Update, June 5, 4:40 pm ET: Taylor Swift and Matty Healy have reportedly broken up after about one month, per People. “She had fun with him, but it was always casual,” a source told the magazine. In the words of Ice Spice per Swift’s latest remix: “Karma is that girl, like.” Our original story, published on May 17, follows.
In what appears to be a case of peak Tumblr-era Mad Libs, Taylor Swift is reportedly dating Matty Healy. Healy is the lead singer of the English synth-pop band The 1975, and Taylor Swift is Taylor Swift. It’s officially 2014 again!
It was mid-April when Swift announced the end of her six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn, the man whom many fans believed to be The One but ended up being “the 1” (as per the first song on Swift’s best album, 2020’s folklore). At the time, Swifties were, predictably, freaking out: Did this mean her last five albums were all a lie? Would she ever walk Cornelia Street again? Would Gaylors finally be proven right? (Sadly, no luck yet, despite that bisexual flag wig.) For the last month, we’ve heard somewhat competing rumors about Swift’s next romantic interest; Deuxmoi claimed that Swift was dating Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso, Page Six said that she was seeing someone “older and more low-key.”
Despite being one year older than Swift, Matty Healy is … not exactly low-key. Over the course of a decade, he’s taken up the role of culture’s token skinny British sleazeball, making headlines for outlandish, often pretentious interviews, his struggles with heroin, and controversial onstage antics, which on his current tour have included kissing fans, eating raw meat, and simulating masturbation. He’s been quasi-canceled at least a dozen times over allegations of racism, several of them within the last few months.
Naturally, when the tabloid the Sun first published word of their “new romance” on May 3, Swift’s fans were skeptical that anyone who had dated Alwyn, a handsome but extremely private and — at least from the public’s perspective — uninteresting person, could be into a guy who once told Pitchfork, “I’m obsessed with my dick.”
But as more reputable outlets began picking up the story thanks to several very public sightings (including footage of Healy fangirling over her at all three of her Eras tour shows in Nashville alongside her friends Gigi Hadid, Phoebe Bridgers, and even her dad), the evidence was clear: Not only are Swift and Healy seeing each other, in whatever way that means, but they want the public to know they’re seeing each other. As Taylor herself constantly reminds her fans, nothing she does is an accident, and if she doesn’t want to be photographed, she’ll hide in a suitcase.
The pair have a long history together; they both are frequent collaborators with Jack Antonoff, who co-produced The 1975’s most recent album and Swift’s Midnights. Swift famously wore a The 1975 T-shirt while leaving her apartment in 2014, the same year they were rumored to be briefly seeing each other; at the time, Healy denied it, telling Q magazine, “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,” although he followed up the comment two years later with an open letter that his words were taken out of context.
The original interviewer also wrote her own take on their conversation, writing that they “were not the words of a misogynist,” and that she views them as “the thoughts of a musician with an ego and ambition to match that of Swift, who does not want to be viewed as the subordinate in a partnership. The feelings of an artist who wants to be celebrated in his own right.”
Gaylors — fans who believe Swift has been in multiple relationships with famous women but is still in the closet — are conflicted over the news, mostly believing that the relationship isn’t real and that it’ll be over fairly soon. It was at a The 1975 concert in December 2014, after all, that Swift and model Karlie Kloss were supposedly seen making out (both have denied this through their respective representatives).
The loudest faction of Swifties, however, are outright angry that their favorite pop star is dating Matty Healy given the shitty things he’s done in the very recent past. The worst occurred during his February appearance on the leftist irony bro podcast the Adam Friedland Show, in which he laughed while the hosts did racist impressions of what they imagined the rapper Ice Spice’s voice to sound like, a segment deemed so racist that both Apple and Spotify removed it. (Healy apologized for his part in it.) During the same episode, he also joked about masturbating to hardcore porn in which Black women are humiliated and brutalized, leading to a lengthy Reddit thread in which fans of Swift either begged her to break up with him or came to the realization that she was “another wealthy, complicit white woman.”
His other controversial behavior is perhaps a little less cut-and-dry. For years, he has done an onstage Nazi salute during a line in 2018’s “Love It If We Made It,” considering it a pointed, critical statement about Trump and fascism. The song itself is a rebuke of a far-right societal shift, quoting a Trump tweet in which he wrote “thank you, Kanye, very cool,” with the underlying message that both politics and pop culture have subtly embraced fascist discourse. Healy has explained the meaning of the song and of the line many times, and frequently delivers earnest screeds on progressive politics during his shows, including one on the abortion bans in Alabama and the anti-gay laws in Dubai.
If there’s a single theme within The 1975’s catalog, it’s the tension between irony and sincerity, specifically how Healy himself wants to be a more earnest person while playing with (and sometimes intentionally trolling) the public’s expectations of famous pop stars. As TikToker and Healy fan Brittany Broski told me in January, “Matty understands on an intrinsic level what a lot of ‘internet children’ feel: this indescribable feeling of hyper-self-aware cringe that creates a hard shell around the deep-rooted desire to be earnest and genuine.”
Debunking Matty Healy "The problemattic": A thread pic.twitter.com/PxXm5BmTdM— Lilo R. (@Lilorise) May 14, 2023
Despite his many controversies and cancellations, Swift and Healy do share plenty in common: They are each currently at the pinnacle of their careers, recently out of serious relationships with other celebrities (Healy broke up with singer FKA Twigs last year), and famous for toying with their fanbases. Some fans even suspect he might be better suited for Swift than her ex-boyfriend. “He’s a musician, he understands who she is as an artist, her penchant for confessional songwriting, and doesn’t mind her fame because he’s used to it,” said Allen Pham, a 26-year-old Swift fan in Austin, Texas. “In other words, he appreciates and respects her career, maybe a bit more than Joe.”
Other fans aren’t worried about the long term. “Celebs are allowed to casually date and casually hook up, too,” adds Kaitlyn Chapman, a 26-year-old fan in Phoenix, Arizona. “She’s allowed to have a messy relationship.”
Whether or not it’s a showmance set up by both of their publicists, or whether or not the next five Taylor Swift albums will be paeans to Healy’s grungy, indie sleaze-era aesthetic, fans are once again adjusting to another of Swift’s signature vibe shifts, wondering how long this particular era might last.