Year In Review: Access’ Top 10 Stories Of 2010!

2010 was a year filled with weddings, babies, scandals, make-ups, breakups — and oh, so much more!

Overall, Access Hollywood aired more than 3,500 news stories over the past 12 months, covering the biggest names – and headlines — in Hollywood, from coast to coast and around the globe.

Yet during our coverage, there were 10 celebrity topics that were covered more than others, and now, we count down Access Hollywood’s Top 10 Most-Covered News Stories of 2010…

10. Courteney Cox & David Arquette Split (10 stories) – A breakup most never saw coming, the former “Friend” and her goofball beau announced in a joint statement they were separating in October after 11 years of wedded bliss. While Courteney has remained relatively quiet post-split, David went the other route, running his mouth at seemingly every opportunity — most notably, in a couple of candid chats with Howard Stern. We say, ‘Bad form David’ – but hey, thanks for adding to your annual story tally.

9. Ashton Kutcher’s Alleged Cheating Scandal (11 stories) – Ashton was hit with multiple allegations of infidelity in September by the tabloids – all of which he denied, with wife Demi standing by her man (albeit virtually, on Twitter most of the time) through it all. While Ashton threatened legal action against Star magazine, which first reported the allegations, the tabloid has continued to stand by its story. Nothing like a little “he said/she said” to keep a storyline going.

8. The Death of Brittany Murphy (12 stories) – Brittany died in the final days of 2009, but the story — and investigation — surrounding her shocking death carried well into the New Year. A tragic end to a blossoming career, Brittany’s death at age 32 was eventually attributed to “community acquired pneumonia and multiple drug intoxication,” the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner concluded in February. Five months after the actress’ death, her husband Simon Monjack – who remained outspoken in defense of his wife in the wake of her death and subsequent drug abuse allegations that followed her passing — died at age 40, also of pneumonia.

7. Conan O’Brien vs. Jay Leno (15 stories) – Just a week into 2010, the NBC brass ignited what would be one of the most polarizing plots of the year to come: Team CoCo vs. Team Leno! After less than impressive ratings, NBC announced “The Jay Leno Show” was moving back to its 11:35 PM “Tonight Show” time slot, which would’ve pushed Conan O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” duties to midnight. Conan refused the move, left the network, an NBC exec called him “chicken-hearted and gutless,” Leno took back “The Tonight Show” reins (with Jimmy Fallon entering the picture as the new “Late Night” host) and the Team CoCo vs. Team Leno battle royale was officially on! Conan took his comedy act on the road, Jay took back his seat on “The Tonight Show” and in November, Conan debuted his new self-titled “Conan” late-night gig on TBS.

6. Heidi Montag’s Dramatic Plastic Surgery (21 stories) – Another entry which wasted no time in racking up the story tally early in the year, in January, the former “Hills” darling-turned-villain-turned-castoff revealed she had undergone an astounding 10 plastic surgery procedures in late 2009. The reality punchline – who said she was “obsessed” yet “not addicted” (ummm, OK) to plastic surgery – then spent the next several months fending off criticism from her castmates (Kristin Cavallari told Access “it was a lot of work”), her own mom (Heidi told People her mom looked at her “like a zoo animal”), and even addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky, who weighed in with our favorite analysis, calling the transformation “female-female cross-dressing” (zing!). But at least the woman who puts the “-Eidi” in “Speidi” can hold her surgically enhanced chin up high – Kate Gosselin told Access she thought Heidi “looks really good.” So, there’s that.

5. Sandra Bullock & Jesse James Split (33 stories) – Arguably, the true “Bombshell” of 2010, Hollywood wept a collective tear for America’s sweetheart when it was revealed that her biker beau, Jesse, had been (gasp!) unfaithful. Infidelity allegations first surfaced in March, which quickly led to a split, a divorce and a slew of tattooed women coming out of the woodwork claiming they had slept with Jesse, before the perennially classy Sandra – who was later crowned People’s Woman of the Year — put a bow on the story as only she could, by revealing she was moving on in her own personal life by adopting her baby son Louis. Throw in Hollywood’s support of Sandra, a Nazi salute from Jesse and a late cameo by Kat Von D, and it all adds up to make the Sandra & Jesse saga the fifth-most covered story on Access in 2010.

4. Charlie Sheen (41 stories) – The man they call “Teflon” certainly didn’t have a problem sticking to the Access airwaves during 2010. Charlie got a head start on this year’s news with his 2009 Christmas Day arrest for threatening then-wife Brooke Mueller with a knife. From there, it was in and out of court, a dash of rehab, a rumored considered departure from TV’s top sitcom, “Two and a Half Men,” all culminating with an October incident involving a NYC hotel room and a porn star. All told, it made Charlie Access’ fourth-most talked-about topic for the year.

3. Mel Gibson Audio Tapes (42 stories) – Giving credence to the age-old adage which states that often times, things are better left unsaid, Mel found his way into the headlines for a variety of unsavory reasons during 2010, most notably, his voicemail tirades directed towards his ex, Oksana Grigorieva. To the surprise of just about nobody, other than possibly Mel himself, the tapes went public, thanks to the folks at Radar Online, who posted excerpts from the outrageous audio, which ended up being heard around the world. Perhaps Mel will take another old saying to heart in 2011 – “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”

2. Lindsay Lohan (75 stories) – A second fiddle to no one when it comes to appearances in rehab, court and jail during 2010 — Lindsay, however, found herself as the runner-up in our most-covered stories of the year. Proving that the polls don’t close until the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, Lindsay has kept the fun going with the recent stories surrounding her alleged assault on an employee at the Betty Ford Center rehab facility, where she is currently receiving treatment. Meanwhile, we can only hope 2011 brings some peace and quiet for the celebrity responsible for turning “SCRAM” from a verb to a pop culture noun.

1. Tiger Woods (88 stories) – Not quite one story for each alleged mistress – although sadly, not that far off — 2010 was the year of the Tiger… for much, much worse… not for better. The transgressions of Eldrick Woods (yep, that’s his real name) kicked off with a bang — and a smashed-in windshield — on Thanksgiving night 2009 and continued strong into the New Year. Accusations, alleged mistress admissions, apologies, a divorce, and finally his return to the course (which frankly was the least exciting part of his 12-month-plus run), Tiger kept us all guessing as to what would come out next. You know you’ve truly made an impact in the entertainment world when your escapades get “ripped from the headlines” for a “Law & Order” episode. Kudos to Tiger – at least he was number one at something this year!

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