From Euphoria fever to the Depp-Heard trial, here are all the wildest events that happened in 2022

By Deanna Pearce

Published Dec 30, 2022 at 09:15 AM

Reading time: 6 minutes

Before we bid farewell to the rollercoaster of a ride that is 2022, we believe it’s time to reminisce about all the cultural resets that happened this year. From the highly-televised Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard trial to American YouTuber Dream’s controversial face reveal, here are ten of the biggest news events that gripped 2022:

1. The slap heard around the world

It would have been hard to kickstart this nostalgic summary of the past year without starting it with one of the most talked about moments of 2022: slapgate. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the nickname the viral incident received as soon as it aired, we’re talking about when Will Smith slapped comedian (and friend) Chris Rock in the middle of the 94th Academy Awards ceremony.

Smith, who actually ended up winning an award that evening, lost his temper and stormed the stage live on air after Rock made a distasteful joke at the expense of his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.

The incident sparked intense controversy online as netizens discussed the many elements that led up to it—from Rock’s joke about Pinkett-Smith’s alopecia and Smith’s violent handling of the situation to his ten-year ban from the Oscars.

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2. ‘Euphoria’ fever, round two (and the unstoppable rise of Zendaya)

January 2022 blessed—or cursed—us with the release of the second instalment of Sam Levinson’s acclaimed teen drama TV series, Euphoria. Fans of the show’s first 2019 season and newcomers alike became hooked on their weekly fix of everything drugs, sex, trauma, and social media.

Among other iconic moments, we witnessed the feud between Cassie Howard (played by Sydney Sweeney) and Maddy Perez (portrayed by Alexa Demie) over the highly problematic but oh-so-hot Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi) unravel.

Zendaya also topped the show’s impressive cast as the troubled Rue Bennett—a performance which won her an Emmy Award for best actress in a drama series.

Euphoria’s second season also came loaded with a double whammy of character development when it came to Fezco (played by Angus Cloud) and Lexie Howard (played by Maude Apatow) and their unexpected and slow-burning love story.

Although the show first went viral for being drama-packed and highly relatable to its key audience, aka us gen Zers, it was season two’s brutal but honest depiction of what being a teenager really comes down to that cut through the noise.

We now have an eager wait ahead of us before Euphoria’s third season, which is scheduled to be released in 2024, hypnotises us all one more time.

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3. It finally came home (for the ladies)

On 31 July 2022, England’s women’s national football team—affectionately referred to as the Lionesses—officially brought it home and were crowned the UEFA Women’s Euro champions. The match, which took place at Wembley Stadium, was watched by approximately 365 million viewers, making it the most popular broadcast women’s Euro game of all time.

The Lionesses’ summer success marked a long-overdue shift in societal perceptions of female football. According to UEFA.com, 416,000 new sporting opportunities have been kickstarted in schools and local clubs across England in attempts to tackle a previous lack of resources for young girls who had an interest in pursuing football—both casually and at the professional level

These new accessible activities and schemes will range from playing to coaching, officiating, and volunteering. There has also been an 84 per cent increase of spectators who’ve stated that the 2022 Women’s Euros improved their perception of women’s football, and moreover, 88 per cent of spectators stated that they’re likely to watch women’s footballing events in the future.

4. Five decades of UK Pride

Each year, we’re gifted with an entire month where we celebrate Pride—an event dedicated solely to uplifting, applauding, and commemorating the LGBTQIA+ community—and 2022 marked its 50th birthday.

This is a heartwarming tribute to and from the community as many members have endured years of homophobic bullying. According to Stonewall UK, 64 per cent of LGBTQIA+ people have experienced violence or abuse. Out of these cases, 92 per cent was verbal, 29 per cent experienced physical abuse, and 17 per cent experienced sexual violence.

Brighton Pride—often considered one the UK’s most significant LGBTQIA+ celebrations—attracted approximately 300,00 supporters this year, all of whom gathered together at the parade to pay tribute to the increasingly important communities and organisations that support queer individuals, as reported by The Guardian.

5. Multiverse mania

The multiverse movie concept is an enjoyable albeit confusing high octane trend that’s gripped audiences since the late 2000s. This year, we got to witness even more of its intergalactic charm. Of course, I have to give an honourable mention to Spider-Man: No Way Home, which kickstarted this trend in December 2021.

In 2022, we were blessed with motion picture gold with movies such as Everything Everywhere All at Once as well as the sequel to Doctor Strange, dubbed  Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

As expected, audiences went into an absolute frenzy. Who doesn’t love to see all their favourite superheroes or, in some cases, villains meet, right? The multiverse creates the drama we all crave and need, it leaves fans shocked from start to finish, and pushes the audience’s mind to visualise the unthinkable.

2022 will not be the last for the multiverse world either, with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, as well as DC’s The Flash all scheduled to be released next year.

6. Worsening weather conditions in the UK

While some British men choose to wear cargo shorts all year round, others tend to stuff their summer attire in the back of the wardrobe—allowing it to collect dust as the rain wreaks havoc outside. However, in a remarkable twist of events, the UK experienced a whopper of a summer in 2022. The streets of London were filled with burnt knees, sticky sandals, and wet hair as temperatures climbed up to over 40 degrees.

While the main reason why the UK hit record-breaking temperatures can be traced back to our planet’s bouts with global warming, others took the tropical weather as an ultimate blessing. As some rushed to beaches to soak up the sun and catch a tan in parks across the country, others retreated to pubs in true British fashion. That being said, 2022 also recorded the estimated deaths of 3,200 people, who passed away due to the unbearable heat.

7. Hasta la vista, Boris!

In July 2022, after an unsurprisingly disappointing and dreary two years, Boris Johnson officially resigned as the 55th Prime Minister of the UK. It was revealed that Boris and other members of the Conservative Party attended a series of secret parties and other gatherings over the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns—in a scandal that is otherwise known as partygate.

The UK public was infuriated by the news as, ironically, the parties took place after Boris himself set strict pandemic restrictions stating no parties or household mixing would be allowed to help reduce the rate of COVID-19 cases.

Many felt betrayed, deceived, and confused by the former prime minister and the government as they went without seeing loved ones by trying to stick to official guidelines.

After being put under heavy scrutiny, and five other staff members from downing street resigning, he was left with no choice but to resign. Lizz Truss was then elected as the 56th prime minister of the UK but only managed to last 66 days before resigning herself.

8. Queen Elizabeth II’s passing

On 8 September, it was sadly announced that Queen Elizabeth II had passed away at her home in Balmoral at the age of 96—ending a reign of 70 years and 214 days, the longest of any British monarch and the longest verified reign of any female monarch in history.

The nation had only just celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, making the news more shocking to many.

The sad loss, in turn, birthed a new era as the UK became ruled by a King for the first time since 1952. King Charles, alongside Queen Consort Camilla, has now taken over his mother’s royal duties while the Prince of Wales, William, became the new heir to the throne. Rest in peace, Lizzy.

9. Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard: a trial-turned-witch hunt

Starting April 2022, the entire world witnessed the six-week, drama-filled trial between Pirates of the Caribbean actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard culminate into a worrying witch hunt against the latter. Though the highly-televised trial was held in Virginia, its most intense debates were fought online as Depp fans flooded social media apps such as TikTok and Twitter with hateful and often unfounded abuse aimed at the Aquaman actress.

Depp was granted $15 million in damages, including $5 million in punitive damages. Meanwhile, Heard was also awarded $2 million following findings that Depp’s former lawyer had defamed her.

Regardless of this official verdict, spectators spun their own stories before the jurors. Heard was rendered a villain and Depp, the angel—which is far from the truth. Every move the actress made was analysed and picked apart, and suddenly everyone was a psychologist and body language expert. There was actually some pretty damning evidence towards Depp after losing his UK libel case, where the judge found that 12 out of 14 alleged incidents of abuse were “substantially true.” Did we just put Depp on a pedestal that he did not deserve to be on?

10. YouTuber Dream’s divisive face reveal

American YouTuber and Twitch streamer Dream (real name ‘Clay’)—who is known primarily for creating Minecraft content since starting his online career in 2014—broke the internet on 2 October 2022 when he decided to reveal his identity, which he had kept hidden from his whopping 30 million followers.

The popular creator ended his anonymity while on a livestream with 1.3 million viewers and the recorded moment has now accumulated over 48 million views. He has also explained the main reason behind this surprising move: his friend GeorgeNotFound was flying out to meet him for the first time and Dream didn’t want to hide away. Instead, his goal was to “just get out into the world, be an actual creator—to be a person.”

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