Entertainment A look back on Tinseltown’s top 10 celebrity scandals of 2020

A look back on Tinseltown’s top 10 celebrity scandals of 2020

Here are some of the scandals that shocked us all in 2020. Photo: Getty
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From Tiger King to a royal retirement, this year has gifted us with many memorable celebrity moments.

While we were spending much of the year staying safe and suffering through the monotony of life in lockdown, our favourite A-listers were really going through it.

It seemed many stars were never more than a moment away from being ‘cancelled’ as they navigated coronavirus, cheating scandals, messy divorces and the Black Lives Matter movement.

As we head towards the finish line, it’s worth looking back to see how far we have come, and revisiting some of the biggest celebrity scandals of the year.

Ellen DeGeneres isn’t so kind after all …

Creating a toxic, racist and homophobic work environment is probably one thing you don’t want to do if your catch phrase is, ‘Be kind to one another’.

Being branded as “one of the meanest people alive” is another.

This year saw everyone’s former favourite daytime TV host and comedian, Ellen DeGeneres fall from her throne amid accusations of workplace bullying.

Degeneres issued an underwhelming apology following an investigation into The Ellen DeGeneres Show by WarnerMedia, and the comedian vowed to restructure her team and cull any bullies.


Britney Spears fans rallied behind their bubblegum-pop icon during her battle against the conservatorship arrangement she is bound by.

Details of the agreement and Spears’ fight to remove her father as the conservator saw the #FreeBritney hashtag trend on Twitter periodically throughout the latter half of the year.

Fans became even more concerned for the 39-year-old’s welfare after she began posting a number of unusual and bizarre Instagram videos, and cut her hair into a choppy bob. 

Disgraceful Duke

Prince Andrew was once Queen Elizabeth’s favourite child, but that all changed when his alleged involvement in Jeffrey Epstein’s pedophile ring became known to the public.

Though he vehemently denies any wrongdoing, Prince Andrew stepped down from his role as a senior royal in November 2019 following a car crash interview on his association with Epstein.

Since the interview, Prince Andrew spent much of 2020 dominating headlines by dodging inquiries from law enforcement and downplaying his association with Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell.

To date, it is believed he has yet to formally talk with investigators.

The Sussexes step down and skip across the pond

As if the royals hadn’t had enough drama this year.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their decision to step down as senior royals, and later leapt across the pond to take up life in sunny California.

Within a few months, the couple had bought a multimillion-dollar mega mansion in Santa Barbara and signed a Netflix deal.

Recently, the couple also inked a lucrative podcasting deal with Spotify.

Elon Musk and Grimes welcome alien baby

Elon Musk and Grimes set the internet alight when they announced the name of their newborn baby boy – and what a keyboard smash of a name it is.

Nearly eight months later, we still aren’t totally sure how to pronounce it.

X Æ A-Xii (formerly known as X Æ A-12) joined his other normally-named half-siblings, Xavier, Damian, Kai and Saxon, on May 4.

“X, the unknown variable,” Grimes explained on Twitter.

The singer went on to explain that Æ is her “elven spelling of AI”, and is pronounced ‘Ash’, and A-Xii is the “precursor to SR-17”,  the couple’s favourite aircraft.

Needless to say, Twitter went into meme overdrive mocking the bizarre name.

Vote Kanye 2020 

By July, the 2020 election was already shaping up to be one of the most chaotic and divisive elections in history.

And that was before controversial rapper Kanye West threw his hat into the ring.

West’s entire campaign was overshadowed by claims he was in the throes of a mental breakdown.

Footage from the 43-year-old’s campaign events showed him weeping about abortion, making outrageous claims about slave liberator Harriet Tubman and claiming his brain was too large for his skull.

West, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, followed his bizarre behaviour with a number of concerning and paranoid tweets.

Though he officially qualified as a candidate in a number of states, the rapper’s bid for presidency was too late to have any real impact on the actual race.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson catch COVID-19

In the early days of the pandemic, actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson dominated headlines after becoming the first notable celebrities to contract COVID-19.

And they did so in Australia while filming Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic.

Hanks and Wilson were praised for taking the diagnosis seriously, following quarantine protocols and thanking Australian healthcare professionals for their efforts.

“Rita and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us,” Hanks wrote on social media.

“We have COVID-19 and are in isolation so we don’t spread it to anyone else … There are those for whom it could lead to a very serious illness.”

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s messy split

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard spent much of the year splashed across the front pages as details of their abusive and toxic relationship became public.

During the hearing for Depp’s libel case against News Group Newspapers who labelled him a “wife beater”, Depp and Heard took turns at accusing the other of domestic violence.

Grim allegations of severed fingers, sustained verbal and physical abuse, death threats and outrageous claims about how excrement found its way inside the couple’s bed had fans outraged.

Depp lost his libel hearing and was sacked from his gig on Fantastic Beasts but the embattled star doubled down and vowed his fight against Heard was anything but over.

Pete Evans gets weird

2020 has seen celebrity chef turned conspiracy theorist Pete Evans dropped by his sponsors and essentially sabotage his career.

By now, the former My Kitchen Rules star could teach a class on how to make matters worse for himself.

Step one would be spruiking a $15,000 “light machine” that falsely claims to fight off the coronavirus, and landing yourself a spectacular $25,000 fine.

Step two would be espousing anti-lockdown coronavirus conspiracy theories that link Bill Gates to the pandemic.

You might also consider accusing national treasure, Magda Szubanski, of “brainwashing” children for speaking up about coronavirus safety.

And if that doesn’t do the trick, posting offensive Nazi-related images to your social media accounts should safely land you in the realm of ‘controversial celebrities that were cancelled in 2020’.

To close out what has been a total downward spiral of a year for Evans, he was recently removed from Facebook for posting misinformation about vaccines.

Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman go to jail 

This year saw Lori Loughlin suffer the consequences of the 2019 college admissions scandal that transported her from Full House all the way to the big house.

Loughlin and co-accused, Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) were sentenced for their roles in a bribery scheme that saw their children unfairly admitted into prestigious US colleges.

Huffman was sentenced to a short 14-day stay, while Loughlin spent two months in lock up.

In a statement, Loughlin said she needed to take responsibility for her actions, which “helped exacerbate existing inequalities in society generally and the higher education system”.