By Ryan Buxton, EnStarz | Aug 23, 2012 10:45 AM EDT
TMZ became the go-to website this week for celebrity news fiends after it posted nude photos of Prince Harry partying with naked women in a Las Vegas hotel room, but the royal scoop was only the latest in TMZ's legacy of breaking high-profile Hollywood news first.
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Over the years, TMZ has been the first to report of a host of big stories that went viral and made waves far beyond the typical scope of celebrity gossip.
In celebration of the international hullabaloo surrounding the bare-skinned photos of Prince Harry, here are the top five TMZ scoops that got everyone talking.
TMZ exclusively posted video in 2006 of the actor who played Kramer on "Seinfeld" unleashing slew of racial slurs at L.A. comedy club The Laugh Factory. TMZ's video of Richards' using the N-word spurred so much vitriol that he eventually appeared on "The Late Show With David Letterman"alongside Jerry Seinfeld to apologize.
A voice message in which Alec Baldwin told his 11-year-old daughter she was a "thoughtless little pig" appeared on TMZ first in 2007. He also called ex-wife Kim Basinger a "thoughtless pain in the ass." The actor's publicist eventually released a statement saying Basinger had worked to alienate Baldwin's daughter from him.
In 2006, TMZ introduced to the world a storyline that still pervades pop culture today: Mel Gibson is insane. TMZ broke news of Gibson's drunk driving incident in which he made crude anti-Semitic remarks and called a police officer "sugar t*ts." The story exploded. Gibson made a public apology, then subsequently continued his bad behavior - TMZ would later be the first to post graphic phone recordings in which Gibson called Oksana Grigorieva a "whore" and much worse.
In one fell swoop, TMZ began a dialogue about Rihanna, Chris Brown and domestic abuse that still follows the musicians wherever they go when, in 2009, TMZ posted a photo of Rihanna's bruised and bloody face following a physical attack from Brown. The picture immediately went viral and made it impossible to ignore the severity of the beating. Brown eventually pled guilty to felony assault, but the incident still follows him: Rihanna recently opened up about it in a tearful interview with Oprah Winfrey.
TMZ was lightning fast in reporting the 2009 death of the King of Pop: Jackson died at 2:36 p.m., and by 2:44 p.m. the news was on TMZ's home page. The Los Angeles Times would not file the story until 2:51 p.m. The media collectively descended upon the news, making Jackson's passing one of the biggest entertainment stories of the decade, and TMZ had it first.
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