How Taylor Swift’s Love Story With Joe Alwyn Reached Its Happily Ever After
Taylor Swift’s romance with Joe Alwyn didn’t involve warring families, a disapproving father or a love that was particularly difficult (though it was very much re-eal).
Still the fact that this particularly love story came at a time when the singer absolutely didn’t expect it—while she was shouldering some of the worst headlines of her career—makes it as close to a fairytale as you’re likely to come across in real life.
Today, the 10-time Grammy winner marks three years with the type of guy she was likely imagining back in 2011 as she told InStyle, “When I picture the person I want to end up with, I don’t think about what their career is, or what they look like. I picture the feeling I get when I’m with them.”
Or, at least, it’s been three years since we’ve known about their coupling, the singer, arguably one of the world’s most famous pop stars, managing to carry on a romance with the British period film specialist for at least a few months before The Sun caught on.
Having tired of the public making sport out of her dating life, she was ready for a shift when she first connected with the classically trained actor. Sensing theirs could be a romance with some longevity, she went to great lengths to protect what was hers, employing all of the private jets, body guards, secret apartments, loyal friends and oversized hoodies at her disposal.
Several years on, and more than a few yet-to-be-verified engagement rumors later, the gamble has clearly paid off. And while they’ve lifted the veil ever so slightly on their romance, that just means the 29-year-old was comfortable giving his Instagram followers a glimpse at Swift’s kitten Benjamin Buttons, proving they’re currently quarantining in the same spot.
After all, it’s their place, they make the rules.
And the parameters they’ve chosen have been working for them from the beginning. Following months of overexposure in 2016, “I figured I had to reset everything,” the singers shared in her January Netflix documentary Taylor Swift: Miss Americana. “I also was falling in love with someone who had a really wonderfully normal, balanced, grounded life.”
Because as happy as they may be, the 30-year-old is done putting on a show with her personal life. In her twenties, as she explored couplings with the likes of Harry Styles, Jake Gyllenhaal or Joe Jonas, which is absolutely what most anyone would do if they were young, famous and in demand, she was labeled boy crazy, a serial dater.
Then, when she spent time on her own, the script was flipped, the singer painted as someone so unlucky in love she couldn’t make a relationship stick. Never mind that neither extreme were true. However cliché, the speculation was grating.
“I feel like watching my dating life has become a bit of a national pastime, and I’m just not comfortable providing that kind of entertainment anymore,” she told Rolling Stone in 2014. “I don’t like giving comedians the opportunity to make jokes about me at awards shows. I don’t like it when headlines read ‘Careful, Bro, She’ll Write a Song About You,’ because it trivializes my work. And most of all, I don’t like how all these factors add up to build the pressure so high in a new relationship that it gets snuffed out before it even has a chance to start.”
She even went so far as to declare a moratorium on dating, so sure was she that she’d never be able to shatter the links that tied her personal life to her professional career.
“You know, I went out on a normal amount of dates in my early 20s, and I got absolutely slaughtered for it,” she explained to Vogue while posing for their May 2016 cover. “And it took a lot of hard work and altering my decision-making. I didn’t date for two and a half years. Should I have had to do that? No.”
The self-imposed drought ended in February of 2015 when Ellie Goulding decided to introduce her pal to frequent collaborator Calvin Harris. “Calvin is a really great mate and he’s so fantastic, and Taylor is such a cool person who I love. I thought, ‘They’re both really awesome and both really tall, they’ll be brilliant together,'” she told British paper The Sun.
And her thoughtfulness gave a happy spin to Swift’s tale of dating woes. Yes, she’d been put through the wringer—”I’ve had people say really hurtful things about me, and so I’ve kind of learned how to gauge it: ‘This is, like, low-to-medium-level hurtful,'” she told the fashion mag—and, no, it wasn’t at all cool. But celebrating more than one year beside the attractive Scot with an ambition and success record to match her own had helped to dull the aggravation. As she put it to Vogue, “I’m in a magical relationship right now.”
But the issue was barely off newsstands before the duo confirmed the fairy dust had worn off.
“They were just not very compatible in different areas in their relationship,” an insider told E! News of the June 2016 split, adding, “The touring and traveling didn’t help. It seemed like they were more friends than lovers.”
The chemistry was apparent in her next dalliance, cameras catching she and British actor Tom Hiddleston kissing their way through a very successful first date in Rhode Island weeks later. But then the photographers remained trained on the pair as they tried to go about the business of forming a successful union. Well-versed in what it was like to suss out potential in a partner while being trailed by, as she once put it, “20 men with cameras,” Swift reportedly suggested trying a more under-the-radar approach.
After all, she had already heard One Direction standout Styles gripe that having their early dates captured on film “was a learning experience for sure,” and Harris give his take about the heavy attention they endured after their split. “It’s very difficult when something I consider soAnd, as she once put it to Vanity Fair of her relationship style, “I usually don’t make the same mistake twice. I make new ones, but I don’t usually repeat my old ones.”
So perhaps, she said, a bit of privacy was in order.
But then, there he was donning an “I ♥ T.S.” tank (worn, jokingly, he later clarified, to protect a wound on his back from the sun) at her annual Fourth of July bash and gushing to The Hollywood Reporter about how they were “together and we’re very happy.” And it all became a bit too much for Swift.
By September, their 12-week dalliance had flamed out. “Taylor felt he wanted to take the relationship to be too public,” a source told E! News of their amicable split, “and she was not happy about it.”