If 2020 was an extended cuffing season for pandemic relationships, 2021 was the year of orchestrated chaos. The celebs responded in kind: the earnest, composed pleas for unity and order in Gal Gadot's infamous "Imagine" video were replaced by unabashed regression — think tongue-touching on the red carpet with your pop-punk dirtbag boyfriend, or getting back with an ex you dated nearly 20 years ago after your respective dramatic breakups.
We should have known what we were in for when Olivia Wilde stepped out holding hands with Harry Styles on January 2, ringing the bell for a year of chaotic celebrity pairings. January also saw the debut of Kravis, our resident prom king and queen, quickly followed by a not-yet-problematic Aaron Rodgers and Shailene Woodley in early February. Not to be outdone, Rita Ora and Taika Waititi became boo’d up, and in a twist that nobody had on their 2021 bingo card, the pair was spotted “canoodling” with Tessa Thompson. Then, as if to confirm that life as we know it was no longer certain, Zoë Kravitz was papped with her arms wrapped around her new beefcake boyfriend, Channing Tatum, while he steered a BMX bike through New York’s East Village.
Yet with love also comes heartbreak. Or as we like to think of it, opportunities for iconic rebounds. Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas broke up, leading the patron saint of Dunkin’ Donuts right back into the arms of — yes, you guessed it — J.Lo, who was fresh off a broken engagement to A-Rod. John Mulaney and Anna Marie Tendler ended their marriage, resulting in Mulaney impregnating Olivia Munn and pissing off the many, many people who were apparently in a parasocial relationship with him on Twitter. And after months of speculation, Kimye officially split, allowing Kim to take a spin on the ride that is Pete Davidson. (Remember: “If you are still in line to date Pete Davidson stay in line. As long as you are in line you have the right to date Pete.”)
So while you think you went wild during your hot vax summer, it’s obvious that us plebes have nothing on the chaos that comes with living out a messy love life in the tabloids and the public eye. Yet the benefit — and dare we say the beauty — of being a normo is that we get to sit back and watch it all unfold.
In the stories below, some of the internet’s most distinctive voices unpack the 2021 Best Of list we never saw coming.
- Samantha Rollins, Deputy Entertainment Editor
- Samantha Leach, Entertainment Editor at Large
In 2021, Celebrity Power Couples Chose Violence
It came in the form of cringe content.
The Real Drama Is In The World Of Celebrity Realtors
Tarek El Moussa and Christina Haack’s divorce sparked a years-long chain reaction of mess among celebrity real estate agents.
Why The Bennifer Reunion Makes You Want To Get Back With An Ex
Nothing like a little regression to take one's mind off the impending doom of the future.
How Zoë Kravitz Made Channing Tatum Her Art Hoe Boyfriend
He is out of Crocs and into Versace.
I'm In A Parasocial Relationship With Anna Marie Tendler
Sorry, John Mulaney.
Welcome Back, Messy Kim
Hollywood's reigning (extremely single) It Girl has returned.