Cassie Delaney remembers 2022 for what it was – an alternate celebrity universe.
It’s been a year of ups, downs and total curveballs.
In all areas of life 2022 was a mad one and the unhinged antics of tinsel town are a true testament to just how bizarre the year was. The ghosts of 2002 came to play with Bennifer and Maroon 5 making headlines, set to the soundtrack of Louis Theroux rapping and a kid raving about corn. It was a year of triumphs for women; Rihanna’s iconic maternity looks, Taylor’s and Beyonce’s chart success and the rise of Julia Fox. Men had a less successful time with slaps, spitgate and sexting. It’s been wild.
The unsung gem
Fox got her foot in the door of 2022 thanks to a brief romance with Kanye. Luckiily she parted ways with the antisemite in mid-February but has endured as a bona fide celeb. Her rise to fame is a lesson in personal branding, the inner machinations of celebrity and self-awareness. Fox has spent the year leaning into the absurdity of fame and using her platform to speak about the trials and tribulations of single-motherhood, sex work, the patriarchy and more.
@spotify Here for @juliafox #kanyewest being each others’ muses #juliafox #callherdaddy #daddygang #ye #popculturetea ♬ Unka Jahms on Spotify x Call Her Daddy podcast – Spotify
Smith snaps and slaps
The award for the most inescapable moment of the year goes to Will Smith v Chris Rock at the Oscars. We all know the drill, Smith (slowly) took grave offence to Rock’s slagging of Jada Pinkett Smith, leading to Smith’s mounting of the stage to open hand smack Rock. Returning to his seat the hot-headed Smith demands that Rock keeps his wife’s name “out your fucking mouth.” The jaw dropping moment led to tremendous discourse about toxic masculinity, displays of violence, race and humour. To quote Daniel Radcliffe, it all became “dramatically boring.”
Trial by TikTok
The Deep v Heard trial was a messy, voyeuristic, uncomfortable look behind the scenes of one of Hollywood’s most controversial relationships. During the six-week trial which commenced in April, Depp sued Heard for defamation regarding a Washington Post Op-Ed in which Heard relayed her experiences of speaking out about domestic violence.
The trial itself gave license to a fresh wave of internet misogyny and hatred for women and was described by many as the death of the #MeToo movement. Ultimately Depp won the defamation suit, though unsealed court documents later undermined key testimony from the actor. Towards the end of the year Heard announced she would settle the suit to move on with her life and mostly we learned that powerful and rich men can threaten to fuck the burnt corpses of women and still walk away unscathed.
Destiny after two decades
On a much lighter note, one celeb couple have given rom-com writers great fodder this year. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez married in July of 2022, 20 years after their initial engagement was called off. They first married in Vegas and later had a ceremony at Ben’s home in Georgia. They’ve spent the year being photographed looking sweet together.
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Running up that chart
Another welcomed blast from the past has been the resurgence of Kate Bush thanks to Stranger Things.Following the premiere, Spotify revealed streams for the song increased by 9,900% in the United States and in June Running Up That Hill topped the charts, becoming Bush’s first number one since 1978.
One thing we can truly take from the year is that men have too much money. In April rich man Elon Musk publicly offered $55 billion to buy Twitter. The free-speech absolutist immediately fired a number of chief executives, half the workforce and then began charging for verification. The result was a sleugh of hilarious tweets mimicking big brands and making a mockery of Musk’s strategy. In December, Musk announced he would resign as Twitter CEO when he finds a suitable replacement. The decision followed a public poll in which 57.5% of voters recommended he resign.
Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022
Taylor Swift had a record breaking year. Midnights broke a string of sales, streaming, digital, vinyl and official chart records globally. The album achieved the all-time Spotify record for the most streamed album in a single day with 186 million streams in its opening day. Swift became the first act to control the entire top 10 of the Hot 100 concurrently; the woman with the most top-10 entries and the first act to debut atop the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 simultaneously four times. Then when she announced a 2023 World Tour, Swift effectively broke the internet with Ticketmaster failing to meet the demand from fans.
And finally, Adam Levine unknowingly prompted meme mania when he was caught sexting model Sumner Stroh. Stroh alleged in a viral TikTok that the two were having a yearlong affair that ended when Levine asked if he could name his son after the model. Levine denied the affair but admitted to flirting in a statement posted (sigh) to his Instagram.
“A lot is being said about me right now and I want to clear the air. I used poor judgment in speaking with anyone other than my wife in ANY kind of flirtatious manner. I did not have an affair; nevertheless, I crossed the line during a regrettable period in my life.
“In certain instances it became inappropriate. My wife and my family is all I care about in this world. To be this naive and stupid enough to risk the only thing that truly matters to me was the greatest mistake I could ever make. I will never make it again,” said the singer.