In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, the entertainment media's love affair with Britney Spears continued throughout 2008.
The pop star ranks No. 1 for the year in USA TODAY's Celebrity Heat Index, which measures exposure in print and online entertainment news outlets. Spears, who was No. 1 in 2007, took the top spot 11 weeks this year, the most of any celebrity. Among those weeks were highs and lows: Her most recent No. 1 ranking resulted from the Dec. 2 release of "Circus," which also took the No. 1 spot in album sales in its first week out. She first appeared at No. 1 on the index in January, when she had two stints in psychiatric wards after displaying erratic behavior.
Following on the index: Angelina Jolie, No. 2, who celebrated the birth of twins in July with partner Brad Pitt, No. 4, and his ex-wife, Jennifer Aniston, No. 3. Although Jolie, Aniston and Pitt rank after Spears individually, collective coverage of the trio dominated for 14 weeks.
• Among the top 10: Jamie Lynn Spears and Tom Cruise made the upper echelon. Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith dropped out.
•Hottest breakthroughs: In 2008, 298 stars joined the list. Those who got increased attention from celebrity magazines, websites and news shows include heartthrobs such as "Twilight's" Robert Pattinson, it-girls such as "Gossip Girl's" Blake Lively, political figures such as Barack Obama, and celebrity offspring including Harlow Madden and Zuma Rossdale.
• Hottest category: Actresses were the most ubiquitous on magazine covers and celeb news sites. Katie Holmes and Lindsay Lohan joined top-10 stalwarts Aniston and Jolie in the index.
• Hottest breakup: The divorce of Madonna and director Guy Ritchie was the top breakup story. Madonna, Ritchie and Madonna's friend Alex Rodriguez were featured for 10 weeks. The Aniston/John Mayer breakup came in second with four weeks as a top story in the summer. They have since reunited.
• Reader favorites: Online readers could vote for which celebs they want more or less coverage of. Reese Witherspoon was the reader favorite by garnering the highest percentage of "more coverage" votes with 53%. Patrick Swayze, who revealed in March that he was battling pancreatic cancer, came in second.
• Hottest mom: Taking the top spot was Jamie Lynn Spears. The teen actress's pregnancy was in the index for 19 weeks. Jolie's arrival of twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline in July nabbed 17 weeks of coverage.