Scandals, deaths and romances made for a memorable year.
2022 was full of ups and downs. As 2023 approaches, ET is taking a look back at the biggest pop culture stories from the past year, which includes everything from tragic deaths to huge controversies.
A beloved comedian died, a respected actor resorted to violence, exes had dramatic court proceedings, and an early aughts couple reunited, thus restoring our belief in love -- and that all happened less than halfway through the year.
Next came a lengthy prison sentence for reality stars, a newborn between exes, an actress' fiery car crash and subsequent death, and quite the controversy surrounding a highly anticipated flick.
The year ended with a new monarch for the U.K., a shocking cheating scandal, the unexpected dissolution of a feud, and some morning show drama that made the AppleTV+ series look tame.
Keep reading for more on those stories.
Bob Saget's Death
The year started off on a tragic note when beloved Full House star Bob Saget died at age 65. The comedian was found dead in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, Florida, the day after he performed a stand-up show.
"We are devastated to confirm that our beloved Bob passed away today," the statement read. "He was everything to us and we want you to know how much he loved his fans, performing live and bringing people from all walks of life together with laughter."
Saget was laid to rest later that month with a star-studded, private memorial service.
"I did speak," Rizzo said on the Today show of Saget's service. "The whole thing, as painful as it was, [it was] beautiful to be surrounded by so many people who loved him and who loved each other. I can't even verbalize the level of support. I'm so grateful for it."
In February, Saget's family revealed that authorities determined the late comedian died from "head trauma" after "he accidentally hit the back of his head." The Saget family released a statement to ET, which added that after Saget hit his head, he went to sleep and "thought nothing of it."
Saget's autopsy was released shortly thereafter, and revealed that, in addition to multiple skull fractures and abrasions, the actor was positive for COVID-19 at the time of his death. Later, the comedian's post-death photos were permanently sealed from public viewing after his family sued the medical examiner's office.
When ET spoke wit Rizzo nine months after Saget's death, she shared what she misses most about her late husband.
"I want to say everything, but just his protection," Rizzo said. "... I felt safer with Bob in the world, 'cause he just took care of everybody so much. He was such a protector and a caretaker. He just made you feel so safe. He handled everything. He took care of everything."
"With him around, I just felt, like, so safe, and so it's almost like my shield is gone," she continued. "But, at the same time, then you learn to do some of those things yourself and then you feel [that] he taught me so many things that now I'm bringing with me. It's a way to kind of keep him around."
Will Smith's Oscars Slap
After the joke, Smith stormed onto the stage, delivered an open-handed slap to Rock's face and screamed, "Leave my wife's name out of your f**king mouth."
During his acceptance speech, Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, but not Rock himself. Afterward, Rock declined to file a police report.
Smith himself addressed the situation in a statement shortly thereafter.
"Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night's Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada's medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally," Smith wrote in part. "I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness."
Then, Smith resigned from the Academy. The Academy accepted Smith's resignation and later banned the actor from attending Academy events for a decade. Of the Academy's decision, Smith told ET that he does "accept and respect" it.
On an episode of Red Table Talk in June, Pinkett Smith spoke out about the incident, stating, "My deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out and reconcile. The state of the world today, we need them both. And we all actually need one another more than ever. Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that's keep figuring this thing called life together."
The next month, Smith released an apology video, in which he stated that he was "deeply remorseful," noted that he had reached out to Rock, and denied speculation that Pinkett Smith asked him to slap the comedian.
"I know it was confusing, I know it was shocking, but I promise you, I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world," he said. "If you hang on, I promise we'll be able to be friends again."
Then, during an interview with journalist Kevin McCarthy, the actor said he does "completely understand" if people aren't ready to support his comeback.
"My deepest hope is that my actions don't penalize my team. At this point, that's what I'm working for," he said of those who worked on the movie. "I'm hoping that the material -- the power of the film, the timeliness of the story -- I'm hoping that the good that can be done would open people's hearts at a minimum to see and recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film."
Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard
After Johnny Depp filed a $50 million lawsuit against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, in 2019, the trial, which all had to do with Heard's Washington Post op-ed, began in April 2022. Throughout the trial, the exes hurled explosive allegations back and forth, with Heard accusing the actor of "sexual violence" and sabotaging her career, both of which Depp denied, and Depp alleging that his former wife defecated on his bed and had lied about her finances, both of which Heard has denied.
During the trial, a psychologist hired by Depp's team stated that she'd diagnosed Heard with borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder, while a psychologist hired by the actress' team said she diagnosed Heard with post traumatic stress disorder as a result of alleged "intimate partner violence." Depp denied that he was physically violent toward Heard, and claimed that she was violent toward him, which she denied.
Depp ended up winning the trial, with the jury awarding him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, the latter of which was reduced to $350,000 in accordance with Virginia's statutory cap. Heard, meanwhile, was awarded $2 million by the jury in compensatory damages for her counterclaim after the jury found Depp liable for his attorney's comment that Heard's claims were a "hoax."
Heard expressed her "disappointment" afterward, stating in part, "I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women."
Meanwhile, Depp said he was "truly humbled" by the jury's decision, adding, "I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up. I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media."
Heard tried to get the verdict thrown out, but that request was denied by the judge. Heard then filed to appeal the verdict, while Depp filed to appeal Heard's $2 million win. In December, Heard announced that she had settled the lawsuit.
"I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed. The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of the ways in which women are re-victimized when they come forward," she said in part. "... I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward."
"We are pleased to formally close the door on this painful chapter for Mr. Depp, who made clear throughout this process that his priority was about bringing the truth to light," the actor's attorneys said in part. "The jury's unanimous decision and the resulting judgement in Mr. Depp's favor against Ms. Heard remain fully in place."
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's Romance
After rekindling their early aughts romance in 2021, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck announced their engagement in April 2022. Lopez later revealed in her newsletter that Affleck popped the question while she was in her "favorite place on Earth," the bubble bath.
"I was smiling so big and tears were coming down my face, feeling so incredibly happy and whole," she wrote. "It was nothing fancy at all, but it was the most romantic thing I could've ever imagined...just a quiet Saturday night at home, two people promising to always be there for each other. Two very lucky people. Who got a second chance at true love."
"They both feel so comfortable with each other and like they share history and know each other so well," the source said. "They feel like they are in the same place in life now and relate to each other on another level... They're so excited to make more memories together and have more adventures, both as a couple and as a family."
In a later edition of her newsletter, Lopez, who changed her last name to Affleck, wrote of the nuptials, "It was the best possible wedding we could have imagined. One we dreamed of long ago and one made real (in the eyes of the state, Las Vegas, a pink convertible and one another) at very, very long last."
Shortly thereafter, a source told ET that the couple would "absolutely be having a bigger wedding ceremony and celebration that includes close relatives, friends, and loved ones." In August, the pair did just that, saying "I do" for a second time at Affleck's Georgia estate in front of a star-studded guest list, which included Matt Damon, Jimmy Kimmel and more.
Later, Lopez and Affleck spent Thanksgiving together. Ahead of Christmas, the pair threw a star-studded holiday party. Shortly thereafter, a source told ET that the couple, who have five children between them, was looking forward to celebrating the December holiday with one another.
"They are hoping to have a big family affair at home for Christmas where everyone is cozy, enjoying a big meal, and lots of holiday cheer," the source said. "... Ben and Jen know that they were designed to be together and they are so happy to be reunited and elevate their relationship to a level that they feel was destined. They have pure awe and love for each other."
Todd and Julie Chrisley's Tax Fraud Case
Todd and Julie were each convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax fraud, with Julie also convicted of wire fraud. Shortly thereafter, the couple's bond conditions were changed to include house confinement and electronic monitoring.
After their convictions, Julie's lawyer, Steve Friedberg, told ET that "both Chrisleys are devastated and disappointed with the verdict and will be pursuing an appeal."
"It's a very sad, heartbreaking time for our family right now," he said, "but we still hold steadfast in our faith and we trust that God will do what he does best because God's a miracle worker."
While the couple was initially set to be sentenced in October, that was delayed until November after Todd and Julie motioned for a new trial and acquittal, claiming that their initial trial was "fundamentally unfair."
When their new sentencing date came around, Todd was sentenced to 12 years in prison, as well as 16 months of probation, while Julie was sentenced to seven years in prison, plus 16 months of probation.
"Todd and Julie are people of faith, and that faith gives them strength as they appeal their convictions," Alex Little, the Chrisley family attorney, told ET. "Their trial was marred by serious and repeated errors, including the government lying to jurors about what taxes the couple paid. Based on these issues, we are optimistic about the road ahead."
Then, in December, Todd and Julie were ordered to report to two different federal prisons in Florida by 12:00 p.m. on Jan. 17. Todd will be serving his time at Federal Prison Camp Pensacola, while Julie will be about two and a half hours away at Federal Correctional Institution Marianna. Both will be placed under minimum security in their respective facilities.
Amid their legal drama, more drama befell the Chrisley family, as custody questions around their granddaughter, 10-year-old Chloe, began to surface. Todd and Julie adopted Chloe, who is the biological daughter of Todd's son, Kyle, and Kyle's ex, Angela Johnson, when she was a young child.
"I was cut out of her life. I didn't walk away from her. I was pushed out of her life and they wanted me to forget about Chloe. And they wanted Chloe to forget about me like I don't exist," Angela claimed to TMZ. "The reason why I feel like Chloe should be home is she has family back home. My whole side of the family she won't even remember because she's been away for six years almost. That's not right."
Todd and Julie fired back against Angela's claims on their podcast, with Todd saying in part, "Chloe was legally adopted by myself and by Julie. She is legally our child. We will be the ones who decide, if and when the time comes, as to who will be her caregiver."
"Angela Johnson has no rights to Chloe. Her rights were terminated. She has been legally adopted," Todd added. "... Angela terminated her rights voluntarily. She wasn't threatened. She wasn't coerced."
Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson Welcome Baby No. 2
Though Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian ended their relationship after the NBA star was embattled in a series of cheating scandals, news broke in July that they were expecting their second child via surrogate. They already share a 4-year-old daughter, True.
"We can confirm True will have a sibling who was conceived in November," Khloe's rep told ET. "Khloe is incredibly grateful to the extraordinary surrogate for such a beautiful blessing. We'd like to ask for kindness and privacy so that Khloe can focus on her family."
Meanwhile, a source told ET, "The two have long said they wanted True to have a sibling, and Khloe even told her family she'd do it without Tristan if she needed to. However, when the two were on good terms, they decided to move forward with surrogacy near the end of last year and then Tristan was caught cheating."
Despite their expanding family, the source said that Tristan and Khloe "aren't together and Khloe will have the baby full time."
In August, a source told ET that the one-time couple's baby boy had arrived.
"Khloe is so grateful to have been able to expand her family and is adjusting to being a mom of two," a source told ET. "... Tristan really wanted a baby boy and is so happy to have welcomed a son."
While Khloe has yet to publicly reveal her son's name, in October she shared sweet videos of a gingerbread house that featured her name, True's name, and a placard for her son that read "Baby." Later that month, she posted the first pics of her baby boy in honor of Halloween.
Anne Heche's Death
While the actress' rep initially said that Heche was in stable condition despite suffering burns during the crash, days later, the rep said that Heche was "in extreme critical condition," adding that she was "in a coma and [had] not regained consciousness since shortly after the accident."
Not long after, Heche's rep provided an update on her condition.
"Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition," the rep said. "She is not expected to survive."
Around the same time, officials at the Los Angels Police Department told ET that they were investigating what role drugs or alcohol may have played in the frightening collision. Shortly thereafter, a LAPD spokesperson told ET that Heche "had narcotics in her system" at the time of the crash.
When the actress died on Aug. 12, the LAPD investigation into the crash was closed. Heche was taken off life support shortly thereafter, with plans for her organs to be donated. The actress died as a result of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries due to her crash, the LA County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office later confirmed to ET. Heche was laid to rest at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Then a legal battle began, when Heche's eldest son, Homer, filed a petition to be in charge of her estate, a request that was challenged by James Tupper, Heche's ex and the father to her younger son, Atlas. Ultimately, the court sided with Homer, appointing him administrator and personal representative of Heche's estate.
Don't Worry Darling Drama
The drama began in 2020, when Shia LaBeouf, who was initially cast in the film's leading role, was replaced by Harry Styles. Romance rumors between the director and the One Direction alum surfaced in early 2021, shortly before Wilde discussed her "no a**holes policy" in an interview with Variety in response to LaBeouf's exit.
LaBeouf fired back against Wilde's comments in August 2022, denying that he was fired from Don't Worry Darling and instead quit the project, even sharing a video of Wilde praising him to back up his claims.
At the same time, there were rumored issues between Wilde and her film's leading lady, Florence Pugh. While Wilde continuously praised the actress, Pugh didn't interact with Wilde's social media posts about the movie and skipped out on some promotional events, something the women said was due to Pugh's filming schedule for another project.
"Florence is a force, and we are so grateful that she's able to make it tonight despite being in production on Dune. I know, as a director, how disruptive it is to lose an actor even for a day, so I'm very grateful to her, to Denis Villeneuve for helping us," Wilde said at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. "And we're really thrilled we'll get to celebrate her work tonight. I can't say enough how honored I am to have her as our lead. She's amazing in the film."
When it came to "the endless tabloid gossip" as a whole, Wilde only said, "The internet feeds itself. I don't feel the need to contribute. It's sufficiently well-nourished."
"This is a ridiculous story... a complete fabrication and the result of an odd online illusion that is clearly deceiving and allows for foolish speculation," Pine's rep told ET. "Just to be clear, Harry Styles did NOT spit on Chris Pine. There is nothing but respect between these two men and any suggestion otherwise is a blatant attempt to create drama that simply does not exist."
Wilde, likewise, denied the incident, saying on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, "I think it's a perfect example of people who look for drama anywhere they can. Harry did not spit on Chris, in fact. He really didn't!"
Wilde and Styles' romance took center stage next when the pair ended their relationship in November.
"They made the decision to call it quits a few weeks ago but they really do love spending time together," a source told ET. "He's gearing up for the international leg of his tour next week, so this was a fitting time to go their separate ways."
Then, in December, a source told ET that Wilde "is still pretty hurt by her breakup with Harry," while Styles "isn't too broken up about their split."
Queen Elizabeth II's Death
Following a series of health issues, Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, died on Sept. 8, over a year after her husband, Prince Philip's, death. She was surrounded by her family, including her grandson, Prince Harry, amid tension over his and wife Meghan Markle's resignation as senior members of the royal family.
Immediately after her death, her eldest son, Charles, was named king, while his wife, Camilla, was named Queen Consort. After declaring a week-long mourning period, Charles named his eldest son, Prince William, and William's wife, Kate Middleton, Prince and Princess of Wales.
William and Kate next had an unexpected reunion with Harry and Meghan, as the formerly close foursome viewed floral tributes to the late queen outside of Windsor Castle.
"His decade of military service is not determined by the uniform he wears and we respectfully ask that focus remain on the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II," Harry's spokesperson told ET.
While the decision stood for some events, it was eventually amended, allowing Harry to wear his military uniform at a Westminster Hall vigil, but not to the state funeral. At the funeral, Queen Elizabeth was buried next to Prince Philip.
Then, in September, Queen Elizabeth's cause of death was revealed to be old age, her death certificate, which was obtained by ET, showed.
Charles is now preparing for his coronation, which will take place on May 6, 2023.
"We know it's not going to be as grand an occasion as the queen's coronation because there will be fewer people. We're talking 2,000 dignitaries rather than 8,000. That said, it's still going to take place at Westminster Abbey. It's still going to be grand with all the protocol, [pomp and circumstance] that you would expect of a coronation," royal expert Katie Nicholl told ET. "It's not going to be watered down in any shape or form, and I think you're going to see a real focus put, obviously, on the king and queen consort, but also on the Prince and Princess of Wales, this projection of a new fab four, which I think is really going to come to define King Charles' reign."
Adam Levine's Cheating Scandal
Just days after ET reported that Behati Prinsloo was expecting her third child with her husband, Adam Levine, the Maroon 5 frontman was hit with cheating allegations by Instagram model Sumner Stroh. Prinsloo and Levine, who tied the knot in 2014, share Dusty, 6, and Gio, 4.
Stroh alleged that Levine cheated on Prinsloo with her "for about a year." Stroh posted screenshots to TikTok of her and Levine's alleged direct messages to each other in an effort to substantiate her claims.
"A lot is being said about me right now and I want to clear the air," Levine said in a statement. "I used poor judgement 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 of my life."
Levine added that "in certain instances it became inappropriate."
"I have addressed that and taken proactive steps to remedy this with my family," he wrote. "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 my greatest mistake I could ever make. I will never make it again. I take full responsibility. We will get through it and we will get through it together."
Then, a source told ET that, like most couples, Levine and Prinsloo have had their ups and downs and that while the singer admits he crossed the line, he insists that a physical relationship never happened.
"Adam loves to get attention from women and crossed a boundary," the source said, "but he's telling Behati it will never happen again."
As for why Levine addressed the situation publicly, a second source said, "Adam wanted to speak out as soon as possible so that any stories didn't get out of hand. He wanted to confront everything head on and address things right away. He is embarrassed and recognizes that his actions were inappropriate. He's trying to make things right with Behati and his family."
Shortly thereafter, another source told ET that Prinsloo and Levine were trying to "move past this situation and move forward together as a couple and parents."
Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber Dispel Feud Rumors by Posing Together
Justin Bieber's ex, Selena Gomez, and his wife, Hailey Bieber, made lots of headlines in 2022. The situation began in September when Hailey discussed claims that she stole Justin from Selena during an appearance on the Call Her Daddy podcast.
"No, not one time," Hailey said of if there was overlap between her relationship with Justin and Selena's. "When him and I ever started, like, hooking up or like anything of that sort, he was not ever in a relationship -- ever, at any point."
"It's not my character to mess with someone's relationship, I would just never do that. I was raised better than that. I'm not interested in doing that," she added. "... I was never with him when he was in a relationship with anybody. That's the end of it. And I had been involved with him since I was 18."
In that same vein, Hailey said that she does "respect" Selena and insisted "there's no drama personally," before revealing that she's spoken to the singer since marrying Justin, which brought her "a lot of peace."
Even so, Jelena stans have targeted Hailey online, which put her in a "really dark" place and caused her to have "thoughts of, like, it not being worth it anymore or not wanting to be here anymore."
Selena herself addressed Hailey's comments on TikTok, calling out the "vile and disgusting" comments she'd seen online and noting that "words matter."
The women put everything behind them shortly thereafter, posing together while at the Academy Museum Gala in Los Angeles.
"Selena and Hailey were both super chill together at the Academy Museum Gala," a source told ET. "They've both moved on and are happy in their own lives. They wanted to show the world that there's no beef or bad feelings between them anymore. Justin is very happy with the fact that they can all move on and that it can be peaceful between everyone."
Later, another source told ET that Selena and Hailey "are more than cordial and just want to remain friendly," adding that "Justin, Hailey, and Selena are glad to have cleared the air, moved on with their lives, and closed that chapter."
Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes' Romance
November ended with a bang when The Daily Mail published photos of Good Morning America anchors Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes showing PDA while married to other people, the former to actor Andrew Shue and the latter to attorney Marilee Fiebig.
Afterward, a source told ET that Holmes and Robach's relationship had been "going on in secret for quite some time," with another source adding that the pair had "recently grown even closer" while co-hosting the third hour of GMA.
Shortly thereafter, a source told ET that Robach and Holmes had split from their spouses over the summer, before news of their relationship became public. ET additionally confirmed that Robach and Shue put their Manhattan pad on the market in September and it sold the next month.
While Robach and Holmes briefly returned to GMA after their romance went public, they did not discuss the situation. The next week, a source told ET that Kimberly Godwin, president of ABC News, revealed she was taking Robach and Holmes "off the air while we figure this out" during an editorial meeting.
Amid the drama, new allegations surfaced that Holmes had multiple affairs with women before his romance with Robach.
In the wake of that news, multiple sources told ET that ABC was conducting a review to see if Robach and Holmes violated any company policies, specifically the company's morality clause. The sources also said that the investigation would look into whether Holmes' alleged relationships with other ABC employees violated policies.
In a letter to ABC News staff, Godwin revealed that Robach and Holmes would remain off-air while ABC news completes an internal review.
"Both T.J. and Amy are trying to keep a low profile and let the dust settle," a source told ET, shortly before the couple was spotted walking arm in arm after the scandal broke. "It’s still unclear as to what, if any, disciplinary action might be taken, but for now, both are laying low, and trying to move on with life."