When Was Britney Spears Most Popular? The ‘New York Times’ Chronicle Has Your Answer
Every other day something crazy goes down in Hollyweird. From Brit-Brit's total meltdown back in 2007, to Miley's more recent twerking troubles, there's always new celebrity news getting splashed across those cheesy tabloids you secretly sneak glances at while checking out at the grocery store. To help everyone keep track of when celebs had their biggest moments in the public sphere, the New York Times created Chronicle, a graph tool, through its R&D Lab. Okay, so they didn't make it for this purpose specifically, but no one can deny that the way the tool visualizes certain words or phrases into graphs makes keeping track of pop culture scandals a helluva lot easier.
Inspired by my own love of language and history, it’s a fascinating way to see historical events, political shifts, cultural trends or stylistic tropes. Chronicle can reveal things like the rise of feminism, evolution of cultural bêtes noires or when we shifted from talking about the ‘greenhouse effect’ to talking about ‘climate change.’
Well, checking out when the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie-Jennifer Aniston love triangle bumped their names majorly into the headlines isn't exactly on the same scale as "climate change" (besides changing the climate of my heart from sunny to HURRICANE #neverforget), but the tool is an interesting way to really analyze how certain celebs have affected pop culture as we now know it.
2002 was a big year for everyone's favorite "Oops I Did It Again!" pop princess. With a Rolling Stone cover and hit after hit playing constantly on the radio, she was at the height of her fame. Not even the head-shaving, umbrella-waving incident could knock her the graph — in fact, that's probably shown by one of those other high points.
Welp, this is proof that Timberlake brought, and continues to bring, sexy back.
Can you guess what had him all over the headlines in 1998? We'll give you a hint: "I'll never let go, Jack!"
Was Lohan in and out of rehab all throughout 2006, or something? Nope. Apparently she used to be a good actress in really popular movies. So fetch.
In 2003 did Jennifer Lopez have a nip-slip or something? Was that when she wore the infamous Versace dress? No, 2003 held something better for J.Lo: "Bennifer."
Robert Downey Jr.
Once upon a time RDJ was famous for things other than beating up bad guys in the most sarcastic way possible, although things were a little bit more... scandalous? But he's moved on in a big way and, as you can see, 2008's Iron Man was a major part of that.
Alec Baldwin's meltdowns can put any starlet to shame. In 2013, there was a pretty big kerfuffle over at MSNBC over some choice words Baldwin decided to share with the world, as well as a Twitter rant and a little something involving Words With Friends...
Remember the good ol' days of 2011 when Justin took the news world by storm with things like shaggy bowl cuts and his "perfect" relationship with Selena Gomez? It's okay, neither can I.
Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie/Jennifer Aniston
Do I really need to spell it out for you?
There was such a time when Beyoncé wasn't famous? Say what?! Save this graph to your memory, because The Beygency will be wiping it from existence soon.
Narrowly escaping jail sentences, a hit reality show on air, and Kim Kardashian as her maid. Could 2007 get any better for Paris Hilton?
There's a couch in Oprah's former TV studio that can tell you all about Tom Cruise's 2006.
Proof that Madonna has been famous since the dawn of time. Like anyone needed a graph to figure this out. Pfft.
Sources: Getty Images; Chronicle/NYT Labs