May 5, 2023 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | By Katie Rowley
Every Swiftie knows where they were when the news broke. I’m not talking about superstar Taylor Swift’s surprise announcement of a brand-new album, nor the announcement of her supposedly upcoming re-releases of her Big Machine catalog. No, the news I am referring to is much more depressing.
I was at Target and had just checked out when my roommate and fellow Swiftie, Lexi Kaer ‘24, texted me, asking if I was at our apartment. I wasn’t. So, she delivered the heartbreaking information to me through text.
Taylor Swift and her long-term boyfriend Joe Alwyn had broken up.
Entertainment Tonight released the story first, on April 8 at 3 p.m. MST, reporting that the breakup between Swift and Alwyn had occurred a few weeks prior and was amicable. People Magazine released a story corroborating the breakup rumor. But with no named sources and the supposed weeks between the breakup and announcement, many fans choose to ignore the reports as merely just rumors.
Fans on Twitter, TikTok and even some of my hometown Swifties chose ignorance, craving confirmation from Swift herself before accepting the breakup news that was much too hard to believe. But, for fans such as Kaer and myself, the lack of immediate removal of the stories by Swift’s team was enough of a confirmation. We knew.
The relationship that inspired five of Swift’s albums and some of her most vulnerable love songs had ended.
We all choose to cope in different ways. I went on a sad-girl walk listening to “Peace” on repeat, in which Swift repeatedly asks Alwyn (presumably), “Would it be enough if I could never give you peace?” And, apparently, it was not enough for Alwyn.
That evening, Kaer and I sat in the Hybl Community Center laundry room for an hour and half showing each other the heartbreaking TikTok edits that had already appeared on our “For You” pages, devising our own theories for the root of this seemingly sudden breakup.
Swift and Alwyn met in 2016 at the Met Gala. At the time, Swift was romantically linked to DJ Calvin Harris, but songs off her album “Reputation” such as “Dress” and “Getaway Car” allude to her potentially cheating on Harris. (I cannot formally condone cheating, but Blondie, Swift’s nickname among Swifties can do little wrong. I think I would also cheat on someone who makes very mediocre remixes.)
Swift and Alwyn were spotted at various movie premieres in 2016, but they attempted to keep their relationship very private, according to Swift’s journal entries that were released in 2019 as a part of her album “Lover.”
Lyrics from “Reputation” confirmed Swift and Alwyn’s relationship, and he was spotted at various shows on the tour for the aforementioned album.
The intimate beginnings and privacy of their relationship was explored in Swift’s Netflix documentary “Miss Americana,” with very cute home videos of Swift and Alwyn.
And her sixth studio album “Lover” almost entirely explores the complexities of her relationship with Alwyn. Ranging from saccharine declarations of love in the title track, “Lover,” “Paper Rings,” “London Boy,” “Cornelia Street,” and “Daylight” to certifiably sexy songs about how the couple overcomes arguments (“False God” and “Afterglow”), it is evident Swift and Alwyn were thriving.
Since the release of “Lover” in 2019, Swift has released three more albums including many love songs suspected to be about Alwyn, including “Peace,” “Invisible String,” and “The Lakes” off the Grammy-winning surprise album, “Folklore.” “Long Story Short” and “Willow” came next off of the “Folklore” sister-album. “Evermore,” and then came “Lavender Haze,” “Karma,” “Paris,” “The Great War,” and “Sweet Nothing” off “Midnights.”Some of those songs were co-written by Alwyn under the pseudonym William Bowery, “Sweet Nothing” being one of those.
Since “Midnights”was just released in October of 2022, the announcement of their breakup six months later was unexpected by everyone. But, with more and more articles, including more credible sources and details about the breakup emerging in the weeks since the initial announcement, at this point, it’s safe to say the couple has called it quits.
Although there is no confirmed reason for the breakup, many Swifties are choosing to believe Alwyn is at fault. Swift has recently been spotted out and about in New York looking “slay” and hanging with her closest friends, such as Blake Lively, Gigi Hadid and the Haim sisters, all of whom have unfollowed Alwyn on Instagram.
In the most recent development, as of May 1, Taylor has deleted an Instagram reel explaining her song “Lavender Haze,” in which she confirms her six-year relationship while discussing the presence of rumors in her life. This is as close to a confirmation as we’re going to get, I believe.
But, despite how heartbreaking this breakup has been for both the fans and Swift (I am para-socially assuming she was as devastated as I was), she is currently in the midst of her hugely successful Eras tour and seems to be thriving. And as someone who is in the midst of being ghosted, I feel her pain and I am so glad I can look up to her as a role model on how to keep pushing through heartbreak. (Men suck!)