Looking back at Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn’s low-key romance

The American superstar and British actor were notoriously private.
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Despite ending almost a year ago, there remains a certain air of mystery around Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn’s relationship.

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The American superstar and British actor were so notoriously private about their long-term love that any morsel of gossip was enough to have fans chatting about them for days.

Prior to her relationship with Joe, Taylor’s relationships were often a source of tabloid fodder, but their choice as a couple to step back from the spotlight seems to have only made fans more frenzied.

Which is why, when news broke in April 2023 that their years-long relationship was over, fans were surprised – but not entirely shocked. 

Now, as Taylor and Travis Kelce’s relationship continues to progress, and fans listen to her album The Tortured Poets Department, we’re rounding up everything we’ve been able to piece together about Joe and Taylor’s low-key history.

“Flashback to when you met me, your buzzed cut and my hair bleached.” (Credit: Getty)

When did Joe Alwyn and Taylor Swift Meet?

Although it’s never been confirmed, fans of the singer have figured out that they probably met at the 2016 Met Gala.

In her song Dress from her album Reputation, Taylor sings “flashback to when you met me, your buzzed cut and my hair bleached”.

Taylor was rocking a cropped, bleach-blonde look, while Joe arrived at the New York event with buzzed hair.

At the time, Taylor was still in a relationship with DJ Calvin Harris. It was also the same night she met her next partner, Tom Hiddleston, whom she dated briefly after splitting from Harris.

A rare snap of the lovebirds heading to a Saturday Night Live afterparty. (Credit: Getty)

When did Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn begin dating?

Reports of the pair dating didn’t arise until May 2017, but unbeknownst to fans, they had both been spotted at a few of the same events, although not together.

Taylor allegedly gave proper confirmation to a group of fans at the end of 2017, when she released her new single Gorgeous, also from the Reputation album, when she hosted a secret listening party.

“Basically, Taylor made us all promise that if anyone made any accusations of who this song is about, we tell them it is 100 percent about her angel boyfriend of one year,” an attendee wrote on Tumblr.

Joe would then make his first public mention of Taylor around a year later, while speaking to British Vogue.

“I’m aware people want to know about that side of things,” he admitted.

“I think we have been successfully very private and that has now sunk in for people … but I really prefer to talk about work.”

A portrait of Joe Alwyn at a press conference
(Credit: Getty)

While Joe and Taylor are now spotted attending the occasional event together, they definitely don’t position themselves as a public-facing couple.

Even when the documentary about Taylor’s career, Miss Americana, dropped in 2020, fans still didn’t get to see much of Joe.

He was spotted kissing Taylor’s hand from behind the camera, cutting a shadowy figure Taylor embraced after a performance, and it was also implied he was filming as Taylor sang an acoustic version of Call It What You Want.

However, Taylor did touch on the relationship during the film.

“I felt alone, I felt really bitter,” she said about a time in 2016 where she faced a lot of public backlash.

“I felt sort of like a wounded animal lashing out. I figured I had to reset everything. I had to reconstruct an entire belief system for my own personal sanity. I also was falling in love with someone who had a wonderfully normal, balanced life.”

“Even though it was really horrible, I was happy. But it wasn’t happy in the way I was trained to be happy. It was happiness without anyone else’s input. We were just … happy.”

“I also was falling in love with someone who had a wonderfully normal, balanced life,” Taylor said about the beginning of her relationship. (Credit: Getty)

What Taylor Swift songs are about Joe Alwyn? 

While they remained notoriously private, fans spotted what were likely references to Joe throughout the albums Lover and folklore.

Taylor even confirmed that Joe inspired the lyrics of her song peace, speaking with Paul McCartney for an issue of Rolling Stone.

“[The song] is actually more rooted in my personal life. I know you have done a really excellent job of this in your personal life: carving out a human life within a public life, and how scary that can be when you do fall in love and you meet someone, especially if you’ve met someone who has a very grounded, normal way of living,” Taylor said to McCartney.

“But I think that in knowing him and being in the relationship I am in now, I have definitely made decisions that have made my life feel more like a real life and less like just a storyline to be commented on in tabloids.”

Fans were delighted to gain a hint more of insight into the pair’s private relationship thanks to a few songs on Taylor’s album, Midnights, which was released in 2022. 

Taylor opened up about how the public scrutiny she faced whilst in a relationship with Joe was the bases for her song ‘Lavender Haze.’ 

“I happened upon the phrase lavender haze when I was watching Mad Men,” Taylor explained in a short clip. “And I looked it up—because I thought it sounded cool—and it turns out that it’s a common phrase used in the ‘50s where they would just describe being in love.

“Like, if you were in the lavender haze, then that meant you were in that all-encompassing love glow. And I thought that was really beautiful.”

“I guess, theoretically, when you’re in the lavender haze, you’ll do anything to stay there and not let people bring you down off that cloud,” Taylor continued.

“And I think a lot of people have to deal with this now, not just like ‘public figures,’ because we live in the era of social media. And if the world finds out that you’re in love with somebody, they’re going to weigh in on it.”

“Like my relationship for six years, we’ve had to dodge weird rumours, 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.”

Joe as Nick Conway in Conversations with Friends. (Credit: Amazon Prime)

Where Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn engaged?

While rumours of engagement and marriage abound about the pair, they both remained quiet on the subject, neither confirming nor denying where they were in their relationship.

“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,” Joe previously said to WSJ.

“I mean, the truth is, if the answer was yes, I wouldn’t say, and if the answer was no, I wouldn’t say.”

Many fans believe Taylor’s second track on The Tortured Poets Department, aptly of the same name, hinted that the couple were previously engaged. 

“At dinner, you take my ring off my middle finger and put it on the one,” she sings. “People put wedding rings on, and that’s the closest I’ve come.”

Taylor Swift Joe Alwyn
Have Taylor and Joe called it quits? (Credit: Getty)

When did Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn break up?

In April 2023, news first broke that the couple had split, however, neither party confirmed nor denied the rumours. 

Entertainment Tonight first reported on the news that Taylor and Joe had quietly split after six years together, as a source shared it was amicable and “not dramatic.” People also independently confirmed the split. 

“The relationship had just run its course,” the source told the publication. “It’s why [Alwyn] hasn’t been spotted at any shows.”

While the couple themselves never publically spoke about the breakup, Taylor went on to debut her relationship with footballer Travis Kelce in July 2023 – a relationship which is remarkably more public

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