The Most Shocking Stories of the Year
BRITNEY SHAVES HER HEAD
It made one indelible picture – a bald Britney Spears, looking wounded and confused after shaving off her hair in a Tarzana, Calif., salon Feb. 17. The singer's impulsive haircut set the tone for a bumpy year that saw her checking in and out of rehab, temporarily losing custody of her sons and performing a much-criticized number at the MTV Video Music Awards.
ROSIE QUITS THE VIEW
After a season marked by high ratings, memorable moments and a bilious feud with Donald Trump, Rosie O'Donnell left her post as moderator on The View after a televised showdown with Elisabeth Hasselbeck on May 23. The comedian quit her job three weeks before her contract stipulated – and spent the summer blogging and dishing on the experience.
CHRIS BENOIT'S MURDER-SUICIDE
WWE star Chris Benoit's life ended in tragedy when the wrestler, 40, committed suicide June 24 after murdering his wife and 7-year-old son. With authorities still investigating whether Benoit was overprescribed testosterone – which may have caused violent outbursts – World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon said, "There was no way of telling this man was a monster."
ISAIAH GETS FIRED FROM GREY'S
Months after Isaiah Washington used a homophobic slur on the Grey's Anatomy set and attended counseling, ABC reps announced June 7 that the actor's contract had not been renewed. But Washington – whose controversy had prompted costar T.R. Knight to publicly come out – made no apologies, saying in a statement, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more." By fall he was back on NBC's Bionic Woman.
OWEN WILSON'S SUICIDE ATTEMPT
Known for his goofy comic charm, Owen Wilson was hospitalized Aug. 26 after what police called a suicide attempt. Following the shocking news, fans learned Wilson reportedly had been struggling with a drug addiction. He's since bounced back, with longtime director pal Wes Anderson saying Wilson was "making us laugh a lot" in recovery.
LINDSAY: FROM REHAB TO ARREST
Just 11 days after leaving a 45-day stint at Promises (following a DUI arrest May 26), Lindsay Lohan was back in police custody on suspicion of drunken driving. This time, cocaine was found in her pocket – and Lohan subsequently completed another round of counseling at Cirque Lodge in Utah. She capped the stay by reconciling with her father, Michael, before getting back to work – and ultimately serving only 84 minutes of jail time.
PARIS ORDERED BACK TO JAIL
On June 4, Paris Hilton reported to the Century Regional Detention Facility to serve time on a probation violation. But days later the heiress was transferred to home detention – only to have Judge Michael T. Sauer order her back to the Lynwood, Calif., jail to complete her sentence (left). She finally emerged from behind bars June 26 and set off on a Hawaiian vacation. Still, she vowed to live a more charitable life.
ANNA NICOLE'S DEATH & CUSTODY BATTLE
Even after Anna Nicole Smith's death (of an accidental overdose) on Feb. 8, the questions and mysteries just kept multiplying. Who was Dannielynn's father? Was she legally married to Howard K. Stern? With lawsuits and custody battles raging, Larry Birkhead proved to be the baby's biological father on April 10 and by September was celebrating Dannielynn's first birthday. Now, her psychiatrist is being investigated for overprescribing pills.