Everything Taylor Swift Has Said About Her Ex Joe Alwyn Ahead of 'The Tortured Poet's Department' Album Release

She lets her music do the talking.

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn have been as tight-lipped about their breakup as they were for their entire six-year relationship, leaving fans to put the pieces together themselves. In true Swiftie fashion, fans of the artist have collected the small details left by the artist as yet another example of her beloved Easter eggs as they try to understand what went wrong with the pair.

Alwyn and Swift dated for six years, although news of the relationship was only revealed a few years in. The majority of their time together was during the pandemic, when they resided together and collaborated on music.

Credited with co-writing songs on both Folklore and Evermore, Alwyn has since been revealed to be the mysterious "William Bowery." That said, at a recent performance in Melbourne, Australia, Swift revealed that she was very "lonely" while writing Folklore, a subtle reference to her time with Alwyn.

“[I was] imagining that, instead of being a lonely millennial woman covered in cat hair drinking my weight in white wine, I was a ghostly Victorian lady wandering through the woods with a candle in a candlestick holder, and I wrote only on parchment with a feathered quill,” Swift said.

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020.

One of the rare photos captured of the couple during their relationship.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Neither artist has directly commented on their breakup one year ago, although plenty of sources close to the pair have spoken up on the matter. One insider claimed that it was caused by “differences in their personalities,” which became “harder to ignore after years together.”

“They had plenty in common and fell in love in a safe bubble while she was retreating from the world during Reputation,” the source told People. “Then the pandemic hit, and they were locked down together and able to continue growing their relationship in this insulated way. But he didn’t really ‘know’ her yet outside of that bubble. Joe has struggled with Taylor’s level of fame and the attention from the public. The differences in their personalities have also become harder to ignore after years together. They’ve grown apart.”

The source continued “They’ve had rough patches before and always worked things out, so friends thought they would take some time apart but eventually come back together." The source finally concluded that “ultimately” Swift and Alwyn “weren’t the right fit for one another.”

An insider told Entertainment Tonight that the two are just too different, “Taylor and Joe are in totally different places in their lives right now," they said. "It was more of Taylor’s decision to break up, but both of them realized that they weren’t completely right for one another. They had been together for such a long time and were spending so much time together, but their personalities were just too different. Joe is more introverted, shy, and quiet.”

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn NYC

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn always aimed to stay out of the public eye.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Given their start in the pandemic, it apparently was difficult for the couple to transition into the public eye, especially with Swift's ever-increasing stardom. The musician has broken countless records with her Eras Tour, the theatrical release of it, and being named TIME's Person of the Year for 2023.

“It’s been hard for Joe trying to make it in Hollywood and not quite becoming leading man material while dating one of the most famous women in the world over the last six years," an insider told the Daily Mail. "It was easier during the pandemic when it was just the two of them, but once things returned to normal, Taylor Swift the superstar emerged, and their differences were even more apparent.”

While Swift hasn't specifically commented on this, she has discussed her new relationship with Travis Kelce in a way that seems to reference her last relationship. In her TIME interview, she said, "Over the years, I’ve learned I don’t have the time or bandwidth to get pressed about things that don’t matter. Yes, if I go out to dinner, there’s going to be a whole chaotic situation outside the restaurant. But I still want to go to dinner with my friends."

She then paused before adding, "Life is short. Have adventures. Me locking myself away in my house for a lot of years—I’ll never get that time back. I’m more trusting now than I was six years ago." Six years is exactly the length of her relationship with Alwyn. (Ouch.)

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn

Alwyn and Swift spotted out in public before their April 2023 breakup.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As always, fans turn to Swift's music for an insight into what she's thinking and feeling. Since her breakup with Alwyn, people believe she's left clues through music for fans to pick up on. An example of this is an Eras Tour performance on March 31 when she swapped up the setlist. Instead of performing “invisible string” (a song believed to be about Alwyn), she opted to sing “the 1” (a song about moving on after a breakup). It's rare for Swift to change her setlist, as she usually only adapts the two surprise songs in each performance.

Speaking of surprise songs, for her performance in Texas the next day, she selected "Death by a Thousand Cuts" and "Clean." Both of these are about difficult breakups and getting through heartbreak, which seems a symbolic choice.

Like many do after a breakup, Swift also deleted a post from her Instagram. The pair did not have photos together, but instead, she removed a video of her explaining the meaning behind the song "Lavender Haze," which was on her 2022 Midnights album.

“I happened upon the phrase ‘Lavender Haze’ when I was watching Mad Men, and I looked it up because I thought it sounded cool,” Swift explained in the since-deleted post. “And it turns out that it’s a common phrase used in the ’50s, where they would just describe being in love.”

Taylor Swift on the red carpet at the grammys to illustrate a story about Taylor Swift at the iheartradio music awards

At last, Swift's latest offering, "The Tortured Poet's Department," drops tomorrow, April 19.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In an extended version of this album titled Midnights (Til Dawn Edition), Swift included the song "You're Losing Me," which fans assume to be about Alwyn. The lyrics include her asking her lover to “do something,” to “say something,” and to “choose something.” Additionally, she references that she "wouldn't marry me either" and calls herself "a pathological people pleaser."

But Swifties believe the real clues to the breakup will lie in her next studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, which will be released on April 19. Fans believe the lyrics revealed are already a dig at Alwyn. The title is thought to be a reference to Alwyn's group chat with fellow actors Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott, called "The Tortured Man Club."

“It’s undeniable that the name of her upcoming album is in reference to Joe’s WhatsApp group chat," a source told the Daily Mail . "Taylor knocked him for the name of this when they were together. She didn’t want people to think that it had anything to do with her, so when he spoke out about it, she was, of course, bothered."

This time tomorrow, we might have a few more answers about the split.

Fleurine Tideman
Freelance Writer

Fleurine Tideman is a freelance writer who is always ready to discuss celebrities, entertainment, mental health, relationships and anything else her busy brain comes up with. She comes from the small, rainy land of the Netherlands, but she uses the flexibility of her work to travel around Europe and explore new places. She spent several years working in the travel industry, which taught her how to fit insane amounts in her hand luggage. She has a degree in Psychology and Anthropology, which she uses to psychoanalyse herself and others. She’s a regular contributor for Betches, and you can also find her work on Pop Sugar, Insider, Time Out or her own blog, Symptoms of Living. At Marie Claire, she’ll be covering celebrity news, usually written to the sounds of Taylor Swift.