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From Barbie to Taylor Swift: Finest Pop Tradition Moments That Outlined 2023

From Barbie to Taylor Swift: Finest Pop Tradition Moments That Outlined 2023

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And with that, another year comes to an end. Before we officially usher in 2024, it’s the perfect time to rewind and review the wild ride of the past 12 months. In Hollywood, everything is temporary but the drama is permanent. And this year was no exception. From courtroom fashion to onstage revolution, here are a few of the juiciest pop culture moments that kept us all rapt with attention in 2023.

Rewind: Pop culture moments of 2023 that made the headlines

Nepo baby culture

pop culture moments 2023
Hailey Bieber. (Image Credit: Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images)

The Internet lost its cool when New York magazine declared 2022 the “year of the nepo baby,” diving headfirst into a rabbit hole of Gen-Z superstars who have inherited their fame based on their privileged upbringing. For those who are unfamiliar, “nepo baby” is just a snappy shorthand for children born to famous parents, especially in Hollywood. These children have apparently enjoyed success and smooth rides up the ladder to stardom all thanks to their wealthy and high-profile family.

Celebrities were divided on the topic, with some choosing to stay quiet while others criticised the label. Gwyneth Paltrow was not a fan, calling the term an “ugly moniker,” whereas Hailey Bieber adopted a sassier approach, proudly wearing a ‘nepo baby’ t-shirt.

The royal memoir – Spare

Prince harry memoir
Image Credit: Amazon

Prince Harry’s long-awaited memoir caused quite a stir at the start of the year. The book was packed with shocking revelations, including how Harry and William asked their father to not marry Camilla. The memoir went on to chronicle Prince Harry’s headcount from his time in the British Army to his final words to the late Queen.

Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance

She’s called Bad Girl RiRi for a reason! The Super Bowl LVII, where the Kansas City Chiefs faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on February 12th, etched itself into the history books, thanks to Rihanna. The singer’s halftime concert smashed Katy Perry’s 2015 record to become the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show of all time.

Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty released some cheeky merch before the big game that read, “Rihanna concert interrupted by a football game, weird but whatever.” That slogan proved to be accurate, as more eyes were drawn to her performance than to the game itself. And if that wasn’t enough, RiRi casually revealed that she was having her second child with A$AP Rocky, by casually exposing her baby bump during the show and making it to the list of best pop culture moments of 2023.

“Angela Basset did the thing”

Ariana DeBose’s opening number at the BAFTAs overnight became an Internet favourite… but not why you might think. With her theatre kid-like enthusiasm and out-of-breath singing, DeBose delivered a cringey rap that included the lines “Angela Bassett did the thing. Viola Davis, my woman king!”. Not sure what Angela Basset’s ‘thing’ really was, but this instantly became a viral meme.


The Scandoval saga was a soap opera-worthy episode in the world of reality television and Vanderpump Rules. The shocking news that Tom Sandoval cheated on his longtime partner Ariana Madix with another castmate Raquel Leviss shook the reality television world. The repercussions of this terrible affair resulted in one of the most chaotic reality show reunions ever broadcast. Except for another Tom (Schwartz), the entire group turned on Sandoval.

The new king

Following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022, King Charles III ascended the throne in May 2023. Dignitaries and royals from all over the world came to London to witness this historic event. The splendour proceeded with a regal carriage parade to Buckingham Palace, with the newly crowned king and queen consort, Queen Camilla.

Ozempic weight loss

Ozempic, which was originally developed to treat diabetes, has sparked debate as celebrities and influencers advocate its off-label use for rapid weight loss. In 2021, the FDA authorised Wegovy, a higher-dose variant designed for obesity. Despite being praised for its effectiveness in weight loss, people were concerned about its negative effects and lack of availability for Type 2 Diabetes patients who require it the most. The drug’s popularity skyrocketed on social media, raising concerns about off-label prescriptions and internet availability. The debate underlines the hazy border between medical use and personal weight-loss aspirations. Tech mogul Elon Musk has already admitted that he used Wegovy. Many celebrities including Kim Kardashian have been accused of using the drug.

MSCHF mania

Love it, or hate it MSCHF knows how to get your attention. They debuted the ridiculously huge big red boots at the beginning of the year, evoking both repulsion and affection. Celebrities such as Lil Wayne, Doja Cat, and Ciara walked in these intriguing shoes. then MSCHF went on to drop the LV’s microscopic bag, a marvel of ultimate miniaturisation that was smaller than a grain of sea salt. During Paris Fashion Week, MSCHF collaborated with Crocs to release the Big Yellow Boots.

Broken promises

pop culture moments 2023
Image Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/ Getty Images

If your faith in love has crumbled a little this year, you are not alone. 2023 brought an unexpected wave of celebrity divorces and breakups, trending Adele’s “Divorce babe, divorce” quote on social media. After 27 years of marriage, Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness parted ways in pursuit of “individual growth.” The split of Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner after four years stirred up quite the drama and fandom division.

And now, Cardi B has confirmed that she and Offset are also getting divorced. And we just got to know that Meryl Streep and Don Gummer have been separated for more than six years. The list of celebrity breakups continued with names like Britney Spears and Sam Asghari, Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied, Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth, Ariana Grande and Dalton Gomez, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau among many others.

As for celebrity breakups, Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones and Reuben Selby parted ways after a five-year relationship. Camila Cabello and Austin Kevitch also called it quits, only for Cabello to briefly rekindle her romance with Shawn Mendes. However, that reunion was short-lived. The breakup that sent shockwaves globally was Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn ending their seven-year relationship, with sources citing that “the relationship had just run its course.” Swift then briefly connected with The 1975 frontman Matty Healy, resulting in another short-lived romance. Also, Rosalía and Rauw Alejandro ended their engagement, and rounding out the list, Kendall Jenner and Bad Bunny’s whirlwind romance also came to an end.

Tied knots

After heartbreaking breakups, let’s look at the romantic celebrity weddings we got to witness this year. Barbie director Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach finally took the plunge after 12 years together. Vanessa Hudgens married football player Cole Tucker on December 2nd. Queen’s Gambit actress Anya Taylor-Joy and Malcolm McRae said “I Do” in Venice. And of course, our favourite Captain America has found the love of his life. Chris Evans and Alba Baptista tied the knot in a secret ceremony at a private estate in Cape Code, Massachusetts with a few MCU actors in attendance.

Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh celebrated her love by marrying her longtime partner Jean Todt. Moreover, the darling couple Dylan Sprouse and Barbara Palvin joined the list of married couples this year. And don’t forget about Sofia Richie and Elliot Grainge’s star-studded wedding in France and how Richie’s new wifey looks fuelled the biggest fashion trend of the year — quiet luxury.

Unexpected whirlwind romances

Pop culture moments 2023 taylor and travis
Image Credit: Gotham/GC Images

You might have noticed some unexpected pairings constantly popping up in your feed and setting couple goals this year. Let’s add these new lovebirds to the list of best pop culture moments of 2023 in the name of love. Singer-songwriter Halsey has found love with Avan Jogia (Beck from Nickelodeon’s Victorious series), making their relationship Instagram official after spending Halloween together. Confirming months of speculation, Kylie Jenner and Timothée Chalamet revealed their relationship at Beyonce’s birthday concert. But Kylie is not the only sister who had a whirlwind romance this year. Kendall also started dating Bad Bunny this year. Sadly, after months of romantic dates, horse riding lessons, and PDA-filled appearances that couple seems to have broken up before the holidays. Meanwhile, Olivia Rodrigo seems to have a new boyfriend and it’s none other than the cute “London Boy” Louis Patridge.

Ariana Grande is now with her Wicked costar Ethan Slater. Rumours have circulated about a budding connection between supermodel Gigi Hadid and Hollywood hunk Bradley Cooper. But the couple who has the whole Internet eating out of their hand is undoubtedly Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. Their rom-com-esque whirlwind romance has everyone captivated, complete with rumours of engagement and weddings only after a few months of dating. Seems Taylor and Gigi are not the only friends in love. Their BFF Selena Gomez also has a new beau — music producer Benny Blanco. Head over heels in love, Gomez hasn’t hesitated to defend her boyfriend against her fans either.

Lana Del Rey’s prophecy

Here’s an eerie pop culture moment that we witnessed in 2023. Lana Del Rey’s controversial Instagram post criticising female artists resurfaced this year, and followers started referring to it as “Lana’s prophecy.” She named seven #1 female artists who “glamorize abuse.” Strangely enough, five of those seven artists got into some kind of conversion this year.

Doja Cat faced backlash as her boyfriend, J.Cyrus, was accused of emotional abuse. Moreover, she misbehaved with her fans and lost over 500,000 followers on Instagram. Ariana Grande’s divorce and rumoured relationship with Wicked costar Ethan Slater sparked controversy. She was labelled a homewrecker and people blamed her for Slater’s divorce. Cardi B made news when she threw mics at fans during her Las Vegas performance. Lana’s prophecy struck again when Nicki Minaj was “swatted” following a fake shooting accusation. Only Kehlani and Beyoncé from this list haven’t gotten involved in any controversy yet.

The Idol controversy

One of the most anticipated releases of the year, The Idol, featuring stars like The Weeknd, Lily-Rose Depp, and Jennie from Blackpink, faced a series of controversies leading to its eventual cancellation. Production issues included reports of a toxic work environment, and directorial departures, leading to cast changes. The series drew criticism for explicit content, with concerns about the glamorisation of toxicity and female objectification. The storyline and acting didn’t help with the poor reviews either. Upon release, it received overwhelmingly negative reviews, with a Rotten Tomatoes score starting at 9%. The network, HBO cancelled the show after just one season due to critical backlash and declining viewership.


Image credit: Matthew Perry FB

Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley’s only child, died at the age of 54 from an intestinal blockage a little more than a week into 2023. Afterwards, the year brought more celebrity deaths. The queen of rock ‘n’ roll Tina Turner, legendary singer Tony Bennett, Euphoria star Angus Cloud, Michael Gambon who played Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise, and most recently, Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor André Braugher have left us.

In October, the world mourned the passing of Matthew Perry, who was famous for his role as Chandler Bing throughout the iconic show FRIENDS‘s ten seasons.

Britney Spears’ memoir

This time the Princess of Pop took control and chose to tell her story in her own words. The book “The Woman in Me” made some shocking revelations about the singer’s life, mostly about her relationship with Justin Timberlake. Spears describes a heartbreaking incident in which they faced an unexpected pregnancy and decided to get an abortion because Timberlake was supposedly not ready for fatherhood. She claims to know about Timberlake’s infidelity, citing instances in 2000 with an All Saints member and another unspecified woman. Despite the alleged betrayal, Spears admits to remaining in the relationship out of infatuation and profound love.

The pop star also confesses to her own mistakes. Beyond romances, Spears discusses her mental health difficulties and other aspects of her personal life in this candid autobiography.

SAG-AFTRA and WGA Strike

A series of strikes occurred over the summer, resulting in new contracts for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA). Following the historic 118-day strike by SAG-AFTRA and the 148-day strike by the WGA against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, artists and writers may be able to return to work on late-night TV shows, studio films, and cherished TV series. The effects of these strikes will be seen in 2024, as Hollywood attempts to complete projects that have been mainly stalled since May, when WGA members began their strike.


pop culture moments 2023
Image Credit: IMDb

Barbie and Oppenheimer, two significant global film premieres on the same day, grabbed audiences with their contrasting themes. The innovative PR stunt, which included merchandise and the challenge to watch both films on the same day, generated a buzz that mesmerised the internet for whole two months. “Barbenheimer” competition and excitement became a cultural phenomenon. From makeup challenges to Halloween costumes — it ruled 2023. Both films performed extraordinarily well at the box office around the world. Which of the two did you like better?

The Taylor Swift Effect

Taylor Swift
Image Credit: taylorswift/Instagram

Oppenheimer might be Barbie’s box office competitor. But anything can beat Barbie in the popularity game that’s the unstoppable Taylor Swift. Swift has had an incredible year. She didn’t just have a defining pop culture moment in 2023 — she pretty much dominated the whole year. Her Eras Tour has become the highest-grossing concert tour in history. The concert film, featuring footage of the live shows, has also taken the crown of the highest-grossing concert film of all time. Swift’s year included the release of two re-recordings, driving her to the top of Spotify’s most-streamed artist of the year. Time Magazine named her Person of the Year, and she won nine VMAs. Swift’s relationship with American football player Travis Kelce has also contributed to the buzz.

(Main and featured image: IMDb and taylorswift/Instagram)

Source: Prestige Online

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