Public apologies have always been a fascinating genre—from Hugh Grant confessing to cheating on Elizabeth Hurley in 1995 to unfaithful politicians issuing mea culpas with their certifiably pissed-off wives at their side. But 2019 seemed to be the year that it became standard for celebrity apologies to surface on the fake pages of the iPhone Notes app. When Twitter’s 240-character limit just won’t do, screenshotting a screed in the Notes app’s Helvetica font is the go-to workaround. From billion-dollar divorces to marital tensions, read on for the year’s most notable entries into the Notes app canon.
After cozy photos surfaced of Timberlake and his Palmer costar Alisha Wainwright, Timberlake took to the Notes app to address the rumors and apologize to his wife, Jessica Biel. “A few weeks ago I displayed a strong lapse in judgement [sic]—but let me be clear—nothing happened between me and my costar. I drank way too much that night, and I regret my behavior. I should have known better. This is not the example I want to set for my son. I apologize to my amazing wife and family for putting them through such an embarrassing situation, and I am focused on being the best husband and father I can be. This was not that.”
Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun
2019 will forever be remembered as the year we learned Swift keeps her phone on dark mode—as revealed when she tweeted a Notes app plea to fans in November, saying Scooter Braun, new owner of Big Machine Records and Swift’s back catalog, was preventing her from performing early material at the AMAs.
A week later, Braun replied with a similar screenshot of his own, claiming his family received death threats in the wake of Swift’s statement: “It’s important that you understand that your words carry a tremendous amount of weight and that your message can be interpreted by some in different ways.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Note to self: The Notes app is more suitable for grocery lists than for national emergency announcements, but that didn’t stop then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders from using it that way this past February. If one must issue a xenophobic vow to build the wall, consider official White House letterhead.
Once upon a time, it might have been the subject of an Oprah or 20/20 interview. But this past September, Bieber chose the Notes app screenshot to share about past drug use and the pressures of child stardom. “I started doing pretty heavy drugs at 19 and abused all of my relationships,” he wrote. “I became resentful, disrespectful to women, and angry. I became distant to everyone who loved me, and I was hiding behind a shell of a person that I had become. I felt like I could never turn it around. It’s taken me years to bounce back from all of these terrible decisions, fix broken relationships, and change relationship habits.”
Lady Gaga and Chance the Rapper
’Twas not the iOS Notes app we’ve come to know so well, but perhaps a Samsung or Blackberry equivalent when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Twitter in January that he and his wife Mackenzie were divorcing after 25 years of marriage. “After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation,” the couple wrote, in what looked like classic newspaper print, “we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue