by Billy Nilles | Mon., Dec. 17, 2018 11:56 AM
If there's one thing that 2018 wasn't, that's calm.
It felt as though every day there was some new story dominating the news cycle, stories that left our jaws on the floor and our Twitter feeds awash in commentary from just about everyone around the globe. There were surprise engagements and shocking splits—and no, we're not just talking about Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson—career suicides and, sadly, a number of real-life suicides, as well.
Whether we were mourning the untimely loss of some of our heroes or celebrating the unexpected arrivals of some celebrity babies, it seemed as though just when we caught our breath after one massive shocker, another was waiting for us right around the corner. So much so that no one would blame you if you'd forgotten everything that happened this year. And that's where we come in.
Before we put this year behind us and look forward to, hopefully, a 2019 where the shockers are more positive than negative, let's take a stroll down shocking memory lane one last time.
Relive the 20 most shocking moments of 2018 below!
Kylie Jenner surprised fans on February 4 when she revealed that she'd welcomed a baby girl, Stormi, into the world without ever having confirmed that she and rapper beau Travis Scott were even expecting. Despite the pregnancy first being reported the prior September, Kylie stayed away from social media during the months leading up to the birth, keeping fans in the dark. Breaking her silence on Instagram, she wrote, "I'm sorry for keeping you in the dark through all the assumptions. I understand you're used to me bringing you along on all my journeys. My pregnancy was one I chose not to do in front of the world. I knew for myself I needed to prepare for this role of a lifetime in the most positive, stress free, and healthy way I knew how. There was no gotcha moment, no big paid reveal I had planned. I knew my baby would feel every stress and every emotion so I chose to do it this way for my little life and our happiness."
"Pregnancy has been the most beautiful, empowering, and life-changing experience I've had in my entire life and I'm actually going to miss it," she continued. "I appreciate my friends and especially my family for helping me make this special moment as private as we could. My beautiful and healthy baby girl arrived February 1st and I just couldn't wait to share this blessing. I've never felt love and happiness like this I could burst! Thank you for understanding."
The same day, she released a documentary-style 11-minute video message to Stormi, documenting her entire pregnancy journey.
emal Countess/Getty Images
Where to begin with this one? After years of rumors and exposes regarding the alleged cult-like nature of Keith Raniere's NXIVM organization, the veil seemed to have been lifted when the founder, referred to as "The Vanguard" by his acolytes was arrested in Mexico by the FBI, charged with multiple counts of sex trafficking and forced labor, followed by Smallville vet Allison Mack's arrest a month later, again on federal sex trafficking charges, accused of recruiting women for a sex slavery ring led by Raniere. Over the next few months, we learned an astonishing amount of how NXIVM's inner circle, an alleged hierarchical sex-slavery ring called DOS, allegedly operated, complete with the branding of recruits, as well as the web of players involved, which included several actresses and the Bronfman sisters, hieresses to the Seagram liquor fortune. The case will go to trial on March 2019.
As petty feud with Pusha T got more and more personal as it waged on, the world had its suspicions confirmed that Drake might have actually become a father when the former dropped his diss track "The Story of Adidon," which name-checked Sophie Brussaux, the women who claimed to have texts proving that Drake was her son's father in 2017, with Pusha calling her "your baby mother" before rapping "Adonis is your son and he deserves more than an Adidas press run, that's real/Love that baby, respect that girl/Forget she's a porn star, let her be your world." A month later, Drake confirmed everything with the June release of his album Scorpion, referring to his son on several tracks. On the track "Emotionless," he addressed claims that he was keeping his son hidden, rapping, "I wasn't hidin' my kid from the world/I was hidin' the world from my kid," while the album's grand finale, "March 14," fully told the story of how he came to be a father, including the fact that he'd only seen Adonis once. By October, he was gushing about the kiddo in an appearance on LeBron James' HBO show The Shop, showing him off via photos on his phone. "[He has] crazy blue eyes — baby blue eyes," Drake said, adding, "He's already in the pool shooting the basketball."
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Did any family display more public dysfunction in 2018 than the Markles? While Meghan Markle has largely ignored the antics of her father and half-siblings across the Atlantic while she's been acclimating to, you know, becoming a freaking Duchess, her older sister Samantha Grant (who only reverted back to her father Thomas' last name when her sister became an international sensation) has been hell-bent on taunting Prince Harry's new wife both on social media and in the press. To recap everything she's said about her sister in this never-ending one-sided feud would take all day. Luckily, we took the time for you.
The world was left stunned when fashion icon Kate Spade was found dead of an apparent suicide in her Manhattan apartment on June 5. Discovered unconscious and unresponsive by her housekeeper while her husband, Andy Spade, was home at the time, EMS pronounced the designer dead on the scene, having apparently hung herself. The following day, Andy released a lengthy statement intended to set the record straight on reports that had begun surfacing, in which he addressed the depression and anxiety that his wife had suffered for many years. Kate, who counted comedian David Spade as her brother-in-law and actress Rachel Brosnahan as her niece, was laid to rest on June 21, but not before her family suffered another loss, as the late designer's father, Earl F. Brosnahan, Jr., died the night before the funeral.
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It should've been a banner year for Ronnie Ortiz-Magro. He and his old roommates had returned to MTV for the wildly successful Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, which just completed its second season and has been renewed for a third, and he welcomed his daughter Ariana into the world on April 3. Instead, he's only made headlines for his wildly tumultuous relationship with girlfriend Jen Harley, a romance that's been consumed by alleged cheating, vicious social media fights, and ugly physical altercations, one of which resulted in Harley's arrest for domestic battery. (The charged were eventually dropped.) And to make matters worse, it's all played out on national television.
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It was hard to keep track of all the headline-making statements that Kanye West made this year, but none seemed to cause as much a stir as the rapper's May appearance on TMZ Live in which he said, "When you hear about slavery for 400 years—for 400 years? That sounds like a choice." While he later apologized for that particular comment, he went on to ruffle feathers further in September when, while posting a photo of his Make America Great Again hat, he called for abolishing the 13th amendment, which outlawed slavery. He later told TMZ's Harvey Levin he meant it should be amended, not abolished. In early October, he visited the White House, where he told President Donald Trump that he'd "saved the world. Saved the planet." But by the end of the month, he declared that he was "distancing himself from politics" after realizing he'd been "used to spread messages I don't believe in."
Just days after Kate Spade's suicide rocked the world, we learned that celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain had taken his own life on June 8. CNN reported that he had hanged himself in a hotel room near Strasbourg, France near where he was readying an episode of Parts Unknown, his food and travel show that had aired on the cable news network since 2013. His close friend, chef Eric Ripert, found him unresponsive in the room. A French prosecutor ruled out foul play the following day, while weeks later, the same prosecutor revealed that the recovering addict only had a "trace of nonnarcotic medicine in a therapeutic dose" in his body at the time of death.
There was no bigger TV success story in the spring of 2018 than ABC's revival of Roseanne, which debuted in March to numbers larger than it had pulled in before it initially went off the air back before Peak TV made it nearly impossible for anything to rate as high as things did during the sitcom's heyday. The show was quickly renewed by the network, despite Roseanne Barr's continued combative behavior on social media, including her premiere night need to link Parkland massacre survivor David Hogg to Nazis. But a week after the season finale, Barr took things a step too far when she shot out a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett. Hours later, ABC president Channing Dungey swiftly canceled the network's highest-rated show, calling Barr's statement "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent" with ABC's values. Barr later blamed the tweet on Ambien, but no one was really buying it. Not with her long Twitter history as evidence. Producers later managed to convince Barr to relinquish any financial or creative control over a potential spinoff, paving the way for ABC to order The Conners, a continuation of the series that would keep everyone else involved employed. It debuted in October and while its ratings weren't able to match the highs of the premiere, they were on par with the 10 million or so who had tuned in to May's finale.
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After years of remaining decidedly apolotical, to the continued dismay of critics, Taylor Swift stunned everyone in early October when the singer made her private politics public with a lengthy Instagram explanation of who she'd be voting for in the November midterm elections and why. Explaining she'd be voting in her home state of Tennessee, Swift said that the events of the last two years had changed her stance on sharing her political beliefs before endorsing liberal candidates Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper and denouncing conservative Marsha Blackburn's voting record in Congress. While her statements weren't enough to keep Blackburn from securing re-election, Vote.org reported a massive surge in voter registration amongst young people in the 24-hours following Swift's post.
After CBS CEO Les Moonves became the latest powerful man in Hollywood brought down by accusations of sexual misconduct, resigning his post in early September after a pair of exposés by Ronan Farrow were published in The New Yorker, all eyes were on his wife Julie Chen. As one of the co-hosts of the network's daytime chatfest The Talk, as well as the long-time host of Big Brother, it seemed as though there might be a conflict of interest if she stayed in her post. And she seemed to agree—to an extent. She tearfully resigned from The Talk a week after Moonves' own departure, but saw the current season of Big Brother out, where she began using her full married name Julie Chen Moonves (something she'd never done before) as way of affirming her earlier statement that she would be standing by her husband "today, tomorrow, forever."
Nearly a month after she shocked fans with the release of "Sober," a single declaring that she'd fallen off the wagon after maintaining six years of sobriety, Demi Lovato had the world worried when she was rushed to the hospital on July 24 to be treated for an overdose after first responders used naloxone, an opioid-overdose antidote on the singer, who was unconscious upon their arrival. Despite expectations of a full recovery, she remained in the hospital for an extended period of time, suffering from extreme nausea and high fever, side effects of the overdose. On August 5, she posted a lengthy statement on Instagram, thanking God for "keeping me alive and well," telling fans that their "positive thoughts and prayers have helped me navigate through this difficult time." A day later, she was released from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and flown directly to a rehab facility, where she remained until early November. As she begins her post-rehab recovery, she's also made a love connection with fashion designer Henry Levy, whom a source had previously told E! News was serving as her sober companion.
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Justin Bieber and girlfriend Hailey Baldwin had already secured themselves a spot on this list when they entered into a whirlwind engagement after the "Sorry" singer popped the question during a trip to the Bahamas in July. But then they went and one-upped themselves in September when E! News learned that they had gone ahead and already gotten legally married at a New York City courthouse to the surprise of everyone, including their families. A separate ceremony outside the U.S. with a few families is still forthcoming, but Baldwin has already begun using her new husband's last name.
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We knew that there was tension between rap's reigning ladies, but we had no idea how bad things truly were until Nicki Minaj and Cardi B both showed up at the Harpers Bazaar ICONS Bash during September's New York Fashion Week and the s--t hit the fan. Cardi tracked Nicki down, lunging at her and throwing a shoe. "It was so fast!" an eyewitness told E! News of the incident, which was caught on camera. "I heart someone screaming—everyone recognized Cardi's voice—people either got out of the way or took out their phones and started filming. Nicki was surrounded by a bunch of guards and barely even looked at her. Next thing you know, shoes were flying and Cardi was on her way out." Cardi later claimed that Nicki had mentioned her daughter Kulture and liked social media comments about the "Bodak Yellow" rapper's mothering. Nicki aired her side of things on her Queen Radio show, saying the scuffle was "so mortifying and so humiliating to go through" while asserting she would "never talk about anyone's child or parenting." A month later, they declared a truce that's managed to last...for now.
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The world was stunned in early September when news broke that Mac Miller had died at the young age of 26 of an apparent overdose. The rapper had struggled with addiction issues for some time and, days after his split from Ariana Grande in May, he was involved in a car accident and later charged with driving under the influence. Two months after his passing, the autopsy results revealed that Miller had died from mixed drug toxicity (fentanyl, cocaine and ethanol), with the manner of death certified an accident. "i adored you from the day i met you when i was nineteen and i always will. i can't believe you aren't here anymore. i really can't wrap my head around it. we talked about this. so many times," Grande wrote after his passing. "i'm so mad, i'm so sad i don't know what to do. you were my dearest friend. for so long. above anything else. i'm so sorry i couldn't fix or take your pain away. i really wanted to. the kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved. i hope you're okay now. rest."
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Megyn Kelly and Today were never a great fit, and the ratings for her show, the third hour of long-running four-hour morning program, showed it. But few expected the Fox News vet's relationship with NBC to come to an end the way it did. On Tuesday, October 23, while discussing Halloween costumes with a panel that included Jenna Bush Hager, Jacob Soboroff and Melissa Rivers, Kelly found herself in hot water as she said that blackface "was okay when I was a kid as long as you were dressing like a character" and later added, "I can't keep up with the number of people we're offending just by being normal people these days." The backlash was swift and her downfall even more so. Despite delivering an emotional on-air apology the next day, as well as sending one to her NBC News colleagues, Megyn Kelly Today was canceled that Friday. In mid-December, Kelly promised she'd be back to work in 2019, while her former studio continues to see a rotating panel of Today anchors and correspondents manning Today's third hour.
Boy did Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson have a year. In late May, we learned that the singer had begun dating the SNL comedian shortly after splitting from rapper Mac Miller in what was being described at the time as a "casual" thing. Color us surprised when less than month later, they were already engaged. "It's a recent engagement. They're just two people who found love quickly and make each other happy all the time," a source told People. "They both started talking about it this past weekend. It's nothing they've been hiding." They spent the summer as loved up as could be, getting tattoo after tattoo, moving into a $16 million New York City apartment and adopting a piglet, but when Miller tragically passed away in September, it proved too much for the young couple to withstand and, by mid-October, the engagement was off and they had split. "It was way too much too soon," a source close to Grande told People. "It's not shocking to anyone."
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Nothing about Cardi B and Offset's relationship had been conventional—they'd secretly gotten married before he publicly proposed; their busy schedules meant that they barely saw one another despite welcoming a daughter, Kulture, into the world five months ago—but we were still stunned in early December when, just three days after heating up The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. for 102.7 KIISFM's Jingle Ball with plenty of PDA, the "I Like It" rapper took to Instagram to reveal that she and her husband were calling it quits. "I guess we grew out of love, but we're not together anymore," she told her fans. "I don't know. It might take time to get a divorce and I'm gonna always have a lot of love for him because he is my daughter's father and yah." Offset's statement? A comment on his now-ex's post that read, "Y'all won."
As a source told E! News, things hadn't been well between the pair for some time, but it was recent "rumors" about their marriage that had Cardi questioning "Offset's loyalty, which really pushed Cardi over the edge." And whatever you do, don't accuse Cardi of doing this for publicity.
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They were the couple no one saw coming. But when Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra began spending plenty of rare free time together in late May, fans began wondering if their "purely platonic" appearance together on the 2017 Met Gala red carpet in Ralph Lauren designs was really as the Quantico actress had explained it away to Jimmy Kimmel. Cut to two months later and the couple were already announcing their engagement. And five months after that, they were walking down the aisle in her native India with two ceremonies (one Western and the other traditional Hindu) that cost reportedly $800,000 and spanned a week. "Marrying Nick off to Priyanka, it's been fantastic. Obviously, this has been one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever seen and to be a part of it was a dream," older brother Joe Jonas told Today, before he and his fiancée Sophie Turner defended the happy couple against a particularly nasty article by New York Magazine's The Cut that was removed amid massive backlash.
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It's a tale as old as time: No one wants to host the Oscars. Comedian steps up to accept the gig. Old tweets containing homophobic language written by said comedian are quickly unearthed as comedian tries to quietly delete them. People want an apology. Comedian refuses to apologize, saying he already had. Academy says apologize or else. Comedian steps down, claiming he doesn't wish to be a distraction. At the same time, comedian offers the apology that, if he'd just offered from the get-go, probably would've helped mitigate the whole mess. Academy begins their host hunt anew.