Joe Alwyn opens up on Taylor Swift breakup

By Charlotte McLaughlin, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Joe Alwyn has been asked for his reaction to Taylor Swift’s new album, which is believed to reference old flames including him.

The British actor, 33, who is known for period dramas The Favourite, Mary Queen Of Scots and Catherine Called Birdy, dated Swift, 34, for more than six years until 2023.

Alwyn worked with Swift on her eighth studio album Folklore, which won the album of the year Grammy in 2021, writing under the pseudonym William Bowery.

British actor Joe Alwyn at The Favourite premiere
Joe Alwyn was in a relationship with Taylor Swift for more than six years (David Parry/PA) Photo by David Parry

Swift’s latest record The Tortured Poets Department is thought to contain references to Alwyn.

Number five in the tracklist – the slot reserved for the most meaningful song on each of Swift’s albums – is called So Long, London.

In the lyrics, Swift hints at wedding plans, singing: “You swore that you loved, me but where were the clues, I died on the altar waiting for the proof”, as well as being upset at having to leave London which she said she “loved”.

When asked about the album, Alwyn told the Sunday Times Style Magazine: “In thinking on what I was going to say, I would think and hope that anyone and everyone can empathise… This isn’t a direct answer to your question, but just thinking about what I want to talk about…

“I would hope that anyone and everyone can empathise and understand the difficulties that come with the end of a long, loving, fully committed relationship of over six and a half years. That is a hard thing to navigate.

“What is unusual and abnormal in this situation is that, one week later, it’s suddenly in the public domain and the outside world is able to weigh in.”

Taylor Swift on stage during her Eras Tour at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland
Taylor Swift on stage during her Eras Tour at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA) Photo by Jane Barlow

Despite seeming not to want to explicitly comment on the record, Alwyn appeared to suggest that the song The Black Dog, which appeared to be a reference to a pub in Vauxhall of the same name she went to with a partner, is not about him.

“I’ve never been to Vauxhall,” Alwyn said.

Fans have also speculated if the pub mention makes reference to The 1975 frontman Matty Healy, with whom she briefly had a relationship.

Alwyn also said: “So you have something very real suddenly thrown into a very unreal space: tabloids, social media, press, where it is then dissected, speculated on, pulled out of shape beyond recognition.

“And the truth is, to that last point, there is always going to be a gap between what is known and what is said. I have made my peace with that.”

He added that him and Swift “decided to keep the more private details of our relationship private” and “it was never something to commodify and I see no reason to change that now”.

“Look, this is also a little over a year ago now and I feel fortunate to be in a really great place in my life, professionally and personally. I feel really good,” he added.

He also said that due to “the level of noise and scrutiny about my past relationship”, he will not speak about whether he is still in touch with Swift.

Alwyn has recently reunited with Emma Stone and director Yorgos Lanthimos, who both worked on The Favourite, for dark comedy Kinds Of Kindness.