20 Things You Totally Forgot Happened in 2020

From viral TikToks to major awards shows, you won't believe how much happened pre-pandemic.

This past year has been filled with many curveballs and challenges—and that's putting it lightly. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. hard in March, life as we knew it changed almost overnight and all the normal annual events we hold near and dear suddenly slipped away. But even though it's hard to imagine, 2020 actually started off just like any other year—with the Super Bowl and Grammys going off without a hitch. But because of the pandemic, there were so many major things that happened in the last 12 months that feel very, very distant now. From the release of Tiger King to the fear of murder hornets, everyone was talking about more than just the coronavirus this year. Read on for 20 things you may have forgotten happened in 2020. And for more viral moments from this year, check out The 50 Funniest Celebrity Instagram Posts of 2020.

Read the original article on Best Life.

1
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left their senior royal roles (and the U.K.) behind.

Megan Markle and Prince Harry at the Millennium Point in Birmingham
David Warren/Alamy Stock Photo

Eight days into 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to leave their roles as senior royals behind. "We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen," the couple wrote on their Instagram post. It's hard to believe that all unfolded this year, considering everything that's happened with the royals since.

And for more on what's ahead for these two, check out The One Thing Meghan and Harry Are Really Looking Forward to in 2021.

2
Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler broke up after nine years together.

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler at the premiere of "Once Upon a Time In Hollywood" in 2019
Shutterstock

An unexpected breakup of early 2020 was former Disney Channel star Vanessa Hudgens and fellow actor Austin Butler. After nine years together, Hudgens and Butler decided to call it quits in January—but neither of them said much about it. "They're just shooting on two different continents and it's a matter of distance," a source told E! News. "There's no bad blood and they have a lot of respect for each other."

And for more on Hudgens' early days, check out The Biggest Disney Channel Stars, Then and Now.

3
The race for the Democratic presidential seat was still very much up in the air.

seven Democratic Candidates for U.S. President walking on stage for the debate in February 2020
Richard Ellis/Alamy Stock Photo

While the U.S. presidential election is now over, back in January, there were still 15 people in the running for the Democratic presidential seat. In fact, Sen. Elizabeth Warren didn't drop out until March and Sen. Bernie Sanders didn't drop out until April. Now President-elect Joe Biden was eventually the last man standing.

4
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi died in a plane crash.

Shutterstock

While the death of Kobe Bryant and 13-year-old Gigi Bryant won't be forgotten, it's hard to believe it was less than a year ago. On Jan. 26, Bryant and his daughter died in a plane crash—along with the seven other people who were onboard—en route to a girls' basketball game.

And for more on what legal actions were taken after the plane crash, There's Now a New Law Inspired by the Kobe Bryant Tragedy.

5
Billie Eilish dominated the annual Grammy Awards.

Billie Eilish holding up her Grammy at the awards show in 2020
REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo

We've gotten used to virtual awards shows and big events by now, but the Grammys actually happened in-person in January. The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, which were hosted by Alicia Keys, included performances by major artists like Ariana GrandeDemi Lovato, and Lil Nas. During the ceremony, Billie Eilish not only won her first Grammy, but she went home with five, including Best New Artist. And there wasn't a face mask in sight!

And for more entertainment and celebrity news sent to you directly, sign up for our newsletter.

6
Brexit officially happened.

the European Union and British Union Jack flag together
Ink Drop/Shutterstock

On Jan. 31, we witnessed a major event in European history: The United Kingdom was officially removed from the European Union. A majority of British government buildings in Europe took down their European Union flag that evening, while the Union Jack flag was removed from the European Union Council building also. Currently, Britain is in a transition period with the EU until the end of 2020.

7
A Baby Yoda was created entirely out of Skittles.

A Baby Yoda made out of skittle on TikTok
TikTok/meme.queensupreme

Baby Yoda first entered our lives at the end of 2019 via the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. But in January, he reached new levels of fame when one TikTok user created a portrait of the character entirely out of Skittles. And since then, the account has shared even more Skittles art of celebrities, including Britney Spears and Zendaya.

And for more ways people got creative during the pandemic, check out 12 Quarantine TikToks Photos and Videos Guaranteed to Make You Smile.

8
Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performed at the Super Bowl halftime show.

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez on stage at the Super Bowl in February 2020
Tribune Content Agency LLC/Alamy Stock Photo

In 2020, there was once was a time when a massive group of people could be together—and that time was America's biggest football game. At the Super Bowl in February, there were more than 65,000 people at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, watching the Kansas City Chiefs go head-to-head with the San Francisco 49ers, with the Chiefs taking the championship home. Plus, there was the iconic halftime show with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, featuring J. Lo's daughter's big debut. Even this photo of the two Latinx superstars hugging is hard to believe!

9
Reality TV show Love Is Blind was all the rage on Netflix.

jessica sits on couch holding glass of red wine on love is blind in the pods
Netflix

Love Is Blind was released on Netflix in February, but people were hooked on the show around March and April—soon after the COVID lockdowns happened. The whole concept of dating someone you never met, and then marrying them weeks later, was definitely gripping for a captivated audience. And like many reality TV shows, the suspense and drama of it all kept everyone on the edge of their seats.

And for more TV shows that were huge this year, check out The Best TV Show of 2020, According to Critics.

10
Criminal Minds ended after 15 seasonss

the cast of Criminal Minds at the CBS TV's Summer Soiree in 2017
Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

In February, the long-running CBS crime show Criminal Minds reached its end after 15 seasons. The two-hour finale special—which included one last crime and a cast goodbye—aired on Feb. 9, about a month before COVID hit, which may feel like a different lifetime.

And for more TV shows that still going strong, here are The 40 Longest-Running American TV Shows of All Time.

11
Parasite took home top honors at the Oscars.

Bong Jon Ho poses with his Oscars after winning award for film 'Parasite' in February 2020
JEP Celebrity Photos/Alamy Stock Photo

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards took place as usual in February, just one month before life as we know it changed. And history was made at the Oscars this year—with Parasite being the first non-English film to win Best Picture. The film also took home three other awards that night. The ceremony was the last time that all of Hollywood's biggest stars got to be together this year.

And for the movies that weren't big hits, here's The Worst Movie of 2020, According to Critics.

12
Onward was one of the last big movies released in theaters.

In Disney and Pixar's "Onward," two teenage elf brothers embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left in the world
Disney/Pixar

At the start of 2020, people were going to see movies in theaters without a second thought and Pixar's Onward—which is about two boys on a quest to reconnect with their father who passed away—was one of the last big movies to play to packed audiences. The movie was released on March 6, just weeks before big cities closed down their theaters for good.

13
That dance to "Savage" by Megan Thee Stallion took over TikTok.

Jessica Alba dancing to the song "Savage" on TikTok
TikTok/jessicaalba

Even if you're not an avid TikTok user, you've likely seen the dance to the song "Savage" by Megan Thee Stallion—or maybe you even know it yourself. While it may feel like this dance was all the rage ages ago, it was in fact a 2020 TikTok hit. Even celebrities were doing it, like Jessica Alba!

14
And so did the "Flip the Switch" challenge.

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez doing the "Flipped the Switch" Challenge on TikTok
TikTok/jlo

With the average American and celebrities alike quarantined for much of the spring, TikTok became the go-to place for distractions. And even though this one may seem like it was from the last decade, the "Flip the Switch" challenge (where people switched looks mid-video with the flick of a light switch to "Flip the Switch" by Quavo) was one of the biggest trends on TikTok in 2020. One celebrity pair who definitely nailed it? Jennifer Lopez and her fiancé, Alex Rodriguez.

15
Everyone was watching Tiger King.

Joe Exotic in Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness
Netflix

It may be hard to remember a time when Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic weren't household names, but believe it or not, it was Mar. 2020 that everyone was talking about Tiger King. Who would have thought a story about tigers and the people who love them would be the thing that kept Americans entertained in a year like this?

16
The Micheal Jordan docuseries The Last Dance came out.

the last dance
ESPN Films

Tiger King made way for a very different kind of docuseries. In April, the first episode of the The Last Dance launched on ESPN, featuring Michael Jordan at the height of his career with the Chicago Bulls. It was exactly the kind of distraction sports fans needed from the most quiet year in professional sports history, but it still feels like longer ago that the doc came out.

17
Modern Family ended after 11 seasons.

the cast of Modern Family taking a photo together in their final episode
ABC

After 11 seasons, the Emmy-winning TV show Modern Family reached its end this year. The show's series finale aired on April 8, which was about three weeks after the country effectively shut down due to COVID-19.

And for a look at this show's stars reunited, check out "Modern Family" Cast Reunites for the First Time Since the Show Ended.

18
The "Wipe It Down" challenge went viral.

will smith does wipe it down challenge on tiktok 2020
Will Smith / TikTok

Another TikTok trend that went viral this year, but seems like it could've been last year, was the "Wipe It Down" challenge, where TikTok users pretended to be cleaning a mirror, and then the reflection changed with each swipe of the cloth. Will Smith's version with his character from Men in Black was a huge hit.

And for more on Smith and his former co-star, here's how This "Fresh Prince" Star and Will Smith Reconciled After 27 Years.

19
Everyone was worried about murder hornets.

an isolated murder hornet on a ledge
Davide Bonora/Shutterstock

While COVID was in the midst of taking over the U.S., Americans had another concern: murder hornets. Even though murder hornets—which have killed between 30 to 50 people in Japan—were first discovered in the U.S. at end of 2019, they became a symbol for the end-of-the-world vibes of 2020.

20
Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in conjunction with Jeffrey Epstein.

Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City in 2003
ZUMA Press, Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

In July 2020, about a year after Jeffrey Epstein's death, Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested for recruiting the young girls he sexually abused. According to The New York Times, Maxwell was charged with luring multiple underage girls to Epstein, and was sometimes allegedly in the room when he abused them. Her trial date is set for July 2021, but it's hard to believe this part of the dark scandal unfolded just six months ago.

Filed Under