Biggest celebrity stories of 2016

As the New Year approaches, let’s take a walk down memory lane and recap all the drama and historic moments that caught everyone’s attention in 2016, starting with the death of a legend. Prince, a man who forever changed music, passed away unexpectedly on April 21 at 57. His death came less than a week after he was briefly hospitalized after his plane made an emergency landing while Prince was in the throes of a drug overdose. An autopsy later revealed that the “Purple Rain” singer died in the elevator of his Paisley Park compound from an accidental OD of Fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. Early on, officials pointed to opioids as the likely cause of death, which led to the Drug Enforcement Agency joining the investigation. But Prince was just one of many legends we lost this year. Keep reading to see more of the biggest celebrity stories of 2016…

RELATED: 21 of Prince’s most iconic looks

They say love officially died on Sept. 20, for it was the day that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie decided to call it quits. The high-profile couple was together for 12 years and married for two before Angie filed divorce paperwork. As soon as the news came out, allegations surfaced claiming that Brad had gotten physical with their 15-year-old son, Maddox, on an airplane. The FBI looked into the matter but dropped it. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services also conducted a child abuse investigation and closed it in early November after clearing Brad.

RELATED: Shocking celebrity splits

This was just horrific. On Oct. 2, as she rested in bed in her Paris apartment hotel, Kim Kardashian West’s room was broken into by five armed thieves who bound and gagged the reality star and robbed her at gunpoint. They made off with $5.6 million in jewelry. After the incident, she canceled appearances, halted filming of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” shunned social media and basically changed the way she does everything.

RELATED: Kim’s 35 most iconic looks

After a secret 18-month battle with cancer, David Bowie passed away on Jan. 10 at the age of 69. Following his death, both new and old paid tribute to his music, making him aYouTube record-holder. Just after his passing, the iconic star’s catalog garnered 51 million video views within 24 hours, obliterating the record Adele had set with her comeback single, “Hello,” which racked up 36 million views in October 2015.

The greatest is now gone. Muhammad Ali died on June 3 at the age of 74 after battling a respiratory infection and Parkinson’s disease. His death wasn’t exactly a shock, but still, in fairness to the G.O.A.T., his passing shook up the world.

On May 23, Amber Heard filed for divorce from Johnny Depp, ending their 15-month marriage. But that was only the beginning. Amber went on to allege abuse (and got a restraining order), a claim Johnny denied. She also asked for a huge chunk of money as legal proceedings grew tedious and were often postponed. In July, Amber’s team said Johnny was to blame for the back-and-forth legal drama, insisting he was trying to “thwart” their divorce proceedings and “smearing Amber at every turn.” The divorce was finally settled in mid-August.

Carrie Fisher passed away at the age of 60 on Dec. 27 after suffering from a heart attack on a plane from London to Los Angeles on Dec. 23. The iconic “Star Wars” actress had most recently been promoting her new book “The Princess Diarist” in the weeks leading up to her death.

Just one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher Debbie Reynolds passed away. The 84-year-old had been in the midst of making funeral arrangements for her daughter when she was rushed to the hospital. She reportedly died from a stroke.

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris seemed the epitome of happiness for 15 months. Then they weren’t. It was reported on June 1 that the couple had split. The split originally seemed amicable, but then it wasn’t. Taylor got a new man very quickly (more on that later) and Calvin felt “betrayed,” according to TMZ’s sources. Then, as if it couldn’t get weirder, it was confirmed that she’d secretly written his hit song “This Is What You Came For” under the pseudonym Nils Sjoberg, something the Scottish producer later confirmed.

George Michael shockingly died at the age of 53 on Dec. 25.”It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,” his rep said. George Michael allegedly suffered from heart failure while he was sleeping. Before he passed away, George Michael was reportedly working on a Showtime special about his life that was scheduled to air in March.

In July, Taylor Swift was at it again with old nemesis Kanye West when she reportedly threatened to have the rapper criminally prosecuted upon learning that he’d secretly recorded a January phone conversation they’d had to discuss his lyrics about her in his controversial single “Famous.” During the conversation — which was later posted by Kim Kardashian West on Snapchat — Taylor (who earlier in the year denied ever approving Kanye’s lyrics) refers to one of Kanye’s lines about her as a “compliment.” “Go with whatever line you think is better. It’s obviously very tongue-in-cheek either way,” she could be heard saying over speakerphone. “…And I really appreciate you telling me about it. That’s really nice… Even asking or seeing if I would be okay with it… I never would have expected you to like tell me about a line in one of your songs.” After Kim posted the Snapchat receipts, Taylor responded with an epic defensive post of her own on Instagram that read, in part, “Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that b—-‘ in his song? It doesn’t exist because it never happened.”

Iggy Azalea and Nick Young found themselves in one heck of a dramatic split. The rapper and the professional athlete, who got engaged in June 2015, split in June this year after a secretly recorded video surfaced of Nick admitting that he cheated on Iggy. Shortly after that, it was revealed that Nick had impregnated his ex girlfriend. Iggy said that wasn’t why she split with her NBA beau. “I have never even been told by nick that his baby mother is pregnant so if this is true I’m finding out via E news,” she wrote on Twitter. “I broke up with Nick because I found out he had brought other women into our home while I was away and caught them on the security footage.” She then moved on with French Montana. Nick moved on with another woman who was not his ex girlfriend.

Gene Wilder, the beloved star of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” passed away on Aug. 29 at 83 and headed to the great chocolate shop in the sky. The two-time Oscar nominee died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Leslie Jones’ website was hacked in August. The hacker posted all of the “Saturday Night Live” star’s identification, including her driver license and passport, online. Naked photos were also posted. Previously, Leslie was dogged by haters and was the target of racist comments. The hacking situation was so bad the U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigated.

After a long and difficult battle with throat cancer, Celine Dion’s husband and lifelong manager, René Angélil, passed away on Jan. 14 at 73. René fought the disease three times in his life. He was laid to rest following a state funeral in Montreal, but there was also a memorial ceremony for him in Las Vegas, where the couple resided.

One of Hollywood’s longest marriages nearly ended in May when it was revealed that Ozzy Osbourne had carried on a six-month affair with a hairstylist. Sharon Osbourne actually left him for a short while. She later opened up on “The Talk” about the situation, saying that at 63, she can no longer “live like this.” By June, Ozzy had ended the affair and they had “fallen in love” again. “I can’t imagine life without him and he can’t imagine life without me,” Sharon said.

Kim Kardashian West “broke the Internet” again in 2016 after posting a naked selfie on social media in March. But not everyone was happy and Kim found herself in feuds with Bette Midler, Chloe Grace Moretz and Piers Morgan. All three blasted Kim for her revealing post, but she fought back, saying she’s “allowed to be sexy.” Despite the negative criticism, many others applauded Kim and defended her. Heck, some celebs actually recreated it!

Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift’s romance took off like a rocket ship in June when the two were spotted kissing and holding hands. The duo went on vacation together, met the parents and lived their romance in front of cameras on three continents. Three months later, they were done.

2016 marked the year we saw all of Orlando Bloom… Like, ALL of him. While on vacation with girlfriend Katy Perry, Orlando was photographed skinny-dipping his way through Europe. At one point, he went paddleboarding sans a swimsuit and strolling along the beach in the buff. Katy shared the board with him, but was anything but bored.

Beyonce gave us the question of the year: Who is Becky with the good hair? In April, Bey debuted a new visual album in the epic HBO special “Lemonade,” and then dropped an album of the same name. Her lyrics strongly implied that husband Jay Z cheated on her and that she later forgave him, though neither has ever confirmed it. There was also speculation that she was referring to designer Rachel Roy as the “other” woman (Rachel has repeatedly denied it). In one song, Bey sang, “Her heaven will be a love without betrayal. Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks,” and also repeatedly brought up how “He better call Becky with the good hair.”

In April, Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman confirmed the news that they were planning to divorce after nearly four years of marriage. She filed divorce papers in July and the whole thing was finalized just three weeks later.

Prince Harry seems to have found love with “Suits” actress Meghan Markle. In October, it was revealed that Harry was “besotted” with Meghan, having met in May of 2016 while he was promoting the Invictus Games in Toronto. A week after the news got out, the palace, in an unprecedented move, publicly acknowledged the relationship and condemning those who have harassed and verbally abused her. A statement said that she was the victim of”outright sexism and racism.” A palace statement said Harry “is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.”

In September, Rebel Wilson was forced to disable her Instagram comments after receiving death threats. The threats were so severe that the FBI got involved. Before deleting a post, she wrote, “Just letting you guys know that my comments are temporarily suspended because of death threats I recently received. The FBI is currently investigating.”

Say it ain’t so. After five years together, Lady Gaga and fiance Taylor Kinney called off their engagement in July. In announcing that they’d called it quits, they both acknowledged that they still loved each other and she called them “soulmates.” About a month later, it was reported that Taylor wanted to get back with his former “Lady.” But in October, Page Six reported that the “Chicago Fire” actor had moved on with a 26-year-old woman from South Philadelphia.

This was one no one saw coming. Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson split in July after 10 years together… a decade together! For those who like math: They started dating when President George W. Bush was only halfway through his last term! So they’d been together for a while.

Kanye West was hospitalized on November 21 after he reportedly started behaving “erratically” while at his personal trainer’s home. The health scare came hours after West canceled what was left of his Saint Pablo Tour. It was initially reported that he was suffering from temporary psychosis brought on by sleep deprivation and extreme dehydration. There were other reports that he was suffering from psychological problems. Kim Kardashian stood by his side in the hospital.

Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom are done… again. In May, Khloe filed for divorce from Lamar for the second time, citing “irreconcilable differences.” She first filed for divorce in December 2013. However, both she and Lamar made no effort to push the paperwork through for almost 18 months, as she reportedly hoped to save the marriage. Then they signed off in the summer of 2015 but as they were waiting for a judge’s signature, Lamar suffered from a near-fatal overdose in October 2015, so Khloe withdrew her first divorce petition in order to help him make medical decisions as he recovered. Once he was better, they made their split official once again. Both signed off on the divorce in October.

…And then it finally happened! On Feb. 28, Leonardo DiCaprio won an Academy Award. It was his sixth shot at Oscar gold, and he finally grabbed the prize for best actor for his work in “The Revenant.” He thanked his co-stars and many from the crew and “everyone from the very onset.” He then shared a powerful message about an issue he deeply cares about: climate change. “Climate change is real,” he said. “It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species.”

So long, old friend. Garry Shandling, the legendary comedian, passed away on March 24 of a sudden heart attack at age 66. To pay tribute to the star of “The Larry Sanders Show,” dozens of his friends gathered at his place for a game of basketball, as Garry had a long-standing tradition of hosting a game every weekend at his Mandeville Canyon home in Los Angeles.

Ciara and Russell Wilson said “I do” on July 6in England’s Peckforton Castle in front of 100 friends and family members. The bride wore Roberto Cavalli. On Oct. 26, the NFL quarterback and the singer announced they were expecting a baby. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage…

In one of the most tragic stories of the year, “The Voice” star Christina Grimmie was gunned down and killed by a deranged fan on June 10 while she signed autographs following an Orlando concert. Initially, Christina was transported to a hospital, but she later died from her injuries. Christina was 22.

Alan Rickman lost a brief and secret battle with cancer at the age of 69 on Jan. 14. Daniel Radcliffe, who starred in the “Harry Potter” film franchise with Alan, was especially moved by his memories of the man who brought Severus Snape to life, writing, “Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry.”

Gigi Hadid can handle it! During Milan Fashion Week on Sept. 22, a man grabbed the model and hoisted her into the air. He was rewarded for his efforts with an elbow to the neck and a chase. The whole thing was part of a joke by well-known European prankster Vitalii Sediuk, but Gigi didn’t find it funny. Afterward, she tweeted, “I am a HUMAN BEING and had EVERY RIGHT to defend myself. How dare that idiot think he has a right to man handle a complete stranger. He ran quick tho…”

Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama split in early June after six years together, something few saw coming. Afterward, she said she felt “free.” Later, in October, things weren’t so peachy for her after she shaded Taylor Swift in a magazine. After many came down on her, Demi — who’s since moved on with UFC fighter Luke Rockhold — said she was taking a break from the spotlight. “I am not meant for this business and the media,” she tweeted.

Rob Kardashian was off the grid for a the better part of a year and a half. But then he began dating Blac Chyna, much to the chagrin of his family (she has a child with Tyga, who is dating Rob’s sister Kylie Jenner). After hooking up with Chyna, the duo was everywhere and in love with each other (he even drove from Los Angeles to Texas to pick her up after she was arrested… DROVE!). Then, two months later, they got engaged. Then, wouldn’t you know it, the duo announced they were pregnant. They landed their own reality show next, of course. On Nov. 10, they welcomed a girl, Dream. Phew, you follow all that?

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez didn’t mince words as they feuded in a very public way in August. It all started after Justin posted photos with his then-girlfriend Sofia Richie. His fans were not happy about his new romance with Lionel Richie’s daughter and let him know it. “I’m gonna make my Instagram private if you guys don’t stop the hate this is getting out of hand, if you guys are really fans you wouldn’t be so mean to people that I like,” he said. Selena then chimed in, reportedly writing, “If you can’t handle the hate, then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol- It should be special between you two only…” The two feuded back and forth and accused each other of cheating on each other next. Can’t these two just get over each other? Answer: No.

Not a lot of people saw this one coming! On Nov. 8, business mogul and former reality star Donald Trump won the presidential election, beating out Hillary Clinton. Going into Election Day, nearly every poll had him losing, but then a funny thing happened at the ballot box.

In March, there was alarming news about Richard Simmons. The fitness guru had been absent from the public eye for two years (coming up on three years now) and his loved ones were concerned that he was being held captive against his will in his home. Richard eventually issued a statement explaining that he’s fine and simply needed a break from the limelight. He hasn’t been seen since January 2014.

Chloe Grace Moretz and Khloe Kardashian won’t be sending each other Christmas cards any time soon. The two got into a Twitter war in July after Kim Kardashian West posted a secretly recorded video of Taylor Swift talking to Kanye West about his song “Famous.” “Everyone in this industry needs to get their heads out of a hole and look around to realize what’s ACTUALLY happening in the REAL world … Stop wasting your voice on something so petulant and unimportant,” Chloe tweeted. Khloe shot back, “Is this the a hole you’re referring to @ChloeGMoretz ???” along with a pic of Chloe wearing a red bikini and of another red-bikini-clad girl whose bathing suit had been pulled over to expose an intimate part of her backside. (It wasn’t Chloe though — yikes!) Chloe had also beefed with Kim earlier in the year after the reality star posted a naked selfie.

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart split this year. The off-and-on duo broke up in August, but friends were unsure if this was actually the end. For now, it is. The final straw? She reportedly wanted him to attend a party with her in New York, but he wanted to go to Las Vegas to watch a UFC fight.

Florence Henderson, the matriarch of”The Brady Bunch,” passed away on Nov. 24. “Carol Brady,” as generations of fans knew her, was 82. Her death was somewhat mysterious as she was seen in seemingly good health just three days before her death at the finale of “Dancing With The Stars.” Her spokesman said she’d fallen ill after the taping.

The world was again shocked by another high-profile split in late September. Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber parted ways. The couple started dating in 2005, but never married. They share two sons. A source told E! News the split had “been a long time coming.”

What a year it was for Ryan Lochte — for better or for worse! During the Summer Olympics in Brazil, the gold-medal-winning swimmer said he was robbed at gunpoint. It was later revealed that wasn’t exactly true. He apologized for his actions and said he “over-exaggerated” the facts. He later joined “Dancing With The Stars,” but that didn’t go smoothly as two hecklers rushed the stage to protest the controversial swimmer’s participation on the show at the start of the season. Then, on Oct. 9, he proposed to girlfriend Kayla Rae Reid, a former Playboy model. She said yes. Really, it was a year of highs and lows for Ryan.

On Aug. 28, Drake presented Rihanna with the Video Vanguard Award during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards and he may as well have proposed. “She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old. She’s one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life, I’ve looked up to her even though she’s younger than me,” he said. The off-and-on duo began dating (again) in the summer. However, they split again in October.

Dennis Quaid and Kimberly Quaid put the kibosh on their 12-year marriage for the third time on June 28. The couple’s first breakup moves came in 2012 when Kimberly filed for divorce. Dennis followed that up with a filing of his own later in the year. But by 2013, their divorce filings had been dismissed and the couple had reconciled. This time, though, it doesn’t appear that either of them wants to give it another shot.

The “Okie From Muskogee” left us on April 6 on his 79th birthday. Merle Haggard passed away after battling double pneumonia. The next day, many of the biggest names in country music paid tribute to the music legend.

It was hard keeping up with Frances Bean Cobain and Isaiah Silva’s nasty relationship drama in 2016. In March, she filed for divorce from the musician, her husband of less than two years. In the paperwork, she explicitly said that her estranged husband had no legal right to any of the inheritance she was bequeathed by her late father, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. However, Isaiah decided to go after a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history:the Martin 18-DE electric/acoustic guitar Kurt played on MTV’s “Unplugged” before his death. He’s claiming Frances gave it to him as a gift when they got married in June 2014. It’s one of the single most-valuable items in Kurt’s estate. Frances’ mother, Courtney Love, told TMZ it’s not Isaiah’s but “a treasured heirloom of the family’s.”

Are Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner actually supermodels? Stephanie Seymour — who along with Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington is considered to be one of the original supermodels of the ’90s — seemed to think not and a feud ensued. Stephanie called them “b—— of the moment” in Vanity Fair in June, explaining, “They are completely different than we were. Supermodels are sort of the thing of the past. They deserve their own title. [Kendall and Gigi] are beautiful girls, and I support all of them, but they need their own title.” Rebecca Romijn also shaded the young women before backtracking. Kendall fought back, saying on her app, “If people want to call Gigi and I supermodels now, it doesn’t take anything away from supermodels of the past. Obviously, I have so much respect for those women, but right now, we’re the models of this time. Significant? Maybe. Hardworking? For sure.”

Film legend Patty Duke passed away on March 29 at the age of 69. Her rep said the Oscar-winning actress died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine. Her son, Sean Astin, broke the news and said his mother “closed her eyes and ascended to a beautiful place.”

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