PEOPLE Timeline: Stars, Scandals & Celebrations Stars, Scandals & Celebrations During PEOPLE's 40 Years

From Mia channeling Daisy Buchanan in 1974 to George (finally) tying the knot in 2014, check out some of PEOPLE's most eye-catching covers and the moments that defined four decades of pop culture

CELEBS

Mia Farrow, PEOPLE's First Cover Girl
10/02/2014 10:00AM

March 4, 1974

Mia Farrow, PEOPLE's First Cover Girl

Channeling a 1920s flapper, the 29-year-old It girl graced the first-ever issue of PEOPLE in character as Daisy Buchanan from that year's buzzed-about Hollywood adaptation of The Great Gatsby. In fact, she so perfectly embodied F. Scott Fitzgerald's shimmering heroine in the film – and in that inaugural issue – that his daughter, Frances Scott Fitzgerald, told PEOPLE, "When I first saw Mia Farrow on the set, I thought she was ravishing ... she looked just like my father's Daisy Buchanan should look.
The Burton-Taylor Love Affair Ends
10/02/2014 10:00AM

March 15, 1976

The Burton-Taylor Love Affair Ends

One of the steamiest reel-to-real-life love stories to ever hit Hollywood came to an end around the time Elizabeth Taylor celebrated her 44th birthday. The passionate on-again, off-again duo spent 15 years together before Richard Burton asked for another divorce, as the legend goes. But Liz found a distraction by gathering those closest to her to mark the milestone with a cake that read: "Happy Birthday, from all of us who love you."
Farrah Fawcett & Lee Majors: Hot Couple, Hot Trend
10/02/2014 10:00AM

July 4, 1977

Farrah Fawcett & Lee Majors: Hot Couple, Hot Trend

The Charlie's Angels star and frequent PEOPLE magazine cover girl proved that everyone was doing it – well, jogging, that is – when she and the Six Million Dollar Man, her husband at the time, were snapped getting in on the latest fitness trend. The hot couple spearheaded the celebrity fitness craze and became its spokespeople, with Fawcett telling PEOPLE, "It's part of my life – like brushing my teeth."
Brooke Shields, Hollywood's Pretty Baby
10/02/2014 10:15AM

August 11, 1980

Brooke Shields, Hollywood's Pretty Baby

At 15, Shields was already a controversial figure. She previously appeared on PEOPLE when she starred in 1978's scandalous Pretty Baby, in which she appeared nude, and two years later raised eyebrows again in the steamy coming-of-age tale The Blue Lagoon, for which she used a body double. Gossip columnist Rona Barrett described the film’s explicit sex scenes as bordering on kiddie porn.
The World Says Goodbye to a Beatle
10/02/2014 10:25AM

December 22, 1980

The World Says Goodbye to a Beatle

PEOPLE mourned the loss of one of the greatest musicians in history after John Lennon was shockingly shot and killed at age 40 by a deranged fan, Mark David Chapman, in New York City. When the tragedy occurred, the "Imagine" singer and his family, including wife Yoko Ono, had settled into a seemingly normal life in the Big Apple, enjoying trips to the Central Park Zoo and sushi takeout. Prior to his death, Lennon reflected on his relationship with his fans, "People will come up and ask for autographs, but they don't bug you."
Vanessa Williams Is Dethroned
10/02/2014 10:00AM

August 6, 1984

Vanessa Williams Is Dethroned

"Now it's just a matter of figuring out what to do with my life," Williams told PEOPLE after losing her Miss America crown when Penthouse published pre-fame nude photos of the beauty queen, the first African American to take the title. She, of course, came out on top after the controversy, finding fame as a singer, Tony-nominated Broadway star and actress on series like Desperate Housewives. And she has even more to celebrate these days: In September 2014, Williams announced her engagement.
Mel Gibson, the First Sexiest Man Alive
10/02/2014 10:00AM

February 4, 1985

Mel Gibson, the First Sexiest Man Alive

"I try to be funny," Gibson said – but it was his good looks that earned him the title of PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive. The Mad Max star, already a sex symbol on the rise, got a co-sign from Sigourney Weaver, who called him "the most gorgeous man I've ever met." To date, 27 honorees, from George Clooney to Adam Levine, have followed in Gibson's fine footsteps since he kicked off SMA.
Madonna, Pop's Brightest 'Lucky Star'
10/02/2014 10:00AM

March 11, 1985

Madonna, Pop's Brightest 'Lucky Star'

The Material Girl with the danceable tunes reigned supreme by the mid-'80s thanks to hits such as "Like a Virgin" and, of course, "Material Girl." She dubbed herself a "boy toy" and quickly became a chart-topper and fashion icon to her legions of lace-clad fans. An indication of what was to come, Madonna displayed her bold Queen of Pop persona even then, telling PEOPLE, "I'm tough, ambitious and I know exactly what I want."
JFK Jr. is the Sexiest Man Alive
10/02/2014 10:00AM

September 12, 1988

JFK Jr. is the Sexiest Man Alive

Three years after Mel Gibson kicked off Sexiest Man Alive, the 27-year-old law student and heir to the Kennedy dynasty was all grown up, abs-tastic and had women drooling. John-John was declared "The Sexiest Kennedy" and made the list not only for his physical attributes ("the pecs, the pedigree, the charm, the torso") but also for his brains.
Ivana & Donald Trump: One Pricey Divorce
10/02/2014 10:00AM

February 26, 1990

Ivana & Donald Trump: One Pricey Divorce

A much-discussed prenup and cheating allegations were just a few of the much-publicized highlights from the Trump split, which came after three kids and 12 years of marriage. Their lavish union took place during one of the most decadent decades in pop culture, and the divorce quickly became just as flashy on gossip pages. However, interest in the split surprised the Donald, who told PEOPLE, "I thought it would be a one-day wonder."
90210 Stars, TV's Brat Pack
10/02/2014 10:35AM

September 9, 1991

90210 Stars, TV's Brat Pack

"Brace yourselves for Beverly Hills, 90210," PEOPLE declared about FOX’s teen drama that made stars out of Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, Jason Priestley, Luke Perry and their crew of cool kids. The series became a pop culture phenomenon and co-creator Darren Star said he knew why: "Most shows for adolescents seem like they are written by 50-year-olds who think teenagers behave like 7-year-olds."
Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman, Crazy in Love
10/02/2014 10:00AM

June 8, 1992

Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman, Crazy in Love

After meeting on the set of Days of Thunder, Kidman and Cruise quickly became one of Hollywood's most glamorous couples. Eighteen months after saying "I do," they worked together again on Far and Away, and their intertwined schedule was no problem for Cruise. "We like being together 24 hours a day," he said.
Cindy Crawford, America's Top Model
10/02/2014 10:00AM

May 3, 1993

Cindy Crawford, America's Top Model

Nearly 10 years into her modeling career – long after revealing the magic of moles – Crawford was named PEOPLE's Most Beautiful. The 27-year-old supermodel – also Mrs. Richard Gere at the time – was sitting pretty at the top of the fashion heap thanks to her good looks, although the down-to-earth '90s star stressed, "I don't want to have to be beautiful all the time."
Princess Diana, Gone Too Soon
10/02/2014 02:00PM

September 15, 1997

Princess Diana, Gone Too Soon

"Born a lady, became a princess, died a saint," read one memorial sign. Diana, Princess of Wales had died after a speeding car carrying her and boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed crashed while trying to escape the paparazzi in Paris on Aug. 31. The world went into shock and mourning over the beloved 36-year-old royal, who left behind two sons and a legacy of charity work, and PEOPLE commemorated her with a cover featuring an elegant image of the classic beauty that went on to become one of the magazine's most prized issues ever.
Michael J. Fox Reveals His Battle with Parkinson's Disease
10/02/2014 02:00PM

December 7, 1998

Michael J. Fox Reveals His Battle with Parkinson's Disease

It was a secret he kept for seven years: a private struggle with Parkinson's disease that had forced him to undergo brain surgery. But the fight became too difficult for the actor to hide – when his arm and leg began shaking at a red carpet event, he asked the driver to go around the block multiple times as he waited for his medication to kick in. Finally, Fox decided to share his story with PEOPLE. "It's not that I had a deep, dark secret," he said. "It was just my thing to deal with."
Ricky Martin Takes Over America
10/02/2014 02:00PM

June 28, 1999

Ricky Martin Takes Over America

In 1999, the former Menudo star had all of America "Livin' La Vida Loca" with his pelvic thrusts and catchy beats. When he performed on the Today show, NBC generated its highest ratings of the year. Martin had became an unequivocal sex symbol. "Everyone loves Ricky," friend Lilly Melgar told PEOPLE. "But few people know Ricky." The Latin heartthrob, who at the time was on and off with a female TV presenter, later came out as gay in 2010.
John F. Kennedy Jr. & Carolyn Bessette's Tragic Flight
10/02/2014 02:00PM

August 2, 1999

John F. Kennedy Jr. & Carolyn Bessette's Tragic Flight

The envied lives of John F. Kennedy Jr., 38, and his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, 33, came to an abrupt end when the plane he was piloting to attend a cousin's wedding crashed into the waters near Martha's Vineyard, killing the couple and her sister Lauren Bessette, 34. A pilot who also flew that night described "a wall of haze" that could easily have made Kennedy disoriented. The tragic deaths of the Prince of Camelot and the fashion icon added fuel to the belief that the Kennedy family was somehow cursed.
A Young Prince Becomes a Man
10/02/2014 02:00PM

July 3, 2000

A Young Prince Becomes a Man

He's legal! At 18 years old, Prince William was a king in training, learning to cook (albeit not well), studying in a dormitory at Eton (where he wore a uniform) and playing a variety of sports, including water polo and rugby. He was also a hunk, who had girls across the globe dreaming that they would one day marry the real-life Prince Charming.
Britney Spears Is a Teen Queen
10/02/2014 02:00PM

February 14, 2000

Britney Spears Is a Teen Queen

Before Britney Spears became, well, Britney Spears, she was just an 18-year-old girl with a hit single, "…Baby One More Time," which moms worried was "too sexy." And while Spears told PEOPLE of her crush on Brad Pitt, love of Jackie Collins novels and recent belly button piercing, she insisted she was no wild child. "That's just not me," she said of being shocking like her idol, Madonna. "I don't want to go out and be bad and do crazy things." Those were the days!
Robert Downey Jr. Hits a Low Point
10/02/2014 02:00PM

December 18, 2000

Robert Downey Jr. Hits a Low Point

Robert Downey Jr. couldn't have had his career comeback in films like Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes without hitting bottom in 2000, when he struggled with drugs and spent 12 months in prison, followed by another arrest for possession of cocaine and being under the influence of drugs. "He needs serious psychiatric help, not punishment," said a cousin at the time. "He is such a puppy, he breaks your heart. Everyone just wants to hug him or shake him or love him back to health."
Jessica Simpson's the Belle of the Ball
10/02/2014 02:00PM

April 12, 2004

Jessica Simpson's the Belle of the Ball

PEOPLE celebrated its 30th anniversary with America's sweetheart Jessica Simpson on the cover, back when she and Nick Lachey were still Newlyweds. Known at the time for her hilariously ditzy comments, Simpson answered 30 questions for PEOPLE, revealing that she wished she had the talent of a brain surgeon, her philosophy was "don't worry about tomorrow" and "breaking up with Nick" (before their marriage) was her "biggest regret." Guessing that answer has changed?
Martha Stewart Heads to Prison
10/02/2014 02:00PM

August 2, 2004

Martha Stewart Heads to Prison

It seemed unbelievable to imagine the domestic goddess serving five months in a federal prison camp and five months of house detention, but after a guilty verdict and sentencing for insider trading, Stewart was forced to leave her perfect life behind and began planning her next steps. "The day after her sentencing, Martha Stewart already seemed to be sowing the seeds for her return," PEOPLE wrote in its speculation on her time in a minimum-security federal camp in Danbury, Connecticut.
Kirstie Alley's Weight-Loss Battle
10/02/2014 02:00PM

December 6, 2004

Kirstie Alley's Weight-Loss Battle

It was the beginning of a decade-long struggle with her diet. The onetime slender Cheers actress said she was ready to get her weight back under control after seeing how much she had gained when she watched an episode of her sitcom Fat Actress. "I didn't really realize I was fat until I saw the first show," said Alley, who reached 203 lbs. over the sumer and hoped to get back down to between 118 and 139. "I want to get really skinny," she said. "I'm being serious."
Brad & Jen Call It Quits
10/02/2014 03:00PM

January 24, 2005

Brad & Jen Call It Quits

Before anyone ever heard of conscious uncoupling, Hollywood golden couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston announced an end to their 4½ year marriage. "This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration. We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another," read a joint statement. The split followed months of speculation about Pitt's relationship with Mr. and Mrs. Smith costar (and future wife) Angelina Jolie and disagreements about when to have children. But more shockingly, the split followed a romantic Caribbean getaway the previous week alongside Courteney Cox and David Arquette. Insiders said it was simply a last goodbye.
Patrick Swayze Battles Pancreatic Cancer
10/02/2014 10:00AM

March 24, 2008

Patrick Swayze Battles Pancreatic Cancer

When Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at age 55, PEOPLE checked in with the actor’s friends and family about his fight against the disease. "He's a Texan – very strong and very determined," said his Waking Up in Reno costar Natasha Richardson. "And he has a wife who adores him at his side. Theirs is a great, enduring love. It's inspiring to all of us." Before Swayze lost his battle with cancer in 2009, he wrote an autobiography, The Time of My Life, in which he wrote, "I began thinking to myself, I've had more lifetimes than any 10 people put together, and it's been an amazing ride."
Lance Bass: I'm Gay
10/02/2014 03:00PM

August 7, 2006

Lance Bass: I'm Gay

Years after the success of 'N Sync's hit record No Strings Attached and the breakup of the band, Lance Bass announced that he was gay. Though he'd known since childhood, he kept his secret because he was worried about ruining the group's success. "I knew that I was in this popular band, and I had four other guys' careers in my hand," he told PEOPLE. "I didn't know: Could that be the end of 'N Sync? So I had that weight on me of like, 'Wow, if I ever let anyone know, it's bad.' So I just never did."
Miley Cyrus: An Innocent Teen
10/02/2014 03:00PM

July 2, 2007

Miley Cyrus: An Innocent Teen

It's hard to remember the time before Miley Cyrus's controversial performances or drug confessions – back when she was just an innocent starring on Disney's Hannah Montana with her dad Billy Ray Cyrus, who claimed he would lay down the law for her and raise a teen star right! "The biggest phenomenon in all this is that the kid's been able to keep her head on her shoulders. She hasn't flipped out. I'm going to knock on wood," he told PEOPLE. Are you sure that was wood?
A Tragic End for the King of Pop
10/02/2014 10:00AM

July 13, 2009

A Tragic End for the King of Pop

"He now joins Elvis Presley and John Lennon in the pantheon of stars of whom you ask, 'Where were you when you heard the news?'" PEOPLE wrote of Michael Jackson's sudden death on June 24 at age 50, just two weeks ahead of what was touted as his comeback tour. The news shook the world, and PEOPLE searched for answers about his health and his children's futures. "Whether drugs caused Jackson's death will be known in just weeks, but untangling the web of complex legal issues regarding the state of his finances and custody of his children could take years," PEOPLE wrote. Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter for his involvement in the singer's untimely passing due to a fatal dose of the drug propofol.
Tiger Woods's Sex Scandal
10/02/2014 10:00AM

December 14, 2009

Tiger Woods's Sex Scandal

In 1997, PEOPLE wrote of the superstar golfer "conquering courses and rewriting golf history." Fast-forward a decade, and it was a sex scandal that cemented Tiger Woods's place in sports history. A domestic dispute in the wee hours with his wife Elin Nordegren blew up in the national media when it was revealed that the golf great, then 33, had been having affairs with multiple women. Nordegren filed for divorce in August 2010. While Woods's squeaky-clean image was forever changed, he soon returned to winning tournaments and dating again.
Taylor Swift Gets the Last Word
10/02/2014 10:50AM

November 1, 2010

Taylor Swift Gets the Last Word

When Taylor Swift released her third album, aptly titled Speak Now, she had plenty to say – to her ex-boyfriends. "I've never written a song that I haven't meant," the 20-year-old singer told PEOPLE. "And I mean it all." Former flames Joe Jonas and John Mayer were among Swift's presumed muses, but despite her A-list dates, the singer insisted she's just a regular girl who likes "going to the park or walking in nature and blasting music in my headphones." The Grammy winner's penchant for boyfriend-bashing songs still continues as much as her surprised awards face.
The Governator's Shocking Split
10/02/2014 12:00PM

May 30, 2011

The Governator's Shocking Split

"The magnitude of this betrayal and selfishness knows no bounds," a friend of Maria Shriver told PEOPLE, after she announced her separation from Arnold Schwarzenegger following the news of his affair with a longtime family housekeeper that resulted in a child. "I imagine her profound sadness that she was lied to for so long right under her nose, in her own house." The breakup of the long union of the Political Scion and the Hollywood Star dispelled any notions that Shriver was "just another Kennedy wife raised to ignore philandering." After the pair divorced in 2011, Schwarzenegger admitted, "I inflicted terrible pain on Maria and unbelievable pain on the kids.
Remembering Whitney Houston
10/02/2014 12:00PM

February 27, 2012

Remembering Whitney Houston

"With more than 170 million albums, singles and videos sold and a record seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard hits, Houston was a cultural force who provided a soaring soundtrack to the lives of her fans," PEOPLE wrote after the untimely death of the iconic singer at age 48 due to accidental drowning. Her tumultuous relationship with husband Bobby Brown, erratic behavior and struggles with addiction may have made headlines, but PEOPLE remembered the singer as the glamorous queen of pop. "What I do have is a talent I got from God. I'm me. That's all," Houston said in 1986 when the magazine dubbed her "top new star."
Secrets of the Hunger Games Phenomenon
10/02/2014 12:45PM

March 26, 2012

Secrets of the Hunger Games Phenomenon

With a boom of young adult novels turned blockbusters, the odds were definitely ever in favor of The Hunger Games, the 2012 movie based on the dystopian futuristic novels by Suzanne Collins that catapulted (future Oscar winner) Jennifer Lawrence into a new stratosphere. "There's no schoolgirl crush happening here," costar Elizabeth Banks said of the difference between their movie and the popular Twilight franchise. "The stakes are too high for that. This isn't about a first kiss. This is life and death." The trilogy continues with third and fourth installments due in 2014 and 2015.
Bella and Edward No More
10/02/2014 12:45PM

August 13, 2012

Bella and Edward No More

Twihards suffered from broken hearts when the seemingly eternal love was lost between Twilight's on-off-screen couple Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Stewart admitted to an affair with her (married) Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, and issued a swift apology saying she "jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob." While #TeamRob fans vented, Pattinson took refuge in an unlikely place – the Ojai, California, vacation estate of his pal Reese Witherspoon.
Tim McGraw Gets Sober
10/02/2014 12:00PM

February 11, 2013

Tim McGraw Gets Sober

Even as his career hit high points, Tim McGraw was suffering the personal problem of alcohol addiction. The country singer admitted to PEOPLE, "People were worried about me. It was to the point where I felt it was negatively affecting my relationships and getting in the way of things I wanted to accomplish in life. So I quit." To keep his mind off drinking he joined wife Faith Hill in an intense fitness regimen that has him healthier than ever. "The driving force for me to be healthy and fit is ultimately for my kids. I want to be around for them," he said.
Robin Roberts's Brave Battle
10/02/2014 12:55PM

February 25, 2013

Robin Roberts's Brave Battle

"It's an amazing feeling, each day feeling stronger. I feel blessed to be alive," Good Morning America anchor, 52, told PEOPLE. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, the fearless broadcaster was again in the hospital in 2012 to fight a rare blood-and-bone disease, myelodysplastic syndrome, and undergoing a bone marrow transplant. Roberts returned to GMA five months later and now two years after the surgery says, "I feel like I am a walking miracle." In 2014 Joan Lunden, another beloved GMA host battling cancer, echoed Roberts's brave sentiments on a PEOPLE cover.
The Little Couple's Big Challenge
10/02/2014 12:00PM

December 23, 2013

The Little Couple's Big Challenge

PEOPLE readers threw their support behind The Little Couple's inspiring Dr. Jennifer Arnold when she and husband Bill Klein revealed that she was fighting a rare type of cancer. "The treatment is rough, but I have a chance of being cured. I just have to push through it," Arnold told PEOPLE. She had learned of her condition while in India to adopt their daughter, Zoey, 2, soon after they had adopted son, Will, 3, from China. In 2014, Arnold got the good news the cancer was gone and told PEOPLE she was doing "really well."
Kate Gosselin and Her Twins Talk Life After TV
10/02/2014 01:00PM

January 20, 2014

Kate Gosselin and Her Twins Talk Life After TV

Kate and Jon Gosselin's marriage troubles made headlines throughout the run of their reality show, Jon and Kate Plus Eight. Four years after their highly publicized divorce, the single mom told PEOPLE she and her kids were doing just fine – and may even miss the cameras. "We'd love to do it again… It was fun," Gosselin's 13-year-old told PEOPLE.
The Sudden Death of Robin Williams

Robin Williams

10/02/2014 01:00PM

August 25, 2014

The Sudden Death of Robin Williams

"The world has lost a bright light," proclaimed Scott Weinger after his Aladdin costar Robin Williams died of an apparent suicide on Aug. 11 at the age of 63. In its tribute to the comic genius, PEOPLE looked at both his light and dark sides, including his decades-long battle with depression. "Robin Williams knew how to make a room laugh or cry," PEOPLE summarized. Williams's death was among other tragic passings of 2014, when the world lost actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in February and comedienne Joan Rivers in September.
Taylor Swift Turns Flapper for PEOPLE's 40th
10/14/2014 01:00PM

October 20, 2014

Taylor Swift Turns Flapper for PEOPLE's 40th

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, PEOPLE recreated its first-ever cover with a very 2014 face: Taylor Swift. The singer paid homage to the magazine's history with a pose that echoes Mia Farrow's iconic Great Gatsby look from the inaugural issue in 1974. "I made the decision to spend time on my own and figure out who I am," the Grammy winner told PEOPLE of embracing the single life upon release of her new album 1989. "It's really been a liberating and freeing time."

IN THE NEWS

Nixon Faces Impeachment; Ford Ready to Step In
10/01/2014 03:00PM

April 1, 1974

Nixon Faces Impeachment; Ford Ready to Step In

After Senate hearings on the Watergate scandal end, VP Gerald Ford (the front-runner for the 1976 Presidential election) was poised, seemingly reluctantly, to take over the White House if President Richard Nixon was impeached. "It's the last thing I want to happen, because I think the President is a great guy," Ford said. "I don't want to be President because I want him to be President." Four months later, on Aug. 9, Nixon resigned and Ford became the 38th President of the United States.
AIDS Grips Hollywood
10/01/2014 03:00PM

September 23, 1985

AIDS Grips Hollywood

With few medical facts known at the time, AIDS was a grave concern in the entertainment industry, and on-camera touching and kissing become feared job requirements among stars. "It is a town near hysteria," PEOPLE wrote. "From sound stage to the party circuit, from the power lunch to the privacy of the bedroom, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome has become Topic A." Former screen idol Rock Hudson was the first famous name to go public with the disease; later, Magic Johnson and Ryan White, a teenage hemophiliac harassed by his Indiana neighbors when they learned he had the virus, also became well-known faces of AIDS featured in PEOPLE in the 1980s and 1990s.
Heidi Fleiss, Madam to the Stars
10/01/2014 03:10PM

August 23, 1993

Heidi Fleiss, Madam to the Stars

When the 27-year-old Hollywood madam, the hard-partying daughter of a prominent doctor, was nabbed by L.A.'s vice squad, Hollywood was shaken at what her arrest – and not-so-little "black book" of clients, rumored to include A-list stars and movie moguls – might reveal. Shedding unwanted light on the high-class call-girl scene, the scandal froze the town, noted PEOPLE: "This kind of thing happens in Hollywood once a decade," producer Julia Phillips said. But Fleiss welcomed the notoriety: "They're going to be writing books about me one day," she said. "I'm going to be a legend."
Nancy Kerrigan's Trouble on the Ice
10/01/2014 03:00PM

January 24, 1994

Nancy Kerrigan's Trouble on the Ice

"Why, why, why?" It was the cry heard 'round the world, uttered by 24-year-old premier American women's figure skater Kerrigan after being attacked at a skating arena by a club-wielding assailant aiming for her knee. Who would do such a thing to a potential Olympian? Investigators didn't have to look far: The hit was arranged by Jeff Gillooly, husband of Kerrigan's rival Tonya Harding. Two days after the attack, with Kerrigan out of commission, Harding finished first at the women's U.S. national championships. Kerrigan was nonetheless named to the 1994 U.S. Olympic team; Harding was never implicated in the plot. In February 2014, they recounted the incident and its aftermath in the NBC documentary Nancy & Tonya.
Monica Lewinsky's Scandal at 1600
10/01/2014 03:00PM

February 9, 1998

Monica Lewinsky's Scandal at 1600

Twenty-four-year-old Lewinsky kicked off the sex scandal of the decade after claiming she'd had an intimate relationship with President Bill Clinton when she was a White House intern, starting in 1995. Though he steadfastly denied it, Clinton was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice and impeached. PEOPLE delved into Lewinsky's privileged Beverly Hills upbringing by her doctor dad and starstruck mom; in high school, she was "a hanger-on with the in-crowd, never quite accepted," noted PEOPLE. While Clinton kept his job, Lewinsky had a hard time finding one. In 2014, the 40-year-old wrote in a Vanity Fair article that her notoriety was a thing of the past: "It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress."
Outrage Over Columbine School Shooting

Columbine tragedy People Magazine Cover 1999

10/01/2014 03:30PM

May 3, 1999

Outrage Over Columbine School Shooting

After two troubled seniors carried out an hours-long shooting rampage at Colorado's Columbine High School, killing 15 and wounding 20, PEOPLE looked at the tragedy through the eyes of the students and teachers in the Denver suburb, who shared stories of survival and loss. "I'm doing this because people made fun of me last year," one student recalled the gunman saying. PEOPLE described the horror as an "all too familiar scenario" in a rash of highly publicized school killings at the time – unfortunately, tragic events followed at Virginia Tech and Newtown, Connecticut, years later.
The Day That Shook America
10/01/2014 03:20PM

September 24, 2001

The Day That Shook America

In the dizzying aftermath of September 11, PEOPLE released one of its most poignant covers ever – a haunting image of the attacked World Trade Center. In its reflection on the attack, which claimed almost 3,000 lives, PEOPLE captured the fear, vulnerability and anger felt throughout the world, summarizing, "Nothing could alter the overwhelming sense of sadness and disbelief."
Hurricane Katrina Devastates the South
10/01/2014 03:00PM

September 12, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Devastates the South

With 145-mph winds, a huge storm surge and torrential rains, the late August ferocious Gulf Coast hurricane flooded entire towns and caused almost 2,000 deaths in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. "All along the Gulf Coast, the scene was apocalyptic: thousands of cars out of gas and abandoned on streets and highways, downed power lines casting towns into darkness, stunned citizens picking through mountains of debris, no food, no working phones, no water," PEOPLE wrote of the catastrophe. Said Loretta Dixon, who managed a Red Cross shelter, "[The survivors are] all so silent and quiet. We've had a lot of tears, and we're just trying to be here for them. Just talking and listening helps."
Hope for the Obama Era
10/01/2014 03:00PM

February 2, 2009

Hope for the Obama Era

PEOPLE chronicled what was dubbed "the People's Inauguration" with a photo of a jubilant-looking Michelle and President Barack Obama at his Jan. 20 inauguration. The moment rang historic: After winning 51 percent of the popular vote, Obama became the 44th President of the United States and the first African-American to ever be elected. "Summoning a dash of Lincoln, a dollop of F.D.R., and above all his own trademark elegant cadences," PEOPLE noted, "Obama, 47, framed the day: 'We gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.'" Celebrity revelers – a new entity on the Washington, D.C., scene – included A-listers like Beyoncé, Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Groban. At a pre-inaugural party at a D.C. restaurant, Jennifer Lopez called Obama "the biggest rock star here."
Boston Marathon's Courageous Survivors
10/01/2014 03:00PM

June 17, 2013

Boston Marathon's Courageous Survivors

Heroes among us, indeed. A month after the horrific Boston bombing, PEOPLE headed to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, Massachusetts, to photograph 11 of the 16 people who lost limbs in the April 15 attack. In addition to tales of new friendships were inspiring stories of hope and healing. "There are times when I'm sad and angry that this had to happen and at the people who did it, but I don't waste my time on them," survivor Celeste Corcoran, whose daughter was also injured in the bombing, told PEOPLE. "Instead I dwell on the fact that my family and friends are around us, that my daughter is alive and that as hard as it is, I'm still alive – I'm still me. And we're stronger people."

WEDDINGS

Madonna & Sean Penn
10/01/2014 04:05PM

September 2, 1985

Madonna & Sean Penn

On Aug. 16, the chart-topping boy toy and the Hollywood bad boy wed in Malibu in front of the likes of Cher, Andy Warhol and Diane Keaton. But not everyone present was on the guest list: The event was crashed by six helicopters filled with photographers hoping to snap the hush-hush nuptials. The hoopla was later spoofed by the Material Girl herself on Saturday Night Live that same year.
Elizabeth Taylor & Larry Fortensky
10/01/2014 04:00PM

October 21, 1991

Elizabeth Taylor & Larry Fortensky

Married seven times before, the Hollywood legend did the unexpected on Oct. 6 when she walked down the aisle with a construction worker 20 years her junior. But that wasn't all that made the union so attention-grabbing: The wedding cost upwards of $1.5 million, with the bride wearing a $25,000 yellow Valentino gown as she was escorted to the altar by pal Michael Jackson, who hosted the gala at his Santa Ynez Valley, California, estate.
Julia Roberts & Lyle Lovett
10/01/2014 04:00PM

July 12, 1993

Julia Roberts & Lyle Lovett

America's sweetheart (and beloved PEOPLE cover star) found love with the country singer after several high-profile breakups, including a called-off engagement to Kiefer Sutherland. The unlikely pair married on June 27 in an equally unlikely place: Marion, Indiana, where fellow A-listers including Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins descended upon the small town for the big-time wedding.
John F. Kennedy Jr. & Carolyn Bessette
10/01/2014 04:00PM

October 7, 1996

John F. Kennedy Jr. & Carolyn Bessette

Breaking ladies' hearts all across America, the coveted bachelor and former Sexiest Man Alive settled down with the beautiful fashion publicist on Sept. 19. The stylish duo left the Big Apple behind for a more low-key affair at an intimate chapel on Georgia's Cumberland Island, where Bessette wore a Narciso Rodriguez gown later emulated by '90s brides. The private couple kept wedding details secret until the end, and the 40-person affair "required the skill of a James Bond and the whole CIA," said Letitia Baldrige, Jacqueline Kennedy's former White House chief of staff.
Jennifer Aniston & Brad Pitt
10/01/2014 04:00PM

August 14, 2000

Jennifer Aniston & Brad Pitt

The match made in Hollywood married in Malibu (she in a glass-beaded, silk-satin Lawrence Steele confection; he in Hedi Slimane) on July 29 before a star-studded guest list that included many of Aniston's famous Friends. Estimated to cost $1 million, the picture-perfect wedding felt seemingly laid-back. "It was a friends and family and celebration," a guest said of the golden couple's nuptials, which included fireworks, 50,000 flowers and a 12-year-old Frank Sinatra sound-alike.
Britney Spears & Kevin Federline
10/01/2014 04:10PM

October 4, 2004

Britney Spears & Kevin Federline

After a quickie Vegas wedding to her childhood friend earlier that year and before she shaved her head, the pop star said I do to her backup dancer beau on Sept. 18 in Studio City, California, in front of 27 guests who had no idea a ceremony was about to take place. "I'm just kind of happy that we pulled off the whole thing," Spears told PEOPLE days after the event, which was probably less Chaotic than the newlyweds' short-lived reality series that aired the following year.
Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes
10/01/2014 04:00PM

December 4, 2006

Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes

First there was the around-the-world courtship, then the couch-jumping appearance on Oprah and, finally, this: With their 7-month-old daughter, Suri, in tow, Tomkat headed to Italy for their splashy Nov. 18 wedding. Both the bride and groom wore Armani, as celebrity couples including Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith joined them for the three-day-long fete at the medieval Odescalchi Castle outside Rome. "It was the wedding every little girl dreams of," planner Roberta Armani (Giorgio's niece) told PEOPLE.
Prince William & Kate Middleton
10/01/2014 04:00PM

May 16, 2011

Prince William & Kate Middleton

The entire world, including 22.8 million in the U.S., watched as the beautiful commoner and dashing prince wed in royal fashion on April 29. Nearly 2,000 guests filled Westminster Abbey to watch the university sweethearts make it official during a lavish, televised affair. Following the ceremony, the future King and Queen of England drove off in a car (make that a 1969 Aston Martin convertible), with the license plate that read, "JU5T WED."
Kim Kardashian & Kanye West
10/01/2014 04:00PM

June 9, 2014

Kim Kardashian & Kanye West

When the world's most famous reality star married the chart-topping rapper, fans expected the nuptials to be a little over-the-top. And Kimye didn't disappoint. On May 24, the couple made a pre-wedding stop in Paris before jetting to Florence to officially say "I do". With the bride, groom and even 1-year-old daughter North all rocking Givenchy (Kim's gown alone was worth an estimated $500,000), the glamorous duo pulled out all the stops for their big day and made sure there were plenty of selfies to go around.
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
10/01/2014 04:00PM

September 15, 2014

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie

Held at their French home, the Château Miraval, in true Brad and Angelina style, the top-secret Aug. 23 wedding included a very small guest list of only 20 people. And though it was the actors' big day, the real stars were their six kids, who helped write the couple's vows and drew the designs stitched to Angie's Atelier Versace dress. Son Pax, 10, even baked the cake!
George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin
10/02/2014 03:20PM

October 13, 2014

George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin

The world's most beloved bachelor – and two-time Sexiest Man Alive – finally took himself off the market when he wed the accomplished lawyer on Sept. 27 in Venice, Italy. Some of their closest pals, including Matt Damon and John Krasinski, gathered at the Aman Canal Grande resort for the nuptials. The weekend-long festivities included couture (her dress by Oscar de la Renta, his suit by Giorgio Armani), and guests going to and fro in vintage water taxis. Marriage, Clooney told PEOPLE, "feels pretty damn great."

BABIES

A Prince Is Born
10/03/2014 12:00PM

August 16, 1982

A Prince Is Born

At his debut in Buckingham Palace’s Music Room, where he was baptized, the first child of the Prince and Princess of Wales did not disappoint. Prince William let out three little squeaks as the Archbishop of Canterbury poured baptismal water over his head, and PEOPLE let out three cheers in celebration of all the stories they'd write about the heir – and his mum, Diana, one of the magazine's favorite cover stars – in the years to come.
A Second Son for the Prince and Princess of Wales
10/03/2014 12:00PM

October 1, 1984

A Second Son for the Prince and Princess of Wales

"Royal firstborns may get all the glory, but second-borns enjoy more freedom," Princess Diana once said. So it's no wonder the second Prince – known officially as Prince Henry Charles Albert David – arrived a week earlier than expected, with champagne corks popping and two traditional 41-gun salutes ripping through the air in celebration of his birthday. In typical Harry fashion, he got the party started early.
Burt Reynolds & Loni Anderson Adopt a Son
10/03/2014 12:00PM

November 6, 1989

Burt Reynolds & Loni Anderson Adopt a Son

A tumultuous decade for box-office giant Burt Reynolds – filled with health problems and a fall from Hollywood's graces – was capped off in the cutest way possible: with the arrival of son Quinton, whom Reynolds and then wife Loni Anderson adopted together in 1988.
Joan Lunden Has Twins via Surrogate
10/03/2014 12:50PM

May 10, 2003

Joan Lunden Has Twins via Surrogate

By going public with her story, the former Good Morning America cohost – who revealed in 2014 that she is battling breast cancer – shined a brighter light on surrogacy, calling it "a viable option if done safely and correctly with a good agency so everyone is protected." Other high-profile stars would follow in her footsteps, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Kidman.
America's Sweetheart Has Twins
10/03/2014 12:00PM

February 21, 2005

America's Sweetheart Has Twins

The actress and her husband, Danny Moder, may have partied like new parents on New Year's Eve 2004, but the world didn't get a glimpse of their adorable noisemakers until a few months later when twins Hazel and Phinnaeus made their debut in photos shot by Moder himself. It was a sight to behold a smiling Roberts – one of PEOPLE's most popular cover girls – savoring her new role as mom and happy wife after a string of famous and failed romances. "Since these babies were born, she's never been happier," said the actress's friend at the time.
A Girl for Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes
10/03/2014 02:05PM

A Girl for Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes

After a whirlwind and very public romance, the world's most famous actor and his soon-to-be-wife, Katie Holmes, welcomed their first child, a daughter named Suri. But the proud parents would wait five whole months (an eternity in Hollywood!) to show off their beautiful girl on the cover of Vanity Fair.
Brad & Angelina's Baby Joy
10/03/2014 02:00PM

Brad & Angelina's Baby Joy

When your parents are two of the most beautiful people on the planet, people want to see you! That's why the exclusive first photos of the couple's first biological child, Shiloh – shot in Namibia, where she was born – would rank among PEOPLE's top-selling covers ever.
Two Is Twice as Nice for Brangelina
10/03/2014 02:00PM

August 18, 2008

Two Is Twice as Nice for Brangelina

What's better than the two hottest people on earth having one baby? The same hotties having two babies! In August 2008, the Jolie-Pitts, who had expanded to a clan of six kids, introduced blissful twins Knox and Vivienne in intimate photos shot at a French chateau.
Lots and Lots of Mouths to Feed
10/03/2014 02:00PM

February 15, 2010

Lots and Lots of Mouths to Feed

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19th child, Josie, may have been tiny at birth – just 1 lb., 6 oz. – but her arrival stirred up big controversy. How many children is too many? "The average woman isn't able to handle such a high number of pregnancies," one expert told PEOPLE at the time.
Happiness after Heartache for Sandra Bullock
10/03/2014 02:00PM

April 28, 2010

Happiness after Heartache for Sandra Bullock

After a very public and humiliating split with husband Jesse James, fans were happy to see one of Hollywood's most-liked actresses grinning from ear-to-ear as she introduced her newborn son, Louis Bardo Bullock, who was quietly adopted before she won the Oscar for The Blind Side. "He's just perfect, I can't even describe him any other way," she told PEOPLE.
By George, He's Here!
10/03/2014 02:00PM

August 5, 2013

By George, He's Here!

After much anticipation and speculation about whether the baby would be a boy or girl, the newest successor to the centuries-old British monarchy arrived at 4:24 p.m. on July 22. Upon his first appearance at St Mary's Hospital in London with his elated parents, PEOPLE commemorated the crowds celebrating, champagne corks popping and parents of girls everywhere plotting their daughters's path to becoming his princess. "You can see the monarchy's future stretching into the next century," royal historian Robert Lacey said.

CRIMES

The Preppy Murder Gets Dirty
10/01/2014 03:25PM

April 11, 1988

The Preppy Murder Gets Dirty

She came from a wealthy family but lived modestly; he was a drug- and alcohol-abuser whose blue-collar parents worked to send him to elite schools. The meeting of two prep-school teens at an N.Y.C. bar made headlines in 1986 after the strangling of Jennifer Levin, 18, by Robert Chambers Jr., 19, during, what he claimed was a night of rough sex in Central Park. Two years later at the close of Chambers's trial, during which he pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, PEOPLE examined how Chambers's defense team misleadingly called the strangling an accident and attempted to depict Levin as the aggressor. "He expressed little concern for her, and no grief," PEOPLE summarized. After his plea-bargaining Chambers was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Menendez Brothers Arrested for Parents' Murders
10/01/2014 03:30PM

March 26, 1990

Menendez Brothers Arrested for Parents' Murders

When wealthy entertainment exec Jose Menendez and his wife, Kitty, were murdered in their Beverly Hills mansion in August 1989, police at first suspected a business deal gone wrong. "I've never seen my dad helpless, and it's sad to think he would ever be," remarked son, Erik, 19, who, with brother Lyle, 22, told police they discovered the bodies after a night out. Though the young men, the sole beneficiaries of their parents' estimated $14 million estate, were suspects, it wasn't until Erik confessed the murders to his psychologist that police arrested them. "The grisly and calculated nature of the crime made it hard to imagine that Jose and Kitty had been the victims of an explosion of family rage," PEOPLE wrote, while examining Jose's humble beginnings and hard-won success, the demands he placed on his sons and the brothers' free-spending lifestyle before they were arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
The Unraveling of Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer
10/01/2014 03:00PM

August 12, 1991

The Unraveling of Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer

The unimaginable horror in a Milwaukee apartment unnerved cops and citizens alike: Jeffrey Dahmer, a soft-spoken 31-year-old, lured men – mostly black and gay – to his home and brutally murdered and dismembered them; comparisons to Hannibal Lecter were inevitable. Dahmer left the victims' remains in his closets, cabinets and boxes; police even found a human head in the refrigerator and three more in a freezer. All told, Dahmer confessed to killing 17 men. The gay chocolate factory worker, already a convicted child molester, left clues none of his neighbors picked up on, PEOPLE noted: "foul smells wafting from the apartment, bulging bags of trash Dahmer was constantly dumping and the late evening whine of a power saw."
Amy Fisher, the Long Island Lolita
10/01/2014 03:00PM

October 12, 1992

Amy Fisher, the Long Island Lolita

It had all the makings of a soap opera: 17-year-old Amy Fisher shot the wife of her lover, Joey Buttafuoco, in the head, leaving her severely wounded on the front steps of her suburban Long Island, New York, home. According to PEOPLE, it was a tabloid-ready tale of "sex, money, prostitution, murder-for-hire, drugs, more sex and a frantic Hollywood bidding war." PEOPLE marveled at the tale's twists and turns (Fisher's attempted suicide, an incriminating videotape, child abuse). "How could I have imagined this ringing of the doorbell was a threat to me?" Mary Jo Buttafuoco told an interviewer. "She was a little high school girl. Who would think there would be a threat." Three 1993 television movies later – one starring Drew Barrymore, another starring Alyssa Milano – the "Long Island Lolita" and the auto mechanic enjoyed D-list infamy throughout the '90s. Both eventually served time in prison, and she became an adult-film star.
The Life and Death of Latin Singer Selena
10/01/2014 03:00PM

April 17, 1995

The Life and Death of Latin Singer Selena

Considered the queen of Tejano music, Selena was a 23-year-old Grammy-winning singer on the brink of crossover stardom when she was shot and killed by the former president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldívar. PEOPLE described the murderer as someone who'd been "utterly devoted to Selena, almost to a fault"; her home was a virtual shrine to the singer and included a life-size cardboard cutout of her. Then why kill her? One theory was that Saldívar, who was about to be fired on suspicion of embezzling from Selena Etc., the business venture she headed, was upset she was going to lose her income; another theory was that, according to an acquaintance, "she probably couldn't accept the fact that she wasn't going to be around Selena anymore." Two years after the singer's death, Jennifer Lopez portrayed the star in a biopic, her breakthrough role.
The Bizarre Murder of Gianni Versace
10/01/2014 03:00PM

July 28, 1997

The Bizarre Murder of Gianni Versace

The July 1997 murder of designer Gianni Versace in front of his palazzo in Miami's South Beach stunned the fashion world. Within hours, police were looking for Andrew Cunanan, who'd been on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list as a suspect in four previous murders committed within the previous two weeks. PEOPLE detailed the history of Cunanan and tried to answer the question, Why Versace? As a serial killer expert explained, "I think [Cunanan] looked at Versace as a symbolic victim. Versace represented and stood for power, wealth, fame, celebrity, flamboyant lifestyle – everything Cunanan worshipped and aspired to." A week later, with police closing in, he shot himself to death on a Miami houseboat.
Elizabeth Smart Speaks Out
10/01/2014 03:40PM

June 23, 2008

Elizabeth Smart Speaks Out

For once, a high-profile abduction had a happy ending. Taken by knifepoint from her bedroom in her family's Salt Lake City home in 2002 by a stranger when she was 14 years old, Elizabeth Smart was held captive in the woods for nine months before being rescued. PEOPLE helped the victim share her ordeal, which included being chained to a fence and threats against her family if she tried to escape, as a way of helping other abduction survivors. Of her kidnappers, Smart said she'd let go of her anger. "It's just not worth holding on to that kind of hate. It can ruin your life," the 20-year-old college student told PEOPLE. "Nine months of my life had been taken from me, and I wasn't going to give them any more of my time." In 2012 she married her boyfriend of one year, Matthew Gilmour, in Hawaii.
The O.J. Simpson Murders
10/01/2014 03:00PM

October 10, 1994

The O.J. Simpson Murders

In the four months since O.J. Simpson was accused of murdering ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman, the case became a national obsession; each piece of the puzzle, from the loud thumps heard by Simpson's houseguest Kato Kaelin to the lone leather glove found at the L.A. crime scene, took on major, if mystifying, significance. The legal crew – Johnnie Cochran, Robert Kardashian Sr. (yes, Kim's dad), Marcia Clark, Judge Lance Ito – took on celebrity status. There were catchphrases – "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit" – the Ford Broncho car chase and the bloody Italian shoe prints in Simpson's shoe size. As the trial was about to begin, PEOPLE satisfied readers' curiosity with a timeline of that fateful June night, and followed up with details about the former football star's Jekyll and Hyde personality, Nicole and O.J.'s stormy marriage ("He loved her, but he thought of her as a possession," according to a friend of the slain woman) and finally the acquittal that divided a nation.
JonBenét Ramsey's Parents Under Suspicion
10/01/2014 03:00PM

January 20, 1997

JonBenét Ramsey's Parents Under Suspicion

When 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found dead in the basement of her family's Boulder, Colorado, home, with duct tape over her mouth and a cord twisted around her neck the day after Christmas 1996, the media circled. Who would kill the innocent little girl, a beauty pageant winner who had also been beaten and sexually assaulted, and leave a ransom note? Suspicion fell on family members, including her parents, who refused to formally talk face-to-face with investigators but agreed to a CNN interview. PEOPLE examined the "peculiar circumstances of the crime" and the family's apparent "life of near-perfect comfort and privilege." Though John and Patsy Ramsey lived under a cloud of suspicion for years, neither was ever indicted. Patsy died in 2006 from ovarian cancer, and the case remains unsolved.
Amanda Knox Goes Free
10/01/2014 03:00PM

October 17, 2011

Amanda Knox Goes Free

It was a study abroad gone wrong. After her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, was found dead with her throat slashed in their Perugia, Italy, apartment in November 2007, Amanda Knox, a 20-year-old exchange student from Seattle, was convicted of murder in 2009. (Her then-boyfriend and another man were also convicted.) The evidence: a small amount of her DNA on a kitchen knife that the prosecution claimed was the murder weapon. In October 2011, that ruling was overturned on appeal, and she was finally set free. PEOPLE looked at the long, hard-fought road of the young American who was called a sex-crazed, satanic murderess in Italian tabloids and served four years in an Italian prison. In January 2014, in a second appeals trial, Knox was found guilty, again; however, since the 26-year-old is now back in the U.S., she will unlikely return to Italy to serve her new sentence of 28 ½ years.