Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at some of the biggest celebrity moments that went down on New Year’s Eve in years past, starting with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s 1997 nuptials. The duo tied the knot in a secret ceremony at Baltimore’s Cloisters Mansion that Dec. 31. With the exception of a certain entanglement, they’re still going strong more than two decades later! Now keep reading for more of the most memorable celebrity moments of New Year’s past…
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We love a New Year’s Eve pregnancy announcement! And so does America Ferrera. On Dec. 31, 2017, the actress and husband Ryan Piers Williams announced they were expecting their first child together in a joyful Instagram post. (Son Sebastian arrived the following May.) Then on Dec. 31, 2019, America took to Instagram to announce that she was pregnant with their second child. (Daughter Lucia Marisol arrived in May 2020.)
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While performing in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Dec. 30, 2012, Kanye West revealed that then-girlfriend Kim Kardashian West was pregnant with their first child. “Stop the music for a second. Can we make some noise for my baby mama?” the rapper asked mid-show as Kim watched from the audience. The next night, the couple rang in the New Year together in Las Vegas — Kanye protectively kept his hands on the reality star’s burgeoning baby bump as photographers snapped away — and nearly six months later, their daughter, North West, arrived. They wed the following year.
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On Dec. 31, 1997, Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren tied the knot with director Taylor Hackford after 11 years as a couple. “So when I arrived at the church, it was like 6 o’clock at night on New Year’s Eve … all the people who lived in the village had come to stand outside the church to watch me arrive and watch,” she recalled to Yahoo. “And because I knew there were so few of us in the church, I said, ‘Why don’t you all come in? Come on in! Join in.’ They went, ‘Are you sure?’ I said, ‘Yeah, come on in.’ So when I walked in as the bride, they all came in, as I heard them all sort of shuffling very quietly and respectfully into the church, filling the church up.”
Maria Menounos and longtime love Keven Undergaro surprised fans when they unexpectedly tied the knot just before midnight during FOX’s live New Year’s Eve 2017 broadcast from New York City’s Times Square. They celebrated with a second wedding ceremony in Akovos, Greece — Maria’s father’s hometown — on Oct. 6, 2018.
Here’s an understatement: Mariah Carey’s performance during “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest” in 2016 did not go well. The trouble started when the diva experienced audio problems while attempting to perform her hit “Emotions” in New York City’s Times Square. When a vocal track failed to play, she refused to sing, opting instead to awkwardly walk around the stage talking to the audience while her backing track played on live television. Her team claimed her earpiece had malfunctioned and blamed the telecast’s producers for the fiasco. But they insisted they had nothing to do with Mariah’s issues. A nasty back-and-forth ensued, and in February 2017, Mariah told Rolling Stone, “This was out of my control and had everything not been such a total chaotic mess, then I would have been able to make something happen. Even the dancers should have stopped dancing and helped me off the [expletive] stage. I’m sorry. It was a mess, and I blame everybody, and I blame myself for not leaving after rehearsal.”
Britney Spears reportedly banked $500,000 to ring in 2007 at Pure in Las Vegas… and then passed out (or fell asleep, depending on whom you believe) in the middle of the nightclub. The fact of the matter is that her high-profile snooze-fest took place during the shaved-head stage of Britney’s life, so either scenario is believable. One thing not up for debate, however, is that she was carried out of the club that night.
Kaley Cuoco and former tennis pro Ryan Sweeting tied the knot in a fire-and-ice-themed wedding on New Year’s Eve 2013 — just six months after they started dating. They called it quits after less than two years of marriage.
On Dec. 31, 1974, Dick Clark became a New Year’s Eve mainstay when he officially launched “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” In December 2004, the legendary host suffered a stroke and was forced to sit out NYE for the first time in 30 years. Regis Philbin took over that year, leading us into 2005. He did well — even joking about the hosting gig being the “best temp job” ever — but there was just something missing without our old friend Dick counting us into the New Year.
After one year away from “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” Dick Clark returned to the special he created on Dec. 31, 2005. “Last year I had a stroke. It left me in bad shape,” he told the audience upon his return. “I had to teach myself how to walk and talk again. It’s been a long, hard fight. My speech is not perfect but I’m getting there.” Ryan Seacrest replaced temporary host Regis Philbin that year, thus beginning his reign as the man who ushers in the New Year for a whole new generation of viewers. Dick passed away in 2012.
Yikes! Before heading into 2009, Taylor Swift had quite the awkward televised encounter with one of her first famous ex-boyfriends. In 2008, she dated Joe Jonas, who then dumped her over the phone — a moment Taylor immortalized in song. Fast-forward to “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” which happened to feature both Taylor and the Jonas Brothers. As the clock approached midnight, America was treated to a terribly awkward moment as all the stars on stage hugged — except for Joe and Taylor, who avoided each other… it was painful to watch!
Kate Hudson married Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson on Dec. 31, 2000, in a ceremony officiated by a Ute shaman at the Snowmass, Colorado, home of the bride’s parents, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Six years and one child later, they called it quits.
“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” in 2018 was a little more dramatic than usual thanks to an onslaught of rain in New York City. But despite the inclement weather, many stars still turned in stellar — though wetter — performances. One group that really delivered? New Kids on the Block. The all-grown-up boy band performed a medley of their biggest hits all on a slippery red staircase (the perfect location for their tune “Step By Step”). Now that’s impressive!
She’s wildly unpredictable: While co-hosting CNN’s live New Year’s Eve special with then-friend Anderson Cooper from New York City’s Times Square on Dec. 31, 2011, Kathy Griffin apparently thought it would be fun to strip down to her bra and underwear. “Oh, my Lord. Are you frickin’ kidding me?” said a shocked Anderson. In 2017, CNN fired Kathy from her longtime NYE hosting gig after she posed for a controversial photo featuring the fake, bloodied head of President Donald Trump. In the wake of the scandal, Kathy fired Anderson from his bestie duties over his failure to support her during the drama. Andy Cohen then took over as Anderson’s NYE co-host.
That wasn’t Kathy Griffin’s only big New Year’s moment: The comedy star married longtime boyfriend Randy Bick just after midnight on New Year’s Day 2020 — and Lily Tomlin officiated the 14-minute ceremony!
Ozzy Osbourne and Sharon Osbourne’s marriage bends but never breaks. The duo, who’ve weathered the rocker’s addiction and infidelity issues, renewed their wedding vows in Los Angeles on Dec. 31, 2002, in front of a star-studded crowd including their famous offspring — Kelly Osbourne, Jack Osbourne and Aimee Osbourne — as well as bold-faced names like Justin Timberlake and Chris Rock. Though they’ve faced more challenges since then, the pair renewed their wedding vows for a second time in Las Vegas on Mother’s Day 2017. They celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary two months later.
Brian McKnight and Leilani Mendoza tied the knot at the Oheka Castle on the North Shore of Long Island in New York on New Year’s Eve 2017. The duo, who’ve been an item since 2014, got engaged in May 2017.
“The Real Housewives of New York City” star Luann de Lesseps and Tom D’Agostino tied the knot in front of 250 guests on New Year’s Eve 2016. But it wasn’t meant to be: They called it quits less than a year later.
Despite a 60-year age difference, Hugh Hefner and Playboy Playmate Crystal Harris married on New Year’s Eve 2012 following a rocky two-year engagement. (They were originally scheduled to tie the knot in mid-2011, but the blonde beauty bailed just days before the wedding.) They remained husband and wife until his death in September 2017.
More New Year’s Eve nuptials! The All-American Rejects frontman Tyson Ritter married “Revenge” actress Elena Satine in Seaside, Florida, on New Year’s Eve 2013.
Kellie Pickler and songwriter Kyle Jacobs eloped at sunset on the Caribbean island of Antigua on New Year’s Day 2011.
Shania Twain completed a bizarre but ultimately successful relationship swap when she married Frederic Thiebaud in Puerto Rico on Jan. 1, 2011. Here’s the backstory: For 15 years, the singer was married to producer Mutt Lange, who had an affair with one of her best friends — his assistant, Marie-Anne Thiebaud, who was married to Frederic at the time. He and Shania bonded over their mutual heartbreak and developed a friendship that eventually led to something more. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!
“A Beautiful Mind” co-stars Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany tied the knot in Scotland on New Year’s Day 2003. The bride and groom both donned black to exchange vows in front of just 14 friends and family members in the candlelit music room at Gilmerton House near Edinburgh.
Jan. 1, 2017, marked the date on which former star of “The Hills,” Lauren Conrad, took to Instagram to announce that she was pregnant with her first child, son Liam James, with husband William Tell. “Happy New Year! I have a feeling 2017 is going to be the best year yet….” she wrote alongside a photo of her ultrasound. The couple, who tied the knot back in September 2014, welcomed another child, son Charlie, in 2019.
On Jan. 1, 2020, “NCIS” actor Wilmer Valderrama proposed to his girlfriend, model Amanda Pacheco, in San Diego. “It’s just us now 01-01-2020,” he captioned a photo of the sweet moment on Instagram that same day. The couple was first spotted together in April 2019.
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