Top 10 celebrity scandals 2012

PRIVACY ROW: Closer's website promoting the Duchess of Cambridge "exclusive".
PRIVACY ROW: Closer's website promoting the Duchess of Cambridge "exclusive".

As the year draws to an end, we're looking back at the juiciest celebrity scandals of 2012. From topless photos to nude shenanigans, exposed love-affairs and untimely deaths, this year had it all.

1. Kate Middleton's topless photos
The scandal that ruffled the most feathers was the release of photos of a topless Duchess of Cambridge. The pictures show Prince William and Kate Middleton enjoying a private sunbathing session on a romantic holiday in the south of France. A paparazzo snapped the shot using a long lens camera from a position almost a kilometre away.
Although British magazines declined to print them, the pics were splashed over the front cover of French mag Closer and other European magazines. The future queen travelled the South Pacific with her husband while the scandal raged back in the UK. And of course, now that the royal baby is finally in the picture nobody cares about some old holiday snaps anymore.

2. Kristen Stewart cheats on Robert Pattinson
They were the Twilight teenage-dream-couple: On and off screen Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson embodied the perfect pair. When photos emerged of Stewart canoodelling with married Snow White director Rupert Sanders, Twi-hards were heart-broken and the gossip mags had a field day. For a while PPatz was really, really sad. But just in time to promote the last instalment of the Twilight saga the two love-birds have reportedly reunited and working hard on a sparkly happy ever after.

3. Prince Harry's naked Vegas bender
Prince Harry is known for his fondness to party hard and not always for behaving in a way deemed appropriate for a young royal. So it didn't really surprise that when he went to Las Vegas to let loose, he let loose in a big way. Snaps taken by sneaky party-goers showed the prince and his crown jewels at a game of drunken strip pool.  British tabloid The Sun decided to print the pics on the frontpage (Heir it is!) and copped more than 3600 complaints for it.

4. TomKat break-up and Scientology revelations
Another couple that seemed just a bit too perfect to be true ended their relationship. Apparently Tom Cruise was as surprised as we were when his wife of five years, Katie Holmes, filed for divorce. The gossip mags spent a couple of weeks running wild speculations of what Holmes would reveal about the secret doings of the Scientology sect. But almost (from a gossip mag's perfective) disappointingly the couple settled and finalised their divorce quickly.
Nonetheless a couple of juicy stories surfaced - the most detailed a Vanity Fair story about Scientology's Cruise-wife-recruitment process.

5. Whitney Houston's death
The music world was shaken when pop diva Whitney Houston died just a day before the business' biggest celebration, the Grammy Awards. Although her struggle with drugs and alcohol has been well documented over the last two decades, her sudden death in a hotel in Los Angeles came as a shock for many. Later it was found that the troubled star had died from drowning in a hotel bathtub, and coroner officials said heart disease and chronic cocaine use were contributing factors to her death.

6. John Travolta and the deluge of sexual harassment claims
Grease and Pulp Fiction star John Travolta had to face not one, but three law-suits of male masseurs claiming sexual assault and battery. The first two of those were dropped, but the list of law-suits against the star grew larger still when the author of the book You'll Never Spa in This Town Again sued him for libel. There was also a rumour Travolta's had a six-year-relationship with his pilot. To sum it up - not quite a splendid year for Mr Travolta.

7. Jimmy Savile's abuse scandal
For decades, Jimmy Savile was a fixture on British television - an eccentric, aggressively jocular host of children's shows and a tireless charity fundraiser. When he died last year at 84 - by then knighted as Sir Jimmy - he drew tributes from Prince Charles and thousands of fans. After the first women came forward this year to claim "Sir Jimmy" was also a sexual predator , who abused underage girls, a whole avalanche of victims followed their claims. By late October more than 300 potential victims had come forward and the BBC was in big trouble.

8. A Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Came Out
Yeah, we don't know who would want to see this, but apparently it exists and apparently there is a market for things like this: Strong-man Hulk Hogan sued his former friend DJ Bubba" The Love Sponge" Clem over a sex-tape. The video was posted on the online gossip site Gawker. Hogan is seeking US$100 million (NZ$123 million) in damages from the New York-based media company.

9. Miranda Kerr nude shots
These were not the sneaky kind of nude shots taken and released without the subject's knowledge. These were beautifully composed nude photographs of the 28-year-old Victoria Secret model, before she was famous. Unlike leaked or hacked nude photos of other celebrities, naked photos of supermodels are commonly from shoots from the early years of their careers and tend to be used again once their career peaks - with or without their knowledge.

10. Lindsay Lohan
A couple of years ago, when Lindsay Lohan was still seen as a rising star, much of the things she pulled off this year would have registered as scandals. Now it's a bit business-as-usual and the police HQ may feel almost like the home away from home, seeing how often she's hanging out there. All the links to stories about her being in the s***  would fill a whole page. Hospital visits, jewellery thieving, car crashes, and there's a half-sister she didn't know about as well. But now a judge has revoked her probation and she might be headed for some jail time again. That, at least, would keep her out of the news for a while.

Honorary mentions: Elmo puppeteer's sex scandal, Justin Timberlake's distasteful wedding video and Angus T. Jones' rant on a Christian channel, claiming Two and a Half Men is filth.