With heartbreak, hookups, scandals and tragedies, the stars made us laugh, cry, mourn and say ‘Did that just happen?’ this year. Take a look back at 2011’s jaw-dropping celebrity events.
Arnold’s illegitimate child
We couldn’t believe the news that Arnold Schwarzenegger not only cheated on his wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, with his housekeeper, but that he fathered a child with her — and that child was part of the family’s lives for 14 years! Not surprisingly, this bombshell revelation led to the former governor and “Terminator” star’s wife filing for divorce.
Jennifer Aniston: Homewrecker?
The former “Friends” star has long been portrayed in the media as the heartbroken victim of that fiendish man-stealer Angelina Jolie, who broke up her marriage to Brad Pitt. But the saga took an ironic twist when Jen took up with actor-screenwriter Justin Theroux ... who, though not actually married, had just abruptly exited a live-in relationship of 14 years. Much as with Brangelina, reports varied as to whether the couple had gotten together before or after that romance’s demise. But either way, the tabloids finally stopped feeling sorry for Jen — and it was about time!
Ryan Dunn’s fatal car crash
The “Jackass” star and friend Zachary Hartwell perished in a horrific, fiery car crash in June — hours after he tweeted a picture of himself drinking beer. Ryan was only 34 when he lost control of his Porsche on a Pennsylvania road and slammed into a guardrail. And the accident seemed sadly preventable: He was reportedly driving at 130 mph, and a toxicology report showed that his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit when he died.
Lindsay Lohan’s trials and tribulations
OK, on one level, there’s nothing even remotely shocking about Lindsay Lohan’s continued troubles with the law at this point. But on another, it really is rather astonishing to see how many times she has managed to land herself in jail. She rang in the new year with a physical altercation with a Betty Ford staffer while in rehab, got into hot water for allegedly stealing a necklace, and, yes, did time in the pokey over the course of 2011. Her lawyer may be the hardest-working woman in show business.
Amy Winehouse’s death
We thought that Amy Winehouse had actually turned a corner in terms of battling her demons ... but tragically, it turns out that we were wrong. The 27-year-old “Back to Black” singer was found dead in July, and although her family had insisted she was clean — even suggesting that she might have died of alcohol withdrawal — autopsy results determined that she was indeed inebriated when she passed away. A posthumously released final album serves as a sad reminder of the talent the world lost.
Kim Kardashian’s divorce filing
While nobody was terribly surprised that Kim Kardashian’s marriage didn’t last, the swiftness with which she kicked Kris Humphries to the curb was pretty breathtaking. The marriage itself only lasted 72 days ... but the media coverage of its demise is still going strong. Not only did the tabloids dissect the breakup from every possible angle (Did she ever really love him? Did he really call her fat?), we’re now witnessing practically each moment that led up to the split on “Kourtney and Kim Take New York.”
Britney Spears’ engagement
When news broke in December that Britney Spears accepted a proposal from her former manager Jason Trawick, the shocker wasn’t that she said yes — it was that we were actually happy about it! While both of the pop star’s previous marriages were mistakes from the get-go (the first lasted 55 hours, making Kim Kardashian’s look positively long-term), this time, we approve. For the first time since first love Justin Timberlake, she appears to have found a good guy!
Charlie Sheen’s meltdown
In the course of a few weeks, the actor went from being the highest-paid sitcom star on TV to an unemployed train wreck ranting about “winning” and “tiger blood.” We were all captivated by his amusing antics ... until the novelty wore off, we saw that this man needed help and it really wasn’t funny anymore. We’re happy that Charlie seems to have bounced back, but we’re holding our breath to see what 2012 brings.