Kelly O’Brien.


Celebrity year in review: Sex abuse claims abound in year of break-ups, babies, gossips and gaffes

Conor McGregor became a father, Niall Horan saw his solo career take off, and Saoirse Ronan was an award-winning Ladybird. Those were some of the positives celebwise in 2017, writes Kelly O’Brien.

Celebrity year in review: Sex abuse claims abound in year of break-ups, babies, gossips and gaffes

There’s never a dull moment in Tinseltown, but this past year has proven particularly tumultuous for members of the glitterati.

A large part of this can be attributed to the huge volume of claims of sexual misconduct being made against male members of Hollywood’s elite on a seemingly never-ending basis.

This scandal has, of course, been dominated by the allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein which surfaced this year, though claims against other famous faces such as Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, and Ed Westwick have also come to light.

Hundreds of women have come forward with claims in what has been an overwhelming message — sexual harassment is running rife in the film industry, and something needs to change.

2017 also saw its fair share of celebrity make-ups, break-ups, gossips, and gaffes — not to mention a significant baby boom.

Not one, not two, but three members of the Kardashian sisters are expecting babies in the new year — Kylie and Khloe via natural births and Kim via surrogate — while Beyonce and Jay-Z, Ronaldo and an unidentified surrogate, and George and Amal Clooney all welcomed twins.

Madonna adopted twins from Malawi, the Duchess of Cambridge announced she was expecting another royal addition, and Cheryl Tweedy and former One Direction star Liam Payne had a boy they called Bear.

Some of the more high-profile splits included the seemingly solid Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, Mel B and Stephen Belafonte, Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, and Fergie and Josh Duhamel.

Others went in the opposite direction – Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle, Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie also got engaged, and Justin Bieber finally won Selena Gomez back after she underwent a kidney transplant. Of course, the couple is notorious for being on-again/off-again, so we’ll have to wait a bit before we find out if 100th time’s the charm.

Here’s a month-by-month recap of what was an eventful year in celebrity news.


At the very start of the year, people from all races and backgrounds, including numerous celebrities, marched against Donald Trump’s personal and political views. It was officially dubbed the Women’s March.

Peaceful protests were held all over the world. Stars including Jessica Biel, Miley Cyrus, and Kerry Washington marched in Los Angeles, while Chrissy Teigen, Katy Perry, and Emma Watson made their voices heard in Washington, DC.

Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron marched in Utah during the Sundance Film Festival. It became the largest single-day protest in US history.

Brightening up the otherwise cold, bleak month of January, this year’s Golden Globes attracted the usual amount of A-list glitz and glam.

The big winners on the night were Casey Affleck and Isabelle Huppert who took home the best actor and best actress accolades. Best drama went to Moonlight, while best musical or comedy went to La La Land.

On January 25, John Hurt passed away, aged 77, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was famous for his roles in a number of blockbuster films, including Alien, Harry Potter, and The Elephant Man.


In what was surely one of the biggest mistakes in award show history, February saw Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway on stage at the Academy Awards announcing the wrong winner of the best picture category. The pair announced, in error, that La La Land had won, when in fact the award was to go to Moonlight.

Chaos ensued, and the statuettes were literally taken out of the hands of the La La Land producers and given to those from Moonlight.

It was left to host Jimmy Kimmel to try to right the wrong amid the confusion. Later, it was revealed a PricewaterhouseCoopers staff member had given the presenters the wrong envelope.

The firm claimed “full responsibility” for the debacle. In other categories, which were correctly handed out on the night, Emma Stone won best actress (La La Land) and Casey Affleck won best actor (Manchester by the Sea).

The Grammys also took place this month, but thankfully there was no repeat of the Oscars gaff.

While she has retreated from the limelight, Adele was the woman of the hour at this year’s awards, scooping album of the year, song of the year, best pop vocal album, best pop solo performance, as well as record of the year.

David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, released just before his death in January 2010, also won a number of awards, including best rock song, best rock performance, and best alternative music album.

On February 8, Madonna confirmed she had adopted orphaned twin girls from Malawi. In a statement, Madonna said she was “overjoyed” the twins, Estere and Stelle, were now a part of her family and thanked everyone in Malawi who made it possible.

Madonna has four other children in addition to the twins, two of whom were also adopted from the African country.

On the same day, socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson died at the age of 45. The former It girl, who had appeared on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, had previously revealed a year-long battle with a brain tumour.

Star of Aliens and Titanic, American actor Bill Paxton passed away on February 25 due to surgical complications. Paxton had appeared in a number of Hollywood hits during his career, including Terminator, Twister, and Predator 2.

In a statement, his family said Paxton’s love for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and that his “warmth and tireless energy were undeniable”.


This was undoubtedly Mel B month. The former Spice Girls singer filed for divorce after almost 10 years of marriage to Stephen Belafonte.

A LOT of drama ensued, including allegations of domestic violence and an affair with the nanny, and sexual exploitation via sex tapes.

In November, Mel B reached a settlement with Belafonte and dropped her restraining order against him.

March was also the month Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom confirmed their break-up after dating for a little more than a year.

They released a statement saying they were “taking respectful, loving space” from each other. But they reportedly got back together later in the year after they were seen attending an Ed Sheeran concert together in August.

Chuck Berry died on March 18 at the age of 90 as a result of natural causes. The rock ‘n’ roll legend, known as the father of the movement, had been producing music since the 1950s and wrote pioneering tracks such as ‘Johnny B Goode’.

New life also entered the celebrity world this month, with the arrival of Cheryl Tweedy and Liam Payne’s son Bear. The child is reportedly nicknamed ‘Cub’ by the doting parents.


After separating in the summer of 2015, this was the month that Jennifer Garner finally filed for divorce from actor Ben Affleck.

This was also the month that Keeping up with the Kardashians star Kylie Jenner got together with rapper Travis Scott.

Things progressed quickly — the couple opted for matching tattoos over the summer, and Jenner is now expecting a child with the star. She is said to be expecting a baby girl in February.

In other Kardashian-related news, April was also the month that Kendall Jenner found herself at the centre of controversy due to a Pepsi advert she starred in.

In the video, she successfully achieves unity between police and protesters by offering a cop a can of Pepsi.

Many described the ad as being tone deaf and hit particularly close to home in areas of the US which have been rife with protester and police clashes, a lot of which have had violent outcomes.

Pepsi ultimately took down the ad and apologised.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy tied the knot with Erica Stoll in a lavish ceremony in Ashford Castle, Co Mayo.

Famous faces on the guestlist included Stevie Wonder, Coldplay, Niall Horan, Jamie Dornan, Ed Sheeran, and Conor McGregor.


At the start of the month, Conor McGregor welcomed his first son, Conor Jr, with long-time girlfriend Dee Devlin. The fighter took to Instagram to show off the first picture of the newborn, saying he was “one proud and blessed Daddy”.

Ewan McGregor separated from his wife of 22 years, Eve Mavrakis. The news was not announced until October, however, when McGregor was spotted kissing his Fargo co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Soundgarden and Audioslave rocker Chris Cornell passed away on May 17 at the age of 52 after performing a sold-out show with his band in Detroit.

He was found in the bathroom of his room at the MGM Grand Hotel and his death was later ruled a suicide. As the lead singer for Seattle-based Soundgarden, Cornell helped inspire the grunge rock movement in the 1990s.

He was also a Grammy-winning, Golden Globe-nominated singer, songwriter, guitarist, composer, and lyricist.

On May 20, Pippa Middleton married her financier beau James Matthews in a ceremony in Britain.

Attendees included Prince William and Kate and heir children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, along with Prince Harry. Meghan Markle joined him at the reception in the Middleton family home in Bucklebury.

Roger Moore died on May 23, aged 89, after a short battle with cancer. A statement was released on the James Bond star’s Twitter account by his family. The described how devastated they felt at the passing.

On May 26, actor Ben Stiller and actress Christine Taylor announced their separation after 18 years together — 17 of them as husband and wife.

In a joint statement, they said they had made the decision “with tremendous love and respect for each other”. They said their priority would continue to be raising their children as devoted parents and “the closest of friends”.


On June 9, Batman actor Adam West died at the age of 88 following a short battle with leukaemia. He was best known for playing the DC Comics superhero in the 1960s TV series, and later voiced Quahog mayor Adam West on Family Guy.

Back in February, Beyonce and Jay-Z sent the internet alight with pictures of Queen Bey’s baby bump, announcing they were expecting twins.

The photoshoot saw a nearly naked Beyonce wearing a veil in front of a colourful flower arrangement.

The babies, Sir and Rumi, were born in June, making their Instagram debut the following month in a photoshoot matching that of their mother’s earlier in the year.

Needless to say, the internet went into meltdown over them.

George Clooney and Amal Clooney also became parents to twins in June. The couple announced the birth of their son and daughter in a statement that poked fun at the actor’s expense, saying that Ella, Alexander, and Amal were all doing well, but that George was currently sedated and would recover in a few days.

There must have been something in the water in Tinseltown nine months previously, because soccer star Ronaldo also welcomed twins in June, via a surrogate whose name has not been made public.

On June 17, the high-profile sexual assault trial in which Bill Cosby faced off against one of his dozens of accusers ended in a mistrial. The Pennsylvania jury stayed in a deadlock, unable to come to a unanimous decision. They deliberated for six days before a judge announced a mistrial. Cosby faces a retrial in spring.

At the end of the month, Donald Trump hit headlines after an awkward encounter with an Irish journalist.

The US President phoned Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to congratulate him on his new position.

While on the phone, Trump called over RTÉ’s Washington correspondent, Caitriona Perry, saying “We have all of these beautiful Irish press,” before adding, “She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well”.

The reporter later recalled the experience as a “bizarre” one and US citizens began to tweet her to apologise on behalf of their president.


On July 20, Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington was found dead by a suspected suicide at the age of 41.

His death coincided with what would have been his late friend Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. Bennington’s best-known hits with Linkin Park were ‘Numb’, ‘In the End’, and ‘Crawling’.

He was found dead in Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles. Linkin Park had been in the middle of a world tour for their latest album, One More Light.


They seemed like one of the most solid couples in Hollywood, but in August Guardians of the Galaxystar Chris Pratt announced his separation from actress and funny gal Anna Faris.

The pair had been married for eight years.

A month after the news broke, Faris was spotted with new beau Michael Barrett and, on December 1, Faris and Pratt announced they would be moving forward with a divorce.

Johnny Depp’s ex Amber Heard, who accused him of physically assaulting her, broke up with billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk after a year of dating.

Legendary entertainer and face of Strictly Come Dancing, Bruce Forsyth, died at the age of 89.

He is recognised by the Guinness World Records as having the longest television career for a male entertainer, rising to fame in the 19050s on Sunday Night at the London Palladium and subsequently hosting shows like The Generation Game and The Price is Right.

After breaking up in 2016, Brooklyn Beckham and Chloe Grace Moretz attended a party together in August, telling attendees they were now back together.


At the start of September, Kensington Palace announced that the royal family was set to grow by one more as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting their third child.

An official statement said the Queen and members of both families were “delighted” with the news that Prince George and Princess Charlotte would be getting another sibling.

It was also revealed that Kate was again suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, better known as acute morning sickness.

After almost a decade together, Star Wars heartthrob Hayden Christensen and The OC actress Rachel Bilson called it quits.

Black Eyes Peas singer Fergie announced her separation from Josh Duhamel. The pair had been married for eight years. Fergie later announced she didn’t want to divorce. The split was reportedly caused by Fergie’s “rock star” lifestyle.

On September 12, Lady Gaga revealed she suffers from fibromyalgia, a disorder which causes widespread muscle pain and tenderness. Less than a week later, the star announced she was postponing her European tour.

In the documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, the singer said she wants to help raise awareness of her condition.

Game of Thrones fans everywhere celebrated when co-stars Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie announced their engagement.

The pair met on set, with Kit playing Jon Snow and Leslie playing his Wildling love interests, Ygritte.

They kept their relationship a secret for years, eventually declaring their love for each other publicly in 2016.

After keeping quiet for a few months, Selena Gomez revealed she needed a kidney transplant as a result of her lupus condition.

Gomez announced the news on Instagram, thanking her medical team and, of course, one of her best friends Francia Raisa who had stepped up to donate one of her kidneys. Gomez described herself as “wonderfully blessed” to have such an amazing and selfless person in her life.

The Kardashian and Jenner families had a busy few months — Khloe Kardashian announced in September that she was pregnant with her first child, just like half-sister Kylie Jenner.

Khloe is expecting a baby with her boyfriend of a year, basketball star Tristan Thompson.

She is due to give birth to a boy in early 2018. While is it to be Khloe’s first kid, Thompson has a one-year-old son with his ex-girlfriend.

On September 27, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner passed away at the age of 91.

His son, Cooper Hefner, said his father lived “an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer” and was a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements advocating free speech, civil rights, and sexual freedom.

At the end of the month, news broke of a note that was reportedly found on the iPad of deceased Tipperary woman Cathriona White who took a fatal overdose of prescription drugs in 2015.

The make-up artist, who had previously dated Jim Carrey, allegedly wrote about how the actor had introduced her to “cocaine, diseases, prostitutes and mental abuse”.


In a second Game of Thrones engagement, actress Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on the hit show, said yes to singer boyfriend Joe Jonas when he popped the question in October.

The pair announced the news with adorable matching Instagram posts. She posted a pic of her new ring with the words “I said yes”. Jonas shared the same photo but with the caption “She said yes”.

Tom Petty passed away on October 2 at the age of 66 after suffering cardiac arrest. The Grammy winner was best known for hits including ‘Free Fallin’’ and ‘American Girl’. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

On October 5, the New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein.

Actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd were among the women who came forward. Over the coming weeks and month, more and more women came forward with similar allegations.

Weinstein denied the allegations but was later sacked by the board of directors of the Weinstein Company, and his wife, designer Georgina Chapman, announced she was leaving him.

To date, more than 100 women have made allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein and police investigation in the US and UK were opened up.

Sean Hughes passed away on October 16, at the age of 51. The Irish comedian had liver cirrhosis and was rushed to the Whittington Hospital in north London, where he suffered cardiac arrest.

Hughes, who starred as Pat Stanaway in Coronation Street in 2007, was a pioneering stand-up comedian and one of the youngest ever winners of the prestigious Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Having been broken up for years, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber appeared to rekindle their romance.

Shortly after Gomez’s split from pop star Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd, which lasted 10 months, Gomez and Bieber were spotted getting cosy, grabbing breakfast, riding bikes together, and kissing at the hockey rink.

In what was a very under wraps affair, Michael Fassbender wed girlfriend Alicia Vikander in a ceremony in Ibiza in October. The pair had been dating for three years. Both were spotted wearing wedding rings the following day at what appeared to be a casual post-nuptial brunch with friends and family, and later on their honeymoon in Italy.

While Hollywood was still reeling over revelations about Weinstein, another famous face was accused of serious sexual misconduct.

Kevin Spacey faced allegations from fellow actor Anthony Rapp that he sexually assaulted him in 1986 when Anthony was 14 and Spacey 26.

Spacey’s response to the allegation was to say he didn’t remember the encounter, calling it “inappropriate drunken behaviour”. At the same time, Spacey announced for the first time that he is gay.

This was slammed by members of the LGBT community, many of whom saw it as a distraction from the real issue of sexual harassment. Netflix announced it was going to cancel Spacey’s hit show House of Cards, and he was also cut from the latest Ridley Scott film.

Since the initial allegation was made, a further 20 allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against the actor.


Late into the year, Kim Kardashian officially confirmed rumours she was having a third child with husband Kanye West through a surrogate.

Kim opened up about the process in November on her reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians, saying she has “the best relationship” with her surrogate, who she believes is “the perfect person to do this” for her and her family.

Arguably the most exciting celebrity couple of 2017 was Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. The pair started dating in 2016, but only made their first public appearance together in September.

They became engaged in November and announced they are planning to wed on May 19, 2018, at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

On the day the announcement took place, Harry and Meghan spoke together for the first time, telling the BBC that the proposal happened a few weeks prior, at their cottage in Kensington Palace.

50 Shadesof Grey actress Dakota Johnson and Coldplay singer Chris Martin announced in November that they were officially an item after they were spotted going for sushi together.

It’s thought the couple started dating in October. Since the announcement, Johnson was seen attending a

Coldplay concert in Argentina before jetting to Israel with the singer. In December, the pair spent a few days together in Paris.

Irish comedian Al Porter hit headlines this month after he was the subject of allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The presenter took the decision to stand down from his role as a Today FM host in the wake of the claims, while TV3 decided to pull six remaining episodes of Blind Date which featured Porter as the presenter.

It has since emerged that gardaí are investigating Porter in relation to the alleged sexual assault of a man in his late teens. The male teenager has alleged that the incident occurred at a social event in Dublin city centre in the last year.

Malcolm Young, co-founder and guitarist of world-famous rock band AC/DC, passed away on November 18 at the age of 64 after a three-year battle with dementia.

His brother, Angus Young, paid tribute, saying it was hard to express the unique and special bond the two had, but that his brother leaves behind an enormous legacy “that will live on forever”.

Wrapping up what has been a great year for Irish singer Niall Horan, the

former One Direction star picked up the best new artist award at the prestigious American Music Awards.

The win came just one month after the release of his first solo album Flicker. Horan said it was “unbelievable” to have won. He also performed ‘Slow Hands’ at the awards ceremony — the track reached number one on the charts in Ireland and the US, and number three in the UK.


Saoirse Ronan was named best actress by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle for her performance in Ladybird. The film also picked up the best picture accolade.

The gongs will be handed out at a ceremony on January 6. Ronan’s performance in Ladybird also nabbed her nominations for the impending Golden Globe awards, Critics Choice Awards, and Screen Actors Guild awards.

Ladybird will hit Irish cinemas on February 16.

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