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5 unforgettable pop culture moments from 2023

2023 has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. From performances, movies, new couples and old – 2023 has been jam-packed. These events crowded headlines and captured everyone's attention this year. 

It's hard to believe that the year is coming to a close, but in the spirit of the quickly approaching 2024, here are some of the biggest moments to remember in 2023:

Rihanna's Super Bowl LVII performance 

Superbowl LVII saw the matchup of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Chiefs secured a win with a close final score of 38-35, and Rihanna won the hearts and attention of the viewers. 

Rihanna's first live performance in almost five years was an unforgettable one. The pop singer most notably made headlines by announcing the pregnancy of her and partner A$AP Rocky's second child. A baby on the way didn't stop Rihanna from performing a set filled with incredible dance moves that accompanied some of her most popular songs. It's hard to believe this performance was this year, but with now the most views of any halftime show, Rihanna's performance will be remembered for years to come. 

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner's divorce

Jonas Brothers singer Joe Jonas and "Game of Thrones" actress Sophie Turner called it quits this year after seven years together. The two got married in 2019 at a secret ceremony in France. On the second anniversary of their wedding, the two held another ceremony to celebrate their love and all seemed well. 

In September, the pair was spotted in public without their wedding rings. Rumors began to fly, and an Instagram post from the two made it official. The couple shared the news with their post, and the divorce process has only gotten messier. 

On Sept. 21, Turner sued Jonas for keeping their kids in NYC when the pair had previously agreed to live in England. They reached a custody decision in October, allowing their children to split time between the two until early 2024. The fallout from the once "it" couple's divorce has been nothing short of shocking. As the custody battle continues and more information reaches the surface, it is sure to stay in media headlines. 

"The Little Mermaid" release

In July 2019, it was announced that Halle Bailey would play Ariel in the live-action version of "The Little Mermaid." Bailey is most known for her part in the pop duo Chloe x Halle with her older sister Chloe Bailey. When it was announced that Bailey would be playing the role of the beloved mermaid, backlash soon followed. Critics took to the media to create the "#NotmyAriel," primarily targeting Bailey's race. Many spoke out about how they felt that Bailey was not suited to play Ariel. Bailey handled the disrespectful controversy with poise, and the movie was released in May. 

Despite the unfortunate media frenzy, the film did exceptionally well. After its success in theaters, the live-action recreation headed to Disney+. "The Little Mermaid" made history as the most-viewed Disney movie premiere on the streaming platform. The movie's success overshadowed the harsh negativity online, and Halle Bailey's performance caught the attention of many. Her beautiful voice and stellar acting are sure to be seen on the big screen again. 

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce 

The couple that the internet can't get enough of. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce first made headlines after attending one of Swift's "Era's Tour" performances in July. On Kelce's podcast with his brother, "New Heights," he revealed that he attempted to give Swift a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it. Speculations began, and in September, the internet erupted as Swift was seen at a Chiefs game with Momma Kelce herself. 

Since Swift's appearance at the Kansas City game, more details have surfaced about the couple. Romantic pictures of them holding hands and smeared lipstick on Kelce's face at events drove fans wild.

Kelce was recently seen with Swift's father at the renowned "Era's Tour" in Argentina. Swift even changed the lyrics to her song, "Karma," to shout out Kelce, singing, "Karma is the guy on the Chiefs, coming straight home to me." It's unclear what the next steps are for the pair, but they will most definitely be a fan-favorite couple for the duration of their relationship.

Celebrities we have lost

Unfortunately, this year also included the loss of many beloved stars and celebrities. While not light-hearted, it's important to look back on those we have lost and remember their legacies accordingly. 

Singer Tina Turner passed away at the age of 83 in May after living a long and successful life full of performances for her adoring fans. Jazz singer Tony Bennett died in July just short of his 97th birthday. Just 10 days after, "Euphoria" actor Angus Cloud tragically passed away at 25. Beloved "Margaritaville" singer Jimmy Buffett passed away in September at 76. In late October, treasured "Friends" actor Matthew Perry died in his Los Angeles home. So many beloved celebrities were lost this year, but they live on through their work and in the hearts of those who loved them.

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