The Shady Side Of Taylor Swift's Ex Joe Alwyn Is No Secret Anymore

When Taylor Swift met Joe Alwyn in 2016, it was a true love story. He was handsome and talented, and, to top it all off, he had a British accent, which makes many over the pond go weak at the knees. Alwyn was also in the right place at the right time, providing an antidote to Swift's difficulties.

The singer had gone underground after Kim Kardashian supposedly exposed Swift by leaking a phone call between her and Kanye West, backing up Ye's claim that Swift was on board with derogatory remarks he made about her in "Famous," which included the line, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that b**** famous." Swift insisted Kardashian edited the call (later proven true), but few believed her. Tay was subjected to a relentless campaign of social media hate that made her feel she'd suffered "a career death."

"That took me down psychologically to a place I've never been before," she told Time in December 2023. "I moved to a foreign country. I didn't leave a rental house for a year. I was afraid to get on phone calls. I pushed away most people in my life because I didn't trust anyone anymore." Alwyn was one of the few she trusted, though. And they grew ever closer as he helped Tay Tay through her nightmare. He appeared to be T-Swizzle's knight in shining armor; however, there was a shady side to Alwyn that's since become apparent.

Alwyn let Swift do all the chasing

It's not easy dating when you're beautiful, famous, and mega-wealthy. Just ask Taylor Swift, although at least she's made a lucrative career from her failed relationships. Being the queen of breakup anthems comes at a price, though, with potential love interests terrified they could end up in future lyrics. If that's not difficult enough, most men are terrified to make the first move on T-Swizzle.

Joe Alwyn was no exception to the rule. In fact, he went out of his way to play hard to get, forcing a love-sick Tay Tay to pull out all the stops in pursuit of him — which she documented in songs, natch. In "London Boy," Swift confessed to falling for Alwyn's accent and dimples. In "Gorgeous," she sang about drowning in his "ocean blue eyes." Meanwhile, T-Swift walked a fine line between stalking and chasing in "Mastermind," admitting nothing would stop her from making him hers, plotting and scheming to ensure they bumped into each other until she snagged him.

Swift's musical journey with Alwyn continued to evolve as their relationship deepened. In "Paper Rings," she admitted to internet stalking him, likening their early dating months to a game of "cat and mouse," and expressing her willingness to marry him in an instant with a paper ring, no less. In "Daylight," T-Swift hinted at Alwyn's hesitation to commit. However, it's worth noting she also sang about him running with wolves, so make of that what you will.

Alwyn wasn't a fan of Swift's fame

Few people had heard of Joe Alwyn before he started seeing Taylor Swift in late 2016. The British actor had just started his film career after landing a leading role in Ang Lee's war drama "Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk." However, everything changed once news broke that he was dating T-Swizzle. Alwyn's life was turned upside down with the chaos and insanity accompanying life with a superstar of Swift's proportions.

Given the circumstances, it was inevitable that Swift's level of fame would eventually play a part in her breakup with Alwyn. Adjusting to extreme fame with paparazzi swarming you 24/7, hoards of fans hounding you, and a constant stream of fake headlines and tabloid tell-alls takes a certain kind of person to cope with it. It transpired that Alwyn wasn't one of them. "Joe has struggled with Taylor's level of fame and the attention from the public," a source told People in April 2023.

In an effort to preserve some semblance of a normal life, Alwyn made a conscious decision to keep his relationship with Swift out of the public eye. He avoided red carpets, showbiz events, and any discussions about his personal life. "It's not really [because I] want to be guarded and private; it's more a response to something else," he told Elle in April 2022. "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."

Alwyn was apparently cold and dismissive

Taylor Swift's 11th studio album, "The Tortured Poets Department," hadn't even dropped before her army of fierce and loyal Swifties poured over its lyrics, hunting for hidden meanings and clues to her private life. One thing was a given: There would be plenty of references — subtle or not — to Swift's six-year relationship with Joe Alwyn, which ended suddenly in a cloud of mystery in April 2023. Another certainty: Swifties would have their pitchforks sharpened, ready to go at Alwyn, the supposed evil villain.

Tay Tay fans had already been whipped into a frenzy following Swift's October 2022 track "Bejeweled." Alwyn wasn't mentioned by name. Still, it didn't take a genius to work out he was the subject of T-Swift's ire, as she complained that he took her for granted and was jealous of her fame. "I polish up nice / Best believe I'm still bejeweled / When I walk in the room, I can still make the whole place shimmer," Swift sang. She implied that he never valued or prioritized her. "Don't put me in the basement when I want the penthouse of your life," Swift sang.

In her November 2023 track, "You're Losing Me," Taylor Swift bared her soul, expressing her heartbreak and painting Alwyn as cold and dismissive of any future together. "I wouldn't marry me either, a pathological people pleaser who only wanted you to see her," she sang, her vulnerability and pain evident in every word.

Alwyn refused to talk about Swift

Joe Alwyn was committed to keeping his private life private and was uncomfortable with the scrutiny that accompanied seeing Taylor Swift, even though the couple dated for six years. They were even rumored to have secretly married at one point (fact check: they didn't). So, it was pretty shady that Alwyn flat-out refused to talk about Swift and their relationship.

"I understand people's curiosity in the world we live in, about people's private lives. Well, I don't understand it, but I know it exists," he told Total Film in October 2018. "For me, I just don't feel it's something I want to offer up to be picked apart by people who don't know about it, and it's just not theirs to have." The actor wouldn't even disclose his favorite Swift track when asked — although it's safe to assume "Forever & Always" wasn't among his top picks. "I'm just not even going to go into that side of the world," Alwyn told GQ in August 2018, keeping all the Swifties guessing.

Meanwhile, despite declining to talk about Swift, rarely being spotted in public with her and often absent during performances, reports claimed Alwyn was her biggest champion. "Joe will travel with her when he can," a source told People in March 2023 as Swift prepared to kick off her Eras Tour. "They are great together. Joe is super supportive of her career." Sadly, the source was misinformed, as they split a month later.

Alwyn purportedly cheated

At this stage it's crystal clear that Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn are never ever getting back together again. Still, that hasn't stopped the gossip mill from churning. The biggest rumor of them all — and the one that refuses to die down — is that Alwyn cheated on Tay Tay.

It kicked off after Emma Laird, who co-starred with Alwyn in "The Brutalist," posted a carousel of photos on Instagram on April 18, 2023. The pics were of various people, including a snap of Alwyn standing next to a green scooter. "Moments in March," Laird captioned the post along with a heart emoji. Swifties immediately pounced. Per StyleCaster, Laird was forced to disable the post's comments, but not before social media sleuths created a conspiracy theory that the March photo was actually from January. The situation worsened after Swifties discovered Laird had "liked" an April 9 Just Jared Instagram post about Swift and Alwyn's breakup.

"Emma has been there for Joe since news of his split from Taylor emerged," a source told The Sun on April 22. "Joe struggles with fame and enjoyed hanging out with Emma in Hungary, where he wouldn't be recognized." However, the tittle-tattle gathered steam again in April 2024 after a video promising to spill the tea raised the fact Swift kicked off the Sydney leg of her 2024 Eras tour with "Should've Said No," a song about cheating.