Taylor Swift and her romantic relationships have always been the centre of much speculation from the media and fans alike - and despite her attempts to keep her current relationships much more private than past ones, the rumour mill continues to grind.
At it stands, it’s thought that Swift and her boyfriend of six years, Joe Alwyn, have gone their separate ways. According to a report from Entertainment Weekly, the couple are said to have split up a few “weeks ago”. A source allegedly close to the couple said that the breakup was amicable and “not dramatic”.
This is everything you need to know about Alwyn and his relationship with the world famous singer.
Who is Joe Alwyn?
Alwyn is an English actor best known for his performances in The Favourite, starring Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter, Heartstopper) and Rachel Weisz (Black Widow, The Constant Gardener) and in the BBC Three TV show Conversations with Friends, based on the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney.
He was born on 21 February 1991 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and raised in North London.
Alwyn joined the National Youth Theatre in 2009 when he was in his teens and whilst he was studying English Literature and Drama at the University of Bristol, he starred in two student productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
He graduated from university in 2012 and he went on to study at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, from which he gained a BA in acting. It was during his third year that he signed with an agent.
It was through this agent that Alwyn landed his feature film debut in 2016 as the titular character in director Ang Lee’s (Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi) film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Since then, Alwyn has gone on to star in a number of TV and film roles, including The Sense of an Ending, Operation Finale, Boy Erased, Mary Queen of Scots, Harriet, A Christmas Carol and The Last Letter from Your Lover.
At the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Alwyn, along with Elizabeth Debicki (The Crown, Tenet) was awarded the Trophée Chopard, which is granted by a jury of professionals to two young actors to recognise and encourage their career.
Were they engaged?
Swift and Alwyn were rumoured last year to have quietly gotten engaged to one another, however neither party ever confirmed or denied the reports.
News of their supposed engagement come after a source said to be close to Alwyn told the Sun: “Taylor and Joe are incredibly happy, and very, very in love.
“They’ve actually been engaged for a few months but have only told their inner-inner circle — basically immediate family, and trusted, very old friends. Everyone has been sworn to secrecy, too.
“Taylor has a beautiful ring but she only wears it when she’s at home — i.e. behind closed doors. Again, only a handful of people know details about the wedding and Taylor hasn’t even told some of her team about the engagement.
“They want their love to stay away from the cameras as much as possible. This is just for them. And if and when they do exchange vows, there most definitely won’t be any Vogue, Rolling Stone or Hello! magazines there. It will be simple and elegant — like them.”
How long were they together?
Alwyn and Swift have been together since 2016, and it’s thought that they met for the first time on 2 May 2016 at the Met Gala - something which Swift appears to reference in her song Dress from her Reputation album, in which she sings: “Flashback to when you met me / Your buzz cut / And my hair bleached.”
At the event in question, Swift was sporting bleach blonde hair, and Alwyn a buzzcut.
It was in early 2019 that journal entries from Swift, dated 3 January 2017, were released as bonus content in her Lover Album.
The journal entry revealed that she had been living in London at the time and that she and Alwyn had been dating for three months.
Swift wrote: “I’m essentially based in London, hiding out trying to protect us from the nasty world that just wants to ruin things.
“We have been together and no-one has found out for three months now.
“I want it to stay that way because I don’t want anything about this to change.”
It was in October 2017 that their relationship was officially confirmed by Swift at a listening event after she shared that her single Gorgeous, from her album Reputation, was about Alwyn.
A fan who was at the event wrote on social media: “Basically Taylor made us all promise that if anyone made any accusations of who this song is about, we tell them it is 100% about her angel boyfriend of one year.
“This isn’t a secret. She wanted us to tell people.”
That same month, Swift’s close friend and fellow musician Ed Sheeran told Capital London’s Breakfast Show that she and Alwyn “are very much in love”.
He said: “They have quite a low-key relationship, which Taylor likes. It’s normal, and no one really knows about it right now.”
In December 2017, Swift and Alwyn were seen dancing together during Sheeran’s set at the Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball in London.
In an interview with the Guardian in August 2019, ahead of the release of her album Lover, Swift talked about keeping this relationship much more private than previous ones she has had.
Detailing why she hasn’t talked about her relationship much publicly, she said: “I’ve learned that if I do, people think it’s up for discussion, and our relationship isn’t up for discussion.
“If you and I were having a glass of wine right now, we’d be talking about it - but it’s just that it goes out into the world.
“And that’s where the boundary is, and that’s where my life has become manageable. I really want to keep it feeling manageable.”
Swift touched on her relationship briefly in her Netflix documentary Miss Americana, which also featured some footage of Alwyn, in which she said: “I was falling in love with someone who had a really wonderfully normal, balanced, grounded life and we decided together that we wanted our relationship to be private.”
In November 2020, Swift then confirmed something that fans had been speculating about - that Alwyn had helped co-write her songs Betty and Exile from her Folklore album, under the pseudonym William Bowery.
In her Disney+ film Folklore: the long pond studio sessions, Swift said: “Joe plays piano beautifully and he’s always just playing and making things up and kind of creating things. And exile was crazy because Joe had written that entire piano part.
“He was singing the Bon Iver part, the ‘I can see you standing honey, with his arms around your body, laughing but the joke’s not funny at all.’ He was just singing it. And I was entranced and asked if we could keep writing that one."
Alwyn’s William Bowery pseudonym made another appearance in the credits of Swift’s 2020 surprise album Evermore as a co-writer on the songs Evermore, Champagne Problems and Coney Island.
When Folklore won the Album of the Year award at the 2021 Grammys, Swift thanked Alwyn during her acceptance speech on stage.
She said: “Joe, who is the first person that I play every single song that I write, and I had the best time writing songs with you in quarantine.”