Barbara Walters’s annual 10 most fascinating list always features an eclectic mix of captivating people – and this year is no different.
The special, which aired Wednesday night, highlighted the achievements and antics that kept fans enthralled. Among Walters’s picks were Ben Affleck, who won critical acclaim for his political thriller Argo; Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas; Prince Harry; and even pint-sized beauty pageant star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson.
And her top pick as the Most Fascinating Person of 2012? Gen. David Petraeus, the decorated U.S. military hero and director disgraced by an affair that forced his resignation as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Gen. David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell in July 2012
ISAF / Getty
“He is, without question, one of the finest officers and military minds of his generation,” said Walters. “Then shockingly, he resigned this fall as head of the CIA because he’d had an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer. … The story was irresistible – the keeper of the nation’s secrets unable to conceal his own.”
On the entertainment side, Family Guy creator (and upcoming Oscars host) Seth MacFarlane received a coveted spot, along with British boy band One Direction and 50 Shades of Grey author E L James.
Political nods went to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Walters asked him if he thought he was too heavy to become President. “That’s ridiculous,” Christie replied: “I mean, I don’t know what the basis for that is. … I’ve done this job pretty well.”