Since meeting in 2016, Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn have become one of Hollywood’s most private power couples. Despite her international fame and his roles in dozens of prestigious films, they’ve managed to keep their relationship completely under the radar. The couple was rumored to have met at the 2016 Met Gala and although they constantly dodge engagement rumors, these two seem perfectly happy as boyfriend and girlfriend. From their first meeting to being creative collaborators on Taylor’s albums, here is a complete timeline of Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn’s relationship.
- Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn were rumored to have met at the 2016 Met Gala and officially started dating around October 2016.
- They’ve both spoken extensively on why they have such a private and low-key relationship.
- Joe helped Taylor write and produce some songs off her albums folklore and evermore.
May 2, 2016: Their (Rumored) First Meeting
Taylor and Joe supposedly met at the 2016 Met Gala. Though neither one has confirmed this, and Taylor was still dating DJ Calvin Harris at the time, fans speculate that the couple met at the annual fête based on the lyrics to “Dress” off Taylor’s 2017 album Reputation. The lyrics included hints like “Flashback to when you met me, your buzzed cut and my hair bleached,” which referred to the singer's Met Gala look.
November 12, 2016: Taylor Attends the Premiere of Joe’s Movie
Taylor was spotted with a group of girlfriends at a screening of Joe’s movie Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk in 2016. However, at the time, the press seemed to think that Taylor attended the screening to support actress Kristen Stewart, who also starred in the film. Now, it is likely that this was one of Taylor and Joe's early dates!
January 3, 2017: Secretly Dating in London
Though the journal entries weren’t revealed until early 2019 as a bonus insert in Taylor’s Lover album, a journal entry dated January 3, 2017, revealed that Swift had been living in London and the couple had been dating for three months by this point. “I'm essentially based in London, hiding out trying to protect us from the nasty world that just wants to ruin things," she wrote. “We have been together and no one has found out for 3 months now. I want it to stay that way because I don't want anything about this to change."
Several other tracks from Lover contained lyrics that many speculate are a lens into the beginnings of their relationship. In “Cornelia Street,” the songstress reveals: “We were in the backseat/Drunk on something stronger than the drinks in the bar,” and later mentions “I thought you were leading me on/I packed my bags, left Cornelia Street/Before you even knew I was gone/But then you called, showed your hand/I turned around before I hit the tunnel.”
May 16, 2017: In the Tabloids
A year after their first (rumored) meeting, the tabloids finally took notice of Taylor and Joe. The Sun reported that the couple had been dating for a few months and were keeping their love under wraps. Taylor reportedly wore “disguises” as they went on dates in Joe’s hometown of London.
“After her 1989 tour and all the attention Taylor received, she learned she had to be more protective of her personal life and she and Joe decided early on to keep their private life private,” a source told The Sun.
July 2017: An A-List Double Date
The power couple crosses the pond for a New England getaway at Swift's Rhode Island home. While they remained completely low-key, the twosome was reportedly not alone: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds joined them for a double date.
October 20, 2017: Taylor Confirms She’s Dating Joe
Joe and Taylor had gone to great lengths to keep their relationship on the down-low, but at a listening event in October 2017, Swift shared that her new single “Gorgeous” off her Reputation album was about Joe. “You should take it as a compliment/That I got drunk and made fun of the way you talk," Taylor sings on the track, referring to Joe’s accent.
It was also at this event that Taylor revealed they had been dating for one year. “Basically Taylor made us all promise that if anyone made any accusations of who this song is about, we tell them it is 100 percent about her angel boyfriend of one year,” a fan who was at the listening event wrote on Tumblr. “This isn't a secret. She wanted us to tell people."
That same month, Ed Sheeran—one of Taylor’s good friends and collaborators—told Capital London's Breakfast Show that she and Joe “are very much in love, they have quite a low-key relationship, which Taylor likes. It's normal, and no one really knows about it right now."
December 11, 2017: Dancing in the Crowd
After taking the stage at the Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball in London, Taylor joined her boyfriend in the audience where they were spotted slow dancing and having a great time during pal Sheeran’s set.
May 8, 2018: Almost Instagram Official
Up until this point, Taylor and Joe never posted photos together or of each other on social media. But on May 8, 2018, they both posted coordinated photos taken from a trip through the desert. Joe later said they weren’t trying to troll fans, it was just a coincidence that the photos matched.
"I didn't even think of that until I was in New York and someone else mentioned it," he said, according to Entertainment Tonight. "It wasn't purposeful at all!"
July 2018: A Romantic Island Getaway
Swift takes a break from her Reputation tour—and her famous annual Taymerica Fourth of July bash—with a romantic tropical vacation in the Turks and Caicos with her beau.
September 28, 2018: Movie Premiere Date Night
After two years of dating, the couple finally—and publicly—supported each other’s work by attending the premiere of Joe’s movie The Favorite in New York on September 28, 2018.
Later that month Joe explained that their decision to be a private couple was a deliberate one. “I’m aware people want to know about that side of things,” he said to British Vogue. “I think we have been successfully very private and that has now sunk in for people…but I really prefer to talk about work.”
January 6, 2019: After-Party PDA
While the famous couple did not walk the red carpet at the 2019 Golden Globes together—despite both being in attendance—they were spotted attending several after-parties together. While the two largely kept to themselves, keen eyes spotted them speaking in intimate proximity and Swift even receiving a quick kiss from Alwyn at one point.
August 24, 2019: Taylor Stays Private
In anticipation of her album Lover, which fans believe contains many songs detailing Taylor’s love story with Joe, the singer told The Guardian that the public can never expect her to be as transparent about her relationship with Joe as she used to be with other men she dated in the past. “I’ve learned that if I do, people think it’s up for discussion, and our relationship isn’t up for discussion,” Swift said. “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. That’s where the boundary is, and that’s where my life has become manageable. I really want to keep it feeling manageable.”
October 5, 2019: After-Party in NYC
Paparazzi shots of the couple are few and far between, so fans celebrated when the duo was spotted heading to a Saturday Night Live after-party on October 5, 2019.
January 5, 2020: Sitting Together at the Golden Globes
As usual, the couple did not walk the red carpet together, but they were sat side by side at the 2020 Golden Globes. Swift presented the award for Best Animated Feature Film and was nominated for Best Original Song for her song "Beautiful Ghosts” in the movie Cats, which she also acted in.
January 31, 2020: Taylor Opens Up About Joe in Her Documentary
Taylor briefly addressed her relationship head-on in her Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, and even shared some video footage of Joe, including a sweet embrace backstage during her Reputation tour. “[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," Taylor said in the film.
April 29, 2020: Quarantining Together
It would be surprising if they weren’t together during the pandemic, but Joe’s photos of Taylor’s cat Benjamin on his Instagram Story from April 29, 2020 proved it.
November 13, 2020: Taylor Sings About Her Relationship
Taylor revealed in an interview that her song “Peace” from 2020 folklore was inspired by her relationship with Joe. She told Paul McCartney for Rolling Stone that Joe sympathized with her high-profile life, but that she’s tried to create as normal a life for them as she can.
“But I think that in knowing him and being in the relationship I am in now, I have definitely made decisions that have made my life feel more like a real life and less like just a storyline to be commented on in tabloids," she shared. "Whether that’s deciding where to live, who to hang out with, when to not take a picture—the idea of privacy feels so strange to try to explain, but it’s really just trying to find bits of normalcy. That’s what that song 'Peace' is talking about.”
November 25, 2020: Co-Writing an Album
During the Disney+ film, folklore: the long pond studio sessions, Taylor confirmed what fans had long believed: Joe—under the pseudonym William Bowery—helped her co-write “betty” and “exile” off her folklore album. “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," Swift said in the documentary. "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."
She also shared that they were apprehensive about mixing work and pleasure, saying, “So this was the first time we had a conversation where I came in and I was like, 'Hey, this could be really weird, and we could hate this, so because we're in quarantine and there’s nothing else going on, could we just try to see what it's like if we write this song together?'"
December 8, 2020: Taylor Shuts Down Engagement Rumors
Though fans wondered online if the duo had gotten engaged, Taylor made a point to refer to Joe as her “boyfriend” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
December 11, 2020: Another Surprise Album
Taylor dropped another surprise album, evermore, and Joe’s pseudonym Willliam Bowery was listed in the credits again, this time as a co-writer on songs “evermore,” “champagne problems,” and “coney island.”
March 14, 2021: A Grammy Win
After folklore won Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammy Awards, Taylor thanked her boyfriend onstage during the awards show. “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," she said.
A month later, Joe was belatedly awarded a Grammy of his own for co-producing the folklore album alongside Taylor and her other collaborators. At the awards show, only Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner were honored alongside Taylor. Fans already knew that Joe co-wrote two songs, but it was revealed alongside the Grammy win that he co-produced six songs on the album as well.
October 11, 2021: A Winning Duo
Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn took home the Most Performed Songs Of The Year award for folklore's "betty" at the 2021 BMI London Awards
May 19, 2022: William Bowery Revealed
In an appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show," Alwyn finally explained the reasoning for hiding his contributions on folkore and evermore with the William Bowery pseudonym. "It was a combination of William, my great-grandfather, who I never actually met, (who) was a composer. He wrote a lot of classical music and he wrote a lot of film scores," he explains. "And then Bowery is the area in New York that I spent a lot of time in when I first went over there." But why use an alias at all? "We chose to do it so that people, first and foremost, would listen to the music first before dissecting the fact that we did it together," said the actor.
June 19, 2022: Island PDA
The celeb couple was spotted exhibiting some very rare PDA while on vacation in the Bahamas. The series of photos showed the two kissing mid-swim.
June 30, 2022: Secret Engagement Rumors
A source revealed to The Sun that Swift and Alwyn had secretly become engaged but were keeping the information under wraps. The source explained that the Grammy-winner only wears her engagement ring at home and that trusted friends and immediate family members had been "sworn to secrecy."
Two weeks after the story broke, the couple was spotted together in London where Swift was reportedly showing off a very ring-less ring finger.
October 21, 2022: Putting the Rumors to Rest
In “Lavender Haze,” the opening track of her new album Midnights, the Grammy winner sings about facing the engagement buzz. "I'm damned if I do give a damn what people say/ the 1950s s— they want from me/ I just wanna stay in that lavender haze," the lyrics say. "All they keep asking me is if I'm gonna be your bride/ the only kinda girl they see is a one night or a wife."
According to People, Swift revealed that her relationship with Alwyn inspired the song. “We’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff, and we just ignore it all,” she said. “And, so this song is sort of about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.”