This controversial celeb was the most Googled trending person in 2022

And it kind of makes sense given the spotlight he's had this year...

Google
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If Google's Year in Search 2022 report is of any indication, the general public has a flair for the controversial. 

Just a few months after Rihanna cast Johnny Depp in fashion show, the search engine giant revealed that the 59-year-old actor was actually the most Googled person of the year on a global level.

The report is both shocking and expected: folks are clearly curious about the man at the center of plenty of public and private facing scandals.

Johnny Depp

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Back in 2021, in fact,  in a defamation case that took over cultural conversations for months as the proceedings were streamed live online for everyone to see. 

Other celebrities were rendered participant in the legal unfoldings as well: Kate Moss testified in the trial and Monica Lewinsky called the public 'guilty' after consuming Depp v Heard 'courtroom porn.' 

According to Google, Johnny "had a high spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2022 as compared to 2021." Given the courtroom drama and Rihanna's following decision to cast him in her fashion show, we're not surprised about the ranking. 

Google's overall top 5 trending people of the year further proof the public's general interest in controversial figures. Following Johnny at the number one spot is Will Smith, who made headlines back in March at the Oscars 2022 when he slapped Chris Rock on stage following the host's joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. As a result of the occurrence, Will has been banned from the Oscars for 10 years

Will Smith

(Image credit: Getty)

Johnny’s ex Amber rounds out the top three on a global level, followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose decision to invade Ukraine in February is still affecting the world order, and Chris himself. 

Google's global year in review report (opens in new tab) also analyzed data about overall trending searches (Wordle tops the list followed by India vs England, Ukraine and Queen Elizabeth), most popular athletes (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Manti Te'o and Shaun White), TV shows (Euphoria, House of the Dragon, Moon Knight, The Watcher, Inventing Anna) and passings. 

The latter list will feel like a virtual "in memoriam segment" headed by the late Queen Elizabeth, who died at the age of 96 on September 8. 

Iconic actor Betty White, who actually passed in her sleep on the morning of December 31, 2021 at the age of 99 following a stroke that she suffered on Christmas Day, landed at the number two spot followed by late actor Anne Hech (she died in a tragic car accident in August at the age of 53), the wonderful Bob Saget and Aaron Carter.

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.