Revisiting Matty Healy and Taylor Swift's Messy Breakup Ahead of 'The Tortured Poets Department'

celebrity sightings in new york city may 16, 2023
Revisiting Taylor and Matty's V Messy Breakup Robert Kamau - Getty Images
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.


"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."

Taylor Swift's new album The Tortured Poets Department drops is among us, and Swifties largely think it's about her ex Joe Alwyn. You know, based on literally nothing but the title, the track list, and the bonus songs...actually, there's a lot of evidence. But some fans think there's also reason to believe Taylor's brief relationship with Matty Healy could be a source of inspiration for this album.

A Quick Refresher on Taylor Swift’s Complete Dating History and Exes

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Does the Tom Hiddleston era really count at this point??? Help.

A Handy-Dandy Timeline of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce's Relationship for Ya

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Alexa, play “...Ready for It?”

Just Calculated Taylor Swift’s Net Worth and Now I’m Crying

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Correction: screaming!

Though, straight up? Taylor's been working on Tortured Poets for two full years and she and Matty dated for a hot second last spring. But hey, Taylor certainly could have added some last minute ~bonus tracks~ into the mix! Point is, the time has come to revisit Taylor and Matty's slightly messy split, so let's get into it.

Matty and Taylor First (Maybe) Dated Back in 2014

Taylor and Matty fueled dating rumors in 2014, and Matty even spoke about the rumors, saying, "I mean, bloody hell, what am I going to do? Go out with Taylor Swift? She’s a sensation, I wouldn’t say no.”

Buuut then in 2016 he said it would be "emasculating" to date her.


They Reunited After Taylor Split With Joe Alwyn

Matty and Taylor got together in May, when The Sun spoke to a source who said “She and Matty are madly in love." They dated pretty publicly throughout the month and then...


Matty's Controversies Broke, and So Did Their 'Ship

Fans dug up Matty's history of sexist, misogynistic, and antisemetic comments in June, and shortly after he and Taylor called it quits. A source told People, “They were never boyfriend-girlfriend or exclusive and were always just having fun."


Which brings us to the drama!

December 12, 2022

Matty posts a photo of himself and Phoebe Bridgers kissing with Bo Burnham in the background, which he captioned "Gay Poets Society." The post has since been deleted, but the caption is obviously what matters here due to Taylor Swift's upcoming album (which we'll get to in a minute!).


January 13, 2023

Taylor makes a surprise appearance at The 1975's show at the O2 Arena in London, where she performed an acoustic version of "Anti-Hero" for the very first time. She also paid homage to the band with a cover of "The City" and even snapped a pic with Matty's mom, Denise Welch, backstage.

May 4, 2023

Amid Taylor and Matty dating, Page Six dusts off that aforementioned interview from 2016 in which he calls dating Taylor "emasculating." Which...doesn't exactly please fans!

Here's the full quote:

“She wasn’t a big impact on my life. It’s just interesting to me how interested the world is about Taylor Swift. The reason I mention that is because if I had [properly] gone out with Taylor Swift, I would’ve been, ‘Fucking hell, I am not being Taylor Swift’s boyfriend.’ You know, ‘Fuck. That.’ That’s also a man thing, a demasculinating [sic], emasculating thing.”

May 27, 2023

Matty cryptically addresses his relationship with Taylor on stage, saying, “Is it all a bit? Is it sincere? Will he ever address it? All of these questions and more will be ignored in the next hour."

May 29, 2023

Matty's controversies grow, and fans get more upset when he makes it clear he doesn't care.

June 5, 2023

TMZ speaks to a “friend close to the situation” who confirms Tay is “single” and she and Matty are over. Meanwhile, a People source says “she had fun with him, but it was always casual,” while an Entertainment Tonight insider adds, “Taylor and Matty broke up. They are both extremely busy and realized they’re not really compatible with each other. Taylor’s friends want what’s best for her and aren’t shocked that their relationship fizzled out since she recently got out of a long-term relationship.”

Taylor says nothing publicly, but Matty implies things are done in a show—saying “I’ve not been online but what I have been with is my boys.”

June 6, 2023

A source tells People, “They were never boyfriend-girlfriend or exclusive and were always just having fun. There is no drama, and who knows what could happen again. It was a good time and ran its course.”

August 11, 2023

A DeuxMoi tipster claims Matty and Taylor aren't really broken up, and it's honestly all very confusing.

December 26, 2023

A fan discovers that her copy of 1989 (Taylor's Version) has an...interesting...detail on the back: Matty Healy is credited as a writer on "Slut!" and the song seemingly has an alternate second verse...the implication being that Matty and Taylor recorded a version of the song together before their breakup.

February 4, 2024

Taylor announces her new album The Tortured Poets Department at the 2024 Grammys, and people immediately clock the title as a reference to Joe Alwyn's group chat with Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott called "The Tortured Man Club."

However....just wanna also circle back to this:

February 8, 2024

Matty goes on a mid-show rant that people speculate is about Taylor/Tortured Poets. “Do not come for me,” he says. “Trust me. You know who I’m talking to. Honestly, you know who you are. I’m as mental as I seem. I have the receipts. Don’t fuck with me. Trust me.”

April 17, 2024

A few days ahead of The Tortured Poets Department's release, massive murals of QR codes began showing up in major cities like Chicago and London. Speaking of the latter—which is in the UK, where Matty hails from—it's literally plastered on the side of a building with the same name as The 1975 frontman's alias and Instagram handle. Naturally, fans spiraled over this detail as they put in the work:

Truly iconic/insane/all the things if it is a Matty reference.

April 18, 2024

The Tortured Poets Department drops, and um...turns out it's largely about Matty Healy. Just gonna....

April 19, 2024

An Us Weekly source says Tay gave Matty a heads up on the album, which he was “really appreciative” of. “He was worried that their story would be shed in a negative light,” the source adds, going on to say that Matty had concerns “the public wouldn’t get the full story" and was “also very nervous about the Swifties."

And that brings us up to date! But something tells us this timeline will get longer....

Taylor Swift Announces New Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Photo credit: Twitter
Photo credit: Twitter

The Tortured Poets Department drops April 19!

Taylor Swift Reveals Bonus Track Title and New Album Cover for 'The Tortured Poets Department'

Photo credit: Twitter
Photo credit: Twitter

"I've never had an album where I needed songwriting more than I needed it on Tortured Poets."

Taylor Swift Reveals Exact Timeline of When She Wrote 'The Tortured Poets Department'

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Okay, this kiiiiinda disputes breakup album theories.

Joe Alwyn Posts on Instagram for the First Time in Months Amid ‘Tortured Poets’ Speculation

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Interesting timing!!!!!

All the Clues and Easter Eggs About Taylor Swift’s New Album, ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Joe Alwyn found shaking.

Fans Think 'Tortured Poets' Is a Sister Album to 'Midnights' Thanks to Taylor Swift's Visual Easter Eggs

Photo credit: Twitter
Photo credit: Twitter

Once you see these side-by-sides, you will not be the same.

Swifties Spiral Over Potential Joe Alwyn Refs in the Tracklist for 'The Tortured Poets Department!'

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

"From 'london boy' to 'so long london'..."

Taylor Swift’s April 19 Album Release Date Makes So Much Sense Based on What Happened With Joe Alwyn That Day

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Joe Alwyn has everything to do with April 19.

Here’s Why Taylor Swift Fans Think Her New Album Is a Nod to Ex Joe Alwyn

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

It has to do with a group chat Joe has... 👀

You Might Also Like