Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian: The Complete Timeline of Their Rollercoaster Relationship
By John Boone
This is one narrative none of us can be excluded from.
Chrissy Teigen may just be a prophet, because shortly after tensions reignited between Taylor Swift and Kanye West, Teigen proclaimed, "It's not over. This is going to go on. This is being waged." And waged it is being! Especially now that Kim Kardashian West has inserted herself in the fray.
But how did this feud-turned-friendship-turned-feud-turned-???-TBD-we'll-have-to-wait-and-see come to be? Let's take a look back at Taylor and Kanye's rather...complicated relationship.
Sept. 19, 2009: "Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I'mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!" It's one of the most infamous moments in pop culture history: Taylor won the Best Female Video Award for "You Belong With Me" at the MTV VMAs and Kanye crashed the stage to support "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."
Beyoncé brought Taylor back to the stage to formally accept her award and, afterward, Taylor said backstage, "I don't want to start anything." This video is a zeitgeist relic -- an uncomfortable, uncomfortable relic:
That night, Kanye took to his blog -- yes, Kanye West had a blog -- to apologize, writing in all caps, "I'm sooooo sorry to Taylor Swift and her fans and her mom...She is very talented! I like the lyrics about being a cheerleader and she's in the bleachers! I'm in the wrong for going on stage and taking away from her moment!"
Sept. 21, 2009: Kanye took his apology tour to The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, where he tearfully said, "I immediately knew in the situation that it was wrong and it wasn't a spectacle, it's actually someone's emotions that I stepped on. It was rude, period. I'd like to apologize to her in person."
June 2013: It seems the apology never happened, and four years later, the rapper wasn't sorry anymore. During an interview with The New York Times, he said his instincts have "only led [me] to awesome truth and awesomeness" and declared, "I don't have one regret." In fact, he claimed he'd been peer pressured into apologizing to Taylor.
"I think that I have like, faltered, you know, as a human. My message isn't perfectly defined. I have, as a human being, fallen to peer pressure," he said.
Feb. 8, 2015: Still, time heals all wounds -- or whatever -- because by the time the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards rolled around, Kanye and Taylor had seemingly made nice, smiling and posing for pictures together. If the "New Slaves" rapper is to be believed, Taylor even suggested he rush the stage again after Beck beat Beyoncé for Album of the Year. (Which Kanye kind of did anyway.)
"Taylor Swift came up to me right afterwards, literally right afterwards, and tells me that I should've went onstage," he claimed on Ryan Seacrest's radio show. "So, this is the irony of my life."
"She wants to get in the studio and we're definitely going to go in," he also said, before adding, "Any artist with an amazing point of view, perspective, fan base, I'm down to get in the studio and work. I don't discriminate."
Feb. 25, 2015: Ye and the "1989" songstress continued their reconciliation at the Brit Awards and Kim more than happily provided the receipts on Instagram. But the Brit Awards were actually more about Taylor and Kim bonding, with Taylor bestowing some of her signature awards show dance moves upon Kim during Kanye's "All Day" performance.
April 29, 2015: Taylor opened up to ET about the now-eagerly collaboration, saying, "We've never been in a studio together, but he's got a lot of amazing ideas."
"He's one of those people that's just like idea, idea, idea," she elaborated on her new buddy, Kanye. "We've talked about it, but we've also talked about so many other things…I completely respect him as a producer. So, that's all I know now."
Sept. 2015: Months after they seemed to have publicly settled their #feud, Taylor explained to Vanity Fair how the resolution came to be, telling the magazine that she'd learned to "like him as a person."
"I feel like I wasn't ready to be friends with him until I felt like he had some sort of respect for me, and he wasn't ready to be friends with me until he had some sort of respect for me -- so it was the same issue, and we both reached the same place at the same time," she said. "Then Kanye and I both reached a place where he would say really nice things about my music and what I've accomplished, and I could ask him how his kid is doing."
Aug. 30, 2015: The VMAs hatchet was officially -- and appropriately -- buried at the VMAs, when Taylor presented Kanye with the MTV Video Vanguard Award. "I first met Kanye West six years ago -- at this show, actually!" Taylor joked.
"I've been a fan of his for as long as I can remember because Kanye defines what it means to be a creative force in music, fashion and, well, life," she continued. "So, I guess I have to say to all the other winners tonight, I'm really happy for you, and I'mma let you finish, but Kanye West has had one of the greatest careers of all time."
Sept. 4, 2015: Kanye thanked Taylor for her sweet words with a bouquet of the same flowers he sends to everyone. Still nice though! "Awwww Kanye sent me the coolest flowers!! #KanTay2020 #BFFs," she captioned the Instagram.
(Sidebar: Even though -- SPOILER ALERT -- Taylor and Kanye have since reignited their feud, this 'Gram has not been deleted. Perhaps because it's Taylor's most liked picture? Just something to ponder.)
Feb. 11, 2016: After all that hard work and mutual respect and saying really nice things about Taylor's music and what she's accomplished, Kanye had to ruin it all away with one line on The Life of Pablo: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b**ch famous," he raps on "Famous."
At the time, Taylor's rep said in a statement that the singer "cautioned [Kanye] about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, 'I made that b**ch famous.'"
Feb. 12, 2016: Or was it Kanye's fault? The day after his Yeezy Season 3 fashion show -- where "Famous" premiered -- he took to Twitter to say, "I did not diss Taylor Swift and I've never dissed her."
"I called Taylor and had a hour long convo with her about the line and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings," he stated in a series of tweets. "I'm not even gone take credit for the idea… it's actually something Taylor came up with. She was having dinner with one of our friends who's name I will keep out of this and she told him, 'I can't be mad at Kanye because he made me famous!' #FACTS."
Feb. 15, 2016: Taylor subtly slammed Kanye for the controversial lyric while accepting the GRAMMY Award for Album of the Year. "I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments and your fame," she pointedly said.
"But if you just focus on the work and you don't let those people sidetrack you, some day when you get where you're going, you'll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there and that will be the greatest feeling in the world," she concluded.
(Shortly afterwards, Kanye posted a not-so-cryptic tweet, complaining, "I made Dark Fantasy and Watch the Throne in one year and wasn't nominated for either and you know who has 2 albums of the year.")
Feb. 16, 2016: The tensions escalated to full-on #feud levels when Kanye was recorded calling Taylor a "fake a**" backstage at Saturday Night Live. In the weeks following, he would go on a number of rants about her, including at 1OAK, when he told the crowd, "She not cool no more. She had two seconds to be cool and she f**ked it up."
April 2016: Meanwhile, Taylor played coy on the drama, covering Vogue and claiming inside the pages, "I think the world is so bored with the saga. I don't want to add anything to it, because then there's just more."
"I guess what I wanted to call attention to in my speech at the GRAMMYs was how it's going to be difficult if you're a woman who wants to achieve something in her life -- no matter what," she told the magazine. "I've had people say really hurtful things about me, and so I've kind of learned how to gauge it."
June 24, 2016: If Taylor wasn't happy with Kanye's "Famous" song, she certainly wasn't pleased with the video, which featured Kanye in bed with lifelike -- and completely naked -- wax figures of celebs like Kim, Rihanna, Caitlyn Jenner, Donald Trump and...Taylor.
While the "Wildest Dreams" singer didn't speak out on the video, squad member Lena Dunham called the clip "one of the most disturbing 'artistic' efforts in recent memory" and said of Taylor's inclusion in it, "F**k that one hurt to look at, I couldn't look."
July 2016: The he-said, she-said turned into a she-said, he-said, she-said when Kim got involved, telling GQ the "Blank Space" singer "totally approved" the lyric during a phone call with Kanye -- and revealed that the phone call had been recorded.
"She said, 'When I get on the GRAMMY red carpet, all the media is going to think that I'm so against this, and I'll just laugh and say, 'The joke's on you, guys. I was in on it the whole time,'" Kim claimed. "And I'm like, wait, but your GRAMMY speech, you completely dissed my husband just to play the victim again."
Taylor's publicist once again denied it: "Taylor does not hold anything against Kim Kardashian as she recognizes the pressure Kim must be under and that she is only repeating what she has been told by Kanye West,” the statement said, rebuffing claims that Taylor approved the song.
"Kim Kardashian's claim that Taylor and her team were aware of being recorded is not true," it read, "and Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone."
July 17, 2016: Kim was far from finished, though. Quite the opposite: she had an entire Keeping Up With the Kardashiansdedicated to the controversy, with Kim defending talking "s**t" about Taylor to protect her husband.
Then the s**t really hit the fan: Kim took to Snapchat to leak snippets of the incomplete video recording of Kanye's call to Taylor, where Taylor seemingly approves the lyric, calls it a "compliment" and does, in fact, say that she'd tell reporters, when asked, that Kanye called her about the lyrics and that she was in on it.
July 27, 2016: Very quickly after Kim's Snaps went live -- and a #KimExposedTaylorParty began trending on Twitter -- Taylor responded on her social media pages, apparently taking issue with the "that b**ch" part of the lyric. "Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me 'that b**ch' in his song? It doesn't exist because it never happened," she said.
"Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination," she also said in the statement. "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009."
If we can't be excluded from it, Taylor, neither can you! And so it continues...
Now, can Taylor sue Kim and Kanye for the leaked video? Did Kim tarnish Taylor's reputation by leaking the call? More burning questions answered in the video below.