeup mogul on-the-rise (good luck getting her newest Lip Kit) and Kendall is busy supermodeling around the world.
Miley Cyrus She doesn't twerk anymore, but her engagement to Liam Hemsworth is back on! She's also a coach on The Voice now and doing some acting again (including a role in Woody Allen's Amazon mini-series, Crisis in Six Scenes). Miley's stepped up her activism work, too, and through her Happy Hippie Foundation, she continues to advocate for LGBTQ rights and support for the homeless youth community.
Justin Bieber He's not a baby (baby, baby...) anymore! 2016 was the most mature yet for the still only 22-year-old Biebs. He stormed offstage a few times during his Purpose World Tour, upset that his fans didn't seem interested in his between-songs banter, but overall he stayed out of trouble. However, in response to some mean commentary while he was briefly dating Sofia Richie, he deleted his Instagram account over the summer and has yet to return. But if it's any concession, his dog Todd still has one.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Selena Gomez The singer-actress, who went public with her lupus diagnosis in the fall of 2015, took some time off to focus on treating some of the side effects of the disease, including depression and anxiety. She returned to the spotlight just this past Sunday at the 2016 American Music Awards, where she thanked her loyal fans for their unwavering support in a most empowering speech.
Taylor Swift: She hasn't released any new music since her 1989 album, which came out two years ago(!), but she has co-written singles for now ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris and Little Big Town, and she's collaborating on what we're hearing will be a "different" kind of sound with Drake.
On the personal front, the "New Romantics" singer and boyfriend Harris broke up in June, after which Taylor had a short-lived but extremely obsessed over romance with Tom Hiddleston. #Hiddleswift came to an end in September, leaving Taylor more time for outings with her #squad. She performed her one and only show of 2016 during Formula 1 United States Grand Prix last month.
Gigi Hadid Fashion's It Girl has been dating former One Direction singer Zayn Malik since February. Her sister, Bella Hadid, has also found continued success in front of the camera. Bella, who recently split from The Weeknd for the second time, is expected to walk alongside Gigi at the 2016 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Paris.
Rihanna Oh na na, she's not with Drake—but she was for a minute! Actually, the twosome became about as official as they ever get back in July, and the next month, Drake publicly professed his love for Rih at the 2016 MTV VMAs. Sadly, though, too much work, work, work, work, work, work came between them. In October, the pair called it quits, with a source telling E! News their busy schedules were largely to blame for the split.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: Well, back in September, Brangelina threw the world for a loop with the news of their divorce. Angie filed for sole custody of the couple's six kids after Brad and 15-year-old son Maddox reportedly got into a verbal argument aboard a private plane--the investigation into what happened was just officially closed by the FBI.
Meanwhile, the exes' current custody arrangement has the children all staying primarily with Angelina while continuing to have "therapeutic visits" with their dad.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z When life gives you lemons, you make a critically acclaimed visual album and get your revenge. That's what Bey did with Lemonade, and yeah, she kinda-sorta-totally alluded to Hov's infidelity. She also reminded the world that even A-list relationships can be susceptible to a "Becky with the good hair."
Yet despite the initial uproar Bey created with her sure-to-dominate-at-the-Grammys multiplatform opus, she and Jay have been stuck like glue ever since. Her hubby even charmed the country set at the 2016 CMA Awards earlier this month where he was hanging backstage in support of his wife, who was making a memorable CMAs debut with the Dixie Chicks.
That should cover the basics. But quick, lightning round:
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (who doesn't love him?!) was just named People's Sexiest Man Alive. We've yet to meet anyone who hasn't been charmed by the family drama This Is Us. And Kelly Ripa still doesn't have a new co-host.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
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