The Year in Review: People

Fame & misfortune
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The Independent Culture

There may be trouble ahead for the property market, the banking fraternity and the occupier of 10 Downing Street, but for rehab clinics, 2007 was a boom year. Drying-out centres, courthouses, hospital casualty departments, even prisons were stretched to breaking point to accommodate the flood of celebrities apparently queueing for entry. And the frenzy of renown claimed a rich haul of victims.

Two rock'n'roll marriages provided year-round entertainment. Sir Paul and Heather Mills McCartney became locked in one of the most expensive divorce cases in British history. In January, the press reported that the former Beatle would pay his ex-beloved 32m in cash and property, in a deal that incorporated a gagging order. Ms Mills (as she now prefers to be known "Heather McCartney" is, after all, an anagram of "Hatchet Mercenary") did not stay gagged. In March, she told the police she had received death threats, and was being followed at night. The police countered by complaining that she rang 999 too often. As a frisky Sir Paul appeared on the arm of several veteran beauties, including Sabrina Guinness and Rosanna Arquette, Ms Mills popped up throughout the year to complain of false reports from "a certain corner". She also she'd received "worse press than a paedophile or murderer" and bracketed herself with Princess Diana and Kate McCann. On American TV, she claimed her divorce had been prompted by Sir Paul's dislike of her insistance that he gave more of his fortune to charity.

Amy Winehouse put in a convincing bid for Most Screwed-Up Rock Star of the Century, appearing all year in worsening states of disarray: either drunk, stoned, bleary, emaciated, bleeding, distraite, lost, truculent or all eight together. It was a year of professional triumph: she was named Best Female Singer at the Brits, and her second album, Back to Black, picked up two prizes at the Mobos. But at Glastonbury she seemed dazed and confused, on Charlotte Church's show she was drunk, on Never Mind the Buzzcocks she was very drunk, and her weight fell drastically and she alarmed a journalist on the US magazine Spin by carving the name of her boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil into her stomach with a shard of mirror.

Marriage didn't make things better: there were rumours of fighting, and the two were snapped by paparazzi in Regent's Street at 4am, apparently covered in blood. Fielder-Civil's father called them "sickening". Amy's mother complained that Fielder-Civil was a bad influence. Amy pulled out of show after show. Blake was arrested on charges of attacking a pub landlord and attempting to pervert the course of justice. When he was remanded in custody, Amy hit rock bottom. At a now-legendary gig in Birmingham on 14 November, she rambled, wept, sang out of tune, threatened the audience (amid a salvo of booing,) dropped the microphone and left the stage before the end. She ended a positively diabolical 12 months by being arrested and questioned about her involvement in the alleged bribery.

Hollywood gossip in 2007 seemed exclusively in the hands of three female friends, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, all of whom flirted with prison. America's most derided airhead, a notorious amateur film-maker and the heir to the Hilton hotel fortune, Ms Hilton spent three weeks in June in the Los Angeles County Correctional Facility after she was stopped for speeding while under a 36-month driving ban. Columnists amused themselves by inventing spoof Paris Prison Diaries ("Day 2: My room is insane! TINY! How is it even possible that I got a room without any view? A tiny stainless-steel toilet. There is an incredibly thin mattress. If I didn't know I was in prison I'd think I was in an Ian Schrager hotel.") On her release, she told Larry King, the talk-show host, she was making "a new beginning". In the 2007 Guinness Book of Records she was named the world's "Most Overrated Celebrity".

Britney Spears' behaviour was chronically weird. She spent most of the year locked in a battle with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, for custody of their children, Sean and Jayden James, a battle made more difficult by her past intake of drugs and alcohol. She checked into rehab in Antigua and California, shaved off her hair, attacked a photographer with an umbrella and was charged with "misdemeanour hit-and-run". A judge ruled she was not to operate a vehicle while her children are present. She divorced, lost the custody battle, and may face a year in jail for the hit-and-run rap. She also apparently stole a lighter worth 68p from petrol station. But her new record Blackout did well the single "Gimme More" was her biggest hit since "Baby One More Time".

Lindsay Lohan started the year in the Wonderland rehab centre in Laurel Canyon, and attended her first AA meetings. In May she was arrested for driving under the influence and possessing cocaine. She was nicked for both misdemeanours a second time in July, after police were called by a woman in a car who claimed she was being chased by Lohan; the woman was the mother of Lohan's assistant who'd been fired earlier that day. Lins was given one day in jail, 10 days' community service and probation for three years. "It is clear to me," she told the press, "that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs." She topped the Maxim Hot 100 list for 2007 but also the New York Daily News list of the Dumbest People in Hollywood.

Elsewhere in celeb-land, Kate Moss survived accusations of cocaine abuse and launched a line of clothes in Topshop. She finally dumped Pete Doherty, who cleaned up his act and began advising Amy Winehouse about coming off drugs. Coleen McLoughlin signed a deal with HarperCollins to do a series of books offering beauty tips to 10-year-old children. The Beckhams displayed themselves in hot and heavy boudoir poses for Armani and Victoria promised to give up pouting. ("I know I do look very miserable and I do have to try and smile more, which is ironic, really, because I'm sort of quite a funny sort of person.") Ulrika Jonsson was christened "4x4" by the tabloids after delivering her fourth child by four different men. And the year ended in a blur of romance as the Catatonia chanteuse Cerys Matthews found true love canoodling in the jungle (in I'm a Celebrity Get me Out of Here!) with the ex-EastEnders actor Marc Bannerman, once he'd offed his inconvenient girlfriend, Sarah Matravers. Bannerman was arrested on 11 December for thumping a photographer outside a Welsh pub, but he and Cerys are still together. Who said it would never last?

Read their lips...

Compiled by Simon Usborne

"Why don't you shut up?"

King Juan Carlos of Spain replies to the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, after Chavez called Spain's former PM Jos María Aznar a "fascist" at a summit in Chile.

"If you have no eggs, you have no omelette, and it also depends on the quality of the eggs... Some are more expensive than others and they give you better omelettes. Sometimes the class-one eggs are not in Waitrose so you don't go there."

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho on his September injury crisis.

"I've had worse press than a paedophile... and I've done nothing but charity for 20 years."

Heather Mills attacks the media from the GMTV sofa.

"There is no political significance in his decision to do so."

A Conservative spokesman on David Cameron's decision to start parting his hair on the left instead of the right.

"On that basis you'd shoot half the population of Notting Hill."

John Humphrys responding to the suggestion that Jean Charles de Menezes' shooting mattered less because he might have had some cocaine in his blood.

"I will follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell and I will shoot him with your products."

US presidential hopeful John McCain visits a small-weapons manufacturer.

"More on the Northern wreck Rock story later."

Huw Edwards makes a slip on BBC news.

"I do Third World, I've been doing [it] since 1994."

Naomi Campbell on why she's raising money for the UK flood appeal.

"Before the bag was even open, the smell... unbelievably strong... And it is completely different to... [laughter]. I think I'll stop there."

David Cameron attending an arrest for drug possession.

"Prison would be a bore, but... endurable."

Conrad Black after being jailed for fraud and obstructing justice.

"My children are doing me in history now."

David Trimble

"What's the point in growing old if you can't hound and persecute the young?"

Kenneth Clarke

"I should point out that the other sister is still single."

Lembit Opik tells the House of Commons about his relationship with one half of the twin pop act The Cheeky Girls.

"If celebrity is a credit card, then I'm using it."

George Clooney, on forming a foundation with his Ocean's Thirteen co-stars Matt Damon and Brad Pitt to help victims in Darfur. It raised more than $9m (4.5m) in one night.

"I used to act dumb. That act is no longer cute. Now, I would like to make a difference... God has given me this... chance."

Paris Hilton, via phone, from jail.

"I never thought he was a racist. I just thought he was a fat, white bastard."

Sir Trevor McDonald on Bernard Manning.

"I don't understand the language. I don't understand what a website is."

Judge Peter Openshaw presiding over a trial of three men accused of internet terror offences.

"Taking your clothes off, doing sexy dancing and marrying a rich footballer must be gratifying; your mother must be so proud."

Lily Allen responds to Cheryl Cole, who had called her a "chick with a dick".

"If you ask me what I actually do to earn my consultancy, I'd have to tell you, in all honesty, not very much."

Bob Kiley, Ken Livingstone's transport guru, on his 737,500-a-year salary.

"I'm not being braggadocious."

P Diddy tells The Independent that he's had more chart success than any other hip-hop producer.

"If Prime Minister Sharon had lived... he is dead, isn't he?"

Kim Howells, Foreign minister.

"I don't think we'll miss you."

Cherie Blair bids farewell to the media.

"Am I to blame for his leaving? I don't know."

George Bush on Tony Blair's departure

"A first killing is like your first love. You never forget it."

Alexander Pichushkin, Russia's 'Chessboard Killer', who was convicted of 48 murders.

"I always thought of Dumbledore as gay."

J K Rowling lets a wizard out of the closet.

"Oh, Christ."

Doris Lessing receives the news that she had won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

"Now listen to me! You were not there at the beginning of the interview! You were not there!"

BBC reporter John Sweeney loses his cool during a documentary on Scientology.

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow."

Keith Richards

"Could you double-check the envelope?"

Martin Scorsese is named best director at the Oscars for The Departed, 26 years after his first nomination.

"I'm worth a thousand BBC journalists."

Jonathan Ross at the Comedy Awards.

"She is skinny as anything... and looks like she has come from a concentration camp."

Mitch Winehouse, on his daughter Amy.

"Aren't people rightly asking now: 'Is this man... not cut out for the job?'"

David Cameron on Gordon Brown after the Northern Rock episode, the funding crisis, and the disappearing discs.

"There are some similarities, of course... Death is terrible."

Bush comparing the war in Iraq to the Vietnam War.

"We don't have homosexuals."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on a visit to Columbia University.

"Less dressy? What do you think THIS is?"

The Queen on being asked by Annie Leibovitz to remove her crown for a shoot.

"I ask you to accept one thing. Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right."

Blair announces his resignation.