year in review

A Tabloid Timeline of Taylor Swift’s Most Chaotic Year

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images, BackGrid

Since the year Taylor Swift moved from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, to Nashville in pursuit of world domination (2004), she has graciously provided the public with regular updates on her personal life. Oh the times, we’ve had — like 2008, when Swift told Ellen DeGeneres on air that Joe Jonas broke up with her in a 27-second phone call, and 2010, when she spent a very paparazzi-friendly Thanksgiving in New York with Jake Gyllenhaal, and 2016, when she paraded around a Rhode Island beach with an “I <3 T.S.” tank-top-wearing Tom Hiddleston. With each new musical “era,” Swift brings the tabloids something to obsess over.

But this year, the 34-year-old pop star leveled up: She broke up with her longtime boyfriend, debuted not one but two surprising (one of them controversial even) new boyfriends, and somehow ended up squarely in the middle of another ex-boyfriend’s very public divorce. It was all enough for Time to brand her the “main character of the world,” whatever that means. Let’s remember the chaotic year that was!

February 5: Swift attends the Grammys in a midnight blue turtleneck/crop-top gown sans her British actor boyfriend of six years, Joe Alwyn. She wins the award for Best Music Video for “All to Well: The Short Film,” which allows the tabloids to reminisce once more about her relationship with Gyllenhaal.

March 17: Swift kicks off her insanely profitable Eras tour at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Alwyn is nowhere to be seen, prompting a wave of speculation from fans about the state of their relationship.

April 8: Breakup! Several tabloids get the “exclusive” news that Swift and Alwyn are over after six years of dating. “Joe has struggled with Taylor’s level of fame and the attention from the public,” a source tells People. “The differences in their personalities have also become harder to ignore after years together. They’ve grown apart.”

April 21: Swift sends out the bat signal, and her “squad” joins her for a pap stroll in New York City. Gigi Hadid, Blake Lively, and all three Haim sisters dutifully show up.

April 25: DeuxMoi erroneously reports that Swift is casually dating the Spanish F1 driver Fernando Alonso. He seems happy about the rumor.

May 3: British tabloid The Sun reports that Swift has secretly been dating the controversial lead singer of The 1975, Matty Healy. “They are both massively proud and excited about this relationship and, unlike Taylor’s last one — which was very much kept out of the spotlight, deliberately — she wants to ‘own’ this romance and not hide it away,” a source claims. Fans are skeptical, but Healy plays up the story by mouthing, “This is about you. You know who you are. I love you,” onstage at a 1975 show.

May 5: Healy shows up to Swift’s tour stop in Nashville, where she MOUTHS THE SAME PHRASE onstage. This is happening.

May 6: Healy attends Swift’s second Nashville show and hangs out in the VIP tent with squad members including Lily Aldridge and Abigail Anderson. Hadid is photographed giving him a friendly shoulder squeeze.

May 7: Healy comes back for Swift’s third and final Nashville show. The couple is photographed for the first time, arriving at her condo together later that night.

May 11: A “Swiftie’s dad” covertly takes photos of Swift and Healy holding hands at Casa Cipriani, a private members’ club in New York. “Page Six”reports the poor guy got his membership revoked for doing so.

May 15: Meanwhile, the VIP tent at Swift’s tour dates is packed with random celebrities every night. In Philadelphia, Keith Urban posts a TikTok of himself dancing with his wife, Nicole Kidman, in which he inadvertently reveals secret couple Bo Burnham and Phoebe Bridgers making out in the background.


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May 24: Swift seemingly picks up on the fan backlash over her relationship with Healy, who is controversial for a host of reasons, including the fact that he made racist comments about the rapper Ice Spice on a podcast earlier in the year. Possibly/definitely to make up for this, Swift announces that Ice Spice will be featured on her remix of “Karma.”

June 5: TMZ reports that Swift and Healy have broken up, capping off a month of furious tabloid attention on the ultimately doomed relationship. Healy promptly makes out with a security guard onstage during one of his European tour stops. Presumably, Swift’s steadfast publicist, Tree Paine, takes a night off for the first time in weeks.

July 4: Swift brings back her infamous Fourth of July party after a seven-year hiatus. Selena Gomez and the Haim sisters attend.

July 7: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce quietly attends Swift’s tour stop in Missouri.

July 26: Kelce discusses the concert on his podcast, telling his brother, Jason Kelce, that he was disappointed he didn’t get to meet Swift after the show.

August 19: Hundreds of Swifties swarm the Long Beach Island restaurant where Swift collaborator Jack Antonoff and his fiancée, Margaret Qualley, are having their wedding-rehearsal dinner. Police have to shut down the street to manage the chaos.

September 19: In the midst of Swift’s ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas’s very contentious divorce from Sophie Turner, Swift takes an obvious pap stroll with Turner in New York. Later, sources reveal that Turner is staying in one of Swift’s “investment properties” in the city while she gets back on her feet. Girl power!

September 24: After some tabloid speculation about her interest in Kelce, Swift flies to Kansas City and surprises everyone by showing up to his game and sitting in the VIP box with his mom. Swift and Kelce leave the stadium hand in hand.

October 1: Swift doubles down and shows up to Kelce’s game against the New York Jets in New Jersey, bringing along famous friends including Turner, Lively, Ryan Reynolds, and Hugh Jackman (?).

October 14: Swift and Kelce make “surprise” appearances on Saturday Night Live. Kelce even participates in a sketch about their relationship.

October 20: Swift is IN LOVE, even if she’s not saying it. “They’re really happy,” a source tells Us Weekly. “They’re not saying they’re in love yet. But it’s obvious to her friends they’re heading in that direction. Friends think they’re in love.”

November 11: Kelce travels to Argentina to see Swift on tour. He hangs out in the VIP tent with Swift’s dad, naturally.

November 20: In a Wall Street Journal interview with Prince Harry’s ghostwriter, J. R. Moehringer, Kelce opens up about his relationship with Swift. He thinks she’s real smart: “I’ve never been a man of words. Being around her, seeing how smart Taylor is, has been fucking mind-blowing. I’m learning every day.”

December 6: Swift returns the favor by complimenting Kelce in her interview for Time’s “Person of the Year” issue. (She’s the Person of the Year.) The pop star reveals that she and Kelce started dating quietly at first. “We actually had a significant amount of time that no one knew, which I’m grateful for, because we got to get to know each other,” she says. “By the time I went to that first game, we were a couple. I think some people think that they saw our first date at that game? We would never be psychotic enough to hard launch a first date.” Sure, of course not.

December 13: Famous friends including Gomez, Lively, Haim & Co., and Zoe Kravitz gather to celebrate Swift’s 34th birthday in New York. (Kelce is stuck at practice in Kansas City.) In an Instagram post, Swift gushes, “Can’t believe this year … actually … happened?”

Neither can we.

A Tabloid Timeline of Taylor Swift’s Most Chaotic Year