They’re much better. Joe Jonas hopes his reputation as one of Taylor Swift‘s ex-boyfriends has improved in the years since they called it quits — but he understands why fans weren’t happy with him at first.
The Camp Rock star, 33, joined brothers Nick Jonas and Kevin Jonas on the Monday, May 22, episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast to reflect on their journey in the spotlight from the early 2000s to now. Host Dax Shepard brought up Joe’s history with Swift, 32, asking whether he’d experienced a “rabid” response after splitting from the Grammy winner in 2008.
“I hope to think they like me,” the “Sucker” crooner said of Swift’s fans. “No one f–ks with the Swifties, you know?”
Shepard, 48, joked about how the Cats actress’ dedicated fans have held a grudge against her ex Jake Gyllenhaal, who inspired the breakup track “All Too Well” following their 2010 fling. Joe explained that he knew where the Swifties were coming from given his own pop star status.
“We don’t really have a nickname for [our fans] but … we get it,” he said. “We understand they’re passionate about their artists and protective, like, ‘This is my artist, how dare you!'”
While the former Disney Channel star asserted that he’s “cool with Taylor” now, he conceded that her supporters did get “mad” at him back in the day. “But it’s been many, many years removed,” he added.
The “Waffle House” crooner dated Swift for three months before calling it quits in late 2008. At the time, the Miss Americana star revealed to Ellen DeGeneres that Joe dumped her over the phone — and that the call lasted less than 30 seconds.
“For those who have expressed concern over the ’27 second’ phone call, I called to discuss feelings with the other person,” the “Burnin’ Up” artist wrote in a MySpace statement regarding the duo’s split. “Those feelings were obviously not well received. I did not end the conversation. Someone else did. Phone calls can only last as long as the person on the other end of the line is willing to talk. Anytime you are in a relationship for any length of time there are going to be issues.”
He added at the time: “Sometimes they resolve, other times they lead to a change of heart; this was the case recently.”
Swift channeled her emotions into her Fearless hit “Forever & Always” and later revisited the messy breakup on a previously unreleased song titled “Mr. Perfectly Fine” when she dropped the rereleased version of the 2008 album in April 2021.
“But that was when I got to know Mr. Change of heart, Mr. Leaves me all alone, I fall apart / It takes everything in me just to get up each day / But it’s wonderful to see that you’re OK,” she sings in one verse on the vault track.
Despite their bumpy history, Swift appeared to hint that she and her former flame are on good terms on her hit “Invisible String” from her 2020 record Folklore. “Cold was the steel of my axe to grind for the boys who broke my heart / Now I send their babies presents,” she sings. (Joe shares two daughters with wife Sophie Turner.)
Swift wasn’t the only one to pen a powerful breakup anthem when the musicians parted ways. On the Jonas Brothers’ 2009 album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, Joe threw some not-so-subtle shade Swift’s way.
“I get a rep for breakin’ hearts / Now I’m done with superstars / And all the tears on her guitar / I’m not bitter,” he sings in the opening verse of “Much Better,” making a reference to the single that gave Swift her big break. “But now I see / Everything I’d ever need / Is the girl in front of me / She’s much better.”
Joe and his brothers performed the throwback tune during their Las Vegas residency last summer — with a new twist on the old lyrics. “I get a rep for breakin’ hearts / Now I’m cool with superstars,” he crooned at the June 2022 concert.