Most shocking celebrity stories of 2023

Most shocking celebrity stories of 2023

From AKA's murder to Cassie's $30-million lawsuit against Diddy - these celebrity stories shocked the world in 2023.

Side by side picture of Zahara and AKA
Zahara, AKA/ Instagram (@zaharasa, @akaworldwide)

The year 2023 was a tough one for the music and entertainment industry.  We lost several stars and public figures in the year. 

Zoleka MandelaDerek WattsMark PilgrimAngie Oeh and Fatima Sydow all lost their battles with cancer. 

Disturbing claims were also made against several A-list celebrities. 

Here's a look at some of the most shocking celebrity stories of 2023. 

ALSO READ: Minnie Dlamini feeling "battered and bruised" after a rough 2023


The year kicked off on a tragic note. Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Priscilla and Elvis Presley, died at the age of 54 after suffering cardiac arrest. According to the BBC, Lisa's cardiac arrest was caused by a "small bowel obstruction".

Siya Kolisi also made headlines in January. He surprised rugby fans when he announced that he would be leaving KwaZulu-Natal's Cell C Sharks to join French club Racing 92

ALSO READ: Siya Kolisi: 'The move to France will give me more time with Rachel and kids'

Prince Harry started the year with a bang. He released his highly anticipated memoir, 'Spare'.  The book, which detailed sex, drugs, and royal family fights, went on to become one of the bestselling books of 2023.

ALSO READ: Meghan Markle makes cheeky appearance in latte company's ad


The murder of South African rapper Kiernan 'AKA' Forbes made international headlines in February.  The 'Congratulate' hitmaker was shot and killed outside a restaurant on Florida Road in Durban. His close friend Tebello 'Tibz' Motsoane also died in the shooting.

No arrests have been made. However, Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed in December that police are close to cracking the case. 

AKA leaves behind his daughter Kairo Forbes, whom he shared with DJ Zinhle. 

ALSO READ: Lynn Forbes on AKA's death: 'They say it would get easier. That’s just not true'


AKA's friend, fellow rapper Costa Titch, also lost his life in 2023. The musician, whose real name was Constantinos Tsobanoglou, collapsed onstage during a performance at the Ultra Music Festival.

Tiger Woods was back in the news in March. The pro golfer's ex-girlfriend, Erica Herman, sued him for $30-million. Despite calling it quits in 2022, Erica claimed in her lawsuit that they had an oral agreement that she could stay in his Florida mansion rent-free for the next five years.

READ MORE HERE: Tiger Woods' ex-girlfriend demands R557-million following break-up

She dropped the lawsuit "with prejudice" in November. 


Five months before the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi suffered a "significant" knee injury. There were concerns that he would not make it to the tournament in France.

"Hey friends! Believing for a miracle. Would really appreciate if you could take a minute out your day to pray with us! I’ve seen God do it before and believe he will do it again," his Rachel Kolisi wrote on Instagram.

Thankfully, Siya recovered in time and helped SA lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the fourth time. 

ALSO READ: Baby boks! Springbok players announce exciting baby news


The music industry lost another icon in 2023. Tina Turner died at the age of 83. The 'What's Love Got To Do With It' hitmaker's cause of death was listed as natural. She died after a long illness. 

Tina previously battled intestinal cancer and underwent a kidney transplant in 2017. 

ALSO READ: Patti LaBelle forgets Tina Turner's song lyrics during tribute


A Pink fan shocked the world in June when they threw their mom's ashes on stage during one of her performances. 

"Is this your mom? I don't know how I feel about this" Pink said while holding the clear bag. 

In equally shocking news, the stepson of a billionaire missing in a submarine came under fire for attending a Blink-182 concert while the search was underway. 

"My family would want me to be at the @blink182 show," Hamish Harding's 37-year-old stepson wrote on Facebook. 


The death of singer Sinead O'Connor and 'Euphoria' actor Angus Cloud broke the hearts of millions of people around the world in July.

Sinead's death at her London home was 'not suspicious', according to police. Angus died of an accidental overdose shortly after the death of his father. 

"The only comfort we have is knowing Angus is now reunited with his dad, who was his best friend," his family said in a statement. 


'Truth Hurts' singer Lizzo was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit in August. Dancers Noelle Rodriguez, Arianna Davis, and Crystal Williams sued Lizzo and her production company, Big Grrrl Big Touring, Inc. (BGBT).

One of the most shocking claims in the lawsuit involved a visit to Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Lizzo allegedly forced one of the dancers to touch nude performers who were engaging in a live sex show. 

The singer denied the sexual harassment, false imprisonment, disability discrimination, fat-shaming, and other claims made in the lawsuit. 

ALSO READ: Lizzo responds to sexual harassment, weight-shaming claims


'Harry Potter' fans mourned the death of Sir Michael Gambon. The 82-year-old British-Irish actor played Dumbledore in the popular movies. 

"I've just heard the awful news about Michael Gambon. The first time I ever laid eyes on him was in King Lear, in 1982, and if you'd told me then that brilliant actor would appear in anything I'd written, I'd have thought you were insane," author J.K. Rowling wrote on X

She added: "Michael was a wonderful man in additional to being an outstanding actor, and I absolutely loved working with him, not only on Potter but also The Casual Vacancy. My deepest condolences go to Michael's family and everyone who loved him."

ALSO READ: Harry Potter fan-favourite, Robbie "Hagrid" Coltrane, has passed away

Britney Spears finally released her long-awaited memoir, 'The Woman In Me', in October. The book contained shocking details about her career and personal life.

One of the jaw-dropping stories featured in the book included claims about Britney's ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake. The pair dated between 1999 and 2002. Britney revealed that she found out she had an abortion while dating the former NSYNC band member. 

"I loved Justin so much. I always expected us to have a family together one day. This would just be much earlier than I’d anticipated. But Justin definitely wasn’t happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren’t ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young," Britney wrote. 

ALSO READ: Britney Spears appears to shade Justin Timberlake in new Instagram post

Jada Pinkett Smith's book 'Worthy' also raised eyebrows.  She talked about her unconventional marriage with Will Smith, her relationship with Tupac, and what really led to THAT 2022 Oscars slap

Jada revealed that Chris Rock once asked her out on a date.

"I think every summer all the reports would come out that me and Will were getting a divorce. And this particular summer, Chris, thought that we were getting a divorce," she told People magazine. 

"So he called me and basically he was like, ‘I'd love to take you out.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ He was like, ‘Well, aren't you and Will getting a divorce?’ I was like, ‘No. Chris, those are just rumours.’ He was appalled. And he profusely apologised and that was that." 

Read more about that drama here: Jada Pinkett Smith claims Chris Rock asked her out on a date

We also lost 'Friends' star Matthew Perry in October.  He died of an accidental ketamine overdose

ALSO READ: 'Friends' cast 'utterly devastated' by death of Matthew Perry


Rap mogul Sean 'Diddy' Combs was sued for $30-million by his ex-girlfriend Cassie. She accused the rapper of rape and physical abuse. 

Diddy's team denied the claims. However, the pair settled the lawsuit one day after news of the lawsuit made headlines. Details of the settlement were not made public. 

ALSO READ: Singer Cassie, Sean Combs settle lawsuit alleging rape: US media



Tributes poured in for Zahara after she died in a hospital two weeks before Christmas. 

"It is with heavy hearts and deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved daughter, sister, and friend, Zahara. Surrounded by family and loved ones, Zahara departed this world on Monday, 11 December 2023. She was a pure light, and an even purer heart, in this world. A beacon of hope, a gift, and a blessing to us and countless people around the world," her family wrote in a statement. 

Her cause of death has not been revealed as yet. However, the star was reportedly admitted to hospital due to liver complications

ALSO READ: Somizi: '(Zahara) was one of the most mocked personalities'

Main image credit: Instagram/@akaworldwide, @zaharasa

Show's Stories