“Not fine at all” is an understatement.
To turn a phrase, the punchline goes: Red (Taylor’s Version) is out in the world, but Jake Gyllenhaal is (probably) under witness protection. On Nov. 12, Taylor Swift released a 30-track re-recording of her 2012 album Red, complete with a 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” We still don’t know where Swift’s old scarf is, but the extended version of her most heartbreaking song might offer some insight into why she and Gyllenhaal reportedly broke up. According to some of the most devastating lyrics, along with fan theories about All Too Well: The Short Film — more on that in a bit — Gyllenhaal blamed their nine-year age gap for their incompatibility.
Swift and Gyllenhaal were first photographed together in October 2010, when they were 20 and 29, respectively. They reportedly broke up in December, shortly after Swift’s 21st birthday. “You said if we had been closer in age/Maybe it would’ve been fine/And that made me want to die,” Swift sings in one of the new verses. “You, who charmed my dad with self-effacing jokes/Sipping coffee like you’re on a late night show/But then he watched me watch the front door all night, willing you to come/And he said, ‘It’s supposed to be fun turning 21.’”
Although their relationship was a pretty private one, fans have long been convinced that “All Too Well’s” lyrics — specifically, those about meeting an ex’s family, getting lost upstate, and leaving behind a scarf — were about Gyllenhaal. But those lyrics are nothing compared to the scathing quotes from “All Too Well (10 Minute Version).” Along with the anecdote about an ex missing her 21st birthday party, there’s another possible nod to Gyllenhaal’s age: “I was never good at telling jokes, but the punchline goes/I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age,” Swift sings. (For reference, Gyllenhaal is currently dating 25-year-old model Jeanne Cadieu. They were first linked in 2018, when Cadieu was 22.)
And then there’s All Too Well: The Short Film, directed by Swift and set to premiere Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. EST. The film stars 19-year-old actress Sadie Sink and 30-year-old Dylan O’Brien, and while some fans raised their eyebrows at that casting decision, others pointed out that Swift is intentionally portraying a relationship with a pretty notable age gap.
In a 2013 interview with Vulture, Swift said that the unnamed ex who inspired Red reached out after the album dropped. “I heard from the guy that most of Red is about,” she said at the time. “He was like, ‘I just listened to the album, and that was a really bittersweet experience for me. It was like going through a photo album.’”
Today, though, it would be safe to say she’s less concerned about his opinion. “I wonder if there are people who might think that they were the one you were singing about, if it's easier or far, far worse for them 10 years later,” host Seth Meyers said during a Nov. 12 Late Night interview.
“I haven't thought about their experience, to be honest,” Swift said. (Iconic.)
Meyers joked that her answer might even be a bigger burn than some of her lyrics, but she later elaborated.
“At the time I was, like, honestly, really sad because I'd actually gone through the stuff that I had sung about. But this time, I've got sunglasses on and a mojito and just, like, it's chill this time. It's really nice to be able to put this album out and not be sad, not be taking breaks in between interviews to cry.”
Meanwhile, when the actor was asked about his relationship with Swift in 2017, he shut down the conversation with, “I would love to not talk about my personal life.”
Between Gyllenhaal, the Swifties, and just about everyone who heard the lyric “You kept me like a secret but I kept you like an oath,” I think Swift might be the only one not crying.