Is there anything 2016 hasn’t ruined? From Tic Tacs to Kanye West to the Great American Experiment, it’s been a year of death and dream deferrals. But on top of this year’s many casualties—RIP Prince and David Bowie—it’s time to add love to the list. For centuries, romantic love has been idealized as the pinnacle of human experience. Then came 2016 like the huge cockblock that it was, leaving a trail of celebrity breakups in its destructive wake. From Angelina and Brad to Justin Bieber and that one chick (and Justin Bieber and that other chick), we learned that love is a bigger liar than Donald Trump.
It’s been a bad year for pussies, both civilian and celebrity—Mariah Carey lost her man to Scientology, and Cara Delevingne lost her girlfriend to Kristen Stewart. Hillary Clinton and Drake showed us that you can want something with all of your heart and still fall short, whether it’s becoming the president of the United States or getting Rihanna to admit that she’s your girlfriend. And last, but certainly not least, Taylor Swift taught us that love is a game you play for attention in between album releases.
Basically, the only productive relationship this year has been between Twitter eggs and online meme generators. Real human connection might be rare and fleeting, but a good Harambe meme is forever (especially if you pin it). In tribute to the futile and outdated pursuit of IRL relationships, we’ve compiled a list of all the celebrity couples that were. Let 2016’s romantic body count serve as your weekly wake-up call that monogamy is a myth and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Pussy Posse is back.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (2004-2016)
On Sept. 20, 2016, love died. Some people might try to argue that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s divorce announcement wasn’t the biggest story of the year. Apparently, the dissolution of a 12-year partnership between two of the world’s brightest stars “isn’t that huge of a deal” and “doesn’t personally affect you.” That kind of callous thinking completely erases everything that Brangelina represented: the dream of a thriving, racially diverse family built on a foundation of infidelity. After all, when Angelina met Brad, he was already one half of a perfect celebrity couple. Jolie’s ability to seduce a married man away from America’s most famous haircut has elevated her to the adultery hall of fame. Like Helen of Troy, Anne Boleyn, and Jennifer Garner’s nanny, Angelina Jolie became a femme fatale idol for every gold digger and home-wrecker looking to disrupt the status quo. Also, she’s a dedicated humanitarian and a gifted artist.
Even as Brad Pitt’s facial hair laid waste to his beautiful face, we were still rooting for this glamorous couple. Their divorce announcement, and the ensuing squabbling and accusations, proved that even the most superficially enviable relationships contain an ugly, rotten core. On the bright side, Jennifer Aniston is glowing.
Chloë Grace Moretz and Brooklyn Beckham (2016-2016)
There are myriad ways to summarize and synthesize 2016. It was the year a neon orange hairball commandeered the free world, and the one when we almost had a female president. Also, Kim Kardashian West broke the internet (again), Michelle Obama broke all of our hearts, and Orlando Bloom took his dick out. But for me, 2016 will always be the year that I was forced to write multiple stories about Chloë Grace Moretz. Of all of the pseudo-A-listers at the periphery of the zeitgeist, Moretz is one of the most tenacious. From her extremely difficult-to-type name to her insistence on involving herself in any and all Kardashian beef, Moretz has managed to differentiate herself from her fellow millennial starlets.
First, she squabbled with the Kardashians, in a series of escalating feuds culminating in the battle of the K/Chloë/és. That showdown ended with the asshole heard ’round the web, with Khloé Kardashian tweeting a picture of a butt that may or may not have been Moretz’s. The actress also grabbed headlines courtesy of her DNC appearance, as well as an ill-fated relationship with Brooklyn Beckham. The Posh Spice progeny and Neighbors 2 star made it official in May, but eventually split after just a few months (potentially over Beckham’s Kardashian allegiances). The breakup could not have come at a more awkward time, just days after the release of a Teen Vogue cover story in which Moretz posed with Brooklyn and gushed about their relationship. If two ultra-rich teen celebrities with literally no obstacles standing in their way can’t make it work, then why should the rest of us even bother?
Cara Delevingne and St. Vincent (2015-2016)
2016 has been a scary year for the LGBTQ community. Amidst all the hatred and fear, not to mention the Mike Pence of it all, Cara Delevingne and St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, were a queer beacon of hope. The highly publicized union between the beloved musician and fashion’s favorite eyebrows wasn’t just gay girl inspo—it was also a really important moment for visibility. With uber-public couples like Delevingne and St. Vincent, we’ve begun moving toward a future in which tabloids stop labeling blatantly gay couples as “close friends” or “besties.”
Back in August, Delevingne gave one of the cutest interviews ever, insisting that St. Vincent had taught her that “the meaning of life is love.” “I’m completely in love,” she continued. “Before, I didn’t know what love was—real love. I didn’t understand the depth of it.” Unfortunately, Delevingne and St. Vincent weren’t ultimately down to U-Haul. Instead, they threw us all for a loop when St. Vincent started dating Ms. Steal Your Girl Kristen Stewart. While Stewart and Clark do seem to have the same fashion sensibility—and can probably share concealer—we’re still processing this sudden swap.
Hiddleswift (2016-2016), Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift (2015-2016)
Taylor Swift has had herself a year. Back in 2016 B.G.C. (Before Gossip Christmas), Swift was just your average wildly successful millennial chanteuse. The country crossover star was famous for writing some really catchy songs, assembling and arming a girl gang, and putting New York on the map. But the building block of Swift’s career has always been boys—they’re the lyrical cud that she dates, digests, and then spits out in the form of a new hit single. TayTay started out 2016 with some EDM arm candy courtesy of Calvin Harris, a man whose ability to make beats is rivaled only by his abs. Unfortunately, our patron saint of misplacing her man eventually got bored with Harris, either because he wasn’t a Kennedy or because he hadn’t proposed.
Next up to bat was Tom Hiddleston, an actor whose interests (American publicity) happened to perfectly align with Swift’s (publicity). Hiddleswift was promptly spotted swapping saliva on a camera-ready, cold-weather beach jaunt that can only be described as “painfully white.” Multiple vacations and one “I heart T.S.” tank top later, Hiddleswift called their definitely-not-fake relationship quits, doubtlessly tied to the fact that Kim Kardashian had just revealed Swift to be a total phony. Swift’s amorous intentions may have been feigned, but Harris’s heartbreak was anything but. The DJ, obviously bitter that he had received neither a tank top nor a portmanteau, went after Swift on social media, appearing to imply that the Hiddleston-Harris timelines had overlapped. Not satisfied with just killing love, Swift also killed Nils Sjoberg, the musical pseudonym under which she helped Harris write his hit song, “This is What You Came For.” This drama is, in fact, what we came for.
Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama (2010-2016)
Out of all the celebrity breakups of 2016, we take this one most personally. In 2014, Demi Lovato lashed out at The Daily Beast for an article in which we listed all of Lovato’s then-boyfriend’s past romantic escapades. The article was titled “Why Women Want Hollywood Lothario Wilmer Valderrama.” Apparently, they don’t. After six years together, the pop star and Hollywood’s hardest working D have called it quits, claiming in a joint statement that they “are better as best friends.” Love might be dead, but the celebrity scourge that is conscious uncoupling will doubtlessly outlive us all.
Drake and Rihanna (2016-2016)
Oh, AubRih—the celebrity power couple that hardly was. After eight years of read-receipting his texts, Rihanna appeared to finally give Drake a shot this year—a shot at embarrassing himself in front of the entire world. We’re referring, of course, to this summer’s VMAs, during which Drake essentially talked about how horny he was for Rihanna when he was supposed to be listing her accomplishments and presenting her with a Video Vanguard Award. Unfortunately, Drake’s futile attempt to get to first base was a harbinger of AubRih’s quick dissolution. In classic Drake fashion, the relationship he spent his entire adult life planning for turned out to be just a summer fling. This revelation, while bad for love, was a huge boon for the trans-Canadian network of strippers that Drake singlehandedly supports.
Tobey Maguire and Jen Meyer (2003-2016)
As Drake would say, we took Tobey Maguire and Jen Meyer’s love for granted. Not because they were a cute couple (which they were) or because they have a beautiful family (which they do), but because Meyer and Maguire’s union was the only thing standing in the way of the return of the Pussy Posse. The ’90s-era Posse, helmed by Maguire and BFF Leonardo DiCaprio, was infamous for terrorizing parties with their homoerotic bonding rites, including but not limited to ritualistic howling. Now that Maguire and Meyer have ended their nine-year marriage, the actor has been spotted haunting local nightlife hotspots with his Oscar Award-winning pal. Nothing says “recently divorced middle-aged man seeks twentysomething model” quite like hitting up Lavo with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Justin Bieber and like five chicks (20??-2016)
Justin Bieber is famous for leaving destruction in his wake, both literally and figuratively. When he’s not egging houses and drag racing cars, he’s breaking the hearts of a bunch of girls I physically cannot tell apart. Bieber’s dating history is like an eye test for teenagers: If you’re over the age of 20, all you’ll be able to make out is a blur of blonde. From Hailey Baldwin to Sofia Richie to Bronte Blampied(!), Bieber has had a busy 2016. Throw in the persistent rumors of a rekindled relationship with Selena Gomez, and it’s easy to see why JB would want to start 2017 off single. Of course, the most dramatic Bieber row this year has been between the pop star and his dedicated Beliebers. After Justin’s fans went berserk over Richie and their idol’s sudden relationship, Bieber chastised his own social media followers and then deleted his Instagram altogether.
Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber (2005-2016)
This relationship seemed nice.
Mariah Carey and James Packer (2015-2016)
This was supposed to be Mariah Carey’s year. The elusive chanteuse had it all: a new reality TV show, a fiancee, and the range. She also appeared to accomplish all this from a horizontal position on a chaise lounge, cementing Carey’s status as America’s preeminent diva. Unfortunately, it seems that being a massive diva may not actually be conducive to keeping your man. Carey and her millionaire beau’s engagement ended just like your last relationship did—following an “explosive fight” during a Greek yachting holiday. Competing rumors alleged that Carey became wary when it appeared that Packer was relapsing into his previous relationship with Scientology. Because she is a hero disguised as a goddess, Carey is demanding severance for her emotional labor—to the tune of the $50 million that she and Packer apparently agreed upon in their unsigned prenup. Carey, who also recently finalized her divorce from Nick Cannon, has reportedly moved on with her backup dancer Bryan Tanaka. So maybe there’s hope after all.