Over the years, the National Enquirer has earned a reputation for reporting false and inaccurate information, and rightly so. The grocery store tabloid has been sued repeatedly during its run for publishing exaggerated, sensational stories about everything from Cameron Diaz's relationship with Justin Timberlake to the victim Elizabeth Smart (who, according to the Enquirer, ran a gay sexual services operation with her male family members).
That's not to say that tabloids don't sometimes break real news. Contrary to popular belief, the Enquirer actually possesses a capable, dedicated staff of investigative reporters who painstakingly research the tabloid's main stories. That's why the magazine has always been the first to run scandalous, unbelievable stories about topics such as Charlie Sheen's HIV diagnosis and Bill Cosby's infamous history of predatory behavior. In fact, the Enquirer reported on Cosby's misconduct a full nine years before the mainstream media picked up on the story. Initially, no one believed the story, due to the Enquirer's less-than-stellar journalistic reputation.
Yes: It may be hard to believe, but the Enquirer is actually something of a whistleblower when it comes to exposing the hypocrisies and evildoings of society's most famous and powerful figures. Peruse this list of the tabloid's biggest, most scandalous scoops to date and keep your eyes peeled for the next true National Enquirer headlines.
No one was surprised, per se, when the Enquirer claimed in November 2015 that Hollywood hellion Charlie Sheen was HIV-positive and had been paying off people who knew in order to keep it a secret. However, no one actually believed it until Sheen announced the news for himself on The Today Show.
The Enquirer spent 18 months sending reporters around the country to interview sources close to the situation.
In 2005, nine years before any other publication became wise to Bill Cosby's extensive history of crimes against women, the Enquirer ran a story alleging Cosby's assault of two women. Cosby supposedly paid the tabloid to run a story denying the women's claims, but the Enquirer instead decided to blow the whistle on him.
Of course, no one believed any of it was true until 2014, when Cosby's horrific behavior was covered by most major publications. (However, many people still don't want to believe it's true.)
When Bill Cosby's son Ennis was found on the shoulder of a Los Angeles freeway in 1997, the Enquirer offered a reward of $100,000 to anyone who could help find the culprit. This actually led to the tabloid uncovering and reporting on the identity of the murderer, who was later sent to jail.
One of the most memorable moments in the O.J. Simpson trial was when O.J. vehemently denied owning a pair of Bruno Magli shoes, like those found at the scene of his wife's murder. It wasn't long before the Enquirer dug up a picture of Simpson wearing Magli shoes at a 1993 Buffalo Bills game.
By the time of his civil trial in 1996, Simpson was practically forced to admit that he owned the shoes.