Here we are once again! Can you believe we’re about to put another year behind us? It was one for the books so before I say goodbye to 2015, I decided to revisit the biggest headlines of the year. Here’s the lowdown on the shake-ups, bombshells and watercooler moments that captured our attention in 2015:
A Royal Delivery
Princess Baby Charlotte.
Britain and the globe awaited the arrival of Royal Baby #2 with bated breath from the moment the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced they were expecting again. Would the world’s most perfectly perfect family be blessed with a pink bundle of joy to complement big brother George? And for the love of God, would she be named DIANA?!? Or Elizabeth?! The speculation raged. Ultimately, the answer was yes, yes and yes. For on May 2, 2015, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born! Cute as a button, of course.
Good bye, Dave!
That’s all, folks! After 33 years in late-night television and more than 4,600 “Top Ten Lists,” David Letterman retired from CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman on May 20, 2015. And with that (and Jay Leno’s second departure from The Tonight Show in 2014), it truly was the end of an era for television.
Misty Copeland Dances into History
American ballet dancer Misty Copeland wowed more than just the dance world when it was announced on June 30, 2015, that she was being promoted at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. Copeland was named the company’s principal dancer – the first African-American female to be given the honor in the company’s 75-year history.
U.S. Women’s Soccer World Cup Win
U.S. Women’s Soccer Team
Goooooooalllll! The cheers were loud and proud when the U.S. Women’s soccer team won the World Cup for the first time in 16 years (and became the first team to win the tournament three times) on July 5, 2015, defeating Japan in a 5-2 victory. MVP Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and co., became the Golden Girls of Summer.
U.S. and Cuba Relations Restored
The Cold War between the United States and Cuba finally ended after five decades. On July 20, 2015, the two countries reopened their embassies and restored formal diplomatic relations, which had been frozen since 1961. While the ties between the U.S. and Cuba remain “complex,” that’s progress.
The Pope Visits
God Bless America! Pope Francis, aka the coolest Pope in ages, took the U.S. by storm in September 2015 amid grand fanfare (and gonzo security measures) for an unprecedented visit to Philadelphia, New York and D.C. The Pontiff kissed babies, blessed the poor and disabled, and generally restored everyone’s faith in humanity.
Grammy-winning singer Adele staged a roaring comeback in the fall of 2015, releasing her first single in three years on October 23, 2015. The song smashed Internet records with 27.7 million YouTube views in a single day. “Hello” quickly became the fastest selling single of 2015 and her sophomore album, “25,” continues to break records. It’s safe to say Adele’s fans welcomed her back, warmly.
THE Celebrity Marriage of 2015: Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux
Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston.
Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston.
Jennifer Aniston finally got her due. Everybody’s favorite jilted Friend finally re-married, saying “I Do!” to hunky actor Justin Theroux (of HBO’s excellent The Leftovers) on August 5, 2015, in a private ceremony in front of about 70 guests at their Bel Air mansion, where Jimmy Kimmel officiated. Let’s hope she gets the happily ever after the second time around.
THE Celebrity Split of 2015: Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.
It was a bad year for celebrity divorces with several major break-ups making headlines, from Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez to Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. But Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck – and Nannygate – take the cake. Proving that the tabloids were right once again, Garner and Affleck announced they were divorcing on June 29, 2015, after 10 years of marriage and three kids. Soon after, reports surfaced that their nanny Christine Ouzounian may have contributed to the couple’s split (Affleck denied the allegations). Ben’s alleged gambling habit probably didn’t help, either.
Well, here’s to 2016 and wishing you a prosperous and joyous New Year.
Scolari’s words at a packed press conference in Sao Paulo were backed by Brazilian forward Neymar, tipped by many to be the star of the event as excitement in the South American nation builds to fever pitch. “To all Brazilians I want to tell you the time has arrived. This is our World Cup,” said the coach, who was at the helm the last time the five-time champions won the tournament, in 2002.
Scolari, whose team take on Croatia on Thursday at the new Corinthians Arena, vowed however to take each game at a time. “There are seven steps,” he said. “We have to go up those seven steps but to start we have to think of the first step. We can’t jump the seven steps. The first step is tomorrow against Croatia. After that we have six steps that we want to go up if we want to win the World Cup.”
Barcelona star Neymar, the focus of so much attention in the build-up to the tournament, said the “time has arrived” that all Brazilians and the whole world have been waiting for.
“We hope that this last day goes by very quickly. I am anxious of course but also I’m extremely happy being where I am today because many people would like to be here,” he said. “I really hope I can help my team in the best possible way to fulfil the dream of the players, and Brazilians, which is to win the World Cup.”
Scolari has the luxury of being able to field the same team that destroyed world champions Spain 3-0 in the final of last year’s Confederations Cup, with Neymar the focal point of a powerful and settled line-up. He said he felt his 2014 squad had the same commitment to hard work as the side that won the 2002 World Cup, featuring the likes Ronaldo and Rivaldo.
Caracas — Gunmen killed a former Miss Venezuela and her British-born partner in front of their young daughter in an attack that shocked the crime-plagued nation, authorities said Tuesday.
Monica Spear, a 29-year-old soap opera star, and Thomas Henry Berry, 39, were killed in what appears to have been a botched robbery after their car broke down on a highway in northwestern Venezuela late Monday, police and prosecutors said.
Their daughter, five-year-old Maya Berry Spear, was wounded in the right leg but was stable after receiving medical treatment after a crime that put a harsh spotlight on Venezuela’s soaring homicide rate.
Five people have been detained and were interrogated in connection with the killings, Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez said after a televised meeting with President Nicolas Maduro, who vowed to use an “iron hand” to crack down on crime.
The family was driving on a highway when their car hit a blunt object that had been placed on the road, forcing them to pull over, said forensic police director Jose Gregorio Sierralta. There are suggestions that the object was deliberately placed there as part of a planned armed robbery.
Spear waved down a tow truck, which stopped to help on the road between Puerto Cabello and Valencia in the state of Carabobo, Sierralta said.
But as the two truck workers operated the crane, five armed men emerged on the road.
The truck’s operators fled to a police station about 1.5 kilometers (one mile) away while the mother, father and child locked themselves in their car in a desperate attempt to shield themselves from the killers.
But “the criminals fired multiple shots at the vehicle” before fleeing without stealing anything, Sierralta said.
Investigators impounded the couple’s car and took testimony from the two tow truck operators.
Spear, who was a quarter-finalist in the 2005 Miss Universe contest, appeared in the Miami-based Telemundo series “Pasion Prohibida” (“Forbidden Passion”) and “Flor Salvaje” (“Savage Flower”).
The dark-haired actress, who lived in Miami, was on holiday in her native Venezuela. She had posted videos of the countryside and herself horse riding on Instagram in the last couple of days.
Her husband was born in Britain but has Venezuelan citizenship.
“This is a massacre,” said Maduro, who vowed to curb the country’s runaway violence during his presidential campaign last year.
“This violence is a sickness that we have,” he said from the Miraflores presidential palace.
Maduro called some 100 mayors and governors to an urgent meeting on Wednesday to coordinate action against crime.
Venezuelans who work in movies, theater and TV called a rally for Wednesday in Caracas to denounce the oil-rich country’s epidemic of street violence.
Venezuela is deeply divided between supporters and critics of the late populist president Hugo Chavez and his successors. NGOs and the government give different figures on just how dangerous Venezuela is to live in. But Maduro made an appeal for this killing not to be used for political gain.
“I take my responsibility to the maximum,” the socialist leader said, warning the killers that “whoever wants to kill will see an iron hand.”
Venezuela has one of the world’s highest murder rates, with 79 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013, according to the non-profit Venezuelan Observatory of Violence.
The interior ministry, however, gave a lower murder rate of 39 homicides per 100,000.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who refused to concede defeat to Maduro in presidential elections last year, reacted to the killings by calling on his rival to put aside “deep differences and unite against the lack of security, as one bloc.”
The beauty queen’s killing shocked fellow artists in Venezuela, a country which is passionate about soap operas and the Miss Universe contenders it regularly produces.
Actress Gaby Espino, who lives in Miami, said she would never return to her home country.
“This is the day-to-day life in our country. We have all left Venezuela, fleeing in fear, terrified because this is the reality of our country. And today it happened to Monica,” Espino told the Telemundo network.
“I love my country, but I won’t set another foot in Venezuela,” she said.
Venezuelan telenovela director Leonardo Padron said he was “absolutely saddened, horrified, speechless, over the murder of my dear Monica Spear! My God!”
Telemundo, a leading Spanish-language network in the United States, said in a statement that it was “deeply shocked and saddened by the horrible crime that hit our dear actress Monica Spear and her family.”
Jencarlos Canela, Spear’s American co-star and love interest in “Pasion Prohibida,” expressed grief on Twitter, writing: “I am speechless. I will miss you my friend @MonicaSpear.”
Addressing Spear’s daughter, he added: “My pretty, beautiful Maya, I love you. You are not alone!”