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Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn's relationship, in their own words

Swift said her boyfriend of six years inspired one of the songs on her new album, "Midnights."

Wondering how Taylor Swift, 32, feels about her boyfriend, the actor Joe Alwyn, 31? All you have to do is listen to one of her songs, many of which he likely inspired. See: "Lover," "London Boy," and songs off her new album "Midnights."

Swift said she doesn't speak (much) about her personal life or dating history, but she does write about it. “I don’t talk about my personal life in great detail. I write about it in my songs, and I feel like you can share enough about your life in your music to let people know what you’re going through,” Swift told Glamour in 2012.

After getting together in 2016, the two first went (somewhat) Instagram official in May 2018, when they posted similar photos of themselves standing next to a giant cactus.

As they've grown more public with their relationship, Swift and the "Conversations With Friends" star have spoken about each sparingly in interviews – but more often in lyrics.

Previewing her forthcoming album, "Midnights," Swift said the song "Lavender Haze" was inspired by her relationship. "Lavender haze," she said, 'means the 'all-encompassing love glow.'"

"If the world finds out that you’re in love with somebody, they’re going to weigh in on it. My relationship for six years, we’ve had to dodge weird rumors, tabloid stuff — and we just ignore it,” she said. “This song is sort of about the act of ignoring that stuff to protect the real stuff.”

On the song, she appears to weigh in on engagement rumors. "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."

Here's a timeline of Alwyn and Swift's relationship, in their own words.

Fans speculate they met at the 2016 Met Gala because of this song

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn at the Met Gala in 2016.
Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn at the Met Gala in 2016.WireImage, Getty Images

Fans speculate that Swift and Alwyn met at the 2016 Met Gala due to a song lyric off the 2017 song "Dress," featured on the album "Reputation."

Swift sings,“Flashback to when you met me / Your buzz cut / And my hair bleached.”

Look back at photos from the the 2016 Met Gala, and — behold — Swift showed up to the event with a bleached blonde bob and Alwyn was sporting a buzzcut.

They started dating in 2016

While they never confirmed where they met, Alwyn and Swift were dating as of late 2016. Earlier that year, Swift had been linked to Tom Hiddleston and Calvin Harris.

On the 2019 album "Lover," Swift shared photocopies from her diary entries — including one from Jan. 3, 2017, which discusses her new relationship. While Alwyn isn't named, the timelines of the diary entries aligns with her relationship.

“I’m essentially based in London, hiding out trying to protect us from the nasty world that just wants to ruin things.

“We have been together and no one has found out for three months now. I want it to stay that way because I don’t want anything about this to change.

“It’s senseless to worry about someday not being happy when I am happy now,” she continued.

Swift and Alwyn went Instagram official in 2018

About a year-and-a-half after they started dating, Swift and Alwyn nodded to their relationship online.

They shared similar photos on their Instagram accounts of themselves standing next to a tall cactus.

In the caption, Swift revealed how excited she was to be going on her "Reputation" tour.

"Fact: I’ve never been more excited about a tour than I am about this one," she said. "And it starts TOMORROW. Also, not even remotely tour related, but today I met a cactus. 🌵."

As for Alwyn's post? The actor shared a cactus emoji in the caption.

Alwyn said he would 'prefer to talk about work' over relationships

During a May 2018 interview with British Vogue — not long after the aforementioned cactus photos — Alwyn was asked about his relationship with Swift and said that he would rather not discuss it with the publication.

“I’m aware people want to know about that side of things,” he said. “I think we have been successfully very private and that has now sunk in for people. But I really prefer to talk about work."

That year also marked Alwyn's breakout, following his 2016 appearance in "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk." The English actor was in four movies: "The Favourite," "Mary Queen of Scots," "Boy Erased" and "Operation Finale."

Joe Alwyn
“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,” Joe Alwyn said.Joe Maher / Getty Images

When asked about Swift again in a September 2018 interview with Total Film, Alywn explained why he's reluctant to open up about his relationship to the press.

“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 said. “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.”

Swift says Alwyn 'absolutely' understands what she's going through

While speaking with Paul McCartney for the cover of Rolling Stone in November 2020, Swift spoke about the challenges of dating as an A-Lister. She said it can be "scary," as a public figure, to fall in love with someone who "has a very grounded, normal way of living."

"I, oftentimes, in my anxieties, can control how I am as a person and how normal I act and rationalize things, but I cannot control if there are 20 photographers outside in the bushes and what they do and if they follow our car and if they interrupt our lives," she said. "I can’t control if there’s going to be a fake weird headline about us in the news tomorrow."

"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," Swift continued.

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - August 29, 2022
Taylor Swift said it can be "scary" to date as a public figure.Gotham / GC Images

When asked if her partner sympathizes with what she has to deal with as a singer, she responded, "absolutely."

Swift reveals that Alwyn was a co-writer on 'Folklore' and 'Evermore' albums

When Swift released her eighth studio album, "Folklore," in July 2020, fans clocked the name William Bowery in the credits for "Betty" and "Exile." And on "Evermore," released later that year, Bowery was listed as one of the writers on “Coney Island,” “Champagne Problems,” and “Evermore.”

Amid speculation about William Bowery's identity, Swift spilled the beans in the 2020 Disney+ project "Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about William Bowery and his identity, ‘cause it’s not a real person,” Swift said in the film. “William Bowery is Joe, as we know.”

During an appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show" in 2022, Alwyn explained why they decided to use a pseudonym.

“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,” Alwyn said.

The name has a special meaning: “It was a combination of William, my great-grandfather, who I never actually met, (who) was a composer,” Alwyn said. “He wrote a lot of classical music and he wrote a lot of film scores. And then Bowery is the area in New York that I spent a lot of time in when I first went over there. “

Joe Alwyn
Joe Alwyn — or should we say, William Bowery.Mike Marsland / WireImage

Alwyn later took home a Grammy for his contributions on Swift's "Folklore" album. In March 2021, he won his first Grammy alongside his girlfriend, who won her third album of the year award.

In her acceptance speech, Swift gave Alwyn a sweet shout-out. She said, “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."

In an April 2022 interview with The Guardian, Alwyn opened up about working with Swift and revealed how he became a collaborator on some of Swift’s songs.

“It wasn’t like, ‘It’s five o’clock, it’s time to try and write a song together,’” he said. “It came about from messing around on a piano, and singing badly, then being overheard, and being, like, ‘Let’s see what happens if we get to the end of it together.’”

He also co-wrote a 'Midnights' song

William Bowery re-emerged for the "Midnights" song "Sweet Nothings," about finding refuge in a relationship.

"I found myself a-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 sweet nothing," Swift sings.

Alwyn denies engagement rumors

In April 2020, Alwyn kept true to his promise that he wouldn't talk to the press about his relationship when he was asked by the Wall Street Journal if the rumors about him and Swift being engaged are true.

“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 joked.

“I mean, the truth is, if the answer was yes, I wouldn’t say, and if the answer was no, I wouldn’t say," Alwyn added.

Engagement rumors persist, with fans wondering if the "chaotic surprise" Swift has promised the evening "Midnight" drops is related to Alwyn.

'Lavender Haze' and more songs are about Joe Alwyn

On Instagram, Swift confirmed her relationship inspired the "Midnights" song "Lavender Haze."

He's also thought to have inspired other songs. Alwyn and Swift were dating when "Reputation" came out in 2017, and were established as a couple in the time of "Lover" (2019), spurring one of her most romantic eras.

In "Invisible String," she sings about two people's paths to meeting each other: "Teal was the colour of your shirt / When you were sixteen at the yogurt shop / You used to work at to make a little money." Alwyn previously spoke about working at a fro-yo establishment.

"London Boy" might be about their pond-jumping romance: "You know I love a London boy," she sings. "He likes my American smile."

Or in "Daylight," Swift references how her idea of love has changed since the album "Red" came out when she was 22: "I once believed love would be burning red / but it's golden."

If one of these love songs is your favorite, then you can probably thank Alwyn.