Oh, where does the time go, my superstar friends? Seems like it was only yesterday we were learning about Michael Jackson’s surprise demise. And now we have Brittany Murphy’s cold body to add to the pile of wayward celebrities who can’t get a grip on their prescription drug use. She joins Adam Goldstein (a.k.a. DJ AM) in the roped-off VIP room in the sky — a room Heath Ledger has surely been keeping cozy since his own prescription pill-popping death in 2008. At least he got an Oscar out of that deal.
But who cares about DYING anyway when there is so much more fun to be had by CHEATING? Yes, cheating was the new black this year, as countless celebs got caught with their pants down in the presence of people who were not their spouses, thereby making 2009 The Year of the Adulterer.
Of course, Tiger Woods had the biggest problem keeping his zipper up, with sexcapades that have been dominating gossip headlines since Thanksgiving. Each new allegation has continued solidifying the golf wunderkind’s position as the biggest douchebag of the year, bigger even than Jon Gosselin, who was making headlines of his own with a trashy party girl at the end of the summer, marking him as the early favorite for the douchebag top spot.
David Letterman also put himself in the running with a little wife-cheating of his own, the kind he routinely ridicules others for in his nightly monologues. His douchebaggery was perhaps even more surprising than Tiger’s — and far more disappointing given his status as a down-to-earth everyman we could actually get behind, one whose sensibilities seemed to match our own. But alas, the everyman is just a mere mortal, and Dave and Tiger proved once again that celebrities are not always who they appear to be, especially when they are tempted with easy sex from adoring admirers.
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford also succumbed to the temptation when he disappeared midyear to “climb an Appalachian trial” that looked a lot like his Argentinean mistresses’ body. Female celebs were less slutty in 2009 — or at least more savvy about hiding their sluttiness — with only country crooner LeAnn Rimes causing a (mostly forgettable) stir by cheating on her husband, who she is now divorcing so she can be with her way hotter lover.
Of course, it’s sad for all parties when a marriage implodes, especially when there are children involved, but it’s also damn entertaining. And when voicemails from Tiger Woods are remixed into a hilarious slow jam video on YouTube, it’s the damn highlight of the year.
Not to be outdone, LYING also made a big splash in 2009. It began with master Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff making us all thankful we weren’t rich enough to be investors in his fictional stock portfolio, which bamboozled billions. Then Sarah Palin made us thankful she is no longer an elected official by publishing a whiny “memoir” that has been debunked as a work of fiction by almost everyone who’s had the displeasure of knowing her.
But the fame-hungry Heene family easily took the Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire Award of the Year with a riveting Balloon Boy drama that unfolded on live television like a high-speed car chase, but with a balloon! It was a great twist on an old favorite, one that almost gave the Heenes the reality show they desired until the balloon boy in question reminded us that children cannot be trusted to keep family secrets by confessing to the fakery on live television — and then vomiting.
So what’s in store for 2010? Well, if the last few years are any indication, we can expect more surprise celebrity deaths from pill popping. I put my money on Paula Abdul. And if the rumor mill is to be believed, Brangelina are finally due for their big breakup. In other news, fauxhawks will be out and Jennifer Aniston will still be single. Cheating will continue to be big, but new offenders will learn from Tiger’s mistakes and not leave incriminating voicemails that can haunt them during divorce proceedings. Charlie Sheen will also be getting divorced (again). The Gosselin reality show will be canceled. Jersey Shore will be picked up for another season.
And I’ll be here to write about it all. Happy new year, superstars.
Milla Goldenberg is an L.A.-based writer and editor. Visit her blog @ MillaTimes.com, or send her hate mail @ MillaGoldenberg@aol.com.