Photos That Nearly Broke The Internet

Every once in awhile, a photo comes along that you just have to share. Maybe it made you smile, cry, laugh out loud, or drop your jaw in amazement—but you know it's something the world has to see.

If this sounds like you, you're not alone: according to the 2016 Internet Trends report, every day, more than 3 billion photos were shared on five of the most popular social media platforms—not even including Twitter! Sometimes, a photo will become so viral, that it will be shared millions of times online.

With those amazing facts in mind, let's take a look at some of the most viral photos in recent years—pictures that were shared so widely and surrounded by so much buzz, they nearly "broke" the internet. Fair warning: some of these photos may be a bit racy, so you might not want to read this at work or around the kids!

Kim Kardashian's Paper photoshoot

With a tagline like "Break the Internet®," this list wouldn't be complete without Kim Kardashian's jaw-dropping photoshoot for Paper magazine, as featured in its Winter 2014 issue. For the photoshoot, Paper teamed up with legendary photographer Jean-Paul Goude to recreate his iconic 1976 photo of Grace Jones for one of the cover images. An alternate cover image showed Kardashian in a cheeky over-the-shoulder shot, showing off her tremendous, um, "assets."

Inside, the accompanying pictorial included photos of Kardashian baring it all, which, while popular, was nowhere near as buzz-inducing as the cover photos. Perhaps it became popular because of the similarity to the original Jones photo, or because of the sheer physics involved in balancing a champagne glass on your derriere, or maybe it was just the awe-inspiring Kardashian rump. Whatever the reason, Paper created an overnight sensation by prominently featuring the butt that launched a thousand memes.

Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover

In the June 2015 issue of Vanity Fair, Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner formally announced her identity as a transgendered woman with the headline, "Call me Caitlyn." Caitlyn Jenner—previously known as Bruce Jenner—made a name for herself post-Olympics as a public speaker and television personality, most prominently on the show Keeping Up With the Kardashians with her children, step-children, and now ex-wife, Kris Jenner. The Vanity Fair photo shoot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, and the accompanying article chronicling Caitlyn's difficult lifelong struggle with her transition, instantly became news around the world. Caitlyn's introductory Tweet of the cover photo on her new @Caitlyn_Jenner Twitter account was similarly well-received.

Ellen DeGeneres' Oscar selfie

At the 2014 Academy Awards, television host and entertainer Ellen DeGeneres scored the most retweeted photo in Twitter history with a selfie featuring her and a host of other celebrities. The selfie—which includes A-list celebs such as Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, Bradley Cooper and Lupita Nyong'o—instantly blew up all over Twitter, eventually racking up more than 2.3 million likes and a massive 3.3 million retweets.

While a publicity firm initially claimed the selfie was part of a viral marketing campaign on behalf of Samsung, DeGeneres later explained that the photo was actually a happy accident—the result of a practical joke gone wrong. DeGeneres had planned a skit where she'd ask Streep to take a selfie with her, but then get Streep to take the picture—leaving her out of the shot. Instead, Cooper and other celebrities began to pile on in the background and when Cooper snapped the pic, the result made history.

Willow Smith in a bed with Moises Arias

Willow Smith, daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, is no stranger to controversy. In 2015, Willow made waves with a "topless" Instagram picture. While she was not actually topless in the photo, the 14-year-old was wearing a turtleneck shirt which featured a graphic print of a woman exposing her breasts.

But the furor over the "topless" shot was nothing compared to the controversy that arose in 2014, when Willow—then 13—was photographed lying on a bed next to a shirtless 20-year-old Moises Arias. TMZ reposted the picture from Arias' Instagram feed, which created a stir as fans debated whether the shot was salaciously scandalous or just some innocent fun between friends. Even though Willow was fully clothed and laying on top of the covers, some felt the age gap and Arias' bare chest crossed the line. After Arias deleted the photo, Jada Pinkett-Smith entered the fray, chiding TMZ for their publication of the picture: "There was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation. You guys are projecting your trash onto it and that's not cool," Jada said.

Gisele Bundchen breastfeeding

In 2013, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen posted the ultimate multitasking photo to her Instagram feed. In the picture, Bundchen is breastfeeding her 1-year-old daughter while getting a manicure, her hair styled and makeup applied by three assistants. Naturally, the internet went slightly crazy over the photo, with some criticizing Bundchen for making public what they felt should be a private moment. As Denise Albert, co-creator of told ABC News, "I think breastfeeding is a very personal thing. And for her to put this on Instagram while she's getting her hair and makeup done is a little outrageous, and I think obnoxious."

Other fans jumped to Bundchen's defense, praising her for promoting breastfeeding. The model has long been against bottle feeding, once tellling Harper's Bazaar, "I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months."

Lady Gaga's late-night pizza run

Although Lady Gaga has made a name for herself for her sometimes jaw-dropping wardrobe, the singer opted for a low-key sexy look during a night on the town in 2014. During an evening in her native NYC that also included getting a tattoo of a trumpet on her bicep and some partying with friends, Gaga ended her night with a slice from a local pizza joint. She posted photos of the night's shenanigans to her Instagram feed, and the picture of Gaga from the pizzeria—complete with vintage tee, super-short boy shorts, and ripped fishnets—made an impact on her fans, who liked the photo more than 175,000 times.

Kanye and North West napping

If one thing is certain, it's that rapper Kanye West enjoys naptime with his children. On several occasions, the recording artist and producer has been photographed sleeping with his kids by baby mama Kim Kardashian. Unlike the "caught me slippin" meme, it appears West genuinely does have a tendency to fall asleep at a moment's notice, which is not surprising considering his crazy schedule. In 2014, Kardashian posted a picture to Instagram of Kanye napping with little North West on her 1st birthday. The precious moment racked up an impressive 1.8 million likes and more than 20,000 comments.

Kardashian seems to enjoy sharing pics of Kanye snoozing—she's also caught him napping with mother-in-law Kris Jenner at a party, snoozing on a park bench during a family outing, and resting his eyes with North during a shopping trip—which spawned it's own Reddit photoshop battle.

Justin Bieber shirtless

It's just a fact of life: if Justin Bieber posts a photo, it's probably going to end up trending on social media. So when the "Love Yourself" singer shared some selfies working out shirtless at the gym, it's to be expected the internet nearly exploded. Chosen as a model for Calvin Klein's 2015 ad campaign, Bieber has treated fans to shirtless selfies as he perfects his journey to swole in the gym. Even though the singer deactivated his Instagram account in August 2016, his workout photos generated so much buzz that multiple publications, including Fitness Hacker and Men's Health, created their own Bieber-inspired workout routines for fans to replicate.

Taylor Swift's cats

Taylor Swift loves her kitties. The "Shake it Off" singer has been known to tote her cat Meredith—named for the Grey's Anatomy character—along with her to red-carpet events such as the iHeart Radio Music Festival or Grammys after-parties. Swift acquired Meredith, who is of the "Scottish Fold" breed, in 2011—and the cat soon had quite an online following of her own. In 2014, another Scottish Fold—named Olivia Benson after Swift's favorite Law & Order: SVU character—joined the family, with her Instagram debut racking up 1 million likes and more than 40,000 comments. Since then, Meredith and Olivia have proved to be internet superstars in their own right, with Olivia even starring alongside Swift in an ad campaign for Keds sneakers.

Prince George holding newborn sister Charlotte

Ever since Prince William and Kate Middleton became engaged in 2010, the couple have captured the attention of the paparazzi and the world as their relationship progressed.

That spotlight only intensified as fans around the world were captivated by the Royal wedding, which was called the "event of the decade" by some, and the media frenzy grew to a fever pitch after the births of both Prince George and Princess Charlotte, with the family writing a strongly-worded letter in 2015 to the photographers who constantly hound the couple and their children.

Thankfully, the Duchess of Cambridge has proven willing to share official portraits and casual snaps of the children for fans to enjoy—including the first official photo of Prince George with his baby sister Charlotte, which was taken by Middleton in May of 2015 and tweeted out by the official Kensington Palace account.

Nearly naked Adam Levine

Over the years, Adam Levine has never been shy about appearing practically naked in public and in photos. The Maroon 5 frontman and The Voice coach has been spotted in nothing but boxers for a music video shoot and with nothing but a hand serving as a "fig leaf" in a Cosmo UK photo spread. He's even been known to show off his assets on stage, such as playing in only his Calvin Klein boxer briefs or proudly displaying his Superman undies to scores of screaming fans.

So, it's no surprise that People's 2013 "Sexiest Man Alive" made waves yet again when his then-fiancée, Victoria's Secret model Behati Prinsloo, posted a photograph of Levine in his skivvies on her Instagram account. "70's porn called. It wants it's vibe back. Immediately," read the caption on the post. As far as we're concerned, we hope Levine keeps that vibe for a long time because it's nothing but pure, unadulterated awesome.