After six years, Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn reportedly called it quits over “differences in their personalities,” which is pretty much code for “Look away, there’s nothing to see here.”
According to a source that spoke with People after the breakup was first reported on April 8, 2023, the 32-year-old actor “struggled” with Swift’s level of fame, while the 34-year-old pop star “didn’t see them working out in the long run.” Still, the source added, “[Taylor] doesn’t have anything bad to say about Joe.”
According to fans, the mass exodus of Swift’s closest allies from Alwyn’s Instagram follower count suggests otherwise. A few weeks after their split went public, Swifties noticed some suspicious timing behind Alwyn’s loss of famous followers. Particularly, Ryan Reynolds and Gigi Hadid seemed to unfollow the Conversations With Friends star immediately after in-person hangs with Swift. “Blondie just going around and telling her friends the tea,” one fan commented on one TikTok explanation of the drama.
While Taylor Swift’s catalog of work is so much more than a collection of breakup songs, it can’t be denied that she's the reigning queen of heartbreak anthems. Is it any wonder fans are looking for any hint that her split from Alwyn is less drama-free than reports suggest? Of course, fans are not just divining Easter eggs out of nothing (though there’s plenty of that going around with each Eras Tour performance).
Here’s a complete timeline of Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn’s breakup…at least, what Swifties have been able to piece together. Speak now, Blondie!
December 5, 2021: Taylor Swift writes “You’re Losing Me.”
Not the Gaslighter Rosé bottle\!
February 2023: This may be when Swift and Alwyn “actually split up,” according to a source who spoke to The Sun in May 2023.
March–April 2023: Alwyn doesn’t make any appearances during the opening leg of Swift’s Eras Tour, but many assume he’s filming or staying hidden due to the private nature of their relationship.
March 31, 2023: Swift makes a switch to the Folklore segment of her performance during the Eras Tour. Swift sang the love song “Invisible String” for her first four shows but replaced it with the melancholy song about past love, “The 1,” during her March stops in Arlington, Texas.
After the breakup was reported in April, fans looked back on this moment as a hint.
April 8, 2023: After Swift and Alwyn’s six years together, People and Entertainment Tonight report they have broken up. “It was not dramatic,” a source tells ET. “The relationship had just run its course. It’s why [Alwyn] hasn’t been spotted at any shows.”
April 10, 2023: According to People, multiple sources say the former couple was “talking about marriage as recently as a few months ago” but some major personality differences reportedly became insurmountable after leaving their relationship “bubble.”
April 9, 2023: A fan on TikTok shares a video of Swift performing “Champagne Problems” during a previous Eras Tour performance, suggesting Swift was “getting emotional” while singing the lyrics “Sometimes you just don’t know the answer till someone’s on their knees and asks you.”
April 11, 2023: Swift is spotted in public for the first time post-breakup in New York City’s West Village, just four blocks away from the famous Cornelia Street she sang about in Lover. According to People, Swift went out for Italian food with longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff and his now-wife, actor Margaret Qualley.
April 13, 2023: This is where the tides start to turn against Alwyn. During a DeuxU podcast episode, DeuxMoi shares a report from an anonymous source that Alwyn initiated their “break” and that Swift thinks he’s behind the leak.
Meanwhile, during a show in Tampa, Swift sends a pointed message to fans before playing “Lover.”
“Some of these songs are about my life; some of these songs are about fictional characters I created,” she tells the crowd. “But my hope in all of this is that, at the end of the day, these songs will be songs that you think are about your own life. And the song that we’re about to play next…it’s just a love song, you know?”
Otherwise, Swift seems to be doing okay. During her time in Tampa, Swift seemingly gives fans a subtle update on how she’s doing. One TikTok user captured Swift giving a thumbs-up to a fan carrying a sign that says, “You OK?”
April 18, 2023: Fans spiral after Alwyn’s costar Emma Laird shares a photo of the actor on a scooter as part of a March photo dump. There are multiple layers to that controversy (which you can read about here), but this is where cheating rumors begin to pick up steam.
April 19, 2023: And so begins the Great Unfollowing of Joe Alwyn. After Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have dinner with Swift in NYC, fans notice that Reynolds no longer follows Alwyn on Instagram…and neither do the Haim sisters and Swift’s brother, Austin. Keep in mind, Reynolds once wrote a very sentimental tribute to Alwyn in Time.
“Something is going on,” one TikTok user said in their video.
April 20, 2023: Alwyn is spotted in London for the first time since the split, while Swift is photographed in NYC with the Haim sisters, Lively, and Gigi Hadid. According to Page Six, the group spent the evening at the private club and celebrity hot spot Zero Bond.
A source tells Us Weekly that Swift is “enjoying her freedom” following the split. “Taylor is handling the breakup really well and she’s feeling very optimistic about her future,” the source says. “She truly believes whatever is meant to be will be and knows everything happens for a reason.”
[Important note: As of this date, Swift fans and Just Jared report that Hadid still follows Alwyn on Instagram. “If [Gigi] unfollows [Joe] after this encounter, then I’m gonna believe something dirty did go down,” one TikTok user said in a video.]
April 21, 2023: There you have it: Hadid no longer follows Alwyn on Instagram. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
All the way over in Houston, Swift shoots the “L” for loser sign at the physical representation of her Lovers album during her performance of “Look What Made You Do,” per Us Weekly. Yes, I know that sentence doesn’t make a lot of sense without context. Basically, Swift interacts with dancers dressed as each of her eras during this number, and things got shady when she got to Lover’s glass box. Here’s a video:
Fans take this as a dig against Alwyn, the alleged inspiration behind the romantic album.
April 23, 2023: Fans report that Swift’s childhood bestie Abigail Anderson Berard (you know, the redhead from “Fifteen”) has unfollowed Alwyn. Many also noted that Lively and Alwyn don’t follow each other on Instagram, but it’s unclear if they ever did.
May 3, 2023: The Sun reports that Swift is dating The 1975 frontman Matt Healy. “She and Matty are madly in love. It’s super-early days, but it feels right,” the source said. “Both Matty and Taylor have been touring over the past few weeks, so it’s been a lot of FaceTiming and texting, but she cannot wait to see him again.”
May 5, 2023: Healy is spotted at Swift’s concert in Nashville. Looks like Blondie is still into London Boys.
May 12, 2023: A source tells Entertainment Tonight that Swift has fully “moved on” from Joe Alwyn and is “enjoying her time” with the 1975 frontman. “Taylor and Matty have known each other and have history, so there’s a comfortability factor there, but also feelings of excitement,” the source says.
May 18, 2023: As things continue to heat up between Swift and Healy, a source tells the Daily Mail that Alywn feels “feels slighted and is distraught” over his ex-girlfriend’s “budding relationship.”
According to the source, Alwyn is not happy she moved on from their relationship so soon, especially with someone she worked with while still dating Alwyn. While Swift and Healy’s Midnights collaboration did not make the final album, she performed “Anti-Hero” live for the first time during The 1975’s London concert in January 2023.
“Joe was aware that Taylor and Matt were making music together and collaborating. She told him that they had become friends and he trusted her,” the source said while denying that the relationships overlapped.
May 23, 2023: Alwyn makes his first official public appearance post-breakup.
May 26, 2023: Fans are convinced the latest Midnights vault track, “You’re Losing Me,” is about Swift’s breakup with Joe Alwyn. One major piece of evidence circulating online is the way the song’s lyrics seem to directly correlate to lyrics from the Lover album, which is widely believed to be inspired by Alwyn.
One TikTok user played the new song at the same time as Lover’s “Cornelia Street” to demonstrate how “You’re Losing Me” seems to respond directly to its predecessor.
Joe Alwyn trends on Twitter the same day the song is released, with many fans calling out the actor for not fighting for the relationship.
Still, some fans have come to Alwyn’s defense, pointing out that “not every breakup has to have a villain and a hero.”
Typically, Swift’s vault tracks are unreleased songs that were written at the same time as the original album. Considering Midnights was released in October 2022, this does not line up with recent reports that the pair likely split in February 2023.
However, early breakup reports did suggest the pair had been discussing marriage before their split, which would make the lyrics of “You’re Losing Me” even more heartbreaking. “I wouldn’t marry me either,” Swift sings during the bridge. “A pathological people pleaser who only wanted you to see her.” You can read the rest of the “You’re Losing Me” lyrics here.
September 5, 2023: Alwyn shares his first Instagram post since May—and everyone makes it about Taylor Swift.
September 24, 2023: The Taylor Swift—Travis Kelce saga officially begins when Swift attends her first Chiefs game with Kelce’s mom, Donna. We’re not going to get into all of the Traylor updates in this post, but you can check out their full timeline here. Let’s just say fans can’t stop comparing Kelce’s loud affection for Swift to Alwyn’s more private approach to their relationship.
It all started with a friendship bracelet.
November 11, 2023: Swift changes a “Karma” lyric about Alwyn during her second Eras Tour concert in Argentina. With Kelce in the audience, she sings “Karma is the guy on the Chiefs” instead of “Karma is the guy on the screen.”
November 15, 2023: Alwyn makes his first red-carpet appearance post-breakup.
On this day, Swift’s longtime friend and collaborator Jack Antonoff also drops the track list for his next Bleachers album.
Swifties quickly took notice of track 10, titled, “Hey Joe,” which will be followed up by “Call Me After Midnight” and “We’re Gonna Know Each Other Forever.” These all feel very Taylor Swift–coded, considering Swift and Antonoff worked on her album Midnights while she was still dating Alwyn. At the time Alwyn was filming a project with Antonoff’s wife, Margaret Qualley, in Panama while the musicians “found ourselves back in New York, alone, recording every night, staying up late and exploring old memories and midnights past.”
According to Antonoff’s Instagram post, we’ll find out what “Hey Joe” is all about on March 8.
November 29, 2023: Antonoff causes more chaos online when he reveals that “You’re Losing Me” was written in December 2021. Now many fans are convinced Swift and Alwyn were on the rocks for over a year before their breakup.
To make matters more messy, Keleigh Teller, a friend of Swift’s and wife of “I Bet You Think About Me” music video star Miles Teller, reportedly likes a TikTok video theorizing that Antonoff’s verse in the “Anti Hero” remix featuring Bleachers was about Alwyn.
The lyrics in question: “Sometimes, I feel like everybody is an art bro lately. And I just judge them on the hill. Too hurt to hang out, talking shit about your famous baby. Pierced through the heart of ’90s guilt.”
Fans seem to believe this lyric implies that Alwyn was disrespectful to Swift, largely tying it back to his refusal to talk about Swift with the press. Honestly, the theory has always felt like a huge stretch until Teller’s TikTok like. Perhaps this is why so many of Swift’s circle have unfollowed Alwyn.
November 30, 2023: Taylor Swift’s publicist Tree Paine makes a very rare public statement after gossip account Deux Moi posts that Swift and Alwyn had an unofficial wedding ceremony in the UK before their breakup.
“Enough is enough with these fabricated lies about Taylor from Deuxmoi,” she wrote on X. “There was NEVER a marriage or ceremony of ANY kind. This is an insane thing to post. It’s time for you to be held accountable for the pain and trauma you cause with posts like these.”
February 4, 2024: After winning her 13th (!) Grammy, Swift announces the release date and title of her next album: The Tortured Poets Department, out April 19. Fan-theory chaos ensues immediately. The first detail Swifties pick up on is that Alwyn has been a member of a WhatsApp group of actors who call themselves the Tortured Man Club.
The second is that in her announcement, Swift mentions she has been keeping the project a secret for two years, which means she was working on it in some capacity around the time she wrote “You’re Losing Me, Babe.” Breakup album confirmed.
February 5, 2024: Just a day later, Swift drops the track list, which is full of references to her other songs.
The most obvious is “So Long, London,” which stands in contrast to the upbeat lovey-dovey song “London Boy” she wrote about Alwyn for the Lover album.
There appear to be many, many connections to Alwyn in the song titles.
This post will be updated.
Originally Appeared on Glamour