Sunday, 3 January 2010

Most Shocking Scandals of 2009

Tiger Unleashed - On Nov. 27, 2009, car accident outside Tiger Woods' home started a chain reaction that revealed stories of infidelities and a growing line of alleged mistresses. Now, he's taken an "indefinite break" from golf, sponsors are reassessing (or dropping) their relationships with him and people are waiting to see if (or, perhaps, when) his wife, Elin, will file for divorce.

David Letterman Blackmailed - On Oct. 1, 2009, Letterman admitted to having sex with co-workers after CBS News producer Robert "Joe" Halderman allegedly threatened to expose the affairs and try to blackmail him. Prosecutors say Halderman acted in part of out jealousy, after learning one of the woman Letterman had had sex with was Halderman's former live-in girlfriend. Letterman apologized on-air to his wife and vowed to repair their relationship.

Kanye West's Stage Crashing - Kanye West should have let Taylor Swift finish her acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 13, 2009 but, he didn't. Instead, he stole the microphone from her and told the audience that Beyonce should have won the Best Female Video award instead. The rapper was criticized for the outburst; President Obama even called him a "jackass" in an off-the-record comment. West apologized to Swift two days later.

Gov. Sanford Unfaithful - South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's whereabouts were unknown from June 18-24, 2009. His spokesperson said he was "hiking the Appalachian Trail," but when he arrived on a flight from Argentina on June 24, the story unraveled and he later held a press conference at which he admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, Jenny, with an Argentinean woman he called his "soul mate." Jenny Sanford filed for divorce on Dec. 11.

White House Party Crashers - Tareq and Michaele Salahi shocked Secret Service and civilians when it was discovered the Virginia couple made their way into the White House state dinner on Nov. 24, 2009, without being invited. The crash was noticed when the two posted pictures they took with attendees like Joe Biden and Rahm Emmanuel on Facebook. The Secret Service announced that it had not followed proper security procedures in admitting the couple.

Jon & Kate Plus Divorce - The famous family from the popular TLC show "Jon & Kate Plus 8" got even more attention when Jon and Kate Gosselin announced on June 22, 2009, that they were divorcing. Soon after the announcement, Jon stepped out with 23-year-old Hailey Glassman and began his own media tour. The final episode of "Jon and Kate" aired in November, and a judge has barred Jon from making appearances that are at odds with his TLC contract.

Chris Brown and Rihanna - Music's young power couple made jaws drop when on Feb. 9, 2009, Brown was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats after an alleged altercation with Rihanna. A leaked photo of the bruised and beaten singer later surfaced on the Internet. Brown pleaded guilty to one charge of felony assault on June 22 and was sentenced to five years probation and 180 days of community labor.

Michael Jackson's Death - Michael Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, sparked a series of controversies, beginning with revelations of the King of Pop's drug addiction and questions about a doctor who administered the drug Propofol, which allegedly contributed to Jackson's death. A lavish memorial came and went before a decision was made about where Jackson would be buried, while his father, Joe, sought (and was denied) money from his son's estate.

Balloon Boy Hoax - When Falcon Heene, 6, allegedly took off in a balloon aircraft on Oct. 15, 2009, traveling more than 50 miles, captivated viewers feared the worst until it was revealed the boy had been hiding at home the whole time. Suspicions of a hoax arose (and were confirmed) after Falcon told his parents during a live interview that he hid because they said "we did this for the show." Both parents faced charges over the incident.

Phillips' Family Shocker - Mackenzie Phillips revealed a shocking secret from her memoir on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Sept. 23, 2009, she carried on a long-term sexual relationship with her father, Mamas and the Papas singer John Phillips, beginning when she was 19, which eventually became consensual. She also claimed her father shot her up with drugs.

Steve McNair Murdered - Football player Steve McNair was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds on July 4, 2009, in a condominium in downtown Nashville, Tenn. Found with him was the body of McNair's girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi, 20, dead of a single gunshot wound to the head. According to police, Kazemi, who had recently been charged with a DUI and was stressed about financial problems, killed McNair before turning the gun on herself.

Anna Nicole Smith Revelations - Shocking and sad allegations about Smith's 2007 death came to light during a hearing to determine whether her boyfriend and two doctors would stand trial on charges of illegally funneling prescription drugs to the former Playboy model. Witnesses testified that Smith was addicted to drugs and that she was confused, unable to stand and drank from a bottle while in the hotel where she suffered her fatal drug overdose.

Controversial Miss California - While competing in the Miss USA pageant on April 19, 2009, Miss California Carrie Prejean answered a question in which she stated her opposition to gay marriage. When she didn't win the title, she claimed it was because of her answer. After the competition, she battled with the Miss California organization, wrote a book and has done media appearances, but her wholesome image was tarnished by the discovery of a sex tape.

Phelps in Hot Water - The Olympic gold-medalist found himself in trouble on Jan. 2, 2009, when a British tabloid published a photo of him inhaling from a marijuana pipe. Phelps acknowledged the photo was authentic and apologized for acting "in a youthful and inappropriate way." He was suspended from competition for three months and his endorsement contract with Kellogg was not renewed, but he did not face any criminal charges.

Octomom - On Jan. 26, 2009, Nadya Suleman gave birth to six boys and two girls, earning her the nickname "Octomom." Jaws dropped even further when it was discovered she already had six children, bringing her brood up to 14. She fired a free nurses service, claiming they spied on her, and was accused of not being able to provide a proper living environment for her kids. In April, she signed on to do a reality show airing in the U.K.

Sen. Ensign's Affair - Senator John Ensign, R-Nev., admitted on June 16, 2009, that he had an extramarital affair with a woman who was a member of his campaign staff. A spokesman said the affair took place between December 2007 and August 2008 with a staffer who was married to an employee in Ensign's Senate office. The day after the announcement, he resigned from his position as chairman of the Republican Senate Policy Committee.

Erin Andrews Video Scandal - On July 16, 2009, a video surfaced of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews naked in a hotel room. The next day, Andrews' attorney stated the video was made without her knowledge or consent. On Dec. 15, 2009, Michael David Barrett pleaded guilty to interstate stalking charges for making and posting multiple videos of the reporter online. Andrews called him a sexual predator and said she hopes "he never sees the light of day."

Lambert's Shocking Performance - Jaws dropped when the "American Idol" runner-up gave a sexually-charged performance at the American Music Awards on Nov. 22, 2009. Complaints poured in to ABC, which aired the awards show, and prompted the network to cancel Lambert's performance on "Good Morning America" a few days later (he appeared on CBS' "The Early Show" instead) and pre-tape his appearance on "The View."

Call Him "Octo-Mel" - It was surprising when the announcement came on April 13, 2009, that Mel Gibson's wife, Robyn, was filing for divorce after 28 years of marriage. It was even more surprising when, six weeks later, Gibson, a devout Catholic, confirmed that his girlfriend, musician Oksana Grigorieva, was pregnant. The baby, a daughter named Lucia, was born on Oct. 30, 2009. She is Gibson's eighth child.

Levi Johnston Tells (and Bares) All - After breaking up with Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, Levi Johnston began making media rounds talking about the Palin family. He gave interviews on television and in magazines, alleging that the former Alaksa governor knew that he and her daughter were having sex and that Palin wanted to keep her daughter's pregnancy a secret. He also bared all in pictures, posing nude for Playgirl magazine.

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