What Happened Between Taylor Swift & Justin Bieber? The Timeline Of Their Relationship Is Rocky
Celebrity relationships and friendships are a rare breed. These famous faces have their lives played out in front of the masses, whether it’s the good, the bad, or the straight-up shady. In Elite Daily’s new series, It’s Complicated, we’re highlighting the biggest celebrity “feuds” that took over Hollywood and dominated our Sunday brunches for weeks on end. We’ll take a deep dive into the lives and social media feeds of our favorite stars and dissect what happened in front of the camera, what went down behind the scenes, and everything you might have missed in between.
Welp, it only took about a month, but we finally have a celebrity feud that makes the whole James Charles/Tati Westbrook YouTube fracas that went down in May look like child's play. In case you've somehow missed all the dramz, Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun (who manages both Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, among others) have been battling it out on social media big time. See, Braun acquired Big Machine Label Group — the label under which Swift released her first six albums — making him the proud owner of Tay Tay's entire music catalog. And Swift was not happy about the news. She called the move "sad and gross," and accused both Braun and Bieber of bullying her. So what happened between Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber to get us to this place? Because they were friends at one point. Like, for real. I mean, their story goes waaaay back to 2009 when Bieber opened up for T. Swizzle on her Fearless tour. Now they're taking shots at each other like it's Patrón. And I'm just like, "Hey, are you OK?"
So let's rewind and try to break it all down. Here's a timeline of Swift and Bieber's sometimes solid, sometimes shaky friendship. Read it and cry teardrops on your guitar as you reminisce about the good ol' days:
It was about a month after Kanye West famously stormed the stage at the 2009 VMAs to interrupt Swift's acceptance speech for her Best Female Video win, when the pop star invited Bieber — who was just beginning to rise to fame — to join her on her Fearless world tour. The move was mad generous, and Bieber went on to open up for Swift on two U.K. dates. He even broke his foot while performing "One Time" at Wembley Stadium, but kept right on singing.
Check it out:
Such a baby!
After the incident, Swift showed up on The Bieb's YouTube channel to help explain to his followers what went down.
This is so cute. I really love(d?) their friendship. And TBH, I totally forgot about Bieber's whole purple phase.
Welcome to the Jelena years, fam! Bieber started dating Selena Gomez in 2010, who was besties with Swift at the time. And if we learned anything from the Spice Girls, it's that if you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends; and that's exactly what the Biebs did. For example, when he rocked out in the audience with Tay Tay during Gomez's performance of "Love You Like A Love Song" at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards.
I don't know what's cuter — Swift and Bieber singing along to the lyrics, Bieber's march-y dance moves, or the way he looks at Gomez while she's performing. I am so here for all of it. Ugh, take me back, please!
Later that same month, Swift invited Bieber to sing "Baby" with her on her Speak Now tour stop at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Their chemistry was straight fire:
Did you catch that amazing twirl at the end? So sweet! That is peak #friendgoals right there.
Jelena was still hot and heavy when the 2011 American Music Awards rolled around, and the awesome threesome sat in the front row together.
Is it weird to be retroactively jealous?
On the season premiere of "Punk'd," Bieber convinced Swift she ruined a wedding after she launched a firecracker into a bride and groom's boat, forcing them to dive into the water and swim ashore.
Swift is appropriately horrified by the whole thing, but takes it all in stride once she realizes the elaborate scheme was orchestrated by her BFF.
Cut to a year later, and something strange was definitely afoot. See, Jelena had broken up and gotten back together a few times by this point, and backstage at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, Swift stuck her tongue out (in disgust?) when she spotted Gomez and Bieber greeting each other with a kiss on the cheek.
Later, Swift made her feelings about the Biebs crystal clear when a reporter asked for her thoughts about him winning the Milestone Award so young, and she basically refused to answer.
Check out her response at 25 seconds:
Zayummm, so icy! It was a bummer to see Swift turn against Bieber, but if you look at it another way, her loyalty to her girl Gomez was actually super sweet and impressive.
Things were kinda quiet for a few years, and then Bieber suddenly showed up on Instagram singing along to a throwback — Swift's 2016 song, "Teardrops On My Guitar":
Was this a sign of a reconciliation? Who knows, but Swift liked the post.
If there were good vibes between these two, the affinity was apparently short-lived. Because on the heels of the whole Kimye v. Swift saga that was going down at the time (more on that in a sec), the "Sorry" singer seemed to be fully on #TeamKimye when he hit up Insta to share a screenshot of a FaceTime call between himself, Braun, and West.
"Taylor Swift what up,” Bieber captioned the post.
June 30, 2019
Annnnd, here we are.
On June 30, it was revealed that Braun bought Big Machine Records landing ownership of all of Swift's masters from before 2019 in his hands.
Swift was pissed about the news, to say the least, and hit up Tumblr to speak her mind about the deal. In the process, she called out Braun and Bieber for bullying her and posted a screenshot of Bieber's August 2016 Instagram with the picture of him FaceTiming Braun and West.
"Some fun facts about today’s news," she wrote. "I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years. Like when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked and then Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online about it. (See photo) Or when his client, Kanye West, organized a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked. Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it."
July 1, 2019
Bieber chose sides, y'all. And the side he chose was, unsurprisingly, Braun's. He took to Instagram to reply to Taylor's bullying claims and defend his manager.
But first, he issued Swift a quick apology:
"Hey Taylor," he wrote. "First of all I would like to apologize for posting that hurtful Instagram post, at the time I thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive."
Well done, sir.
But Bieber then went in on Swift for trying to rile up her fans with her now-infamous Tumblr take-down post, writing:
Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you! As the years have passed we haven’t crossed paths and gotten to communicate our differences, hurts or frustrations. So for you to take it to social media and get people to hate on Scooter isn’t fair. What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? Seems to me like it was to get sympathy. You also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully Scooter. Anyway, one thing I know is both Scooter and I love you. I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and forth online I don't believe solves anything. I’m sure Scooter and I would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain, or any feelings that need to be addressed. Neither Scooter or I have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you.
Taylor hasn't publicly responded to Bieber's post. But she has gone and liked multiple Tumblr posts that drag Bieber and Braun, as well as one about Justin cheating on her best friend and then "publicly siding with the man who made revenge porn against her."
And by "revenge porn" I'm both the tweet and Swift's previous comments on Tumblr were referring to Kanye West's "Famous" music video, which featured a naked wax figure of Swift in bed next to West.
Obviously, there are two sides to every story, y'all. And where we go from here is anyone's guess.
Is back in time an option?