10 of biggest celebrity stories of 2020: From Meghan Markle to that 'Imagine' video

From the Bachchans' Covid scare to Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston reuniting, these were the 10 biggest celebrity stories of the year

While the pandemic affected the entertainment industry in many different ways, one thing in showbusiness remained the same: the stars’ ability to still make headlines.

Despite the restrictions curtailing many of their usual ways to make the news, the A-list still generated plenty of stories, both positive and negative.

From the hilarious to the embarrassing, here are the biggest celebrity stories of the year …

1. Megxit

The word "Megxit" was a runner-up in Collins English Dictionary's "Word of the Year", and the news back in January that Prince Harry and his wife of 20 months, Meghan Markle, were to step back as senior members of the Royal family came as an explosive shock.

After that, the surprises just kept coming, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex then tapping out entirely. Moving first to Canada while the protocols of their leaving were finalised, they finally settled in their new home in Santa Barbara, California, along with their son, Archie.

2. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston reunite

It's the reunion the world had been waiting for since their split back in 2005. And fans of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were treated to the sight of a hug between Hollywood's most famous exes at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 19.

Seeking out her ex-husband backstage to congratulate him on his win for Male Actor in a Supporting Role for Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, Pitt, too, offered his well wishes for Aniston's win for Female Actor in a Drama Series for The Morning Show. The pair would later reunite again, albeit over Zoom, for a charity script reading of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

3. Three generations of Bachchans contract Covid-19

One of Bollywood's most famous families, the Bachchans, revealed in July that three generations – beloved actor Amitabh, his son and daughter-in-law, Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and their daughter Aaradhya, 8 – had all caught the coronavirus. While Aishwarya and Aaradhya had less severe cases of the disease, Amitabh and Abhishek were taken to hospital with mild symptoms.

"I have tested Covid positive, shifted to hospital, hospital informing authorities, family and staff undergone tests, results awaited," wrote Amitabh to his millions of Twitter followers, leading to an outpouring of well-wishes from some of the biggest stars in the world. All family members later made a full recovery.

4. Hollywood also wasn't immune to the pandemic

Actor Tom Hanks was among the first big names to reveal he had contracted Covid-19. The Big star and his wife, Rita Wilson, were diagnosed with the virus while in Australia in March; they have both since made a full recovery.

Singer Pink! and actors Idris Elba, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson have also since revealed they battled Covid-19, all making subsequent recoveries.

5. Johnny Depp’s career implodes

Losing a libel lawsuit against British newspaper The Sun, over a headline which dubbed him a "wife-beater", saw a slew of harmful and career-damaging allegations about Depp emerge from the trial. The judge found in favour of The Sun, ruling in a 129-page statement, that Depp's alleged abuse of ex-wife Amber Heard was "substantially true".

The cost to Depp's career, after details of addiction and embarrassing text messages came to light, led to him being let go from The Crimes of Grindelwald.

6. Sanjay Dutt beats cancer

In October came the welcome news that Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt had beaten cancer. The Prassthanam star was reportedly diagnosed with lung cancer, however, the family has not revealed details of his diagnosis.

“The last few weeks were very difficult time for my family and me,” Dutt wrote on Twitter. “But like they say, God gives the hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. And today, on the occasion of my kids’ birthday, I am happy to come out victorious from this battle and be able to give them the best gift I can – the health and well-being of our family.”

7. Kanye West runs for president

In July, rapper Kanye West announced he would be running for President of the United States against Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Running under the affiliation "Birthday Party / Independent", the Yeezy shoe designer held a campaign rally in South Carolina on July 19, where he took to the stage and controversially aired family secrets. Wife Kim Kardashian West later confirmed on social media that West was having a prolonged bipolar episode.

Qualifying for ballot access in 12 states, his platform advocated for the creation of a culture of life, endorsing environmental stewardship, supporting the arts, restoring school prayer, and opposing capital punishment. He lost out in the race to President-elect Biden.

8. Stars slammed for singing ‘Imagine’

Back in May, Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot called up 21 of her closest Hollywood friends to participate in a rendition of John Lennon's classic song, Imagine. Later telling Vanity Fair she had "good intentions", the star, 35, admitted: "Sometimes, you know, you try and do a good deed and it's just not the right good deed … I just wanted to send light and love to the world."

The likes of Natalie Portman, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Jamie Dornan, Jimmy Fallon, Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Kravitz were all roundly derided for their participation in a video that was slammed as tone deaf.

"Hey celebs, we don’t want to be sung to,” Twitter user Casey Christmasani wrote in a tweet that went viral. “We want you to use a million or two of your money and order ventilators, masks, and gloves from the manufacturers then donate them to a hospital. Or pay for the salaries of an entire staff at a bar, restaurant, or day care.”

9. 'Full House' actress jailed

In August, Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli were sentenced to respective prison terms of two months and five months for participating in a vast US college admissions fraud scandal.

She and her husband were sentenced after they pleaded guilty in May to engaging in a fraud scheme aimed at securing spots for their daughters at the University of Southern California as fake athletic recruits.

A total of 56 people were charged in the case, including Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman, who received a 14-day prison sentence for paying to rig her daughter's college entrance exam

10. The baby name that baffled the world

Singer Grimes and tech billionaire Elon Musk had us consulting scientific charts when they announced their son's unusual moniker in May. The couple named their newborn X Æ A-12.

New mum Grimes explained X as "the unknown variable" and the choice of Æ to honour the "elven spelling of Ai (love &/or Artificial intelligence)".

She added that "A-12 [is the] precursor to SR-17 (our favourite aircraft). No weapons, no defences, just speed. Great in battle, but non-violent" and said that the A is for Archangel, her "favourite song".

However, in the state of California, where the family resides, names can only legally be registered with the 26 characters of the alphabet, meaning the choice to include the figure 12 did not comply with the state’s regulations.

Grimes revealed on social media that their son's name had been tweaked to X Æ A-Xii.

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