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Taylor Swift releases album ‘Midnights’: A look at her break-ups, feuds and more that have inspired past hits

Taylor Swift has released her new album “Midnights.” 

As fans listen to the singer’s 10th studio album, and of course, look out for Easter eggs in the lyrics, we’re taking a look back at some battles Swift has had to overcome throughout her career. 

From her feud with Scooter Braun over her older albums and master recordings to disagreements with other artists, Swift has had her fair share of face-offs and make-ups that have led to fodder for some of her biggest hits. 

Here are some of Swift’s most famous quarrels – and beyond – over the years, and how a few of them found their way into Swift’s music. 

A BREAKDOWN OF TAYLOR SWIFT’S DATING HISTORY

Swift and singer Joe Jonas had a brief romance in 2008, before Jonas broke things off with her over the phone. More specifically, over a 27-second phone conversation, something Swift called him out on during an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” shortly after the breakup.

“When I find that person that is right for me, he’ll be wonderful,” Swift said on the show. “When I look at that person, I’m not even going to remember the boy who broke up with me over the phone in 25 seconds when I was 18.”

Her statement prompted Jonas to respond via a statement posted on the Jonas Brothers’ MySpace page, in which he said there is the possibility of a breakup in every relationship for a variety of reasons, and that he was “truly saddened that anything would potentially cause (the fans) to think less of (him).”

They both wrote about each other in their songs, with Swift writing “Better Than Revenge” and “Forever and Always,” in which fans think she calls him a “scared little boy,” and Jonas writing “Much Better” which has references to Swift’s hit song “Teardrops on My Guitar.” Swift even sang about him during her opening monologue on “Saturday Night Live.”

Nearly 10 years after their breakup, Jonas said in 2015 the two were friendly now, and Swift confirmed that statement in her 2019 documentary “Miss Americana,” where she admitted she went too far when she blasted Jonas on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal had a very brief romance starting towards the end of 2010 in October, ending just a few months later in January 2011. Although their romance was brief, Swift was still able to put her emotions into song with “All Too Well” in 2012 on her “Red” album.

The lyric that made everyone think she was talking about Gyllenhaal in the song is “left my scarf there at your sister’s house / And you’ve still got it in your drawer even now,” and also “you keep my old scarf from that very first week / ‘Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me.”

The significance behind the scarf is that after their breakup, Gyllenhaal was seen walking around wearing a scarf that looked similar to a scarf Swift was often seen wearing. Another hint is that Gyllenhaal has a sister, and the song mentions the man having a sister. 

Gyllenhaal has been asked in many interviews if he knows anything about the scarf Swift is singing about, and each time he says he has no idea what scarf people keep asking him about.

In 2021, Swift added more fuel to the fire when she released a 10-minute version of the song which included further hints that she is talking about Gyllenhaal. The lyric, “after three months in the grave” suggests the relationship she’s speaking about was short, and three months is about how long they were rumored to have dated.

When asked about the song in 2022, Gyllenhaal claimed it had nothing to do with him and was about her relationship with her fans. 

Nicki Minaj and Swift had a very short-lived feud, which mostly revolved around the fact that Minaj felt snubbed by the VMAs after her music video for “Anaconda” wasn’t nominated for video of the year. A misunderstanding between the two stars took place after Minaj took to Twitter to express her frustration.

“If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year,” Minaj tweeted after the 2015 VMA nominations were announced.

Swift didn’t write a song about this feud, but she did fight back with a tweet of her own saying: “I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.” She let Minaj know she is welcome to share the stage with her whenever she wants.

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After seeing Swift’s response, Minaj clarified that “nothing (she) said had to do with Taylor,” adding her tweet was criticizing “white media and their tactics.” Swift accepted the rapper’s explanation, acknowledging she misunderstood Minaj’s tweet. Minaj responded to the tweet by thanking Swift.

“I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I’m sorry, Nicki,” Swift tweeted.

Swift and Katy Perry started out in the business as friends, complimenting each other on Twitter, attending each other’s birthday parties and performing on stage together. All that changed when some of Swift’s backup dancers left her tour before it was over, opting instead to dance for Perry for her Prismatic tour.

Of course, Swift has never confirmed who any of her songs are about, but fans believe she was referencing the 2013 backup dancer incident, when she told Rolling Stone in 2014 that her song “Bad Blood” was about a female artist who tried to sabotage her tour. While she has never confirmed it, fans continue to believe “Bad Blood” is about her feud with Katy Perry.

“It had to do with business,” Swift told the magazine. “She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me.”

Shortly after the interview was published, Perry tweeted to “watch out for the Regina George in sheep’s clothing,” and even got involved in the feud between Swift and Minaj, tweeting she found it ironic that Swift was denouncing Minaj for pitting women against each other, when that’s exactly what the “Bad Blood” music video did.

A series of tweets from Perry fueled the flames on their feud, like Perry saying she would only work with Swift if she apologized, and Perry seen dancing to Kanye West’s song “Famous.” She then released her own diss track “Swish Swish” and confirmed the feud on Carpool Karaoke, saying “[Swift] started it, and it’s time for her to finish it. It’s about backing dancers. It’s so crazy…I tried to talk to [Swift] about it, and she wouldn’t speak to me.”

In 2018, Perry sent Swift a literal olive branch, and then Swift sent her cookies in 2019 with frosting on the plate which read “peace at last.” Ten years after their feud began, they finally squashed it, with Swift even sending Perry’s daughter a gift when she was born in 2020.

Swift’s most public feud was with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and started all the way back in 2009 when West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech for best female video, to let everyone there and everyone watching, he believed Beyoncé should have won that award. 

They went back-and-forth about the issue for the next few years, with West apologizing and then taking it back and doubling down on his statement that she didn’t deserve that award. The two seemed to officially move on from the VMAs incident in 2015 when they were seen hanging out at the Grammys, and with West saying they would collaborate soon.

“She wants to get in the studio, and we’re definitely going to go in,” West told Ryan Seacrest in 2015. “I don’t have an elitism about music, I don’t discriminate.”

Things were going well for them until West released his song “Famous” in which there is a line saying, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b—h famous.” West claimed he got permission from Swift to include the lyric, while Swift says he never asked permission or played her that part of the song.

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West’s then-wife Kim Kardashian also got involved, claiming West did in fact call Swift for permission, going as far as saying the phone conversation in which he asked her was recorded. Amid further backlash for West’s decision to portray a naked-Swift in the song’s music video, Kardashian released the video of the conversation, subtly calling Swift a snake.

Swift still maintained the video proved her point and in 2017 covered all her social media with snakes and announced the release of her “Reputation” album. The first single, “Look What You Made Me Do” was a direct hit at West and Kardashian.

In 2019, Swift referred to the situation with Kardashian and West as a hate campaign against her and a “mass public shaming.” Just as it seemed like the feud was almost over, the unedited version of the conversation between Swift and West was released in 2020, proving Swift only agreed to the lyric, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex,” not the part where he called her a b—h.

Of all the feuds Swift has found herself in the middle of, her battle against Scooter Braun and his ownership over her masters had the biggest potential impact on her career.

Swift has had issues with Braun since 2009 when West interrupted her speech at the VMAs. West was Braun’s client at the time. Years later during her feud with West about the lyrics in his song “Famous,” she accused Braun of bullying her through his clients during that time.

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In 2019, Braun bought Big Machine Records Label Group, the record label which owned Swift’s masters for her first six albums. Swift called this the “worst case scenario” for her, given her history with Braun.

She said it made her think about the alleged “incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at [Braun’s] hands for years. Like when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded snippet of a phone call to be leaked and then Scooter got his two clients together to bully me online about it. Or when his client, Kanye West, organized a revenge porn music video which strips my body naked. Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.”

Swift has confirmed two songs from her “Folklore,” “My Tears Ricoche” and “Mad Woman” are about Braun and the former owner of Big Machine Records Label Group Scott Borchetta. 

After a lot of back-and-forth, Braun finally sold Swift’s masters in 2020, and she began the process of re-recording her first six albums.

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