A Complete Guide to Taylor Swift and Boyfriend Joe Alwyn's Relationship Timeline

The couple—who began dating in 2017—have split after six years together.
Taylor Swift and boyfriend Joe Alwyn
Getty Images | Design by Tiana Crispino
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
by
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Apr 10, 2023

Who is Taylor Swift dating? Is Taylor Swift engaged or married? These are the questions on everyone's mind—and rightfully so. As one of the biggest celebrities in the world, Taylor Swift is, well, everywhere. As is true for many A-listers, being in the public eye elicits heightened curiosity about her private life—especially her relationships. Taylor Swift and boyfriend Joe Alywn have been linked since 2016, but they rarely speak openly about their romance. Instead, eagle-eyed (and eagle-eared) fans have pieced together details about Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn's relationship through song lyrics, interview clips, and footage from documentaries and paparazzi photos. But on April 8, Entertainment Tonight reported that Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn broke up before the start of her Eras tour. A source told the outlet that the breakup "was not dramatic," and that "the relationship had just run its course. It's why [Alwyn] hasn't been spotted at any shows." The following day, a "source close to Taylor Swift" told CNN that "they simply grew apart and plan to remain friends."

Here, we break down everything to know about Taylor Swift and boyfriend Joe Alwyn's romance, including their complete relationship timeline.

  • Taylor Swift met Joe Alwyn at the Met Gala in 2016. They quietly began dating in the spring of 2017.
  • In the years since, Taylor Swift has dropped Easter eggs about her relationship with Joe Alwyn through music and interviews. In 2020, she revealed that she wrote songs with her boyfriend, who used the pen name William Bowery.
  • Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn were often rumored to be engaged or secretly married. In a March 2022 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Alwyn debunked these claims, saying, "I mean, the truth is, if the answer was yes, I wouldn't say, and if the answer was no, I wouldn't say."
  • Amid Taylor Swift's highly-anticipated 2023 Eras tour, sources said that Joe Alwyn would be traveling around the country to support her when he's available. But on April 8, Entertainment Tonight and other outlets reported that the couple broke up earlier in the year.

In this article:

Is Taylor Swift Engaged to Joe Alwyn?

It's what everyone wants to know: Are Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn engaged? While some Swifties were convinced that Taylor and Joe were secretly engaged or married, those theories were put to rest when various outlets confirmed that the couple broke up in early 2023. Throughout their six-year relationship, Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn never confirmed if they were engaged or married—but she often made references to their romance in her music. Albums like Reputation, Lover, Folklore, Evermore and Midnights all include lyrics that appear to be connected to Joe Alwyn. But in the track "Lavender Haze" off her newest album, Swift alluded to the public pressure she faced surrounding her relationship: "No deal, the 1950s shit they want from me / I just wanna stay in that lavender haze / All they keep askin' me / Is if I'm gonna be your bride / The only kind of girl they see / Is a one-night or a wife."

That's not to say fans don't still have their own theories about Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn's engagement or wedding. Every few months, rumor mills would spark back up when anonymous insiders claimed that Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn are already engaged, or, in some stories, secretly married. While these alleged theories were never been confirmed or validated by reputable sources, fans couldn't help but think these two may have experienced a few relationship milestones that they kept private. (A secret wedding in Ireland was one compelling theory that gained popularity.)

Taylor Swifts Songs Written About & With Joe Alwyn

Taylor Swift performing at The Eras Tour in 2023
John Shearer/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

Although Taylor Swift generally refrains from speaking about her relationship with Joe Alwyn in interviews, she has opened up briefly about their partnership in documentaries like Miss Americana and Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions. Of course, that's not to say that fans aren't able to pick up on songs that are most likely written about her love. (After all, the Grammy-award-winning songstress is known for alluding to past relationships in her work.) Here's a list of Taylor Swift songs we think are written about Joe Alwyn:

  • "Delicate," Reputation
  • "So It Goes…" Reputation
  • "Gorgeous," Reputation
  • "King of My Heart," Reputation
  • "Dancing With Our Hands Tied," Reputation
  • "Dress," Reputation
  • "Don't Blame Me," Reputation
  • "Call It What You Want," Reputation
  • "New Year's Day," Reputation
  • "Lover," Lover
  • "I Think He Knows," Lover
  • "Paper Rings," Lover
  • "Cornelia Street," Lover
  • "London Boy," Lover
  • "False God," Lover
  • "Daylight," Lover
  • "All of the Girls You Loved Before," Lover
  • "Invisible String," Folklore
  • "Peace," Folklore
  • "Gold Rush," Evermore
  • "Lavender Haze," Midnights
  • "Snow on the Beach," Midnights
  • "Sweet Nothing," Midnights
  • "Mastermind," Midnights
  • "Paris," Midnights (3am Edition)
  • "The Great War," Midnights (3am Edition)

For the 2020 Disney+ documentary Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, Swift teamed up with collaborators Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner to give a behind-the-scenes look at the making of her eighth studio album Folklore. In the film, Taylor Swift reveals that she wrote songs with Joe Alwyn, who used the pen name William Bowery. In a May 2022 interview with Kelly Clarkson, Alwyn opened up about the rationale behind using a pseudonym. "We chose to do it so the people, first and foremost, would listen to the music first before dissecting the fact that we did it together," he explained. So, how did he come up with the name? Alwyn's great-grandfather's name was William Alwyn, who was also a musician. Bowery may refer to the Bowery Hotel in New York City, where Alwyn and Swift were spotted around the time they started dating. Here are the songs Taylor Swift wrote with Joe Alwyn, aka William Bowery:

  • "Exile," Folklore
  • "Betty," Folklore
  • "My Tears Ricochet," Folklore
  • "August," Folklore
  • "This Is Me Trying," Folklore
  • "Illicit Affairs," Folklore
  • "Champagne Problems," Evermore
  • "Coney Island," Evermore
  • "Evermore," Evermore
  • "Sweet Nothing," Midnights

Taylor Swift and Boyfriend Joe Alwyn's Relationship Timeline

After a string of relationships with stars like Joe Jonas, Harry Styles, Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston, Swift quietly started dating British actor Joe Alwyn in 2017. While the couple originally kept their romance out of the public eye, they've slowly opened up about the progress of their relationship, occasionally speaking about each other through music and interviews. Amid rumors that they recently broke up after six years together, look back on Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn's relationship timeline, which we document below.

May 2016: Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Meet at the Met Gala

Taylor Swift at 2016 Met Gala red carpet
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn reportedly first met at the 2016 Met Gala. We know what you're thinking: Wasn't that the night Swift and her soon-to-be boyfriend Tom Hiddleston went viral for their after-party dance moves? Yes. Swift and Hiddleston began dating shortly after the Met Gala, but their whirlwind romance ended in September 2016 (after a summer of PDA). But, we have good reason to believe that Swift met her current beau at this event based on these lyrics from the song "Dress" off her 2017 album Reputation: "Flashback when you met me / Your buzzcut and my hair bleached." Swift sported a short, bleached fringe at the Met Gala. Can you guess who attended with a buzzcut? We'll let you make the connection.

May 2017: Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Start Dating Undercover

While it's not exactly clear when things started to heat up between these two, The Sun reported about a year after the 2016 Met Gala that Swift and Alwyn had been together for a few months, with Swift traveling to London to go on dates with her rumored boyfriend—going so far as to wear hats, wigs, and scarves to keep their budding romance on the down low.

June 2017: Taylor and Joe Enjoy Coffee Date in Nashville

A month later, Alwyn traveled to Swift's hometown in Nashville where they were spotted on a quiet coffee date. The two giggled and sipped on their drinks on a private balcony while looking completely smitten. It was also rumored that, by this time, Alwyn already met Selena Gomez and Gigi Hadid, two of Swift's closest friends.

October 2017: Taylor Swift Starts Dropping Relationship Hints in Her Music

Taylor Swift proved she was ready to start revealing hints about her boyfriend in the music video for her song "...Ready for It?" In the production, Swift stands next to a wall with her birth year ('89) written in graffiti next to Alwyn's ('91). She also types "2-1" into a phone… and Alwyn's birthday happens to be February 21.

December 2017: Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Enjoy a "Perfect" Date Night

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn were caught dancing while Ed Sheeran performed "Perfect" at Jingle Ball in 2017. Alwyn was also seen recording his leading lady's performance at the show, showing off his Instagram-boyfriend skills.

March 2018: Taylor Swift Wears a Necklace with Joe Alwyn's Initial

While the couple had yet to speak publicly about their relationship up until this point, Taylor Swift left another reference to Joe Alwyn in the Spotify video for the song "Delicate" from her Reputation album. She can be seen wearing a necklace with a "J" initial—and in another song off the same album, "Call It What You Want," she sings, "I want to wear his initial on a chain 'round my neck / Chain 'round my neck."

May 2018: Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Match Instagram Posts

A day before Swift's Reputation stadium tour began, she and Alwyn separately posted pictures of themselves standing next to the same exact cactus tree. Of all the cacti in the desert, it didn't appear to be a coincidence.

July 2018: Taylor and Joe Spend Independence Day Together

For four consecutive years, Swift was known for celebrating the Fourth of July with Instagram-worthy, star-studded summer bashes at her Rhode Island residence—though the singer's last "Taymerica" party was held in 2016. Since then, Swift has traded her sparklers for smaller celebrations like in 2018, when she and Alwyn spent the Fourth together in Turks and Caicos. (She still sported a patriotic bikini to mark the day).

September 2018: Taylor Swift Supports Joe Alwyn's Work

Taylor Swift kept a low profile at the premiere of Joe Alwyn's film The Favourite. Though she attended with her boyfriend, she skipped the red carpet and instead used a private back door to get in—but they were still photographed sneaking in together, hand-in-hand.

September 2018: Joe Alwyn Speaks Publicly About Taylor Swift

In the same month, Alwyn also spoke publicly about Swift for the first time to British Vogue, saying, "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."

November 2018: Taylor Swift's Gives a Social Shout-Out

Proud girlfriend alert! Taylor Swift gave her boyfriend a very public shoutout on Instagram for his work in his film. "The Favourite is absolutely phenomenal, and it opens in NY and LA tomorrow— Swipe to see cities and dates! @thefavouritemovie@joe.alwyn @nicholashoult," she raved.

February 2019: Taylor and Joe Display PDA

Despite their tendency to keep things private, Taylor and Joe packed on the PDA during the 2019 awards season. Not only were they affectionate at a BAFTAs party in London, they couldn't keep their hands off each other at an Oscars party in Los Angeles.

May 2019: Taylor Swift Opens Up in Lover

In the August 2019 release of Lover, Swift opened up about her boyfriend like never before. Her seventh studio album was packed with references to Alwyn—though the most obvious were in the song "London Boy," where she sings about her time across the pond with her beau ("Took me back to Highgate / Met all of his best mates / So I guess all the rumors are true / You know I love a London boy").

Swift left a number of other Easter eggs for loyal Swifties to decode throughout the album. She references marriage in the song "Paper Rings," which fueled rumors that the two were already engaged. The album's namesake song "Lover" also includes lyrics seemingly inspired by wedding vows: "Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand? / With every guitar string scar on my hand / I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover / My heart's been borrowed and yours has been blue / All's well that ends well to end up with you." In "Cornelia Street," the singer reminisced on her time spent in Greenwich Village in New York City, likely with Alwyn at the beginning of their relationship. Plus, the music video for her single "ME!" featured plenty of wedding references, including a proposal involving a ring and a cat.

Later in the year, Alwyn briefly spoke to The Sunday Times about being the subject of Swift's love songs, saying he "didn't mind at all" and that he found it "flattering."

July 2020: Taylor Drops More Hints in Folklore

Swift dropped a bombshell surprise with the unexpected release of her eighth studio album Folklore in July 2020. A self-proclaimed isolation project as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the album is a departure from Swift's typical pop music in favor of alternative, stripped-down ballads. According to Swift, most songs are a "stream of consciousness" that tell vivid stories derived from her own imagination, as well as historical features. There are, however, a few unmistakable references to Swift's boyfriend Alywn.

Fans surmised the track "invisible string" references the Chinese myth about the Red Thread of Fate, which says there is an invisible red thread that connects you to your soulmate. In the quirky tune, Swift sings, "Bad was the blood of the song in the cab / On your first trip to LA / You ate at my favorite spot for dinner / Bold was the waitress on our three-year trip / Getting lunch down by the Lakes / She said I looked like an American singer," and, later in the song, "And isn't it just so pretty to think / All along there was some/Invisible string / Tying you to me?"

Some Swifties also used the album to predict that the pair were engaged—or perhaps married—on August 7, noting that the tracklist includes songs titled "Seven" and "August" respectively. The prediction remains unconfirmed, but Swift did reveal that Alwyn co-wrote multiple songs on the album under the pen name William Bowery in the Disney+ documentary concert film Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions. While this didn't confirm if Taylor Swift is engaged to boyfriend Joe Alwyn, fans continue to follow the notoriously private relationship through subtle Easter eggs and Swift's ingenious lyricism.

March 2022: Joe Alwyn Shuts Down Taylor Swift Engagement Rumors

During a March 2022 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Alwyn was directly asked if he and Swift are engaged—a question he immediately shut down. "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," he remarked. "I mean, the truth is, if the answer was yes, I wouldn't say, and if the answer was no, I wouldn't say."

July 2022: Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Marriage Rumors Pick Up

A few months later in July, rumors began swirling once again that he indeed popped the question, with a source telling The Sun, "They've actually been engaged for a few months but have only told their inner-inner circle—basically immediate family, and trusted, very old friends. Everyone has been sworn to secrecy, too...They want their love to stay away from the cameras as much as possible."

October 2022: Taylor Swift Drops More Relationship Hints in Midnights

Upon the release of her tenth studio album Midnights in October 2022, Swifties had more relationship Easter eggs to decode. In addition to referencing her romance with Alwyn in the song "Lavender Haze," Swift revealed some of her most raw and honest lyrics about her romance in the track "Sweet Nothing," co-written by William Bowery. The track alludes to their love story through touching lyrics like, "On the way home / I wrote a poem / You say, "What a mind / This happens all the time," and "'Cause they said the end is coming / Everyone's up to something / I find myself running home to your sweet nothings / Outside, they're push and shoving / You're in the kitchen humming / All that you ever wanted from me was nothing."

Spring 2023: Sources Say Joe Alwyn Will Support Taylor Swift on Her "Eras" Tour

In March 2023, Taylor Swift kicked off her highly anticipated "Eras" tour, her first since the Reputation stadium tour in 2018. Ahead of the show's kickoff in Arizona, an insider told People that Taylor Swift's boyfriend would be supporting her throughout the entire stretch. "Joe will travel with her when he can," they said. "They are great together. Joe is super supportive of her career."

April 2023: Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn Reportedly Break Up

On April 8, a source told Entertainment Tonight that Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn broke up. CNN also reported that an insider close to the superstar said the couple "simply grew apart and plan to remain friends." The duo has yet to publicly comment on the alleged news.

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