POPSUGAR Celebrity

Biggest Headline of 2008: Rachael Ray's Year of Ups and Downs

Dec 15 2008 - 12:30pm

Whether you love her or hate her, Rachael Ray [1], the Food Network [2]'s biggest star, is here to stay. Although 2008 was filled with many ups and downs, it was a huge year for Ray. Things got off to a rocky start in January, when a secondhand story claimed that Ray, a Dunkin' Donuts [3] spokeswoman, refused to drink Dunkin's coffee [4], instead opting for Starbucks [5]. A week later, Ray denied the claim [6] as "absolutely ridiculous." In February, Ray happily hosted [7] the wildly popular Burger Bash at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, but March brought worries that her daytime television talk show would not be renewed [8]. However, these rumors were quickly squashed when reports showed that her viewership was growing. The weirdest bombshell came in May when Michelle Malkin, a conservative commentator, accused Ray of supporting terrorists [9] in a Dunkin' Donuts ad. The donut chain pulled the ad and released a statement clarifying that Rachael was simply wearing a stylish scarf and not a traditional headdress sometimes associated with terrorists.

Ray rose above the controversy to win a daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show [10]. In July she rolled out a line of pet food [11] called Nutrish, and in early August Forbes named her the world's richest chef [12]. The week before bringing the Burger Bash [13] to New York City's first-ever Wine and Food festival, Ray revealed her plans to open a hamburger restaurant [14]. Since then, Ray has laid low. She recently had throat surgery to get rid of her raspy voice and is currently taking some time off [15] to recover.

What did you think about Ray's turbulent year? Will she continue to make headlines in 2009?

Source [16] and Source [17]

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