The Most-Read Vanity Fair Stories of 2022

Summing up something as complicated and multifaceted as an entire year is an almost impossible task. But one way of coming close to achieving that Herculean feat is by looking back at the handful of moments, topics, and people that we all couldn’t get enough of over the last 12 months.

Vanity Fair’s writers interviewed star Dakota Johnson on the making of Fifty Shades of Grey, questioned Grimes about life on Mars, and found out what the future holds for F1 driver Lewis Hamilton. Author Kathleen Hale took readers inside all the harrowing details of the Gabby Petito case, and contributing editor Evgenia Peretz attempted to find out what exactly was going on with Grey’s Anatomy writer Elisabeth Finch. This year the public was almost as shocked to learn about that infamous Oscar slap as it was to discover that Paul Newman and wife Joanne Woodward had a “fuck hut” attached to their primary bedroom where they could “just be intimate and noisy and ribald,” as the late actor put it in his posthumous memoir.

As we approach yet another New Year’s Eve countdown, our editors curated the 12 stories that kept our readers the most engaged all year long. Below, take a look back at some of the biggest stories that shaped us in 2022. 

Smith approached the stage after Rock made a joke about the best-actor nominee’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

They’re one of Hollywood’s brightest stars—and most troubled actors. Amid safety concerns, and anxiety over the fate of a $200 million movie, VF unearths disturbing new details in a saga of grandiose sermons, guns, drugs, and alleged assaults and grooming.

The sex symbol confessed that “girls thought I was a joke—a happy buffoon”—before he met his wife.

The visionary pop star holds nothing back, talking with Vanity Fair about everything under the sun, including her thrilling upcoming album, Book 1.

The daughter of Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani was overwhelmed as a child by a wave of tragedy and looked for “a gasp of air to breathe, even as sharks circled all around.” Now, she tells Vanity Fair Italia editor Simone Marchetti why she is breaking her silence in a shocking book.

Chasing scientific renown, grant dollars, and approval from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak transformed the environmental nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance into a government-funded sponsor of risky, cutting-edge virus research in both the US and Wuhan, China. Drawing on more than 100,000 leaked documents, a VF investigation shows how an organization dedicated to preventing the next pandemic found itself suspected of helping start one.

The maverick driver can handle anything. But spiders. And traffic.

The star of Persuasion tells VF some surprising truths about her rise as an actor, producer, and fashion muse.

For years, a Grey’s Anatomy writer told her personal traumas in online essays, and wove those details into the show’s plot—until a surprising email to Shondaland accused her of making it all up.

They’re not MAGA. They’re not QAnon. Curtis Yarvin and the rising right are crafting a different strain of conservative politics.

The cable juggernaut signed a multimillion-dollar contract to not be on the air five nights a week. Now, Maddow opens up about why she’s changing gears, her upcoming projects, her health scares, the Steele dossier, and her surprisingly amiable rapport with Tucker Carlson.

Forensically examining Instagram accounts, interviews, and police reports, author Kathleen Hale reconstructs their relationship, and ultimately Petito’s murder.

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