Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn are definitely a couple (and possibly about to get engaged), but so much of their relationship is shrouded in secrecy. Think: Harry Styles, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Tom Hiddleston, for example. There were tabloid stories, Instagram posts, and overt song lyrics that gave the public so much information to analyze. Swift's relationship with Alwyn is a different story.
Recently, however, the couple has started stepping out at public events together a bit more. “Keeping it private from the beginning really helped their relationship,” a source recently told People. “They were able to get to know each other in peace.” The source also adds, “Their personalities are very compatible, and they’re respectful of each other’s careers.”
Sounds like a great match, so let's break down how their relationship formed in the first place.
May 2016: Swift and Alwyn each attend the 2016 Met Gala. Do they meet then? It's unclear exactly when the pair did meet, but people think it was at the event based on lyrics in Swift's song "Dress": "Flashback when you met me / Your buzz cut and my hair bleached." They did indeed have those hairstyles at the time. Swift broke up with boyfriend Calvin Harris soon after the gala and started dating Hiddleston. That relationship ended by September 2016.
October 2016: Eagle-eyed fans figure out Swift and Alwyn attended the same Kings of Leon concert and after-party at the Bowery Hotel in New York City.
May 2017: Stories break that Swift has a new British boyfriend: Joe Alwyn. At the time he was not well known, especially to Swift's American fans, with the biggest credit on his IMDB being Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Longtime Walk. But he was a rising star with a number of high-profile movies in the works, including The Favourite and Mary Queen of Scots.
"Taylor and Joe are the real deal, this is a very serious relationship,” The Sun reported at the time. “But after what happened with Tom Hiddleston, they were determined to keep it quiet.” The Sun also reported Swift was renting a house in North London, near Alwyn.
June 2017: Photographic evidence of the relationship emerges as the paparazzi finally catch Swift and Alwyn together—having coffee on a balcony in Nashville. They're snapped again in New York City the following month.
October 2017: When Swift releases the single "Gorgeous", fans immediately try to decipher who it is about. A fan who attended one of Swift's famous album listening sessions takes to Tumblr to inform us that it was (allegedly) about Alwyn: "Basically Taylor made us all promise that if anyone made any accusations of who this song is about, we tell them it is 100 percent about her angel boyfriend of one year. This isn't a secret. She wanted us to tell people." It all makes sense when you hear the lyrics: "You should take it as a compliment / That I got drunk and made fun of the way you talk," she sings. "And I got a boyfriend, he's older than us / He's in the club doing, I don't know what." (Harris and Hiddleston were both older than Swift and Alwyn.)
Later that month Swift's pal Ed Sheeran says of Alwyn, "He's really nice. Really, really friendly; really good dude."
December 2017: Fans go nuts when attendees at iHeartRadio's Jingle Ball in New York City claim they saw Swift and Alwyn showing some PDA during Ed Sheeran's set.
February 2018: The couple reportedly moves in together. We broke down how the lyrics from various songs on the Reputation album told us this was coming.
May 2018: The couple that Instas together, stays together, right? Swift and Alwyn both post photos of themselves next to the same cactus while apparently on vacation together.
September 2018: Public date night alert! Swift hits up a screening of Alwyn's film The Favourite, and joins him for the after-party. There were even photos! Alwyn also speaks publicly about Swift for the first time, telling British Vogue, “I’m aware people want to know about that side of things. I think we have been successfully very private and that has now sunk in for people…but I really prefer to talk about work.”
November 2018: Alwyn finally makes an appearance on Swift's social media via a clip from The Favourite. "The Favourite is absolutely phenomenal, and it opens in NY and LA tomorrow— Swipe to see cities and dates! @thefavouritemovie @joe.alwyn @nicholashoult." she wrote in the caption.
January 2019: Swift attends the Golden Globes, where Alwyn and his Favourite costars rack up several nominations. The couple hits up several after-parties together.
February 2019: Swift skips the Grammys and instead attends several BAFTAs parties with Alwyn. They're photographed holding hands. Later that month the couple reportedly attend some Oscars after-parties. According to Perez Hilton, there was some PDA.
August 2019: Swift releases a new song, "Lover." Lyrics like "I've loved you three summers now, honey, but I want 'em all" appear to be about her relationship with Alwyn. Fans even go so far as to theorize that the song's bridge—"Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand? / With every guitar string scar on my hand / I take this magnetic force of a man to be my lover"—are a nod to future or existing wedding vows between Swift and Alwyn.
Originally Appeared on Glamour