“Fame factored into their split. Joe is very shy and never liked all of the attention that came with dating one of the most popular singers in the world,” the insider shares, noting that the “Shake It Off” singer, 33, isn’t at “fault” for the breakup and that the Conversations With Friends star, 32, never “blamed” her for her popularity.
“He just didn’t like having to be on all of the time,” the source explains.
Swift and Alwyn were first linked in May 2017, though fans have speculated that the twosome met at the Met Gala the year prior. Their romance sparked during a time when the Evermore artist was facing scrutiny following her split from Tom Hiddleston and amid her public feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
“I felt alone, I felt really bitter,” Swift said in her 2020 Netflix documentary, Ms. Americana. “I felt sort of like a wounded animal lashing out. I figured I had to reset everything. I had to reconstruct an entire belief system for my own personal sanity. I also was falling in love with someone who had a wonderfully normal, balanced life.”
Swift added that the pair made a conscious effort at the time to keep their romance under wraps for as long as possible.
“We decided together we wanted our relationship to be private,” she said. “Even though it was [a] really horrible [time], I was happy. But I wasn’t happy in the way I was trained to be happy. It was happiness without anyone else’s input. We were just … happy.”
In October 2017, a source exclusively told Us that duo were “taking it slow” but “very much in love” — and were enjoying the normalcy of a low-key lifestyle.
“It’s very normal, and no one really knows about it right now,” the insider said at the time. “They just work out, watch movies together and invite friends over. Taylor loves to cook and bake for him.”
After more than three years together, another source told Us that Swift thought of her beau as “one of the only safe constants in her life.”
While the insider shared that the former couple had “talked about future and marriage,” they noted that there was no “set deadline in place.” When Swift released her 10th studio album, Midnights, in October 2022, she seemingly hinted at facing public pressure to reach the next major relationship milestone while discussing her single “Lavender Haze.”
“Theoretically, when you’re in the lavender haze, you’ll do anything to stay there and not let you people bring you down off of that cloud. And I think a lot of people have to deal with this now, not just ‘public figures’ because we live in the era of social media and if the world finds out you’re in love with somebody, they’re going to weigh in on it,” she said in a Republic Records clip ahead of the album’s release. “My relationship for six years, we’ve had to doge weird rumors … and we just ignore it. And so this song is about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.”
Writing about Alwyn is something Swift has been doing since 2017’s Reputation — and continued throughout her next four records: Lover, Folklore, Evermore and Midnights — with the England native even co-writing several tracks for the albums under the pseudonym William Bowery.
“Joe and I really love sad songs. We’ve always bonded over music. … We write the saddest. We just really love sad songs. What can I say?” Swift told Zane Lowe on his Apple Music show in December 2022. “And I say it was a surprise that we started writing together, but in a way, it wasn’t because we have always bonded over music and had the same musical tastes. And he’s always the person who’s showing me songs by artists and then they become my favorite songs.”
When Swift won Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammy’s for Folklore, the Mary Queen of Scots actor was one of the first people she thanked. “[Joe], he is the first person who I play every new song I write,” Swift gushed during her acceptance speech. “And I had the best time writing songs with you in quarantine.”
While the two have often communicated about their love through song, speaking publicly about their relationship has been something they have both have avoided, particularly Alwyn.
“I’m aware people want to know about that side of things. I think we have been successfully very private and that has now sunk in for people,” the Harriet star said in the October 2018 issue of British Vogue. “But I really prefer to talk about work.”
“It’s more a response to something else,” he said. “We live in a culture that is so increasingly intrusive. The more you give and frankly, even if you don’t give it, something will be taken.”
The following month, Alwyn addressed rumors that he had proposed to the Pennsylvania native — and once again reinstated that he prefered to keep his relationship out of the spotlight.
“If I had a pound for every time I think I’ve been told I’ve been engaged, then I’d have a lot of pound coins,” Alwyn joked to WSJ. Magazine at the time. “I mean, the truth is, if the answer was yes, I wouldn’t say, and if the answer was no, I wouldn’t say.”
Us confirmed on April 9 that the duo had called it quits, but neither Swift nor Alwyn have commented on the breakup. However, the “Bejeweled” singer — who is currently on her Eras tour — may have hinted at the split during her March 31 concert in Arlington, Texas, when she swapped the song “Invisible String” for “The 1″ on her setlist.
While “Invisible String” details how she fell in love with the Boy Erased actor, “The 1” discusses the end of a relationship between two people who wished they were right for each other. Swift was also seen tearing up during her performance of “Champagne Problems,” which reveals a marriage proposal gone wrong.