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Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn
A Look Back At Taylor & Joe’s Ship Timeline

“But it would’ve been fun if you would’ve been the one.”

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Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn were famously private about their romance. After getting together in 2017, the couple kept their relationship strictly out of the spotlight. Even though they spent six years together, they never walked a joint red carpet... or even posted an Instagram pic. But it seems like that quiet Lover era might sadly be over.

Only six months after Swift released Midnights (with love songs like “Lavender Haze” and “Sweet Nothing”), reports emerged that Swift and Alwyn had ended things. On April 8, Entertainment Tonight reported that the couple’s split was “not dramatic,” and their exclusive was quickly picked up by other outlets.

The rumors came as a major shock to Swifties, especially considering how loved-up Swift seemed while promoting her new album in October. Explaining her song “Lavender Haze” on Instagram, Swift said that she picked up the popular ’50s phrase from watching Mad Men. “If you were in the lavender haze, then that meant that you were in that all-encompassing love glow, and I thought that was really beautiful,” she explained, before clarifying that’s how she felt with her Alwyn. (Plus, according to People, the duo was “talking about marriage as recently as a few months ago.”)

So, um, how could that deep love turn into an amicable breakup in less than a year? There’s no way to know for sure, but a look back on Swift and Alwyn’s extremely private relationship history gives some much-needed context to their reported split.

May 2016: Taylor And Joe Met At The Met Gala
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Swift and Alwyn met at the 2016 Met Gala, while she was still seeing Tom Hiddleston. In her 2017 song “Dress,” she sang about the moment. “Flashback when you met me / Your buzzcut and my hair bleached,” the lyrics read.

May 2017: Romance Rumors About Them Began

Swift and Alwyn’s relationship reportedly started in 2017, with outlets beginning to report on the new couple that May. According to People, the two had been seeing each other for a couple of months before anyone knew.

May 2018: Taylor And Joe Seemingly Confirmed Their Relationship On Instagram

Swift and Alwyn never officially posted photos together on Instagram, but in May 2018, they did hint at their relationship with matching solo photos next to a cactus. Fortunately, it seemed like only the foliage was feeling prickly.

September 2018: Joe Explained Why They Kept Things Private
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Alwyn and Swift rarely shared details of their romance, and the actor explained why during a September 2018 conversation with Total Film. “For me, I just don’t feel it’s something I want to offer up to be picked apart by people who don’t know about it, and it’s just not theirs to have,” he said, per People.

August 2019: Taylor Released Lover

In August 2018, Swift released her album Lover, featuring many songs that were presumably about Alwyn — including “Lover,” “London Boy,” and “Call It What You Want.” Though she never mentioned him by name, the songs said plenty, hinting at a really serious connection.

January 2020: Joe Appeared In Miss Americana

Alwyn made a few surprise appearances in Swift’s Netflix documentary Miss Americana. In the movie, the singer explained their relationship, per Insider: “I also was falling in love with someone who had a really wonderfully normal, balanced, grounded life, and we decided together that we wanted our relationship to be private.”

July 2020: Breakup Rumors Started

When Swift released Folklore in July 2020, the heartbreaking lyrics prompted some fans to assume a breakup was on the horizon (or had already happened). With songs like “Peace” and “The 1,” Swift was writing quite a few breakup songs — or breakup-adjacent songs. Fortunately, Swift clarified that the stories in the album were made up. “In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result, a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness,” she wrote on Instagram. “Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history, and memory. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve.”

November 2020: Taylor Said Joe Helped Write Songs On Folklore And Evermore

In Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, Swift revealed that Alwyn co-wrote some songs on the album, putting breakup rumors to rest. “There’s been a lot of discussion about William Bowery and his identity because it’s not a real person,” Swift said in the film. “William Bowery is Joe, as we know.”

Apparently, Alwyn had a hand in five songs, spanning Folklore and Evermore: “Exile,” “Betty,” “Champagne Problems,” “Coney Island,” and “Evermore.”

April 2022: Joe Addressed Engagement Speculation

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Alwyn addressed engagement rumors — kind of. “If I had a pound for every time I think I’ve been told I’ve been engaged, then I’d have a lot of pound coins,” he joked before adding, “I mean, the truth is, if the answer was yes, I wouldn’t say, and if the answer was no, I wouldn’t say.”

October 2022: Taylor Called Out “Weird Rumors” About Their Relationship

During her “Midnights Mayhem” TikTok series, Swift shared her album’s track list and explained the personal meaning behind the song “Lavender Haze.”

“If the world finds out that you’re in love with somebody, they’re going to weigh in on it,” she said. “Like my relationship for six years, we’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it. And so this song is sort of about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.”

April 2023: Taylor And Joe Reportedly Broke Up

After six years together, reports surfaced that Swift and Alwyn split. On April 8, a source told Entertainment Tonight that the duo had an amicable breakup a few weeks prior. “The relationship had just run its course. It’s why [Alwyn] hasn’t been spotted at any [Eras Tour] shows,” the source claimed.

Per People, Swift’s fame played a role in the reported breakup. “Joe has struggled with Taylor’s level of fame and the attention from the public,” the source claimed. “The differences in their personalities have also become harder to ignore after years together. They’ve grown apart.” Apparently, they realized they were not “the right fit” together.

Swift’s set list swaps — she traded “Invisible String,” a love song, for “The 1,” a breakup song — gave more legitimacy to the rumors, though Swift and Alwyn haven’t commented on the speculation.

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