“Thank you so much,” the former One Direction member, 29, said during his acceptance speech. “This album, from start to finish, has been the greatest experience of my life. From making it with two of my best friends to playing it for people has been the greatest joy I could have asked for.”
The Don’t Worry Darling star went on to thank “everyone who inspired this album” and all of the friends who “supported” him during the recording process. “I wouldn’t be here without you,” he added. “Thank you so much.”
When Styles’ name was called as the winner — he beat ABBA, Adele, Coldplay and Lizzo — the “Anti-Hero” singer, 33, jumped to her feet and applauded the “Watermelon Sugar” crooner, wearing a big smile on her face.
The U.K. native and the “Maroon” artist first sparked romance rumors in December 2012 when they were spotted strolling through New York City’s Central Park. The duo called it quits just one month later, but their relationship remained a subject of fan speculation for years. When Swift released her album 1989 in 2014, some listeners theorized that tracks including “Out of the Woods” and “Style” were about her fling with the former boy bander.
Styles, for his part, has said that he doesn’t blame his ex-girlfriend for writing about her relationships, even if that means he’s sometimes a subject of her lyrics. “We always say that we write from personal experience, and I think everyone does,” he explained during a 2014 Google Hangout. “So, it would be hypocritical to say ‘Oh, you can’t write songs.’ And she’s really good, so, they’re good songs. I’m really lucky in that sense.”
Three years later, he noted that he was proud to be a small piece of Swift’s success, though he admitted he didn’t really know if any of her songs are about him. “I’m lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs,” he told Rolling Stone in April 2017. “That’s what hits your heart. That’s the stuff that’s hardest to say, and it’s the stuff I talk least about. That’s the part that’s about the two people.”
The “As It Was” singer’s Best Pop Vocal Album win is his second Grammy award. He won his first — Best Pop Vocal Performance for “Watermelon Sugar” — in 2021.