In the age of Internet news, it doesn’t take much to make a celebrity story go viral.
Some stories went quite a bit more viral than others in 2012, which is why it is easy to separate the movie stars who have staying power atop the trending news lists and those who have just a temporary place on the list.
In the summer, “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart was caught cheating on her costar and boyfriend Robert Pattinson with Rupert Sanders, who directed her in the hit film “Snow White and the Huntsman.” With the final installment of the highly successful vampire series set to be released in November, all the talk was about how the newly separated couple would fare once they had to start doing publicity for the film. Fans of the series agonized for weeks until news broke that the couple had reconciled, just in time for all the red carpet events surrounding the film. Still, news of the couple was easily one of the top movie star trending topics in 2012.
Tom Cruise has seen a career resurgence with the huge success of “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “Jack Reacher” in recent months. He was already filming or about to film several other high-profile projects when his wife, Katie Holmes, filed for divorce in late June. Normally when a celebrity super-couple like Cruise and Holmes divorces, there are rumors for months beforehand that the marriage was on the verge of collapse. There were no such rumors in this case, which made the news all the more shocking. In the days that followed, there was a ton of speculation about what tore them apart and why Holmes chose to relocate to New York City instead of staying in the couple’s posh Beverly Hills digs. When news that the couple had reached a financial and custodial settlement just ten days later hit the newswire, people were doubly shocked. Most celebrity divorces are long, bitter, drawn-out events, especially when a child is involved. Since no terms of the settlement were divulged, the story was the subject of much speculation, which kept Cruise and Holmes at the top of news trends for weeks.
Jennifer Lawrence is one of the few top trending movie stars of 2012 who makes the list purely based on her work rather than a personal scandal. In fact, very little is known about the private life of the rising star, who received her second Academy Award nomination in early January 2013 for “Silver Linings Playbook.” The film, which costars fellow nominee Bradley Cooper, is about mental illness and the need to connect with other people. It was hotly anticipated and has largely lived up to the lofty expectations of fans and critics. In addition, she starred in “The Hunger Games,” which was a megahit in the spring and turned her from a semi-known actress into a household name. With several more big projects to come in 2013, including the sequel to “The Hunger Games,” it would not be surprising to find her on top of the trending heap again at year’s end.
Kim Kardashian is mostly known for being a reality TV star, but few people know that she was in the 2008 film “Disaster Movie” and has a sizeable role in the upcoming “Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.” She was almost always somewhere on daily celebrity news lists in 2012 because of the continuing saga of her divorce from NBA star Kris Humphries. When she began dating music icon Kanye West in late spring, her private life became an even bigger story. When West unexpectedly announced her pregnancy on New Year’s Eve, she was further in the news spotlight.
Finally, Channing Tatum is arguably the biggest breakout star of 2012, even though he had been fairly popular for years. With the racy film ” Magic Mike,” he crossed over from merely popular to superstar status. Like Lawrence, he was on top of trending news lists because of his work, although the announcement that he and his wife, Jenna Dewan, are expecting their first child was a big story for a few days. Other than the happy pregnancy news, Tatum was in the spotlight because of his work in the dramatic romance “The Vow” opposite Rachel McAdams and the surprise comedy hit “21 Jump Street.” In fact, his star power grew so much in 2012 that the producers of “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” pushed the release of the film back several months to increase the size of Tatum’s part, which had previously been very small. Although the actor recently announced he was taking some time off in 2013 in anticipation of the birth of his child, he has seven films either in the can or in production, so he will continue to be big news well into the new year.