Despite being together for five years, Taylor and Joe rarely discuss their relationship.
Any seasoned Swiftie would know that the 2016 Met Gala was a pretty definitive time for Taylor Swift.
But it was actually a third handsome British man who stole her heart at the event, with it being revealed months later that little-known English actor Joe Alwyn had caught Taylor’s eye.
Although they didn’t start dating until October 2016, Taylor has been open about their first meeting being at the gala — even admitting that she was so besotted with Joe that she “stalked him on the internet” that same night.
Despite her initial attraction, Taylor embarked on a three-month whirlwind with Tom before reconnecting with Joe — but her incredibly high profile relationship with the Marvel actor was so PDA-heavy that many believed it was a publicity stunt.
In fact, the relationship seemed to be moving so quickly that some fans theorized that Taylor and Tom were actually filming an intricate music video that poked fun at her dating history instead of being genuinely involved with each other.
So it is unsurprising that Taylor decided to switch up her approach when it came to her next relationship, with she and Joe making the decision to keep their romance as private as possible right from the start.
And the change in tack appears to have done the trick, with Taylor and Joe fast approaching their six-year anniversary in what has been Taylor’s most low-key yet longstanding relationship.
Things are actually going so well between the pair that they have been at the center of engagement and marriage speculation for years. Last month, Joe coyly refused to confirm or deny reports that he had secretly popped the question, and it has even been claimed that there is evidence to suggest that the pair got married in a private ceremony and simply haven’t told anybody about it.
This even being a possibility is a clear indication of how different Taylor’s relationship with Joe is compared to her exes, with a source telling Us Weekly in March 2020 that Taylor “considers Joe one of the only safe constants in her life.”
And Taylor herself has admitted that her past relationships served as a learning curve when it came to how she approached being with Joe.
“I’ve learned that if I do [talk about it], people think it’s up for discussion, and our relationship isn’t up for discussion,” Taylor told the Guardian’s Weekend magazine in August 2019. “It’s just that it goes out into the world. That’s where the boundary is, and that’s where my life has become manageable. I really want to keep it feeling manageable.”
Taylor also acknowledged her conscious decision to maintain her and Joe’s privacy in her Netflix documentary Miss Americana, which was released in 2020.
“I was falling in love with someone who had a wonderfully normal, balanced life,” she explained at the time. “We decided together we wanted our relationship to be private. I was happy. But I wasn’t happy in the way I was trained to be happy. It was happiness without anyone else’s input. We were just happy.”
She went on to discuss making choices so that her “life [would] feel more like a real life” in a conversation with Paul McCartney for Rolling Stone as she reflected on “carving out a human life within a public life, and how scary that can be when you do fall in love and you meet someone, especially if you’ve met someone who has a very grounded, normal way of living.”
And Joe has been just as guarded when asked about his and Taylor’s relationship in interviews, telling British GQ in November 2018: “Someone’s private life is, by definition, private. No one is obliged to share their personal life.”
But the actor has referenced his and Taylor’s relationship more than ever in recent weeks after being quizzed on his private life during the promo cycle for his new TV series, Conversations With Friends, which is an adaptation of Sally Rooney’s 2017 novel.
And Nick’s inability to stay faithful to his wife in the show paved the way for several sex scenes for Joe, who recently revealed that he was warned the role might involve full frontal nudity.
“When they sent the audition, they said, just as a heads up, that it would be to sign up for the possibility of full frontal,” he told Vulture, which he wasn’t too fussed about as he forgot “that other people will see it.”
In the end, Joe did not have to strip off entirely for the sex scenes, but he still had to get incredibly familiar with his costar, Alison Oliver.
Joe has now insisted that Taylor didn’t have an issue with him being so intimate with another woman, explaining that she was more than prepared for the scenes because she is a huge fan of the book.
“I mean she’s read the book and she loves the book so she knows it,” Joe told Extra when asked about Taylor’s reaction to his sex scenes. “She couldn’t be a bigger fan of the project.”
And Alison went on to detail how she and Joe had worked with an intimacy coordinator for the show, explaining: “You go through a lot of rehearsal and kind of in depth conversations about the intimate scenes and kind of what story we’re trying to tell. Hopefully, each intimate scene feels different or there’s some kind of progression in their relationship.”
In the same interview, Joe addressed his decision to keep his private life so close to his chest, telling the publication: “I think it’s nice to draw a line and keep what’s important and close to you private.”
This echoes what he has previously said in interviews, with Joe telling Elle last month: “We live in a culture that is so increasingly intrusive. The more you give and frankly, even if you don’t give it, something will be taken.”
Meanwhile, he addressed the engagement speculation surrounding him and Taylor during his profile for Wall Street Journal, teasing: “If I had a pound for every time I think I’ve been told I’ve been engaged, then I’d have a lot of pound coins. I mean, the truth is, if the answer was yes, I wouldn’t say, and if the answer was no, I wouldn’t say.”
Although it’s evidently unlikely that Joe and Taylor will share more information about their private life any time soon, they are more than happy to open up about their working relationship with fans.
It’s no secret that Joe cowrote some of Taylor’s songs on her 2020 albums, Folklore and Evermore, under the pseudonym William Bowery, and Joe told Vulture that penning tracks for a Grammy-winning album came as naturally to them in lockdown as making sourdough bread did for other couples.
“It was completely off the cuff, an accident,” he said about his contribution to the song “Exile,” adding: “She said, ‘Can we try and sit down and get to the end together?’ And so we did. It was as basic as some people made sourdough.”
In fact, lockdown appears to have been a key component in them working together, with Taylor previously telling Zane Lowe: “If we hadn’t been in lockdown, I don’t think that would have happened. But I’m so glad that it did.”
A sentiment that is no doubt shared by Taylor’s fans across the globe.