From make-ups to break-ups to high-powered weddings, it’s been a busy year in the celebrity world, writes Kelly O’Brien.
While there may not have been any internet-breaking Oscars selfies this year, the last 12 months have seen their fair share of celebrity ups and downs.
As usual, there were make-ups and break-ups, deaths and births and a fair share of scandal — but this year also featured a whole host of famous people getting hitched.
The British royal family had a big year on this front, with not one but two royal weddings. Princess Eugenie tied the knot with Jack Brooksbank in October, while Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in May in front of a star-studded crowd that included Oprah, David and Victoria Beckham, and Elton John, among others.
Harry and Meghan went on to announce that they had made a tiny royal human together, due next spring, while Kensington Palace also welcomed yet another heir to the throne when Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, gave birth to little Prince Louis.
Game of Thrones star Kit Harington then wed his wildling co-star Rose Leslie, Justin Bieber married model Hayley Baldwin, and Ed Sheeran tied the knot with girlfriend Cherry Seaborn.
In August, Ellie Goulding announced her engagement to art dealer Caspar Jopling in The Times and, in September, Gwyneth Paltrow consciously coupled with producer Brad Falchuk in an A-list ceremony in the Hamptons.
But 2018 wasn’t just about romantic feels. The Spice Girls proved that friendship never ends by announcing they were getting back together — albeit minus Posh — for a tour that’s undoubtedly going to spice up everybody’s life. The world waits with bated breath.
In the meantime, here’s a month-by-month recap of what was another eventful year in celebrity news.
Brightening up the cold, bleak start of the year, the Golden Globes attracted the usual amount of A-list glitz and glam. The main winner on the night was, somewhat predictably, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, netting four globes of six nominations — Best Drama, Best Actress in Drama, Best Supporting Actor in Drama, and Best Screenplay for the film’s Irish director, Martin McDonagh.
It was a good year too for Carlow actress Saoirse Ronan — she won Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her role in the film Ladybird, which was also named Best Musical/Comedy.
Meanwhile, Oprah Winfrey took home the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award, James Franco was named Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical, and The Handmaid’s Tale was awarded Best TV Drama.
January wasn’t an entirely buoyant month, however, as this was when music lovers everywhere heard the news of Irish songstress Dolores O’Riordan’s death.
The Limerick native, and frontwoman of popular band The Cranberries, died on January 15 at the age of 46.
Most famous for her haunting vocals on ‘Zombie’, O’Riordan released two solo albums before reuniting with The Cranberries in 2009, and was in London for a recording session when she died.
On the same day, across the Atlantic Ocean, a surrogate gave birth to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s third child.
The child was named Chicago Noel West, aka ‘Chi’, after Kanye’s hometown.
The second month of the year saw further additions to the Kardashian brood, with the arrival of Kylie Jenner’s first child on February 1.
The reality TV star took to Instagram to announce the birth of her daughter with Travis Scott and to apologise for keeping it so under wraps.
“I’m sorry for keeping you in the dark through all the assumption. I understand you’re used to me bringing you along on all my journeys,” wrote the celeb on February 4.
“I know for myself I needed to prepare for this role of a lifetime in the most positive, stress free, and healthy way I knew how.”
The couple then released a mini-documentary on YouTube titled To Our Daughter, revealing Kylie’s pregnancy journey.
She wasn’t the only star to welcome a new baby this month, however — Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s second child, Gio Grace Levine, arrived on February 15.
The child’s mother, model Behati Prinsloo, announced the news on Instagram with an adorable photo of the Gio’s feet.
“She’s got her dad’s toes,” penned Prinsloo.
But as with everything in life, there was some sad news to go with the good. In February 2018, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux revealed the end of their relationship.
The couple met in 2008, started dating in 2011, and got married in 2015. They reportedly separated in late 2017, but only announced the split this year, on February 15.
“Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly,” they said in a statement.
It was also trouble in paradise for the cast of Sex and The City. Fans across the globe choked on their Cosmopolitans when it emerged how much hatred the women who played Samantha and Carrie really have for each other.
After Sarah Jessica Parker posted a message of condolence on Instagram following the death of castmate Kim Cattrall’s brother, Kim responded angrily.
“Let me make this VERY clear (if I haven’t already),” the SATC star wrote. “You are not my family. You are not my friend. So I’m writing to tell you one last time to stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your ‘nice girl’ persona.”
The month started off in the usual fashion — with a glittering Oscars ceremony. Usually held in late February, this time the 90th instalment of the Academy Awards was pushed back a few weeks to avoid clashing with the Winter Olympics.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was a predictably big winner, bagging Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell, though Best Picture went to The Shape of Water.
On the night, a planned #TimesUp segment materialised with an appearance by three actresses who have accused Harvey Weinstein of assault. Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, and Annabella Sciorra introduced a segment celebrating ‘equality, diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality” to great applause.
A few days later, Eddie Redmayne became a dad again when his wife, Hannah, gave birth to their second child on March 10. They announced the birth in a refreshingly old-school manner — with an announcement in The Times.
“On March 10, 2018, to Hannah (Bagshawe) and Edward, a son, Luke Richard Bagshawe, brother to Iris [was born],” they wrote.
While Redmayne was undoubtedly on Cloud Nine after the birth, he crashed down to earth a few days later when news of Stephen Hawking’s death was announced: Redmayne portrayed the famous theoretical physicist in the critically acclaimed 2014 film The Theory of Everything.
Mr Hawking, one of the world’s most preeminent scientists, died on March 14 at the age of 76. He suffered from neurodegenerative disease ALS.
Despite his condition, the British physicist also loomed large in pop culture, appearing as himself on shows such as The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
He is perhaps most famous, however, for his 1988 best-selling book A Brief History of Time.
March was also the month in which Zayn Malik split from on-again, off-again girlfriend Gigi Hadid.
“I’m forever grateful for the love, time, and life lessons that Z and I shared,” Hadid wrote.
“I want nothing but the best for him and will continue to support him as a friend that I have immense respect and love for.”
Malik shared similar remarks in his statement, calling Hadid “an incredible soul”.
“Gigi and I had an incredibly meaningful, loving, and fun relationship and I have a huge amount of respect and adoration for Gigi as a woman and a friend.”
The couple reunited a few months later.
There must have been something in the water in Tinseltown back in July of 2017, because April 2018 was truly the month of the celebrity baby.
First to pop out was yet another Kardashian baby — the third of the year. Khloe Kardashian gave birth to NBA beau Tristan Thompson’s child on April 12.
It was the first for the Kardashian, but the second for Thompson who also has a two-year-old son called Prince.
“Our little girl, True Thompson, has completely stolen our hearts and we are overwhelmed with love,” Khloe wrote on Instagram.
“Such a blessing to welcome this angel into the family! Mommy and Daddy loooooove you True!”
A few days later, actor and former wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson also took to Instagram to announce a birth — that of his new baby Tiana Gia Johnson.
She was born on April 17 to Johnson’s girlfriend Lauren Hashian. She is the couple’s second child together, and Johnson’s third overall — he also has Simone, 17, and Jasmine, 2.
“Blessed and proud to bring another strong girl into this world,” The Rock wrote on social media.
On April 23, another famous family added to their brood — those of Kensington Palace renown.
A statement, released on Instagram, announced the news of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s third bundle of joy.
“The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 1101hrs. The baby weighs 8lbs 7oz,” read the post.
“The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”
The youngest prince, Louis, is fifth in the line of succession to the British throne.
The world also had to say goodbye to some people and relationships this past April, however.
Well-known DJ and producer Avicii passed away on April 20 at the young age of 28, while seemingly steadfast couples Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, as well as John Cena and Nikki Bella both announced they were parting ways.
Tatum and Dewan met on the set of the 2006 film Step Up and got married in July 2009. But after being together for more than a decade, the couple announced their shocking split on social media in April.
In a joint statement, Tatum and Dewan said they wanted the news to come straight from them in order to avoid any false information spreading.
“We have lovingly chosen to separate as a couple,” they said.
“We fell deeply in love so many years ago and have had a magical journey together. Absolutely nothing has changed about how much we love one another, but love is a beautiful adventure that is taking us on different paths for now.”
They added that there were no “secrets” or “salacious events” that factored into their decision. Instead, they felt the need to explore different paths and “take some space”.
WWE stars John Cena and Nikki Bella started dating in 2012 and got engaged in April 2017 at WrestleMania. Since getting engaged, they’ve talked openly about planning for their wedding and their plans for the future.
It was shocking, therefore, when Cena and Bella revealed their breakup in after being together for six years.
“After much contemplation and six years of being together Nikki Bella and John Cena announced today their decision to separate as a couple,” Bella shared on her Instagram account.
“While this decision was a difficult one, we continue to have a great deal of love and respect for one another. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time in our lives.”
Cena also took to Twitter to comment on the split.
“Hardship, loss, and humility are extremely difficult waters to navigate, but perseverance thru them builds a strength to withstand anything life throws your way,” he wrote.
Finally, famous British host Ant McPartlin had a setback in April, crashing his car while drink-driving.
He was fined £86,000 and entered rehab, while Holly Willoughby stepped up to keep Declan Donnelly company in the jungle on I’m A Celebrity!.
The month of May got off to a heartwarming start with bitter rivals Katy Perry and Taylor Swift burying the hatchet.
After a well-publicised six-year feud, Perry extended an olive branch and sent a gift and an apology letter to Swift who, of course, posted a video of the package on Instagram along with the words ‘Thank you Katy’.
As she films the gift, the hitmaker can be heard saying: “I just got to my dressing room and found this actual olive branch. This means so much to me.”
The letter is partially obscured but it appears Perry, 33, has written: “Hey Old Friend — I’ve been doing some reflecting on past miscommunications and hurt feelings between us.”
She also wrote that she was “deeply sorry” and wanted to “clear the air”.
The singers famously fell out in 2012 after Swift claimed Perry stole three of her backing dancers.
Not everyone’s month was as joy-filled, however, as Ariana Grande found out when she split with boyfriend Mac Miller.
Taking to her Instagram story, the ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ singer referred to Miller as one of her best friends “in the whole world” and one of her “favourite people on the planet”.
“I respect and adore him endlessly and am grateful to have him in my life in any form, at all times regardless of how our relationship changes or what the universe holds for each of us!” she wrote.
Unfortunately, Mac Miller went on to die of an overdose a few months later, in September.
Miller and Grande first met around five years ago, when they collaborated on the song ‘The Way’ from her debut album. They had been dating for two years.
A few days after the breakup, another famous face took to — you guessed it — Instagram, to announce news of a new birth.
Chrissy Teigen revealed she had just given birth to her second child with singer John Legend.
“This is Miles Theodore Stephens. We are drowning in his little peeps and nuzzles,” wrote Teigen.
“Our household feels overwhelmed with love. Thank you for all your well wishes!”
The new arrival meant that John and Chrissy were unable to attend a wedding three days later, however — that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The couple tied the knot at St George’s Chapel in Windsor in what was certainly the wedding of the year.
Markle’s long-sleeve white dress, designed by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy, had a lot of personal details, such as a 5m-long silk tulle veil featuring unique embroidered flowers representing all of the Commonwealth countries.
“Ms Markle wanted to express her gratitude for the opportunity to support the work of the Commonwealth by incorporating references to its members into the design of her wedding dress,” the palace stated.
The bride also wore Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, which was lent to her by Queen Elizabeth II.
Prince Harry wore a full Blues and Royals military uniform rather than a tux or suit, reportedly to pay tribute to his past military service and out of respect to his regiment.
Even the small flower bouquet has a special meaning. The flowers were taken from Kensington Palace’s private garden and included forget-me-nots, which were Princess Diana’s favourite flower.
Plenty of celebrities made their way to the ceremony, including Oprah Winfrey, Markle’s Suits co-star Patrick Adams, Pretty Little Liars star Troian Bellisario, actress and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra, James Blunt, Tom Hardy, David and Victoria Beckham, and George and Amal Clooney. Elton John also performed on the day.
While not as lavish an affair, another celebrity wedding dominated the headlines only a few weeks later — that of Game of Thrones stars Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie.
The star-studded affair took place at a castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
The bride wore an elegant lace gown with long sleeves, while the groom wore a tuxedo with a cream-colored vest and tails. After the private ceremony, the pair emerged with wide smiles.
The location, Wardhill Castle, also holds a special significance, since Leslie’s family reportedly owns the estate.
Their GoT co-stars showed up dressed to the nines, including Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Richard Madden, Peter Dinklage, John Bradley, Joe Dempsie, Conleth Hill, and Liam Cunningham.
This was also the month actress Eva Longoria welcomed her first child, Santiago Enrique Baston, and Louis Walsh announced his retirement from The X Factor after 13 “fantastic” years, while the world was forced to bid final farewells to two well-known people whose lives were ended by suicide.
On June 5, Kate Spade died by suicide at the age of 55. A fashion designer who became synonymous with the handbags that bear her name, Spade turned her keen eye for accessories into a world-famous, unusually accessible luxury brand.
Born in Kansas City, Spade started out as a fashion magazine editor before launching her first line of colorful purses in 1993. The Kate Spade label expanded over the years to include everything from shoes to dinnerware and was acquired by Coach in 2017 for $2.4bn.
Only three days later, it was revealed that adored television host Anthony Bourdain had died, also by suicide, at the age of 61.
The chef turned roving TV host, most recently on CNN’s Parts Unknown, dug into the culture as much as the food in the far-flung places he visited. In 2013, he was honoured with a prestigious Peabody Award for “expanding our palates and horizons in equal measure”.
As with all births and splits in Tinseltown, celebs tend to take to social media with their announcements now. Gone are the days of releasing statements to the press via a publicist. This was certainly the case for Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne, who took to Twitter to reveal their relationship had come to an end.
“Cheryl and I are sad to announce that we are going our separate ways,” the former One Direction singer wrote.
“It’s been a tough decision for us to make. We still have so much love for each other as a family.”
They have one child together, Bear, who Cole gave birth to in March 2017.
“Bear is our world and we ask that you respect his privacy as we navigate our way through this together,” Payne added.
While Cheryl obviously had a tough time this month, the same was true for fellow X Factor judge Demi Lovato, who apparently suffered a drug overdose.
The singer was hospitalised in Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and, two weeks later, was released to a rehab facility for further treatment.
Lovato posted an emotional note on Instagram in early August.
“I have always been transparent about my journey with addiction,” she wrote.
“What I’ve learned is that this illness is not something that disappears or fades with time. It is something I must continue to overcome and have not done yet. I want to thank God for keeping me alive and well. To my fans, I am forever grateful for all of your love and support throughout this past week and beyond.
“Your positive thoughts and prayers have helped me navigate through this difficult time. I want to thank my family, my team, and the staff at Cedars-Sinai who have been by my side this entire time. Without them I wouldn’t be here writing this letter to all of you.”
The singer added that she needed time to heal and focus on her sobriety and recovery. In June, just a month before her alleged overdose, Lovato released the honest ballad ‘Sober’, in which she sang: “Momma, I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore/ Daddy, please forgive me for the spilled drinks on the floor/ The ones who never left me, we’ve been down this road before/ I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore.”
The singer has been very open about her struggles with addiction, mental illness and eating disorders over the years.
July was also the month that Justin Bieber got engaged to girlfriend Hailey Baldwin. The couple would go on to tie the knot the very same year at a New York City courthouse — though the duo kept it so under wraps that nobody knew exactly when that was. The couple are reportedly still planning to have an additional religious ceremony for family and friends to attend.
August was a quiet month in the celebrity world, and for good reason — many were too busy mourning the Queen of Soul to do anything else.
Aretha Franklin passed away on August 16 at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer.
Franklin won 18 Grammys, and had 17 Top 10 US chart hits over a music career spanning seven decades.
The star gave her final performance last November at a gala in New York held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.
“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,” read a statement released by her family.
“We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins knew no bounds.”
Elton John said he “adored and worshipped” the star, and wrote: “The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music.”
Former Beatle Paul McCartney wrote: “Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years.”
Mariah Carey paid tribute to the Queen of Soul on Twitter, calling her an inspiration, mentor and friend.
A number of other stars including John Legend, Britney Spears, and Tony Bennett also shared their memories of the star.
Former President Barack Obama, whose inauguration Franklin performed at, released an emotive statement with his wife Michelle, saying her music “helped define the American Experience”.
Aretha Franklin songs such as ‘Respect’ and ‘Think’ became anthems of the civil rights and women’s movements. Franklin was the first female performer inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, recorded 112 singles that made the Billboard charts — a record for a female artist — and sang at three presidential inaugurations, among many other accomplishments.
Another famous face passed away only a few weeks after the Queen of Soul — the renowned actor Burt Reynolds.
He passed away on September 6, at the age of 82, after a cardiac arrest.
Reynolds ruled the boxoffice in the 70s and 80s with movies such as Smokey and the Bandit, and was featured as his moustached, heartthrob self on The Golden Girls and Beverly Hills, 90210.
He later starred in his own show, 90s sitcom Evening Shade, and earned a nomination for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his turn in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 film Boogie Nights.
August was also the month that seemingly solid couple Brandon and Leah Jenner parted ways.
The duo, famously related to the Kardashian clan and regular guests on their reality TV show, announced the split by releasing a joint statement.
“After celebrating 14 beautiful years together, we have lovingly come to the decision to end the romantic aspect of our relationship,” they said.
“We are deeply proud of the life we’ve cultivated together and are truly grateful for the bond of friendship we hold and cherish today. It is stronger than ever… There has been no lying or cheating or fighting that prompted this change, just an expansion of our individual evolution which has inspired us to support each other in a new way.”
It was also the month that actor and former stand-up comedian Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for sexual assault.
Around 60 women came forward to accuse the former TV personality of sexual misconduct.
A wedding, a split, and a scandal — this is exactly what October 2018 had in store for those standing in the limelight.
The wedding was that of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank — the second royal wedding of the year.
On October 12, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s youngest daughter tied the knot with a ceremony at St George’s Palace in Windsor Castle. It was, of course, a lavish affair with 800 people in attendance, which was even more guests than her cousin, Prince Harry, had at his.
It wasn’t an entire month of celebrity love, however, as shown by Ariana Grande’s second split of the year.
Grande and Peter Davidson had a whirlwind romance that fizzled out after a few months. They started dating in May 2018, got matching tattoos (many of which have now been covered), and didn’t hold back from PDA-filled social media posts. By June, news spread that the pair got engaged and they moved in together. They also got a pig, named Piggy Smallz.
In October, it was revealed that Grande and Davidson had broken up. Since then, the singer and her manager have come to the defence of the comedian after her fans wrote negative comments about him online.
Negative comments were the order of the month it seems — they were also flooding in for Irish fighter Conor McGregor after he was caught speeding in Kildare.
The Crumlin native subsequently appeared in court facing charges of speeding, driving without a licence, failing to produce a licence at the scene, and also failing to produce it at a garda station.
He was given a six-month driving ban and was ordered to pay a fine of €1,000. He apologised to the judge for speeding.
Spider-Man, the Hulk, Black Panther, Iron Man, and many other superheroes sprang, in part, from the mind of Marvel Comics great Stan Lee — a mind the world had to say goodbye to in November.
Lee, who helped revolutionise the industry in the 1960s, continued to appear at comic book conventions until recently, when his health wouldn’t allow it.
He also played a critical part in bringing his larger-than-life characters to the big screen, often appearing alongside them in cameo roles.
Lee passed away on November 12, at the age of 95, from cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, and congestive heart failure.
Later that month, Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer announced she had split from Irish fiancée Anthony Byrne after 11 years together, while actor John C Reilly caused quite a stir in Doolin, Co Clare, when he showed up to a pub and started drinking pints and singing a rendition of ‘The Wild Rover’ which would eventually end up going viral on the internet.
Rounding off the year, we had two loved-up celeb couples, as well as two who were not so loved-up.
The Saturdays Singer Una Healy announced on social media that she was dating former Limerick hurler David Breen, while actress and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra tied the knot with singer Nick Jonas in a lavish wedding in India.
The stars shared plenty of photos and videos from their pre-wedding parties, which included an epic pre-wedding song and dance party with Jonas and his family. Even Sophie Turner, who is Chopra’s future sister-in-law, got on the stage to bust a few moves.
The couple tied the knot during two extravagant ceremonies at Umaid Bhawan Palace. The venue sits on 26 acres of land, is home to both a five-star hotel and museum, and has 347 rooms, making it one of the largest private residences in the world.
They had a Christian service for Jonas’ faith and a Hindu service to honour Chopra’s background.
The couple also cut into a seven-tier cake using a knife that was shaped like a sword. The cake, which had a chandelier in it as well as windows and gold columns, was inspired by the appearance of their wedding venue.
Unfortunately, the year didn’t end so well for two other couples.
Rapper and singer Cardi B posted a video on Instagram to address speculation about her relationship with rapper Offset.
“I’ve been trying to work things out with my baby father for a hot minute now and we’re really good friends and you know we’re really good business partners,” she said.
“He’s always somebody that I run to to talk to and we got a lot of love for each other, but things just haven’t been working out between us for a long time and it’s nobody’s fault.”
She added that the two “grew out of love” and are not together anymore. “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.”
Two others who entered Splitsville this December were Irish singer Niall Horan and US actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld.
While they never publicly confirmed their relationship, they were romantically linked in February after being seen together at a concert and a nightclub.
Photos of the pair kissing in public surfaced in August, and Horan also spent Thanksgiving with Steinfeld and her family.
Previously, Horan also referred to Steinfeld as “the loveliest person on the planet” in December 2017.