Taylor Swift’s squad, Pamela Anderson and ‘sad Affleck’: Everything that made a comeback in 2023
Everyone loves a comeback story, and while some celebrities literally had career resurgences, 2023 also saw the return of some internet staples… like Taylor Swift’s squad and “sad Affleck.” Here are some notable comebacks of the year.
After Swift’s split from Joe Alwyn, the Grammy-winning singer made a string of public appearances with her celebrity friends — and it felt like 2014 all over again. Blake Lively, the Haim sisters, Gigi Hadid and Sophie Turner were among the famous faces who accompanied Swift on multiple girls nights out around New York City post-breakup. But it didn’t take long for Swift to add one very important member to her squad: boyfriend Travis Kelce. Swift started seeing the Kansas City Chiefs tight end over the summer. She brought her starry crew to watch Kelce and team take on the New York Jets during one high-profile outing. Swift has also become close with Brittany Mahomes, wife of Kelce’s teammate Patrick Mahomes, and other Chiefs WAGs amid the romance. It’s safe to say Swift’s social cup is full right now.
The Baywatch star has had much of her private life aired out in the press, but she took back control of her own narrative this year. Anderson released her best-selling memoir Love, Pamela, which coincided with the release of her Netflix documentary, Pamela, A Love Story. She talked about everything from her marriages to Tommy Lee and Kid Rock to her financial woes — and everything in between. She was widely praised for her openness, and the way she was ridiculed decades ago (especially around her sex tape) did not hold up well in 2023. Anderson capped off an amazing year by attending Paris Fashion Week and setting the internet ablaze — in a great way — by going makeup-free.
The actress returned to the big screen after eight years — and to the genre that made her a household name. Ryan starred in, directed and co-wrote the romantic comedy What Happens Later alongside David Duchovny, ending a nearly decades-long acting hiatus. In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Ryan shared that it “wasn’t this deliberate” plan that she return to Hollywood with a rom-com. “I didn’t strategize,” she declared, calling the film a thank-you to frequent collaborator Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, You Got Mail). “I was paying attention when we were working together, and I am blessed to have been in so many of her movies and be trusted by her. She loved this genre, I love this genre, it’s just a thank-you.”
It was the meme heard around the world in 2016 when Ben Affleck’s sad demeanor at a junket went viral. Since then, the public has seemed obsessed with any time the actor looks somewhat defeated in public. When Affleck attended the Grammys in February with wife Jennifer Lopez, the internet had a field day declaring that the Oscar winner was “miserable,” while lip readers were tapped by media outlets to speculate on whether the two stars were really in a fight. (Both Affleck and Lopez said they had fun at the event.) Even an old photo of Affleck looking “sick of life” racked up millions of views in October— despite the photo being from 2014. Experts say there are multiple “essential components” of Affleck that make him a perfect meme.
The era of conscious uncoupling appears to be over, as 2023 was the year of nasty splits. In March, Bravo fans were rocked when it was revealed Tom Sandoval cheated on longtime partner Ariana Madix with fellow Vanderpump Rules co-star Rachel “Raquel” Leviss. The drama — dubbed Scandoval — played out onthe reality TV show, with the series getting nominated for its first-ever Emmy. Kevin and Christine Costner‘s divorce dominated headlines for months, mostly because of the wild accusations in their filings. (Christine accused Kevin of trying to evict her and their three children and contended that he told them of the divorce over FaceTime. He accused her of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery.) Ariana Grande’s divorce from her husband of two years, Dalton Gomez, wasn’t exactly messy per se… but why they broke up is murky. Shortly after papers were filed, it was revealed Grande was dating her Wicked co-star Ethan Slater, who was also married — and is now divorced. However, one of the more shocking splits of the year was between Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner; they surprised fans with some public mudslinging, but they ultimately settled out of court.
Nearly one year after Holmes and Robach’s supposed scandalous romance made headlines, the former GMA3 co-hosts are back in the news on their own terms. The former ABC News journalists were married to other people when their relationship was outed in the press, and they were subsequently fired, as their romance was a distraction to the company. One year after they were told not to come back to work, Holmes and Robach launched a podcast on iHeartRadio where they’ve addressed everything from how their relationship began to who made the first move, and revealed they intend to get married. They’ve been quiet, though, on whether it’s true their former spouses are now dating.