The Biggest Celeb Dramas of Summer 2016, Ranked
Consider this your recap of everything that went down these past few months
Summer 2016 can be summed up in a few words: squad goals, belfies and … drama. There were plenty of celebrity feuds and scandals to keep up with, giving us just enough reading material while lounging on the beach. We’ve taken on the hard, grueling task of ranking the 8 biggest ones, from OMG to break-the-Internet status.
8. The great supermodel debate
Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid were just living their fabulous lives when they suddenly got dragged into what we’ll call the great supermodel debate. It first started back in April, when Rebecca Romijn told Entertainment Tonight that “legitimate fashion people” hate the rise of the social media star model hybrid (specifically, KenGi were mentioned in ET’s question).
The saga went to the next level in June when Stephanie Seymour told Vanity Fair, “They are completely different than we were. Supermodels are sort of the thing of the past. They deserve their own title. [Kendall and Gigi] are beautiful girls, and I support all of them, but they need their own title,” before adding, “Bitches of the moment! That would be a good title for them.”
Then, Jenner responded in the form of an open letter on her website, defending not only herself and Hadid, but also giving her own thoughts on “real supermodels.” She began, “If you choose to be a cyberbully, I’m going to stick up for myself/ No one is trying to steal Stephanie Seymour’s thing, or trying to be her. I actually looked up to her. She has a daughter! I guarantee you that she didn’t imagine someone so publicly shaming her daughter when she made those comments about us being ‘bitches of the moment.'”
And while she dismissed Seymour’s model moniker, Jenner maintained that her industry is more about work ethic than labels. “If people want to call Gigi and I supermodels now, it doesn’t take anything away from supermodels of the past. Obviously, I have so much respect for those women, but right now, we’re the models of this time. Significant? Maybe. Hardworking? For sure,” she shared.
And that’s how you shut it down.
In July, Kardashian purged his Instagram account of all traces of his relationship with Chyna, leaving only a single photo of himself, unfollowing his fianceé, as well. While the move was certainly jarring, an insider told PEOPLE that the pair hadn’t split, but just hit a rough patch while filming their new reality show.
“They filmed over the weekend and had an argument,” the source said. “Rob tends to blow up and react very fast. They have rushed their relationship so much … They are both very excited about the baby. It’s hard to see Rob and Chyna actually splitting. Rob is looking forward to becoming a dad. It would take a lot for him to break up with her.”
We may get a look into the reason behind that blow-up, as the first teaser for E!’s docu-series Rob and Chyna dropped in August, showing Chyna yelling, “Are you still texting bitches, yes or no?” into a phone and throwing a bouquet of flowers in a pool.
Things are going pretty well now, though. In their recent cover interview with PEOPLE, the two seemed more in love than ever. Kardashian opened up about the long, dark road that he found himself on before discovering love and happiness with Chyna. “She got me through my darkest times,” Kardashian said. “I wasn’t happy in my own skin. I missed out on so many things.”
As for Chyna, she wasn’t out to change Rob – only give him support. “I saw Rob was willing to better himself,” she said. “I had never wanted to be tough. I never wanted to change him.”
6. Jordan Rodgers’ ex’s cheating accusations
Rodgers had already emerged as a front-runner for JoJo Fletcher‘s heart on the 12th season of The Bachelorette back in May, but past relationship drama seemed to be catching up with him. After the premiere, his ex, Brittany Farrar, knocked him on Instagram: “Riding the bench doesn’t get in the way of a relationship, but cheating does.”
In her first post, Farrar shared a lengthy open letter about Rodgers, slamming the former professional football player for going on “one of the most popular reality shows on TV” and allegedly lying about their relationship. “That’s when I wrote my first post about him. I was hoping that would be the first and the last, but then the show ends (Hey, you’re finally a winner!) and he starts calling me a liar,” she wrote. “With the power of a press tour, his lies reached our hometown and my family and friends are now constantly approached by mutual acquaintances. After weeks of this, I started wondering why I feel like I’m the one who should be silent when he was the one who jumped on a reality show hoping to catch fame as a last ditch attempt to make something of himself.”
Farrar also fired shots at Rodgers in her caption to the post: “After our breakup, I was surprised to find out what a prolific liar and cheater #JordanRodgers was during our entire 3 1/2 year-relationship. But what has surprised me even more is how he has carelessly bashed and lied about me in public. I guess he thought I wouldn’t stand up for myself. #HeWasWrong.”
In a second post that has since been deleted and then reposted, Farrar shared a video slideshow that included a receipt for a bouquet of flowers allegedly purchased by Rodgers for another woman, as well as screenshots of alleged texts between Farrar and Rodgers from the same time. A message to be delivered with the flowers reads: “Happy Birthday To My Favorite Bella. Miss You. Can’t Wait To See That Beautiful Smile Again. From, Your Favorite Football Player Wanna Be Actor.”
Though Farrar didn’t name the woman she alleged Rodgers was involved with and sent flowers to, she claimed he met her while filming Pitch Perfect 2. “The Original Rose: The receipt for a giant bouquet of roses Jordan bought for the girl he cheated on me with in Louisiana. (The first of many I would later find out about,)” Farrar captioned the slideshow. “He met her while shooting Pitch Perfect 2 (he was deep in the background pretending to be one of the Green Bay Packers – the closest he’s ever been to making an NFL team).”
“I’ve included screenshots of texts with dates to show we were a couple when he bought his favorite Bella some very special roses,” she added. “And also one of the many, many texts he sent after we broke up.”
“Jordan, you dragged our relationship into the spotlight, and then challenged my honesty and character,” Farrar continued. “If you weren’t ready to be truthful about your life then you shouldn’t have gone on a reality show. And if you don’t like having your integrity questioned, you shouldn’t have lied about someone who’s [sic] parents always taught her to stand up for herself.”
5. Chloë Grace Moretz, Khloé Kardashian and Ruby Rose sound off on bullying
After a bit of Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian West drama (we’re getting there; see item No. 1), celebs started taking sides and starting feuds of their own. One woman who dared to step into the ring was Moretz, who had previously clashed with Kardashian West over a nude selfie back in March.
First, she condemned people for “wasting your voice on something so petulant and unimportant.” She then wrote, “Everyone in this industry needs to get their heads out of a hole and look around to realize what’s ACTUALLY happening in the REAL world.”
Well, that prompted Khloé Kardashian to step in, posting two photos with the caption, “Is this the a hole you’re referring to @ChloeGMoretz ???” One picture showed Moretz in a red bikini and the other showed a woman from behind, her bathing suit bottoms pulled down. But Moretz was quick to set the record straight, tweeting: “Fact check: first photo is me filming my movie Neighbors 2, the second photo is some girl who was wrongfully photographed.”
This led to Rose getting involved, tweeting:
After that, Kardashian tweeted once again, clearing a few things up:
Sometimes, three people you wouldn’t expect to tweet at one another end up having the craziest feuds of all. Who would have known!
4. Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s Instagram war
If you thought Jelena drama was a thing of the past, this summer proved that totally untrue. It began when Bieber started spending a lot of time with his new flame, Sofia Richie, and posting a lot of selfies while they traveled the world, naturally. He then threatened to make his Instagram if Beliebers didn’t stop making negative comments about his relationship, and that’s when his ex, Selena Gomez stepped in with her two cents, commenting: “If you can’t handle the hate, then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol – It should be special between you two only. Don’t be mad at your fans. They love you and supported you before any one ever did.”
That was shocking enough, but then Bieber replied with, “It’s funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way. Sad. All love … I’m not one for anyone receiving hate. Hope u can all be kind to my friends and each other. And yes I love my Believers.”
Before we could even comprehend what Bieber meant about using him “for attention,” Gomez hit back with, “Funny how the ones that cheated multiple times, are pointing the finger at the ones that were forgiving and supportive, no wonder fans are mad. Sad. All love.”
Cheating?! Who, what, where, when – we couldn’t even think about it fully, because then Bieber replied with, “I cheated… Oh I forgot about you and Zayn?”
Later, Gomez sort-of apologized when she wrote on Snapchat, “What I said was selfish and pointless.” And it turns out, all those drama-causing comments may have stemmed from residual feelings the star still has for the singer, a friend of Gomez’s told PEOPLE exclusively. “He was Selena’s first love, and she hasn’t been able to totally get over him,” the source said.
And, for the record, the Biebs did end up deleting his Instagram. Fans threw a #JustinDeactivatedParty, if only to find a little humor among the pain.
3. Ryan Lochte’s Rio Olympics scandal
From the Final Five giving us all the #SquadGoals to awww-ing at Michael Phelps‘ adorable son, Boomer, the Rio Olympics were a whole lot of fun … until they were overshadowed by scandal. For the second half of the Olympic Games, all anyone could talk about was Lochte, after his fabricated robbery story became an international incident.
Lochte initially said that he and three other Team U.S.A. swimmers – Jack Conger, James Feigen and Gunnar Bentz – were robbed at gunpoint during a night out in Rio on Aug. 14. However, Brazilian authorities later claimed that the four men had not been robbed as Lochte had described and instead handed over money as payment for reported damages they caused at a local gas station. All sides agree that the security guard at the gas station drew his gun at some point while demanding the athletes pay for their alleged damages.
Lochte gave his first in-depth interview after the scandal unraveled to NBC’s Matt Lauer, explaining that he was “intoxicated” when he reportedly caused damage to a poster at the gas station and got into an argument with the security guard. “Whether you call it a robbery or extortion or us paying just for the damages,” he said. “All we know was there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.”
He later told PEOPLE more about how he had been untruthful. “I made things up,” he said. “I didn’t tell the truth. And that’s on me. I messed up, and made a big mistake, and I’m sorry.”
He’s since expressed regret for the distraction and apologized to the people who he has hurt. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because I have a big heart, and I feel like let down a lot of people,” Lochte told PEOPLE. “It sucks that it was one of the main focuses of the Olympics. That’s what stinks. The media blew it up and talked about it. It got out of control, and this was all anyone could talk about.”
2. Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris’ breakup – and everything that followed
The summer of splits kicked off with a bang when PEOPLE learned that beloved couple Tayvin had called it quits. For a few weeks, we questioned whether or not love even exists, and then, before we were even done drying our tears, Swift was spotted getting cozy with someone else – actor Tom Hiddleston. It was a relationship no one saw coming, not the fans nor Harris.
From here, everything changed. First, they both wiped their social media accounts clear of one another. Harris partied on a yacht. Swift met Hiddleston’s parents. Hiddleston scored an invite to Swift’s 4th of July party. Harris dropped breakup track “Olé” with John Newman, which people thought might be about Swift.
But then things got real. PEOPLE confirmed that Swift actually wrote Harris and Rihanna’s hit, “This Is What You Came for,” under the pseudonym Nils Sjoberg. They agreed to keep the collaboration on the down low, but Swift was hurt after Harris did an interview and said he couldn’t foresee working with his then-girlfriend in the future. Things got really interesting from here …
Harris responded to PEOPLE’s report about the song in a series of now-deleted tweets. He explained, “I wrote the music, produced the song, arranged it and cut the vocals though. And initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym … Hurtful to me at this point that her and her team would go so far out of their way to try and make ME look bad at this stage though.”
Then, he brought up Hiddleston: “I figure if you’re happy in your new relationship you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do.”
He even referenced her alleged long-running feud with Katy Perry (which neither woman has publicly commented on): “I know you’re off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I’m not that guy, sorry. I won’t allow it.”
Is it weird that it’s been over a month and we still haven’t recovered from all this?!
1. Kim Kardashian West exposing Taylor Swift’s phone call with Kanye West
Well, this was certainly a complicated summer for Swift, and really, how could this event not go down as the most dramatic of the summer? For one, it wasn’t a standalone incident – it had legs. The Swift vs. Kardashian West feud started brewing in June, in Kardashian West’s cover interview with GQ, in which she said Swift did green-light Kanye West’s controversial “Famous” verse mentioning her (which says, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex /
Why? I made that bitch famous”).
“She totally approved that,” Kardashian West said. “She totally knew that that was coming out. She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn’t. I swear, my husband gets so much s— for things [when] he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved.”
On an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the family discussed the tense history between West and Swift, as well as the GQ interview. Kardashian West explained she had had enough of how Swift had found” just another way to play the victim” and was ready to speak out. “I never talk s— about anyone publicly, especially in interviews. But I was just like I had so had it,” she told sister Kourtney Kardashian. “I wanted to defend him in it. She legitimately quote says, ‘As soon as I get on that Grammy red carpet I’m gonna tell all the press. Like I was in on it.’ ”
When momager Kris Jenner suggested Kardashian West call Swift to work it all out, she replied, “Thank you for your lovely advice, but I’m not going to take it.” After that episode aired, we found out exactly what her plan of action was: She released video footage of her husband apparently getting permission from Swift for his lyrics, and the Internet promptly erupted into a #KimExposedTaylorParty.
Swift hit back with a note to her fans, revealing the phone call was recorded secretly, and she didn’t actually know about all the lyrics.
Phew, we’re tired just thinking about it all. Here’s to you, summer 2016!