Entertainment: 2011's top stories

JULE SCHERER
Last updated 15:30 28/12/2011

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This year's most read entertainment stories are a potpourri of tragic deaths, odd partner choices and surprising break-ups, peppered with a bit of nudity, irate behaviour and a brave Kiwi's quest to educate US comedian Jon Stewart about our country.

The most popular story of the year was - perhaps not surprisingly - the news about Amy Winehouse's death. The 27-year-old singer was found dead in her London home in July. Although her public struggle with drug and alcohol abuse has filled many newspaper pages and internet sites over the years, her sudden death still shocked and moved many.

Her mother's statement that Amy was "out of it" in the days before her demise also attracted many readers, keen to learn more about the circumstances leading to the singer's death.

Stuff readers were also drawn to a woman's quest to educate US comedian Jon Stewart about New Zealand.

Wellingtonian Christine Brooks was in the audience at his top-ranking Daily Show in June and used a Q & A session before the show to ask the entertainer about his thoughts on the upcoming New Zealand general election. Instead of using the chance to learn something about God's Own Country, the comedian poked fun.

"Obviously the top story tonight, New Zealand politics,'' Stewart said before feigning boredom. Brooks may not have achieved much, but at least she was able to set the record straight about how many people live in New Zealand. ''I did not say 13, I said four million,'' she said.

An unusual match also made it into the top three of the most clicked stories of 2011.

Lost actor Doug Hutchison, 51, (he played DHARMA initiative leader Horace Goodspeed in seven of the more than 120 episodes and we don't blame anybody if they don't remember him) announced his nuptials with teenager Courtney Stodden. A couple of months later she took to Twitter with truly bizarre messages.

A songbird's beef with a critic hit the headlines in November when Hayley Westernra used Twitter to hit back at Press critic David Sell. He had described her homecoming concert in Christchurch as "bland" and her interpretations "lacking in musical insight".

Westenra responded on Twitter: "EVERY time I come home to ChCh to do a concert I wake up the next day to a bad review from David Sell. Mr Sell, I get it, you don't like me."

After staging one of the most extravagant and most publicised weddings of the year, Kim Kardashian's announcement to file for divorce after only 72 days of married life came as a surprise to many. Stuff readers also took to our comment section to slam the queen of reality TV for being a money-hungry attention-seeker, while others blamed her soon-to-be ex, Kris Humphries, for the split.

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The next story also came as a big surprise to many: After 25 years of marriage, power-couple Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver announced their separation amid a huge scandal involving a lovechild. The Terminator actor admitted fathering a son with a woman who worked for the Schwarzenegger family for more than 20 years. After acknowledging his extramarital activities, the former California governor was swiftly given a new name by the US media - the Sperminator.

The only homegrown "scandal" in this year's top 10 was caused by broadcaster Martin Devlin - unlike 2010, when the top stories were dominated by Paul Henry.

Devlin was pulled from the plane by police in Wellington in May after the captain called for help - a move which Devlin described as an over-reaction from the cabin crew. Earlier this year, the radio host was the centre of a disorderly behaviour charge, which was later dropped.

Stuff readers won't be surprised to find the Scarlett Johansson nude photo leak affair in the top 10. The 26-year-old star contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in September, after she was targeted by phone hackers.  Later we learned the shots were taken for then-hubby Ryan Reynolds. To just read about the leak on Stuff wasn't enough for thousands of Kiwis, who took to Google to find proof of the incriminating material.

And last, but not least, is the death of a young actor that moved many. Spartacus star Andy Whitfield died in September after a battle with cancer. The 39-year-old actor died of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Sydney and left fellow actors and friends in deep sadness.

- Stuff

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