Taylor Swift fans have years of experience piecing together Easter eggs in the “Karma” singer’s music. In recent years, some Swifties have used those clues to form opinions about Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn and their six-year relationship. Ahead of the release of her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, fans are gearing up to learn more about what led to their breakup.

Swifties Loved Joe During His Relationship With Taylor

Taylor and Joe began dating in September 2016 when, according to Taylor, her “reputation’s never been worse.”

At the time, Taylor was taking a lot of heat, even being branded a snake, amid her feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The “Mastermind” artist made the decision to step out of the public eye, calling it a “career death.”

Fans praised Joe for helping get Taylor through the dark time. 

“I moved to a foreign country. I didn’t leave a rental house for a year. I was afraid to get on phone calls. I pushed away most people in my life because I didn’t trust anyone anymore,” Taylor said during her Time Person of the Year interview in December 2023. “I went down really, really hard.”

While the pair managed to keep their relationship private throughout their time together, Swifties were fully Team Joe.

Who Is Your Favorite Collaborator on Taylor Swift’s TTPD?

Swifties Turned on Joe After Their Breakup

Prior to meeting and falling in love with the Favourite actor, Taylor dished during a 2012 appearance on The Chatty Man show, she doesn’t “really like” hiding her relationships

“It all depends on who you’re with. If they have a serious issue with it, then you, I guess, hide or whatever,” she said at the time. “I don’t want to feel like I’m like a fugitive. Like, ‘Oh, my God, we’re having a relationship. Better put on a mask and stuff.’”

How Do Taylor Swift Fans Feel About Ex Joe Alwyn Amid ‘Tortured Poets’?

While fans were devastated when news of their split broke in April 2023, her subsequent relationship with Travis Kelce seemed to be the opposite of her time with Joe. Many fans have taken to social media to express that they’ve never seen the “Lover” singer this happy with some putting montage videos together with clips from both relationships to show the juxtaposition

“Life is short. Have adventures. Me locking myself away in my house for a lot of years — I’ll never get that time back. I’m more trusting now than I was six years ago,” she told Time. 

How Do Swifties Feel About Joe Alwyn Ahead of ‘Tortured Poets Department’?

Fans were quick to piece together that Taylor’s 11th studio album would depict the downfall and ultimate end of her relationship with Joe. The title The Tortured Poets Department is even a reference to a group chat he had with friends Paul Mezcal and Andrew Scott called the “Tortured Mans Club.” 

In her 2020 Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, Taylor claimed she “was falling in love with someone who had a wonderfully normal, balanced life,” adding they “decided together we wanted our relationship to be private.” However, ahead of TTPD, fans began spotting clues in her song titles and Easter eggs that suggest otherwise.

“Joe was literally ruining Taylor, it’s clear he had Taylor silenced. ‘but daddy i love him’ being an exact reference to the little mermaid because of ariel giving up her voice to be with the love of her life,” one fan tweeted. 

“Is fresh out the slammer about joe imprisoning her and going out for her first pap walk in 80 years,” another Swiftie wrote after the tracklist was released. Yet another Taylor fan posted, “I’m literally so embarrassed that we rode for and rooted for joe in the way we did when he made her feel like this in the end.”