Every week of 2005 seemed to bring more turbulence and upheaval in the world of entertainment and in the personal -- but very public -- lives of the people who bring it to us.
First, no one was going to the movies. Then everyone was downloading TV shows onto their iPods. We all wondered what was in the hatch on Lost; we were surprised -- but not that surprised -- to see Michael Jackson show up at court in his pajamas; and Brad and Jen broke our hearts.
The awful practice of combining names of celebrity couples reached new heights of awfulness: TomKat, Bennifer II and Brangelina, the one that sounds like a cereal no one would want to eat.
It was all so much to cram into one year, we'll take it one month at a time.
The year began with perhaps the biggest bombshell of all: On Jan. 7, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston announced they were splitting after 4 1/2 years of marriage, amid rumors of Pitt's entanglement with Angelina Jolie.
Battle lines were quickly drawn. Those who cared about all that was good and beautiful in the world lined up behind Aniston. Those who abuse kittens supported Pitt. (We exaggerate a bit.)
When the Pitt-Jolie film Mr. & Mrs. Smith opened, People magazine polled 6,000 moviegoers about the stars' relationship, asking if they had a future together. Forty-two percent said yes, 18 percent said no and 17 percent refused to answer, out of respect for Jennifer.
Also this month, Orlando Bloom and Kate Bosworth broke up after three years of dating (only to have rumors swirl that they were engaged later in the year), and Prince Harry wore a swastika armband to a costume party. "Harry the Nazi" screamed the British tabloids.
Another month, another breakup. This one between the dimwitted stars of The Simple Life on Fox, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Some say Richie was jealous that Hilton had become the bigger star. Others say Richie had simply gained emotional maturity and didn't want any part of all that debauchery.
Whatever the case, when Hilton hosted Saturday Night Live on Feb. 5, Richie threw a party, supposedly to celebrate. But instead, Richie showed guests the infamous Paris Hilton sex tape from 2003. Score!
Also, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles announced their engagement, gonzo journalism father Hunter S. Thompson ended his own life and jury selection began in the Michael Jackson trial.
Domestic diva Martha Stewart was released from prison in West Virginia. She left wearing a blue-gray shawl thing knitted for her by another inmate. A million people asked for the pattern.
"Martha Stewart is getting out of prison," said David Letterman on the Late Show, "so today the terror alert was raised from orange to pesto."
It was another big month for breakups: A pregnant Denise Richards filed for divorce from Charlie Sheen (but there were rumors they were also back together later this year), Aniston filed for divorce from Pitt, and Katie Holmes and Chris Klein ended their engagement after a five-year relationship.
You know what comes next for Katie ...
TomKat goes public. On April 29, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced they're dating. For a second, the nation forgot about Pitt and Aniston. Cruise and Holmes had met earlier in the month when Holmes visited his office.
Both stars had big summer movies to promote (Batman Begins for her, War of the Worlds for him), and the media was skeptical it was true love.
Meanwhile, rumors swirled about a Pitt-Jolie relationship, Prince Charles made an honest woman out of Camilla (though the wedding was delayed by a day for Pope John Paul II's funeral), and Joaquin Phoenix checked himself into rehab for alcohol abuse. (We'll refrain from making Johnny Cash jokes.)
A couch-jumping performance on The Oprah Winfrey Show made the public begin to wonder if Cruise had truly lost it. In the course of a one-hour appearance, Cruise dropped to his knees six times, grabbed Oprah 18 times and said Holmes is "freaking out" three times.
For her part, Oprah told Cruise that he was "gone" 19 times. Not to mention what happened to our respect.
With Tom and Katie dominating the news, there was little else happening. But actress Renee Zellweger and country singer Kenny Chesney did find time to get married May 9 in the Virgin Islands.
The four-month Michael Jackson trial ended with an acquittal on all 10 charges, including conspiracy and child molestation. As the not guilty verdicts were read, a fan released 10 white doves into the air -- one for each count.
The bizarre case featured celebrity witnesses Macaulay Culkin, Chris Tucker and Jay Leno, and the specter of Jackson dancing on the roof of his SUV after his arraignment and then inviting his fans into his Neverland ranch for a picnic.