When two celebrities like Taylor Swift and Harry Styles start dating, it seems like the entire world stops what they’re doing so they can get a look at the shiny new couple. Everyone wants to know the details, the truth, and the intimate conversations like they’re somehow a part of the relationship themselves. So it was no big surprise that when Swift and Styles got together, people were invested.
Both huge pop stars in their own right, Swift and Styles sparked dating rumors way back in 2012. Swift’s popularity within pop music was growing at an incredible rate, and Styles was the heartthrob of boy band One Direction — they seemed like a match made in heaven. Questions regarding the nature of their relationship were posed to them constantly, so when they were finally photographed together in New York at the end of 2012, fans had a field day.
Like a lot of young love, the romantic relationship between Styles and Swift only lasted a couple months, but the impact that their love had on their fans and pop culture at large cannot be understated. And given their reunion at the 2021 Grammy Awards, it’s no wonder that the internet can’t get enough of them. Curious about their time together? This is what really happened between Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.
There were sparks when Taylor Swift and Harry Styles met in 2012
Oh, 2012 — what a simpler time. As noted by MTV News, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles met while backstage at the 2012 Kids Choice Awards (cue the nostalgia), and they hit it off. Apparently, Swift watched Styles and the boys of One Direction perform their hit song “What Makes You Beautiful” while standing backstage with pal Selena Gomez. We all used to cry when that song was played, envisioning what it’d be like to date one of the One Direction boys, so who’s to say that Swift was any different?
And who added fuel to the fire that was the gossip surrounding Swift and Styles’ relationship? Justin Bieber, of course. He told the Mirror that “one of the biggest artists in the world” thought that Styles was “so hot.” The pop star said, “I have been sworn to secrecy,” but he added that Styles and the boys of One Direction “look great, they sound great and, when you add their British accents into the mix, the American girls are going crazy for them.” Who was the artist that Bieber alluded to? Swift, it would appear.
Taylor Swift and Harry Styles' connection simmered during the summer months of 2012
Taylor Swift and Harry Styles met in early 2012, but they didn’t start dating right away. As many of us remember because we were infinitely jealous, Swift had a very high-profile summer fling with none other than Conor Kennedy — yes, one of the Kennedys — after she had already met the “Watermelon Sugar” heartthrob. As noted by InStyle, Swift and Kennedy’s relationship was a whirlwind, and it resulted in Swift buying a $5 million house in Cape Cod, a decision many thought she made so she could be closer to her man. But things between the pop star and the political heir didn’t last.
“Conor liked Taylor, don’t get me wrong, but this business of her buying a house on the Cape made him nervous,” Kennedy’s friend divulged to the writer of The Kennedy Heirs, a biography on the family. “It seemed as if she was getting a little too attached, spending five million bucks on a house just to be near the guy.” So what did Swift do? She sold the house, snagged a profit of a million dollars, and went on her way.
As noted by MTV News, when Styles’ One Direction bandmates giggled in an interview and said they were most looking forward to seeing Taylor Swift at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, it seemed to be proof that something was still going on between Swift and Styles.
Harry Styles gushed about Taylor Swift during an interview
Harry Styles and Taylor Swift kept a pretty low profile during their relationship. Neither spoke about the other in a really public way, nor were they photographed together often. But Styles added a huge amount of fuel to the fire when he talked about Swift in an interview with Seventeen in November 2012. “[Taylor]’s a really lovely girl. Honestly, she couldn’t be a sweeter person,” Styles said. “She’s a great girl and she’s extremely talented.”
Thought that’s all he said? Guess again, because Styles continued by calling Swift “one of those people you meet [who’s] genuinely a nice person.” There’s not a lot that excites us more than the idea of Styles praising us and describing our positive attributes, and while we’re not entirely sure how Swift reacted to the interview, we would’ve been over the moon about it.
“Some people you meet and they are not as nice as you make them out to be, but she’s one of those people who’s really just amazing,” Styles concluded. Be still our beating hearts.
Harry Styles visited Taylor Swift during a rehearsal
The rumpus surrounding Harry Styles and Taylor Swift came to the forefront when Mario Lopez, the host of the singing competition X Factor, commented on the budding relationship, as noted by MTV News.
So what was the deal and why was Lopez involved? Swift was on the set of X Factor rehearsing, as she was set to perform her song “State of Grace” on show. She was spotted with Styles backstage, and the connection between them was enough for Lopez to bring it up during his radio show the following Friday. “Taylor Swift was the special guest performer,” Lopez shared, “and a little inside scoop for you: During rehearsals, Harry from One Direction came and slapped me on the back and said, ‘Hey, Mario, how ya doing?’ And I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ And he sort of [pointed] toward Taylor.”
We’re not entirely sure how much of Lopez’s business it was to share such information, but the news sent fans for a loop. And, well, we love a little bit of tea — there’s no denying it.
Taylor Swift and Harry Styles were finally photographed together in December 2012
Bless the gods that were controlling 2012, because they gave us the ultimate gift at the end of the year: a photo of Harry Styles and Taylor Swift on a romantic park date together. As noted by MTV News, Swift and Styles were seen in New York City, and, as expected, fans were thrilled.
The internet was absolutely brimming with photos of them and the hashtag #Haylor, which really comes as no surprise to anyone. Swift and Styles were photographed strolling through Central Park, were spotted during a trip to the zoo, and were seen with Styles’ stylist Lou Teasdale and her family. There are so many cute photos of Styles with Teasdale’s baby, Swift standing next to the One Direction singer, and the two of them eating snacks. Ugh, we loved it.
Styles and Swift seemed really comfortable with each other, walking with their arms intertwined. So what was the reaction from the fans? We’ll let this tweet E! News shared do the talking: “I JUST MET HARRY STYLES AND [TAYLOR SWIFT] TOGETHER IN CENTRAL PARK.” The excitement over these two was unreal.
Things between Taylor Swift and Harry Styles started going downhill in early 2013
Sadly, all good things come to an end, and that was certainly the case with Harry Styles and Taylor Swift. After just a few brief months together, the two called it quits, as a source exclusively told the Daily Mail that they had split up. “They were on holiday and had an almighty row,” the source said. “They are two young stars at the top of their game so who knows what will happen in the future.”
An “almighty row”? Ok, there’s a lot to unpack. Styles and Swift spent Christmas of 2012 apart, so they decided to come together for New Year’s. The two of them traveled to the British Virgin Islands for their holiday vacation, but things did not go to plan. Cue the “almighty row,” the argument that ultimately ended it all, though we’re not privy to the details. As noted by the Daily Mail, Swift ended up leaving the trip early and flew back to the United States on January 4, a mere three days after she arrived. Styles, on the other hand, stayed and even traveled to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson’s island to “let off some steam,” according to Business Insider. RIP Haylor.
Songs on Taylor Swift's album 1989 seemed to allude to their relationship with Harry Styles
Neither Taylor Swift nor Harry Styles spoke a lot about their relationship while they were in it, so it comes as no surprise that they kept silent in the aftermath. But, of course, fans started to speculate about what actually went down when Swift released her iconic album 1989. As noted by Elle, the album seemed to hint at Swift’s relationship with Styles, so, naturally, fans started looking for clues that pointed to the One Direction frontman.
According to Teen Vogue, three songs off of 1989 alluded to Styles. Let’s start with the most obvious track literally titled “Style.” We’ll let the name of the song do most of the talking, but it should be noted that the man chosen to star in the music video for the song looked a little like Styles
What other tracks were reportedly about Styles? “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “Out of the Woods.” Swift even said after performing “I Knew You Were Trouble” at the Grammys (via Teen Vogue), “It’s not hard to access that emotion when the person the song is directed at is standing by the side of the stage watching.” Wow, ok.
There seemed to be some tension between Taylor Swift and Harry Styles in 2015
Taylor Swift and Harry Styles broke up at the beginning of 2013, but even two years later, things appeared to be a little tense between them. As noted by The Washington Post, Swift hosted a Billboard Awards after-party, attended by a bunch of A-list celebrities. Some of the attendees included none other than the members of One Direction, with one notable exception: Styles.
As reported by The Post, Styles left Las Vegas, Nev., where the award ceremony was held, and departed for Los Angeles, leaving his bandmates behind. They clearly did not mind ruffling feathers with Styles, because they all went to Swift’s party despite the history their mate had with the pop star. Swift was linked to DJ Calvin Harris at the time, so honestly Styles’ attendance could’ve been pretty awkward.
“(Harry) realised the party wasn’t a good idea, so flew back to LA solo,” a source told The Post. A spokesperson for One Direction merely stated that Styles “didn’t stay in Vegas after the awards, so didn’t attend any after-show party.”
Harry Styles all but avoided talking about Taylor Swift when appearing on a talk show in 2015
Despite them dating in 2012 and having only been together for four months, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift’s relationship remained a subject of interest. It’s not hard to understand why: They were both at the top of their pop careers and seemingly had a lot in common. But after the breakup, both kept the details pretty private, and Styles even went to some lengths to avoid talking about Swift completely. Most notably, Styles avoided answering questions during a game of “Never Have I Ever” while appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2015.
Styles and his One Direction bandmates were asked if they had ever been the subject of someone else’s song — it was DeGeneres’ way of asking the question we all wanted to know: Did Styles know about Swift’s songs that seemed so obviously about him?
The game is played with paddles that say “I have” or “I have not” on either side, and when asked the question, Styles put up the “I have not” sign. Naturally, DeGeneres called him on it. “I’m not having fun!” Styles later exclaimed during the game.
Taylor Swift broke her silence about dating Harry Styles
Taylor Swift exposes a lot of her emotional experiences through her songwriting, but she almost always keeps a tight lid on her personal life when asked about it in interviews. She revealed once that she “never names names,” but, as noted by Elle, she did finally address her relationship with Harry Styles. While talking about the relationship that inspired her song “Out of the Woods” in a Grammy Museum video, Swift said that, during the relationship, the “number one feeling” she experienced was anxiety.
“It felt very fragile, it felt very tentative,” Swift said. “And it always felt like, ‘Okay, what’s the next road block? What’s the next thing that’s gonna deter this? How long do we have before this turns into just an awful mess and we break up?”
Swift said that things were so rocky that she didn’t know if they would break up in a month’s time or in three days, that the dynamic between them was not healthy or stable. “It doesn’t mean that it’s not special and extraordinary,” Swift said, but it’s safe to say that she and that man, presumably Styles, were not meant to be.
Harry Styles called his relationship with Taylor Swift a "learning experience"
Five years after the photos of Harry Styles and Taylor Swift’s Central Park date went viral, Styles finally talked about their time together. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Styles was asked about Swift and their relationship, and after spending some time in the bathroom presumably to collect himself and his thoughts, he returned to the interview and shared that his time with Swift was a learning experience.
“When I see photos from that day [in Central Park] I think: Relationships are hard, at any age,” he said. “Adding in that you don’t really understand exactly how it works when you’re 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn’t make it easier.” Styles went on to share that he dated Swift as she was someone that he “really [liked]”, and he thought at the time that their relationship would be “that simple.”
“I just wanted it to be a normal date,” he shared, but if one thing is true, it’s that two international pop stars don’t exactly have normal lives.
Harry Styles addressed how Taylor Swift famously writes songs about her exes
We can’t even imagine what it must be like to have songwriting talent, let alone to have the talent that Taylor Swift has. Her songs are so indicative of her relationships and emotions, and she has often alluded to different parts of her own life with her music. Of course, a number of songs off of her hit album 1989 are believed to reference her relationship with Harry Styles, and while he had avoided the topic in the past, Styles finally opened up about the songs to Rolling Stone.
“I mean, I don’t know if they’re about me or not …” he said, “but the issue is, she’s so good, they’re bloody everywhere.” Styles said that, like Swift, he writes his songs based on his own life experience, and he said that he considered himself “lucky” if Swift in fact did use aspects of their relationship to create such popular songs. As mentioned by Rolling Stone, some fans speculate that the One Direction song “Perfect” — which Styles co-wrote — was about Swift.
“That’s the stuff that’s hardest to say, and it’s the stuff I talk least about,” Styles said, noting, “I’m never going to tell anybody everything.”
Harry Styles sang part of a Taylor Swift song at a concert in 2018
There are a couple of songs that really mark some iconic birthdays, “Sweet 16” by Hilary Duff, “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, and “22” by Taylor Swift. No birthday is complete without these tracks playing on a loop, and even though he was fairly distanced from his relationship with Swift at the time, Harry Styles got the birthday song memo.
As noted by Elle, Styles was giving a concert in March 2018 when he was told that it was one of the audience member’s 22nd birthday. So while there may have been a little bit of pain surrounding his former relationship with Swift, Styles couldn’t resist singing part of his ex’s song. He went up to the mic and started, “Twenty-two. She’s 22, okay. I don’t know about…” The crowd of spectators roared with excitement.
Styles probably didn’t even get the entire line of “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22” out because of the noise from the fans, but it was a great moment nevertheless. And of course, the internet was wild with tweets referencing the moment.
Notably, Styles had previously tweeted out that he was “feeling 22” when he turned 22 in 2016.
Taylor Swift and Harry Styles reunited during a sweet moment at the 2021 Grammy Awards
From 2012 all the way to 2021, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift have come a long way. Swift released even more iconic and groundbreaking music, and Styles officially launched his solo career. They both climbed the pop icon ladder all the way to the top, and naturally, Swift and Styles reunited at the 2021 Grammy Awards.
As noted by Page Six, the two shared a really friendly conversation during one of the show’s down moments, and the exchange really did look lovely. Styles went over to the table where Swift was sitting, and although the conversation was not overheard, both looked like they were enjoying each other’s company. Be still our little Haylor hearts.
To make matters even better, Swift was on her feet clapping when Styles took home the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance for his song “Watermelon Sugar,” as noted by Elle. We love to see it.
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