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Top 10 Pop Culture Stories of 2015

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Q.V. Hough. You may be all too familiar with these stories, but only because you couldn’t stop talking about them this year. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Pop Culture Stories of 2015. For this list, we’re counting down the pop culture stories that kept the world abuzz in 2015 for months and months at a time. Special thanks to our user QVHough for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Pop Culture Stories of 2015


You may be all too familiar with these stories, but only because you couldn’t stop talking about them this year. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Pop Culture Stories of 2015.

For this list, we’re counting down the pop culture stories that kept the world abuzz in 2015 for months and months at a time.

#10: Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner Split

All good things must come to end, and this is certainly true in Hollywood. And 2015 saw the demise of many a celebrity couple, including Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez, and Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting... just to name a few. Just over a decade ago, “Bennifer” was a normal phrase in the lexicon of pop culture discussion. However by 2005, Ben Affleck found love with another Jennifer - Jennifer Garner - and they seemed to have it all, especially after their family grew to five. Unfortunately, one day after their 10th anniversary, the Mr. and Mrs. announced their impending divorce. You broke our hearts, Jen and Ben… but there’s always hope for an emotional reunion.

#9: Launch & Fail of Tidal

If you ask Jay Z about his latest business venture called “Tidal” – acquired in March of 2015 - he’ll probably mention that it represents the future of streaming music as well as something about the dope high fidelity audio. With all due respect to Hova, he and his big-business corporate pals haven’t exactly connected with the younger demographic, whether it’s due to the heightened monthly premium fee or just the concept of how most millennials, or regular people for that matter, actually listen to music. Much like Hillary Clinton, Tidal brands itself as something for the people with the hashtag #TIDALforAll. However, the business doesn’t seem to understand how consumers live out their daily, normal lives.

#8: Deflategate


It’s always been “cute” for the average sports rube to rip on Tom Brady and the Patriots, sometimes for legitimate reasons and sometimes for rather stupid reasons - but all hell broke loose when the Indianapolis Colts accused the future Super Bowl champs of cheating during the AFC Championship in January of 2015. Sure, there are probably some bigger concerns within the NFL itself, most notably players beating on their wives, but for several months, Tom Brady became the focus of unhealthy obsessions for his unwillingness to succumb to pressure and continuing accusations about his part in the tampering of footballs. And guess what? He won. Brady beat the damn NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell. So, all that’s left for him to do is walk on water… or maybe just win another couple Super Bowls.

#7: Taylor Swift vs. Apple

In 2014, the biggest pop star in the world removed her catalogue from Spotify, and much to the surprise of Apple Music this past summer, Taylor Swift looked at the details of their three-month trial plan and essentially said, “Oh hell no, we artists need to get paid.” It’s not hard to imagine a group of Apple executives having heart palpitations, and by the following day, the Apple plan had been “revised.” It’s a lesson to live by – don’t steal from others. And Apple reaped the benefits of their new terms as Swift decided to make her new album available for streaming just as more dates were announced for her massive “1989” World Tour.

#6: Charlie Sheen’s HIV Reveal

Coming from a Hollywood legacy and once TV’s highest paid actor, Charlie Sheen has been in the public eye for much of his life. The spotlight turned towards him even more glaringly in late-2015, when he disclosed that he’d been diagnosed with HIV four years earlier – and that he’d been blackmailed into paying out millions of dollars to keep the story quiet. Though Sheen had been known for his bad boy ways and an extravagant lifestyle filled with women and addictions, the reveal made headlines around the world, with mixed reactions. While Sheen said he doesn’t expect to become the face of the disease, he did say he hopes to lessen the stigma of HIV/AIDS in the public eye.

#5: The New “Star Wars” Film

A new “Star Wars” film directed by J. J. Abrams? Just the thought alone inspired millions of mind-boners. But when a new trailer was released during “Monday Night Football” in October 2015, millions of relationships had to be re-analyzed as grown men and women watched their significant others transform into children in real time. Sure, there’s always some type of epidemic or war to be concerned about, but you can’t blame those who take joy in the latest fantasy story set in the world created by George Lucas. In fact, the best part of “Star Wars” is watching people freak out over new footage. All joking aside, the story of the late Daniel Fleetwood – a lifelong “Star Wars” fan who got to see the movie before he died of cancer - proved just how powerful cinema can be.

#4: Saying Goodnight to ‘Late Night’

You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone, and in 2015, late night TV lost both David Letterman and Jon Stewart. Sure, they’re not dead, but each provided a certain sense of security for viewers on a nightly basis both within the United States and beyond. Letterman had been around since 1982 with Bill Murray as his first guest, and all of a sudden he was presenting us with the final “Top 10” list in 2015…with Bill Murray as his final guest. And while Jon Stewart still seems relatively young and could possibly become a future U.S. president, his departure was bittersweet in that he educated the average viewer on timely topics while comedically pointing out the flaws in the system. Both men left a lasting imprint on pop culture dialogue and we’ll miss all the daily snark.

#3: Donald Trump’s Presidential Run

Despite what comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth – which is usually a bit of verbal diarrhea – it’s clear that a large portion of Americans are taking him seriously in his bid to become president. As “Saturday Night Live” so brilliantly explained, he’s like the Sanjaya Malaker of politics. You know, a politician who clearly shouldn’t be in a position to win, yet mass hysteria keeps him around. Some people hate The Donald, and we can certainly understand why, but many just love the guy and you know who you are, giggling away watching YouTube clips only to slam Trump in public. It IS time to make a decision. Well, almost.

#2: Bill Cosby: Rape Allegations

A little over a year ago, the name Bill Cosby conjured up images of pudding pops and horrible sweaters. But after a Hannibal Buress routine went viral, the Internet decided to investigate the alleged rape allegations against the famous comedian. And in perhaps the worst PR move of the digital age, the Cosby team asked Twitter to meme Bill Cosby, and they certainly did given the strange request. By now, dozens upon dozens of women have come forward dating back to the ‘60s, and when the details of a 2005 deposition emerged, it became clear that Mr. Cosby had a long history of not only assaulting women but paying them to keep silent. Allegedly. And Cosby wouldn't be the only TV personality to face molestation charges this year, with the revelations accompanying Josh Duggar of TLC's “19 Kids and Counting" resulting in the reality series' cancellation and his checking into rehab.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Celebrity Babies

- Celebrity Weddings

- In Memoriam:
o Gunnar Hansen
o Caleb Logan Bratayley
o Omar Sharif
o B.B. King
o Stuart Scott
o Bob Simon
o Leonard Nimoy
o Ben E. King
o Christopher Lee
o Roddy Piper
o Wes Craven
o Jackie Collins
o Fred Thompson
o Al Molinaro
o Sam Sarpong
o Maureen O’Hara

#1: The Introduction of Caitlyn Jenner

At the beginning of 2015, the world knew this individual as a former Olympic hero and certainly a star of E!’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” but after months of public speculation, Bruce Jenner decided to open up about his past troubles along and his hopes for the future. In April, HE sat down for an interview with Diane Sawyer, and just a few months later, SHE appeared on the July cover of Vanity Fair, thus setting the Internet afire and changing the world as we know it, even though most transgender people don’t necessarily have the same platform to speak out. Regardless, everybody was talking about the introduction of Caitlyn Jenner, and it was the #1 pop culture story of the year.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite pop culture story of 2015? For more mind-blowing Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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