Analyzing the Taylor Swift/Joe Alwyn Break-Up Rumors

As a lifelong Swiftie, I have watched as rumors about Taylor Swift’s love life have come and gone, how she has poked fun at the tabloids claiming to have insider information, and the ways that her fans have analyzed stories about her. There have been many false stories spread about her personal life, which she has not always formally confirmed nor denied. Instead, fans have turned to her lyrical content to determine what is real and what is not. Taylor herself has advised fans to not always listen to media reports about her, as they are often false.

However, a recent story has raised doubts among fans about whether they should continue to distrust sources who have previous reported on Taylor.

On April 8, 2023, an article by People Magazine broke the story that Taylor and her partner of six years, English actor Joe Alwyn, have gone their separate ways. Joe is the source of inspiration behind songs off of Taylor’s past five albums and is a co-writer for multiple songs off of folklore, evermore, and Midnights. The couple has also

This information comes as Taylor is in the middle of her Eras Tour and took many by surprise. Fans of the couple have taken to social media to try to piece together the timeline of the alleged breakup and determine the cause.

While this kind of story may not be the most important thing to analyze in the grand scheme of things, it is an important story for Swifties who were fans of the relationship. Additionally, it is an important lesson on lateral reading and verifying sources before jumping to conclusions or falling down the wells of conspiracies (as Swifties have been known to do). Because Taylor is such a huge celebrity, her stardom can blind people to the need for critical analysis. Without the proper media literacy tools, people can easily believe any story that is written about her. On the other hand, they could choose not to believe things that are true because they have a specific image of her in their heads.

To begin, my friend sent me a screenshot of the People Magazine article.

From there, I knew that I had to do some research myself, so I put Taylor and Joe’s names in Google and sure enough, articles began to pop up.

I found the People article and read it for myself. The article stated that the news originally broke on Entertainment Tonight, so after completing this story, I went to ET to read what they had to say.

This article references a source that is supposedly close to the couple and a previous source from late 2022 when they were said to be still happily together. It does not refer to who the source could be, though it is important to note that anonymous sources are not always false. That being said, ET and similar outlets have speculated about celebrity relationships with supposedly close sources before and been wrong. While reading about this story, I took into account previous stories these sources have written about Taylor and how many have been true. Even if they are credible references, they do not always get the information correct.

From there, I went on Tiktok and Twitter to see what fans had to say. Obviously, they would not have any more information than I did, but I was interested to see what people had to say. Some of the Tiktoks did point out that Taylor recently released music about Joe and performed them during the Eras Tour, which seems like an unlikely thing to do if they had broken up. I also watched a few that analyzed the sources the news was coming from and whether they were reputable. One user read supposed insider stories from Deux Moi, an anonymous celebrity gossip website, and the conflicting accounts that were coming from “close sources.” There is no way that all of these sources can possibly be correct, so it was a reminder that going with the dominant story is the better course of action.

Eventually, the story also broke on CNN, which is a mainstream news source that reports not only on celebrity news, but also international affairs, politics, economics, etc. The fact that such an important news source is reporting on this story makes it even more believable.

In the end, I am fairly certain that the rumors are, in fact, true. It is very sad as a fan, but very interesting as a media studies major, because fans are choosing to believe what they want to believe. I understand why it is a hard pill to swallow, but it is also an important opportunity for learning about media literacy.

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