In the crazy centrifuge that is celebrity culture, certain stories surface as favorites. Here are the 12 most popular celebrity stories of 2012 on newsday.com.
12. The naked prince
There's one in every family. Partying in Las Vegas in August, Prince Harry let it all hang out, and the photos of the nude (strip billiards, anyone?) royal surfaced online. Not to be outdone, topless photos of sister-in-law Kate Middleton were published in a French magazine in September.
10. Snooki expands her posse
Lorenzo Dominic won't ever be an actual prince, but we expect him to be reality TV royalty. The “Jersey Shore” pint-size partyer gave birth to the 'lil guy, her son with Jionni LaValle, in late August.
Photos: Celebrity baby names
9. Miley Cyrus debuts her new short haircut via Twitter
In August, Cyrus showed the ultimate display of self-reflective non-news news when she posted her new 'do on social media -- and we cared. We're not even sure what postmodern means anymore, that's how much this pixie cut affected us.
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8. Kate Middleton pregnancy is a royal deal
It's an … heir! The palace was perhaps forced to announce the pregnancy a bit early, as the duchess of Cambridge was hospitalized for several days. Overshadowing the good news was a prank played by Australian DJs on a nurse in the hospital that resulted in them getting some radio-ready clips about Kate and the nurse killing herself.
Photos: Royal wedding of William and Kate
(July 26, 2012)
7. Celebrity death hoax: Bill Cosby lives
Though alive and well, the comedian was the target of an August death hoax that started on social media and grew to frenzied level.
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6. Lindsay Lohan's strikes -- and strikes again
In June, her Porsche (R.I.P.) struck an 18-wheeler in California. In November, NYPD arrested her for allegedly hitting a woman in a nightclub. Now she's bicoastal, facing criminal counts in both states.
Photos: The many looks of Lindsay Lohan.
5. Whitney Houston's death
Scheduled to perform at a pre-Grammy event in mid-February, the singer was found in her hotel bathroom. She was 48, and the interest in her funeral proved how much admiration she'd packed in over the years.
Photos: Whitney Houston through the years
4. Jenni Rivera killed in plane crash
The Latin singer, who performed in the grupero style, was killed in a crash in Northern Mexico in early December at the age of 43. Arguably at the peak of her career, the mother of five had two grandchildren.
Photos: musicians killed in plane crashes
(April 25, 2012)
2. Frank Ocean reveals he's gay
In a year that included a coming out from the more famous Anderson Cooper, it was R&B singer and hip-hop collective Odd Future member Frank Ocean's revelation in early July that stirred the most interest.
(Nov. 17, 2011)
2. Clint Eastwood and his chair
Twenty years from now, when we're trying to remember who the Republican candidate in the 2012 election was, one nugget will remain embedded in our brains: Clint Eastwood's 11-minute, somewhat scatological speech at the Republican National Convention. Cheers to you, Empty Chair!
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1. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes divorce
'Twas the divorce filing heard 'round the world. In June, Cruise got served, after five years of marriage. The plot thickened -- custody of Suri, mad scrambles to maintain bankable public personae -- but by the time “Jack Reacher” was released and Holmes hit Broadway, we sighed a collective “eh.”
Photos: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes through the years