The biggest celebrity stories for Queensland in 2020.
The biggest celebrity stories for Queensland in 2020.

Qld’s most insane celebrity news of 2020

When it comes to memorable headlines, 2020 was full of them. Here are some of Queensland's highlights.

 

 

RADIO GAGA

 

In Brisbane the year began with a talked about radio reshuffle as Bianca Dye and Mike van Acker were ushered out of 97.3FM in favour of the reinstated team of Robin Bailey and Terry Hansen. Margaux Parker was in Bailey's old chair at Triple M and Van Acker was left doing a comedy show about his untimely sacking. Dye was happy to shift down to the Gold Coast to Hit 90.9. Later in the year Alan Jones announced his departure from 4BC and the network brought back a local talkback host in Neil Breen.

Radio host Robin Bailey. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Radio host Robin Bailey. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

 

LOCAL LIVES ON

Also in January, Channel 7's slate of stalwart lifestyle programs were saved thanks to overwhelming backlash from Brisbane audiences when the network axed them due to funding cuts. The support from viewers to Confidential's stories about the axing helped motivate local sponsors to foot the bill and keep the shows on air in 2020, and they've since been renewed for this year.

 

HANKS IN QUARANTINE CHAOS

Queensland had been revelling in Tom Hanks' arrival on the Gold Coast in January ahead of Elvis filming, with the star snapping fun selfies with locals and dining out on 50c chicken wings. But a simple Instagram post in March announcing he and wife Rita Wilson had been diagnosed with COVID-19 sent shockwaves around the world. It dominated global headlines as he spent two weeks in hospital on the Gold Coast and even made its way into a Saturday Night Live skit in April. Of course when the Academy Award winner was permitted to return to the state to resume Elvis in September, he became an unfortunate celebrity scapegoat of the roaring border closure debate.

Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks when they were in hospital in Queensland after testing positive for COVID-19.
Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks when they were in hospital in Queensland after testing positive for COVID-19.

Speaking of the border debate, Dannii Minogue will forever be remembered for her exemption from hotel quarantine. The pop star was allowed to quarantine in a private residence on the Gold Coast when she returned from the US in July. While the Queensland Government insisted there was no special privilege, the term "Dannii Minogue treatment" was quickly picked up and used by everyday people and celebrities alike who weren't able to escape mandatory hotels.

 

BINDI'S BIG DAY

Hours before restrictions on weddings came into play in March, Bindi Irwin, who most Queenslanders remember being born, rushed down the aisle at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast to marry partner of six years, Chandler Powell. The then 21-year-old cut the guest list from 200 people to just her close family and had a picture of her late father Steve Irwin with his dog Sui blown up on an easel. They spent their honeymoon keeping the zoo afloat during the crisis.

Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell on their wedding day.
Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell on their wedding day.

 

FILM COUPS

As the state regathered momentum, the big projects started rolling in. Since September stars of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Young Rock have been spotted filming all around Brisbane, including a local Strathpine restaurant, Holey Moley became a fixture at Redlands and Chris Hemsworth rolled into a luxury beachside residence to shoot Netflix movie Escape From Spiderhead at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. The many stars of Elvis have also been living on the Gold Coast for the past four months and Baz Luhrmann has become a benefactor for the Queensland Ballet.

 

 

HOOK-UPS

Some new local power couples emerged from lockdown in 2020. Gold Coast mega influencer Tammy Hembrow linked up with top ironman Matt Poole. Former AFL player Brent Staker is dating celebrity chef Justine Schofield, who is now shifting her life from Sydney to Brisbane. Meanwhile Tennis player Bernard Tomic recently went public with Only Fans model Vanessa Sierra. Of course Liam Hemsworth was loved up with model girlfriend Gabriella Brooks across the border in Byron Bay, where Zac Efron started dating local cafe worker and model Vanessa Valladares in the makings of a Hollywood love story that included a beach date in Currumbin.

Tammy Hembrow and Matt Poole. Picture: Jerad Williams
Tammy Hembrow and Matt Poole. Picture: Jerad Williams

 

BREAKUPS

The difficult year also had some casualties in the love stakes. The Veronicas singer Jessica Origlissao split from American fiance Kai Carlton, whom she was separated from due to border closures. Long-term couple Laura Dundovic and Quade Cooper appear to have gone their separate ways while Gold Coast V8 Supercars driver James Courtney split from girlfriend Alexandra Elms, began dating Kyly Clarke and found himself single again after around six weeks. Queensland's Cody Simpson also ended his whirlwind romance with Miley Cyrus.

 

 

NEW ARRIVALS

There was plenty to celebrate during the COVID baby boom. Kimberley Busteed and ex-cricketer husband Chris Simpson welcomed their third child, a baby boy named Jack, in June. Also in that month, Gold Coast fitness star Emily Skye shocked followers by sharing photos of the emergency delivery of her baby boy Izaac on her living room floor. Charli Robinson and Liam Talbot welcomed their second baby girl, Theadora Elle, in July. Usman and Rachel Khawaja became first-time parents, welcoming baby girl Aisha, in the same month.

Surfer Mick Fanning and fiance Breeana Randall had their first child, a son named Xander Dean, in August. Meanwhile former Brisbane Lions star turned coach Jed Adcock and partner Amber Ward defied the odds by caring for their baby boy Hugo through 89 days in the Neonatal Critical Care Unit after he was born 13 weeks premature. Lions star Daniel Rich and his wife Lauren announced the birth of their baby daughter, Indiana, on the same weekend as the Lions' epic win against Richmond in October. Brisbane Broncos players Matt Lodge, Anthony Milford and Jordan Kahu also welcomed new additions in 2020.

Charli Robinson and Liam Talbot with their daughter Theadora. Picture: Peter Wallis
Charli Robinson and Liam Talbot with their daughter Theadora. Picture: Peter Wallis

 

THE 2021 CRYSTAL BALL

Queensland is set to get plenty more big screen wins this year, according to Screen Queensland, so be on the lookout for more announcements soon. It will kick off with Ron Howard's Thirteen Lives, about the Thai cave rescue, in the first half of the year and the Joe Exotic NBC series starring comedy queen Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin. We bet that will be a fun set to spot around town.

Bindi Irwin will welcome her first child with Chandler Powell in the coming months, and we can't wait for the first photo in khaki. There's plenty of new arrivals on the horizon thanks to the lockdown baby boom. Laura Geitz, Gretel Bueta, Amanda Abate and Kayla Boyd are all due in the near future.

After 2020 put a stop to big weddings, expect a wedding bonanza this year. Erin Holland and Ben Cutting are among the celebrity couples due to finally walk down the aisle.

Live music is also set to make a big comeback in 2021, with Australian artists rushing to get back on stage and international acts eyeing off Australia as a safe place to tour. Be on the look out for big tour announcements and head back to Brisbane's local venues to help them get back in business.

We are also excited to see what the year-long break has done to our hallmark events such as the Logies. We expect it, like most awards ceremonies around the world, will be back bigger and more modern than ever thanks to the technology ushered in during 2020.

 

EVENT OF THE WEEK

Pixar Putt VIP preview party. FULL GALLERY HERE

Polly and Lucy Durack at the VIP preview of Pixar Putt at South Bank on Wednesday. Picture: Peter Wallis
Polly and Lucy Durack at the VIP preview of Pixar Putt at South Bank on Wednesday. Picture: Peter Wallis

Stage and screen darling Lucy Durack and her daughter Polly were among the festive VIP guests trying out Pixar Putt at the launch party at South Bank on Wednesday night. The themed course is running at Little Stanley St until February 7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Qld's most insane celebrity news of 2020


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