Celebrity year in review: Star gazing through the highs and lows of 2015

From Charlie Sheen’s revelation that he is HIV positive, to Bruce Jenner’s remarkable transformation to Caitlyn, and births, deaths, and marriages, Kelly O’Brien has tried to keep track of all the celebrity news from 2015

Celebrity year in review: Star gazing through the highs and lows of 2015

WHILE there may not have been any internet-breaking Oscars selfies this year, or any glimpses of Kimye sauntering around the West coast of Ireland, the last 12 months have had their fair share of celebrity ups and downs.

In some of the biggest revelations of the year, Charlie Sheen admitted he’s HIV positive; Zayn Malik parted ways with One Direction; and Bruce Jenner revealed his incredible transformation, asking the world to ‘Call me Caitlyn’.

The rest of Caitlyn’s family had an equally big year — Kendall Jenner’s modelling career took off in a big way; while Kim Kardashian gave birth to her second child with husband Kanye West. She was predictably, and perhaps justly, ridiculed globally for calling the baby Saint West, but it really could have been worse.

On the flip side, Kourtney Kardashian and on-again-off-again partner, Scott Disick, called it quits this year after some seriously questionable photos of Lord Disick with his ex-girlfriend surfaced. And Khloe Kardashian also had a tough time — estranged husband Lamar Odam was found unconscious in a brothel and is still recovering in hospital.

Closer to home, Jim Carrey’s former girlfriend Cathriona White was found deceased and the actor travelled to Tipperary for her funeral. Sinead O’Connor sparked fears when she took to social media to say she had taken an overdose.

While O’Connor was, thankfully, found safe, every year does see high-profile celebrity deaths.

A number of beloved actors passed away this year, including Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Lee, Omar Sharif and Maureen O’Hara.

Composer James Horner, known for his powerful scores for Titanic, Braveheart and Field Of Dreams, also died, as did horror maestro Wes Craven, who wrote and directed A Nightmare On Elm Street and directed the first four Scream movies.


  • The Golden Globes:

This year’s Golden Globes attracted the usual amount of A-list glitz and glamour. The main winner on the night was, somewhat predictably, Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in the film The Theory of Everything. Redmayne took home the award for best lead actor in a drama while actress Julianne Moore took home best lead actress in a drama for Still Alice.

Michael Keaton won best actor in a comedy or musical for the critically-acclaimed flick Birdman, while Kevin Spacey got the nod for popular political series House of Cards, winning best actor in a TV drama.


  • The Oscars:

One of the main talking points of the Academy Awards centred on Lady Gaga’s demure, yet stunningly beautiful, rendition of a Sound of Music medley.

In terms of the actual award, once again The Theory of Everything and Birdman were big winners on the night, with the latter winning an impressive four Oscars, including best picture. Eddie Redmayne who took home Best Actor award yet again, while Julianne Moore completed the deja vu moment by winning Best Actress for Still Alice.

  • Madge takes a tumble:

Millions of YouTubers watched and rewatched the video of Madonna falling backwards down a set of stairs during a live performance at the Brit Awards this year. During a rendition of her song ‘Living for Love’, a backing dancer pulled on a long black cape the singer was wearing, which was presumably supposed to detach in a dramatic manner. Except it didn’t, and the backing dancer ended up pulling poor old Madge all the way down the stairs.

  • 50 Shades of Grey hits the silver screen:

The old adage of ‘sex sells’ was proven indisputable earlier this year when the 50 Shades of Grey movie racked up a sizzling $81m in its opening weekend.

The ‘love’ story charts the somewhat singular interests of billionaire businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and his dalliances with college graduate Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson). And cinemas all across Ireland and, indeed, the world, struggled to keep up with the demand for tickets.

  • Leonard Nimoy dies:

US actor Leonard Nimoy, renowned worldwide for his role as half-human, half-vulcan character Spock in cult sci-fi series Star Trek, passed away this year aged 83.

The star died in LA from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

His last tweet read: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.” He signed off with the initials LLAP, referencing Spock’s famous line, “Live long and prosper”.


  • Jezzer gets the boot:

Jeremy Clarkson was dropped from the BBC in March after an altercation with Top Gear producer Oisín Tymon.

Oisín Tymon
Oisín Tymon

Now, Chris Evans is set to move in on Clarkson’s Top Gear role, while Clarkson himself will be back on the small screen next year with his new Amazon motoring show.

  • Zayn leaves 1D, breaks teen hearts worldwide:

Possibly the most talked about showbiz news of the year — floppy-haired singer Zayn Malik decided to leave top boyband One Direction and embark upon a solo music career.

Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles continued the band as a four-piece and even released a new album, Made in the AM, in November.

At the time, Zayn said his life with 1D was more than he “could ever have imagined”.

“I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down... I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,” he said in a statement released by the band.

Since then, however, Zayn has been involved in a few Twitter spats with former band members, hinting that the split might not have been as amicable as the public were led to believe.

  • Dermot has the Ex Factor:

Adored X Factor host Dermot O’Leary also called it quits this month, leaving his post for pastures new. The presenter, who had fronted the ITV talent show for nearly a decade, said it was time for him to “move on”.

Singer and presenter Olly Murs co-hosted the show with Caroline Flack.


  • Katie Hopkins blasted by UN boss:

The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights lashed out at the columnist after she likened migrants to cockroaches in The Sun newspaper.

Jordanian Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the language used was similar to that used in the media in Rwanda prior to the 1994 genocide that led to the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people.

He urged UK authorities to clamp down on “vicious verbal assault on migrants and asylum seekers” in the press, calling it “inflammatory and unacceptable”.

  • Spiderman duo comes unstuck:

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield called it quits a few months ago, after spending the last four years together as a couple.

The couple on Graahm Norton
The couple on Graahm Norton

The two met in 2011 on the set of The Amazing Spider-man and found romance both on and off the screen.

  • Justin and Jessica welcome baby Silas:

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel gave birth to their first child this year — a bouncing baby boy called Silas Randall Timberlake.

  • Michelle Keegan named sexiest woman:

Former Coronation Street actress Michelle Keegan nabbed the top spot on FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World list, after she came second last year.

Model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner was announced as the runner-up, followed by Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence; model Kate Upton; presenter Caroline Flack; and singer Ariana Grande. Actress Margot Robbie came in as number seven followed by Lucy Mecklenburgh from The Only Way is Essex; Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones; and model/actress/presenter Kelly Brook.

Mary Berry, 80-year-old judge of the Great British Bake Off, came in at number 73, only one place below Angelina Jolie.

In terms of FHM’s sexiest man list, top spot went to 50 Shades of Grey hunk Jamie Dornan; with fellow actor Zac Efron getting second place. One Direction bad boy Harry Styles is third; while David Beckham is listed as number six.


  • Princess Charlotte graces the world with her presence:

It was a big year for the royal family as William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed the couple’s second child, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, into the world on May 2.

The baby was born at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, just after 8:30am. The Duchess had gone into labour just two-and-a-half hours previously.

Princess Charlotte’s big brother, Prince George, was born in July 2013.

  • Depp’s dogs deported:

Johnny Depp’s Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, were deported from Australia this year and sent back to the US via private jet. The canines were found to have been illegally brought into the country in April while Depp was filming the latest Pirates of the Caribbean instalment on the Gold Coast.

Australia’s agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce prompted giggles when he announced: “It doesn’t matter if Johnny Depp has been awarded sexiest man alive twice, it’s time Boo and Pistol bugger off home.” Depp’s wife Amber Heard will now face a court trial in Australia for the alleged smuggling. The case will be heard on April 18 in Queensland.

  • Stars shine at the Irish Film and Television Awards:

The stars were out in force at this year’s IFTAs which saw celebrities such as Sean Bean, Amanda Byram, Amy Huberman, Aidan Gillan and Gay Byrne grace the red carpet outside Dublin’s Mansion House.

Veteran director Jim Sheridan took home a Lifetime Achievement Award, Love/Hate won Best Drama and Charlie Murphy, who played Siobhán in Love/Hate, took home Best Actress in a Leading Role in Drama.

Former co-star Aidan Gillan also took home an award, but for his performance in political drama Charlie.

Domhnall Gleeson won Best Supporting Actor in Film for his role in Frank, while Deirdre O’Kane won Best Actress in a Leading Role in Film, for Noble.

  • Graham Norton tickles BAFTA audience:

Loveable Cork man Graham Norton was the host of the BAFTAs this year and had the audience in absolute stitches all night.

It was a double whammy for Norton, as it turns out — the personality not only hosted the awards, which took place at London’s Theatre Royal, but also collected one himself! The 52-year-old collected the Best Comedy Entertainment Programme accolade before he was seen swanning off to the after-party grinning like a Cheshire cat.

  • Concern for Jonathan Rhys Meyers:

Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, best known for his role as King Henry VIII in The Tudors, sparked concern for his wellbeing this May when he was spotted looking dishevelled and appeared to be drinking vodka straight from the bottle on the streets of London in broad daylight.

The actor, who has publicly battle alcohol addiction in the past, later posted an apology via the Instagram account of his fiancée, Mara Lane. The star thanked his fans for their support and said he had had a minor relapse.

The star was spotted a few months later in California looking happy and healthy once more.


  • The Corrs are back together:

Musical siblings The Corrs played their first live gig in more than a decade this April, playing at the funeral of their father Gerry Corr. Two months later the group announced their plans to reform the band and start writing new material.

The four piece, made up of Sharon, Caroline, Andrea and Jim Corr, had disbanded in 2005 to get their own lives “back on track” and fulfil other dreams such as having children.

  • Christopher Lee diess

British actor Christopher Lee passed away this year aged 93. The star was renowned for his roles as charismatic villains such as Saruman in The Lord of the Rings; Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones; Dracula in Dracula; and Scaramanga in Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun.

The veteran actor, who was knighted in 2009, passed away in hospital after being admitted for respiratory problems and heart failure.

  • Ben and Jen call it quits:

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced their split in June, the day after their 10th wedding anniversary, amid rumours of his infidelity with their three children’s nanny. Other couples who didn’t make it through the year included Mad Men star Jon Hamm and his partner Jennifer Westfeldt; and No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale. The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco also split from her beau, tennis player Ryan Sweeting.


  • Call me Caitlyn:

Olympic gold medallist and reality star Bruce Jenner shocked the world in April by coming out as a transgender woman.

Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair in a cream corset under the headline ‘Call Me Caitlyn’ and sat down with Diane Sawyer for an in-depth interview about her transition.

Jenner, who won the decathlon in the 1976 Olympics, found further fame on Keeping Up With The Kardashians as the husband of family matriarch Kris Jenner, the mother of Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, as well as her daughters with Jenner — Kendall and Kylie.

Caitlyn was presented with numerous awards, including the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at ESPN’s annual ESPYs ceremony, where she made her first public appearance as a woman.

  • Omar Sharif dies:

Actor Omar Sharif, known for his roles in classic films Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, died this year aged 83.

Egypt-born Sharif won two Golden Globes and was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia and won a further Golden Globe three years later for Doctor Zhivago.

He died after suffering a heart attack in a hospital in Cairo. He had also been suffering from Alzheimer’s.

  • Kourtney dumps Disick:

Kourtney Kardashian split from long-time love Scott Disick this year after photographs emerged of him partying with other girls in Monte Carlo.


The on-again, off-again couple, who have three children together, first got together in 2006 but broke-up in 2010 due to Disick’s alleged problem with alcohol. The reality TV star, who purchased a knighthood on the internet, reportedly gave up drinking and attended counselling instead and, later that year, reconciled with Kourtney.

Scott has been in and out of rehab at various points since then, and has also been off and on again with Kourtney a number of times.

With three kids in the picture the pair will always be a part of each other’s lives, but this latest bump could mean the end of the road for this celebrity couple’s romantic relationship.


  • Jen and Justin get hitched:

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux got married in secret this year at their Bel Air home. Despite a raft of celebrity guests, the ceremony was, incredibly, not leaked to the public.

Some guests were told the bash was a birthday party while others, when they said they couldn’t make the birthday party, were told of the secret wedding plans — something Theroux later said was a major “miscalculation” because it meant half the guests were in casual wear and half were in formal wear.

  • Gary Barlow turns wedding crooner:

Back in January, Gary Barlow launched a Twitter competition — he said he would sing at the wedding of his most dedicated follower.

Friends of die-hard Take That fan Katie Hardy, who was to wed in August, put her name forward and won.

Keeping the secret for eight long months, the surprised bride was serenaded by the singer after her own wedding act, a Robbie Williams tribute, had ended.

Barlow sang to the bride and her new husband Stephen Hardy at the Three Nuns pub in Loughborough, Leicestershire and stayed around afterwards for wedding photos.


  • Cathriona White dies:

Tipperary woman and make-up artist Cathriona White tragically passed away this year. The beauty, who had been living in the US, had previously been going out with Hollywood actor Jim Carrey who was reportedly heartbroken by her death. The star flew out to attend Ms White’s funeral and give his condolences to her family and even helped to carry her coffin.

  • Wes Craven dies:

Wes Craven, who wrote and directed A Nightmare On Elm Street and directed the first four Scream movies, also died this year — he passed in September after a battle with brain cancer. The master of horror died at the age of 76 in Los Angeles.


  • Colin Farrell comes home for Lobster:

Heartthrob Colin Farrell was in Dublin a few months ago for the premiere of his new film The Lobster, in which he co-stars with Rachel Weisz. The flick, which is widely tipped for Oscar glory next year, follows the life of a man who needs to find love as soon as possible, or face the prospect of living out the rest of his years as a lobster.

  • Lamar Odom collapses:

Khloe Kardashian’s estranged husband Lamar Odom, a former basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, was found unconscious by two prostitutes in a Nevada brothel on October 13.

The family rushed to his bedside in Las Vegas where Odom was placed in an induced coma after a suspected drug overdose. He is still recovering at a Los Angeles hospital.

  • Adele breaks the internet with new song:

Adele’s new song ‘Hello’ was all anyone could talk about this October — the artistic, sepia-toned video for the single was viewed on YouTube more than 25 million times in the first day it was released.

  • Maureen O’Hara dies:

The Quiet Man actress, Maureen O’Hara, died peacefully in her sleep at her home in the US this October. One of Ireland’s best known performers, the 95-year-old had enjoyed a long and varied career alongside stars such as John Wayne, Alec Guinness and Henry Fonda.

Her credits included Jamaica Inn, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Miracle on 34th Street, Rio Grande and The Parent Trap.

Born in Ranelagh in Dublin in 1920, she trained in the Abbey Theatre and received an IFTA lifetime achievement award in 2004 and an honorary Oscar in 2014.


  • Charlie Sheen reveals his HIV diagnosis:

Charlie Sheen made the bombshell announcement about his HIV diagnosis in a live television interview in November.

He admitted he had paid millions of dollars to keep people quiet since he found out about his condition four years ago. He told Matt Lauer on the Today show he had been the victim of “shakedowns” and would no longer pay people for their silence.

  • Fears for Terry Wogan:

The veteran presenter was forced to pull out of his annual childline gig for the first time ever due to illness this year.

It was the first time the 77-year-old failed to present the gig since its launch in 1980. Host Dermot O’Leary filled in this time around, while Ryan Tubridy filled in for Wogan’s regular BBC Radio 2 slot.

  • David Bowie releases new single:

Ahead of his widely anticipated new album Blackstar, which will be released on January 8, 2016, which is David Bowie’s 69th birthday, the singer released a new single called Lazarus. Bowie fans worldwide rejoiced at the news, which seemed to have come completely out of the blue.

  • Courtney Cox and Johnny McDaid announce split:

Friends actress Courtney Cox split from her fiancé Johnny McDaid this month, just weeks before rumours started circulating about Cox dating former co-star Matthew Perry.

Snow Patrol guitarist McDaid, who is 39-years-old, reportedly moved his belongings out of 51-year-old Cox’s Malibu and Los Angeles homes shortly before Thanksgiving. The two had been together almost two years.


  • Kim K births Saint:

At the start of December, the reality TV star gave birth to her second child with husband Kanye West, calling the child Saint West. The 35-year-old was reportedly “exhausted” after the birth, having gone through another difficult labour.

Kim also experienced a difficult birth with first child North West, who was born in June 2013.

Kim and Kanye
Kim and Kanye
  • Will Ferrell and Mark Whalberg hit the streets of Dublin:

The Hollywood A-listers descended upon the capital this month to promote their new film Daddy’s Home. The duo spent two days talking to various print, online and radio journalists before signing copious amounts of autographs on the red carpet outside the Savoy Cinema before the big premiere.

  • Star Wars arrives:

The latest instalment in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, hit cinema screens this December. As the most anticipated film of the year, cinemas all over the world were selling advance tickets at rapid rates, with some venues sold out for days, even weeks, at a time.

The film had the biggest opening weekend than any other film ever, and is on track to become the highest grossing film of all time.

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