While it remains to be seen what future No. 1 hits Taylor Swift will write about her recent relationships with Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston, we do know which of her current and past hits were inspired by her notable exes. “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” for example, is about A-list movie star, Jake Gyllenhaal.
How can we be sure, you ask?
In the famous photos of Taylor and Jake walking arm-in-arm through Central Park in the winter of 2010, she’s wearing his scarf. So, when the actor playing Taylor’s ex in the video for this song handed her a scarf, fans immediately assumed it was written about Jake. Plus, Taylor and Jake were photographed on a dinner date, days after their split in January 2011. Discussing getting back together perhaps? Never!
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“Style” - Harry Styles
Ever since T. Swift released the third track from her 2014 album “1989,” people have been speculating which of her famous ex-boyfriends it could be about. The general consensus is that it’s One Direction frontman Harry Styles. Let’s take a look at the evidence: In “Style,” Taylor sings, “You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye.” That sounds like Harry. Then, she sings, “You got that long hair, slicked back, white t-shirt.” That also sounds like Harry. Then, of course, there’s the fact that the song’s title is basically his name. Yup, definitely Harry.
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“Mine” - Cory Monteith
T-Swift told Yahoo back in 2010 that she penned “Mine” about a boy that she barely knew, who “put his arm around me by the water, and I saw the entire relationship flash before my eyes.” Well, Tay and “Glee” star Cory Monteith were rumored to have dated for about a month that year. So, it’s highly possible the pop star used a combination of her past dating experiences to imagine how their relationship might have played out -- if, as she told Rolling Stone, she was able to let her guard down and take the next step.
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“Back To December” - Taylor Lautner
Unlike most of her other songs about ex-boyfriends, “Back to December” isn’t scathing. It isn’t accusatory. It’s an apology … to Taylor Lautner. How do we know? The lyrics say it all: “I miss your tan skin, your sweet smile.” Pretty good description of everyone’s favorite “Twilight” werewolf, right? Then, there’s the timeline she lays out in verse two, which syncs up perfectly. The Taylors met on the set of the romantic comedy “Valentine’s Day” in the Summer of 2009. Their romance blossomed in the fall. And then they broke up in December of that year, after he flew down to visit her for her birthday (probably the line about leaving his roses to die). Pretty open-and-shut case, Swift fans. Taylor Lautner all the way.
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“I Knew You Were Trouble” - Harry Styles
In an interview with The Sunday Times magazine after performing “I Knew You Were Trouble” at the 2013 BRIT Awards, T-Swizzle flat-out admitted that her new hit single was about One Direction hunk Harry Styles. The interviewer asked Taylor how it felt performing the song in front of Harry, and Taylor answered, “Well, it’s not hard to access that emotion when the person the song is directed at is standing by the side of the stage watching.” So that’s that. Look out, ladies. Harry Styles = trouble.
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“All Too Well” - Jake Gyllenhaal
In 2010, it was rumored Taylor Swift spent Thanksgiving in New York with her then-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal and his family. So, when “All Too Well” was released on Swift’s 2012 album “Red,” containing lyrics like: “Left my scarf there at your sister’s house” (Maggie Gyllenhaal lives in Brooklyn), “The autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place” (Think: New York around Thanksgiving), and “Your mother’s telling stories about you on a tee ball team” (she met his parents), it was all too obvious which ex-love “All Too Well” was about.
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“Dear John” - John Mayer
Well, T-Swift didn’t try very hard to obscure the subject of this one. Her brief fling with then 32-year-old John Mayer (12 years her senior) ended on a sour note just months before the song’s October 2010 release. So even if the title didn’t tip us off, the lyrics would have: “Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with? … Don’t you think 19 is too young to be played by your dark twisted games, when I loved you so?” Since the song’s release, John Mayer has gone on record saying he thinks the song was a pretty low blow.
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“Better Than Revenge” - Joe Jonas
Well, actually, the #11 track off Taylor’s 2010 album “Speak Now” is about Camilla Belle -- the girl Joe Jonas dumped Taylor Swift for -- not Joe Jonas. But hey, that counts too! Camilla and Joe started dating in October 2008, after she starred in the music video for the Jonas Brothers song “Lovebug.” Not so coincidentally, that’s the same month Joe Jonas famously dumped T-Swift on a 27-second phone call.
Betrayed and made to feel inferior by her ex’s actions, Swift wrote these scathing lyrics about the actress: “Stealing other people’s toys on the playground won’t make you many friends. She should keep in mind… There is nothing I do better than revenge.” And it’s true. T-Swizzle is an absolute pro at penning tunes about people who have done her wrong.
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“Begin Again” - Conor Kennedy
In a 2012 interview with Ryan Seacrest, Taylor Swift said the #16 track off her album “Red” is about, “When you’ve gotten through a really bad relationship and you finally dust yourself off.” At the time in question, Taylor was dusting herself off from a tumultuous on-again-off-again relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal, and moving forward with RFK grandson Conor Kennedy.
In fact, she was allegedly so enamored with Kennedy in the summer of 2012 that she bought a house near the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. So, it’s safe to assume that T-Swift wrote the lyrics “You pull my chair out and help me in,” and “I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did” about her new Kennedy beau.
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“The Last Time” - Jake Gyllenhaal
Taylor told NPR that she penned the #10 track on her 2012 album “Red” about a kind of “unreliable guy. You never know when he’s going to leave. You never know when he’s going to come back.” Most people believe “The Last Time” is about her 2010-2011 relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Nine years her senior, Gyllenhaal is considered quite the ladies man in Hollywood. He was linked to actress Rachel Bilson in 2010, actress Anna Kendrick in 2011, and those are just the flings we know about. So, it’s fairly likely Swift was asking him to, “Put my name at the top of your list.”
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“Last Kiss” - Joe Jonas
The #13 track off Taylor’s album “Speak Now” is rumored to be about singer Joe Jonas, who she dated from July-October 2008. And if the lyrics are any indication, it’s not easy to watch your ex move on in the public eye: “So I’ll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep. And I feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe.”
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“Picture To Burn” - Jordan Alford
Tay wrote “Picture To Burn,” the #2 track off her self-titled debut album, about her high school boyfriend Jordan Alford and his “stupid old pickup truck” he never let her drive. Referring to him throughout the song as a “redneck heartbreak,” it’s clear Taylor doesn’t reflect kindly on their love lost.
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“Forever and Always” - Joe Jonas
Of the #6 track off her 2008 album “Fearless,” Taylor Swift has said, “‘Forever And Always is about when I was in a relationship with someone and I was just watching him slowly slip away... The guy I wrote it about ended up breaking up with me for another girl. Guess I know why he was fading.” And who do we know broke up with Taylor for another girl? Joe Jonas.
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“Enchanted” - Adam Young
Taylor wrote the #10 track on her album “Speak Now,” after meeting Owl City frontman Adam Young. Young reportedly sent her an email after the meeting, apologizing for being shy and explaining that he was so quiet because he was simply “wonderstruck” to meet her.
Taylor then used the word “wonderstruck” as both a lyric in “Enchanted” and the name of her fragrance. Though the pair never went on to date, Young was so touched by the song that he recorded his own cover of it by tweaking a few lyrics to direct its message at Taylor.
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“Holy Ground” - Joe Jonas
Like “Last Kiss, “Forever And Always” and “Better Than Revenge,” “Holy Ground” is a song about Joe Jonas. But unlike those earlier reactions to their breakup, this #11 track off her 2012 album “Red” remembers the relationship (and the breakup, for that matter) in a much more positive light. This is Tay Tay coming to grips with the way it all went down, remembering what she loved about him in the first place, and moving on.
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“Tim McGraw,” “Our Song,” “Fifteen”
Taylor wrote three songs about high school beau Brandon Borello. And from the sounds of the lyrics, he didn’t really do anything wrong except leave for college before her. So, Mr. Borello has the distinction of having three awesome Taylor Swift songs written about him that all paint him in a positive, young love sort of light. You go, Bran Coco!
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“Should’ve Said No” - Sam Armstrong
Taylor Swift wrote “Should’ve Said No,” the #9 track off her 2006 debut album, about a high school boyfriend, who she found out cheated on her. The song’s lyrics read, “You say that you’d take it all back, given one chance. It was a moment of weakness and you said yes.” Well, if he was regretting it then, chances are he’s really regretting it now.