20 Biggest News Stories of 2015 (PHOTOS)

Zayda Rivera | Dec 23, 2015 Other
20 Biggest News Stories of 2015 (PHOTOS)

What a year for highs and lows. From terrorist attacks to the Supreme Court's landmark legalization of gay marriage, from a historical moments in Hollywood and the ballet world, 2015 was one for the books. 

Here are the 20 stories that gripped us and which we won't soon forget.


Image Via © Pete Marovich/Corbis

  • Caitlyn Jenner Debuts


    Image via Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis

    In a game-changing moment of 2015, in July, Vanity Fair introduced the world to Caitlyn Jenner, a person who had always existed, but few were aware of, because for the first 65 years of her life, the world knew her as Bruce, an Olympic champion and the dad of six on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. After making her brave public debut, the transgender star was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the Espys.

  • Bobbi Kristina Dies


    Image via Splash News

    Bobbi Kristina Brown died at the age of 22 on July 26 after being found unresponsive and facedown in a bathtub in her home in late January never regaining consciousness. Controversy surrounding the death of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown's only child involved her boyfriend Nick Gordon, who was accused of injecting her with a fatal "toxic mixture." In an eerie coincidence, Houston passed on Feb. 11, 2012, of a drug overdose, after being found in a bathroom.

  • Paris Attacked


    Image via Fotogramma/Splash News

    Paris survived two devastating terrorist attacks in 2015. In January, terrorists killed 12 people in the Charlie Hebdo attacks, while another four died during a standoff at a Jewish market. On November 13, gunmen and suicide bombers hit several sites in orchestrated attacks that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded. Social media erupted with a show of support the beloved city, and cities worldwide  lit buildings in the French flag's blue, white, and red bands.

  • JLaw v. Wage Gap


    Image via Splash News/Splash News/Corbis

    Fearless superstar Jennifer Lawrence took on the gender wage gap -- yes, it's an issue even for Hollywood's highest paid actress -- in an emotional open letter published in Lenny. Lawrence confessed to not wanting to seem "difficult" or "spoiled" when negotiating the pay for  American Hustle. Then she discovered that her male co-stars had been paid more, and "I realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being 'difficult' or 'spoiled,’” she wrote.

    More from The Stir: 18 Biggest Celebrity Feuds of 2015 (PHOTOS)

  • 'The Force Awakens'


    Image via Lucasfilm

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens surely roused fans new and old. After Disney built an almost unbearable amount of suspense by holding no advance screenings and keeping plot details under wraps, the movie earned more than $300 million in just five days, the fastest of any movie ever. 

  • Cuba Opens Up


    Image via Atlantide Phototravel/Corbis

    It was a long time in coming. Since severing ties in 1961, the United States and Cuban heads of states had not met. Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro changed that on April 11, 2015 when they shook hands at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, four months after they announced their countries would restore ties. A new era had begun.

  • Trump Stumps


    Image via Mary Schwalm/AP/Corbis

    On June 16, Donald Trump -- the real estate mogul and host of the  Apprentice reality shows -- announced he was running for president. He quickly set off a firestorm of criticisms for his controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants. That was just the start of his campaign littered with outrageous statements. Despite criticism, Trump has consistently stayed on top of the GOP power rankings.

  • Terror In San Bernardino


    Image via Jae C. Hong/AP/Corbis

    On Dec. 2, 2015 San Bernardino, Calif. was the target of a terrorist attack that left Americans shaken and feeling insecure. Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik attacked his workplace with guns, killing 14 people. Farook and friend Enrique Marquez, who is accused of buying the guns used in the massacre, apparently followed the teachings of the late al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki.  

    More from The Stir: 15 Political Memes That Were So On-Point in 2015 (PHOTOS)

  • Same-Sex Marriage Legalized


    Image via © Pete Marovich/Corbis

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the United States on June 26. The decision meant that the 14 states that still had bans could no longer enforce them. After more than a decade of legal battles surrounding the issue, same-sex couples celebrated the victory with by rushing to be married on the historic day.

  • Journey to Pluto


    Image Via © Demotix Live News/Demotix/Corbis

    People the world over were awed by gorgeous, first-ever pictures of Pluto, complete with heart-shaped geographic feature sent back by New Horizons spacecraft as it flew by the dwarf planet after an three-billion-mile journey. At 7,750 miles above the surface of Pluto, the spacecraft was roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India. And even at that distance, it was quite a sight.

  • Pope Francis Visits


    Image via Janet Mayer/Splash News/Corbis

    Popular and plain-spoken Pope Francis visited the United States in September, drawing massive crowds in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. “It was a beautiful thing and also different,” the Pope told CNN. “Washington, the welcome was warm but more formal; New York was a bit exuberant; Philadelphia very demonstrative.”

  • Baltimore Riots


    Image via Sait Serkan Gurbuz/Corbis

    The death of Freddie Gray, which came after he suffered serious injuries while being transported in a police van following his arrest, caused the worst riots Baltimore has seen since the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Six officers were charged in the 25-year-old's death.

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  • Charleston Mass Shooting


    Image via Richard Ellis/ZUMA Press/Corbis

    Dylann Roof, who is white, opened fire in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, killing nine people during a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. In the racially motivated massacre, Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and one count possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Pres. Barack Obama spoke at a memorial service for victims.

  • Confederate Flag Takedown


    Image via Bruce Smith/AP/Corbis

    The racially motivated Charleston massacre intensified debate over the use of the Confederate flag -- a symbol that the killer embraced. But Bree Newsome did much more than talk. She climbed a flagpole on the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol in June and removed the Confederate flag that had flown there for decades. The community organizer was arrested but social media users raised more than $75,000 to fund her legal expenses. 



  • Misty Copeland Conquers Ballet


    Image via Adria Diane Hughes/Demotix/Corbis

    Misty Copeland made headlines in June for becoming the first black female principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre. Not only did Copeland receive rave reviews for her performance in the famously difficult Swan Lake, but she also earned praise for sharing her inspiring rags-to-tutu story.

  • Water Found on Mars


    Image via NASA/Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis

    In September, NASA confirmed there was evidence that liquid water flows on Mars, a development that raised tantalizing questions about our neighbor's habitability. An orbiter detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks could be seen on the Red Planet, NASA.gov reports. The streaks appear to ebb and flow over time and appear in several locations on Mars.

    More from The Stir: 15 Hilarious Celeb Memes of 2015 (PHOTOS)

  • Late Night Shake-Up


    Image via Richard Levine/Demotix/Corbis

    After David Letterman’s highly successful run as host of the Late Show a new sheriff came to town when he retired: Stephen Colbert. Letterman surpassed the legendary Johnny Carson as the longest running late-night talk show host in 2013 with more than 30 years as host of both Late Night and the Late Show. So Colbert, the comedic genius behind The Colbert Report, had some huge shoes to fill on Sept. 8, 2015. Over on The Daily Show, John Stewart retired and South African comedian Trevor Noah took over.

  • Viola Davis' Emmy Win


    Image via Parisa/Splash News/Corbis

    In 66 years, the Emmys had never awarded a Best Actress statuette to an African American actress. And then along came Viola Davis, who is a force onscreen in ABC's How to Get Away with Murder. Davis became the first ever black actress to win the top honor, delivering an inspiring speech that also served as a challenge to Hollywood to invest in black talent.

  • Syrian Refugee Crisis


    Image via Tasos Markou/Demotix/Corbis

    One million people. That's how many Syrian refugees have left their war-torn homeland in a desperate attempt to reach Europe, on foot or  via rickety boats. When a drowned boy washed up on a Turkish beach in September, the heart-rending image made the crisis a focal point as never before. Those who have have survived have met with compassion and fear as some countries welcomed them and others shut their borders against them. 

  • Adele Returns


    Image via Justin Lane/epa/Corbis

    In a year when the news seemed to be dominated by terror strikes and political loudmouths on the presidential campaign trail, pretty much everyone on the planet was thrilled at one piece of positive news: Adele was releasing an album after a four-year break. After releasing a record-breakingly huge new single ("Hello," of course), the talented and joyous presence that is Adele lifted spirits everywhere.

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