2012 Celebrity Scandals: Kate Middleton, Amanda Bynes & More (PHOTOS)

From Rihanna’s reunion with her abuser-boyfriend to Elmo’s downfall, see 2012’s biggest star shockers.

From Rihanna’s reunion with Chris Brown, to nude photos of a prince and a duchess, to the cheating scandal that broke Twihard hearts, see a timeline of 2012’s biggest star shockers.

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Rihanna and Chris Brown

Ever since Grammys weekend 2009, Chris Brown has been inextricably associated with the vicious beating of his then-girlfriend Rihanna—but that hasn’t stopped both Brown and Rihanna from trolling the universe all through 2012. They started off the year by setting the rumor mill abuzz almost three years after the night Rihanna was beaten by supposedly spending four hours alone together in Brown’s dressing room before the Grammy Awards. Little more than a week later, Rihanna dropped a remix to her song “Birthday Cake” featuring Brown and a lot of sexually explicit exchanges. The rest of the year was filled with speculation about their rekindling romance, as photos of the two partying together cropped up and Rihanna gave an emotional interview to Oprah Winfrey in which she called Brown the “love of my life,” despite Brown’s relationship at the time with aspiring model Karreuche Tran. The Karreuche problem appeared to go away in October, however, when Brown announced that he was ending his relationship because he didn’t “want to see her hurt over my friendship with Rihanna.” A day later, this video happened. Titled “The Real Chris Brown,” it showed an apparently drunk Brown musing on his relationships with Rihanna and Tran. “Is there such thing as loving two people? I don’t know if that’s possible but for me, I feel like it is,” Brown drawls from the back of a taxicab. November slapped us with photo after Instagram photo of the pair backstage, lounging around, or, in one case, snuggling. And we can’t neglect to mention Rihanna’s single “Nobody’s Business,” a duet with Brown from her newest album—called Unapologetic because, get it? Rihanna is unapologetic about every god-awful decision she’s made this year.

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John Travolta Gay Rumors

And we never listened to “Greased Lightning” the same way again. John Travolta was slapped with a lawsuit in May alleging sexual assault and battery against an anonymous masseur, who claimed that the actor made a pass at him after hiring him for a massage. In what initially sounded like an awkward SNL skit, the suit alleged that Travolta took off his clothes, began rubbing the masseur’s leg, and touched his scrotum and the shaft of his penis. Travolta allegedly apologized after making the alleged advances, but continued to pressure the masseur to have sex with him and an actress who was also in the building, according to the suit. A second anonymous masseur came forward a day later, and a third suit was filed within a week. The third came from a Royal Caribbean cruise worker who also alleged that Travolta had taken off his robe and solicited him for sex. The first two suits were later dropped, but that wasn’t the end of the actor’s legal woes. He was sued again in June, this time for libel by a man who wrote a book about his alleged gay encounters with the actor. Robert Randolph alleged that Travolta was spreading false statements about his mental health in order to discredit him and discourage people from buying the book. The case was later dismissed by a judge.


Amanda Bynes’s Car Troubles

The world trembled in fear every time Amanda Bynes drove a car in 2012. The “retired” actress started things off with a bang, getting charged with a DUI in June—and turning to President Obama for help. “I don’t drink,” she wrote in a tweet addressed to @BarackObama. “Please fire the cop who arrested me. I also don’t hit and run. The end.” Bynes had been seen attempting a three-point U-turn while texting at a Los Angeles intersection, which resulted in her reportedly backing over a curb, holding up traffic, and sideswiping another vehicle. Bynes was arrested again in August for allegedly pulling another hit-and-run (she was also rear-ended that same month) and was photographed driving while allegedly smoking marijuana. Finally, after racking up six tickets (and not paying a single fine), the former Nickelodeon star got her license revoked and her car impounded. And the world felt safe at night once more.

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Fred Willard’s ‘Lewd Act’

Fred Willard’s unlucky night came in July, when the comedian was allegedly caught at the Tiki Theater, a seedy Hollywood porn theater, committing a “lewd act.” Poor Willard was caught and arrested only 23 minutes into the movie—but, at least according to him, he didn’t miss out on much. “Wait til you hear my version; much more PG. & my review, lousy film, but theater would make at terrific racquetball court,” the actor tweeted in the days after his arrest. Too bad his employers at PBS, where Willard had recently been hired as the host of a new competitive antiquing show, Market Warriors, didn’t share his sense of humor. They fired him after learning about his alleged public self-fondling.

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Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes Split

The divorce that launched a thousand conspiracy theories came in July, when Katie Holmes filed for divorce from her husband of five years, Tom Cruise. Was it because of Scientology? Who would get custody of Suri? Would Scientology leaders resort to dubious methods to keep Holmes from spilling secrets? Was Holmes part of a “wife auditions” process through which Sea Org heads supposedly chose a mate for their marquee devotee? Most of these questions remain unanswered, but the two actors reached a divorce settlement within two weeks, with Holmes retaining primary custody of 6-year-old Suri.

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Kristen Stewart’s Cheating Scandal

It was a Twihard’s nightmare come to life. Twilight couple Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson broke up in July after photos emerged of Stewart canoodling with her married, 41-year-old Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders. Fans immediately called the legitimacy of the photos into question—but those theories were debunked when Stewart herself issued a heartbroken public apology to Pattinson: “I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry,” Stewart said in a statement. Sanders also issued an apology, saying: “I am utterly distraught about the pain I have caused my family. My beautiful wife and heavenly children are all I have in this world. I love them with all my heart. I am praying that we can get through this together.” Though Liberty Ross, Sanders’s wife, has since been seen out and about without her wedding ring, Stewart and Pattinson were reconciled by mid-September.

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The Royal Nude Photos

Celebrity nude photo scandals are a dime a dozen, but it’s not every day that members of Britain’s royal family are seen sans undies. Prince Harry started off the summer of royal nudity in late August, when photos emerged of the young royal at a Las Vegas party, playing (and apparently losing) a game of strip billiards. Less than a month later, grainy photos of Kate Middleton lounging poolside sans her bikini top appeared in the French magazine Closer. A matching set of bottomless photos, featuring Prince William rubbing sunscreen onto his wife’s lower back, followed two weeks later, in the Italian mag Chi.

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Nicki Minaj Vs. Mariah Carey

Christmas came early for American Idol fans when footage emerged of what will apparently be the best reality show feud of 2013. In a video obtained by TMZ in October, newly minted American Idol co-judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey are seen in a profanity-laden screaming match (with poor Keith Urban stuck in the middle). In what apparently began as a disagreement over a contestant’s performance, Minaj can be heard shouting, “Off with your head, off with your head!” Carey wonders aloud, “Why, why do I have a 3-year-old sitting around me?” After the video cut off, the fight apparently got more serious, with Minaj allegedly threatening Carey’s life, saying, “If I had a gun, I’d shoot her.” The next month, Minaj aimed her fury at a former American Idol judge, Steven Tyler. After Tyler learned of the feud between Carey and Minaj, he told MTV News that the environment they were producing was not conducive to nurturing talent. Tyler went on to speculate what Minaj might have done with a young Bob Dylan: “These kids, they just got out of a car from the Midwest somewhere and they’re in New York City, they’re scared to death. If it was Bob Dylan, Nicki Minaj would have had him sent to the cornfield! Whereas if it was Bob Dylan with us, we would have brought the best of him out, as we did with Phillip Phillips.” Minaj responded with a lengthy Twitter rant, in which she called Tyler a racist and told him to go “fuck [him]self.”

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Elmo Sex Scandal

Sesame Street voice actor Kevin Clash faced public scrutiny in November after four young men came forward and accused Clash of having sex with them while they were still minors. The first accusation prompted Clash to publicly admit that he is gay, three years after he divorced his college sweetheart. “I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter,” the puppeteer said in a statement. Clash also did not deny having sexual relations with the first accuser, though he maintained it took place after the young man was an adult. Ultimately, Clash resigned from his position as Elmo puppeteer at Sesame Street, a position he held for more than 28 years, and more accusers have since come forward.

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Angus T. Jones’s Christian Rant

Call it the Two and a Half Men curse? A year after Charlie Sheen ranted against and finally departed the hit CBS show, 19-year-old Angus T. Jones, who plays the “half” man of the series’ title, railed against it too, calling it “filth” and urging audiences to “please stop watching Two and a Half Men.” “A lot of us don’t like to think about how deceptive the enemy is,” Jones says in a video with his spiritual mentor, Christopher Hudson, beside him. “I don’t want to be contributing to the enemy’s plan … You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like [Two and a Half Men].” Jones, who reportedly gets paid $350,000 an episode, later apologized for bad-mouthing the show and clarified that he has “the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people” who work on it.

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Everything About Lindsay Lohan

Ah, where to start with LiLo? It seemed like every time the troubled star stepped outside her home this year, she managed to get on the wrong side of the law. From allegedly punching psychics to terrorizing motorists and pedestrians to doing the memory of Elizabeth Taylor wrong, 2012 was not the “comeback” year Lohan promised us. She got off to a pretty good start with an SNL hosting gig in February and the promise of a future Taylor biopic in November. But in the months in between, Lohan was involved in three police investigations, once for bumping a pedestrian with her car, once for crashing her Porsche into the back of a truck in Santa Monica, Calif., and once after alleging that a man assaulted her in her hotel room in September. And then, of course, came the alleged psychic-punching incident in Manhattan, less than a week after Liz & Dick aired on the Lifetime channel. Here’s to a better 2013, Hollywood.