Writing what she knows! Taylor Swift is notorious for penning personal tunes about her high-profile relationships, but how do her exes feel about being her muses?
The Grammy winner has been using her love life as inspiration since her self-titled debut dropped in 2006, featuring hits “Tim McGraw” and “Teardrops on My Guitar.” More than 10 years later, when she rereleased 2012’s Red, Swift had a simple message for anyone who might have thought her music was about them.
“I haven’t thought about their experience, to be honest,” she said during a November 2021 appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers.
Red (Taylor’s Version) included updated renditions of fan-favorite tracks from the original record and a handful of never-before-heard songs from Swift’s vault. Fans were most excited to hear the 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” which paints a vivid picture of the Pennsylvania native’s three-month relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal.
“[I was] really sad [when Red came out],” Swift told Seth Meyers in November 2021. “But this time, I’ve got sunglasses on and a mojito, and it’s chill this time. It’s really nice to be able to put this album out and not be sad. [I’m not] taking breaks in between interviews to cry. I’m telling you, it’s much better this way.”
Gyllenhaal and the “Cardigan” singer briefly dated in late 2010, splitting before the new year. The Donnie Darko actor is nearly 10 years Swift’s senior and hasn’t publicly discussed their whirlwind romance very much over the years. However, he gave a cryptic response when asked about the Miss Americana star in March 2017.
“I think when you’re in a relationship, you are constantly scrutinized, your friends are scrutinized, but … I would love to not talk about my personal life,” the Tony nominee told The Guardian at the time.
While the Brokeback Mountain star is hesitant to open up about his love life, some of Swift’s other exes are more forthcoming. John Mayer was linked to the “Delicate” songstress in 2009 after they collaborated on his song “Half of My Heart.” Mayer was famously the subject of her 2010 track “Dear John” — and he wasn’t happy about it.
“It made me feel terrible,” the Connecticut native told Rolling Stone in 2012. “Because I didn’t deserve it. I’m pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that. It was a really lousy thing for her to do. … I was really caught off guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down. I mean, how would you feel if, at the lowest you’ve ever been, someone kicked you even lower?”
Mayer called Swift’s songwriting tactic “bulls–t” at the time, and as the CMA Award winner continues rerecording her old albums, fans are eager to hear more from that era of her career.
“He’s not going to make any public comments directly related to her songs or album,” a source told Us Weekly exclusively of the “Your Body Is a Wonderland” crooner in November 2021. “[It’s] coming back to haunt him.”
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Scroll down to see what Swift’s exes have said about her over the years: