Top News Stories We Couldn't Get Enough Of In 2021

As the year comes to a close, many are reflecting on the most buzzworthy headlines of 2021.

Of course, COVID-19 continued to be a trending topic, with vaccines rolling out and new variants discovered. The inauguration kicked off the year, as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris stepped into office. Pop culture news included rumors of cannibalistic messages from actor Armie Hammer and the accidental shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin's film. Then, there was the time Gamestop saw its stock price significantly increase, thanks to Reddit.

What was the news people could not get enough of these past 12 months, though? Which stories were followed the most? What were the headlines that led the public down rabbit holes, reading further theories and following along on social media? Some of these are listed out down below, as we think back on the major news events of 2021.

The insurrection was a scary and shocking start to the year

As mentioned, the year started with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris being inaugurated. However, in protest of the presidential election results from 2020, Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The insurrection resulted in numerous injuries (including 140 Capitol Police officers) and five people being killed, along with over 100 individuals being arrested for being part of or connected to the riot, as reported by NPR.

Jeff Bezos flew into suborbital space

Jeff Bezos may be known best for starting Amazon, but he is also the founder of a spaceflight company called Blue Origin. In July, The New Shepard launched from Texas, carrying Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk, and Oliver Daemen — with the latter two becoming the oldest and the youngest to fly into space, at 82 and 18 years old, respectively (via The trip was only 11 minutes long, but it made history, set records, and got people excited for what is next in this field.

Simone Biles chose her mental health over gymnastics

Another big event of the year was the Olympics. Originally, the Summer Games were supposed to be held in 2020, but they were postponed due to the coronavirus. When they did finally roll around in July, Simone Biles actually made the decision to step out of the team final competition. She said she was not in the right state of mind to compete, and her focus on her mental health has led to an even bigger spotlight being put on the importance of self-care and behavioral health (via NBC News).

The public was invested in Gabby Petito's story

In September, it was reported that Gabby Petito was missing after having gone on a trip across the country with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie. After the trip, Laundrie came home, without Petito, and then he went on the run. When Petito's remains were found, the cause of death was ruled as strangulation. A month later, after searching a 25,000-acre nature reserve in Florida, Laundrie's remains were also found, as reported by CNN.

Britney Spears is free

One of the biggest stories of the year was a positive one: Britney Spears is now free. Throughout 2021, more and more details of her conservatorship came to light. The #FreeBritney movement was started, and the singer herself spoke out on the abuse she had been dealing with, due to the conservatorship that was controlled by her father, Jamie Spears. On November 12, it came to an official end (via The A.V. Club).