Matty Healy and Taylor Swift

Matty Healy and Taylor Swift | The story so far…

Over the last few weeks, a new celebrity couple has sent two sets of fandoms into a spiral. From the moment newspapers picked up the story that Taylor Swift and Matty Healy are apparently “madly in love”, there has been no slowing or stopping the world-wind of hot takes and reactions as fans seem to fall into two camps: the shocked and the downright outraged.

To lay all my cards out on the table, I’m both a Swiftie and a The 1975 fan. Now at the ripe old age of 25, my Taylor Swift love started early so I’ve been there through it all, which is why I’m so confused at everyone’s confusion regarding the new couple.

Sure, at first glance, Taylor and Matty seem worlds apart, with Matty especially feeling like the exact antithesis of Taylor’s generally clean-cut image. When Taylor surprised The 1975 fans on stage at the band’s London date early this year, there was some confusion – but baffled fans clearly just need a history lesson. Older fans saw this coming a mile off.

Being linked back in 2014 when they both wore the other’s merch, the pair have clearly remained friends ever since. They’ve both worked with Jack Antonoff, publicly complimented each other’s work and definitely seem to move in the same circles with Phoebe Bridgers and Beabadoobee, two of Matty’s close friends, both of whom are currently joining Taylor on her current tour. Both at the current top of their game – or, in the words of the 1975’s tour, ‘at their very best’ – it makes so much sense that the duo would reconnect right now.

Taylor Swift

To clear up any confusion and dive a little deeper into the Swiftie collective brain, gathering up all the fan theories about possible lyrical references to one another, let’s take a deep dive into the Taylor Swift and Matty Healy story so far…

When did Taylor Swift and Matty Healy meet?

While no one can actually be certain other than the pair themselves, the first public link between the two came in 2014 when Taylor was spotted at The 1975’s LA show. Later hitting the town in the band’s merch, rumours flew that Taylor had given Matty her number.

Returning the favour, Matty then took to the stage in a 1989 tour t-shirt, describing Taylor as “a sensation” and confirmed the rumour they had exchanged numbers. In 2016, Healy described Taylor as: “one of the most gracious, hard-working, creatively gifted, and beautiful women that [he has] had the pleasure to meet.”

While nothing seemed to come of the number swap publicly, there remains plenty of hearsay that the pair did briefly date, ending due to The 1975’s tour schedule and Matty’s battle with addiction around this time. But regardless, the duo have known each other for nearly a decade – so why are people so surprised they’d be linked?

Matty Healy

Photo: Mackenzie Sweetnam

When did Taylor and Matty reconnect?

Again, who really knows when. As far as the public know, Taylor Swift split from long-term partner Joe Alwyn in April, but some fans are wondering if it happened earlier, pointing out lyrics in new songs like ‘Bejewelled’ already sounding like a breakup was at least on the cards.

The first Taylor and Matty link came in January, as Taylor joined the band on stage at The O2. In hindsight, maybe Matty’s comments stating he wouldn’t be kissing any more fans “out of respect for Taylor” maybe have a little more weight now. But nothing else came until early May, when Taylor and Matty started getting cryptic…

First, there was Matty’s comments as he introduced ‘Me & You Together Song’, a track with a video that seems to reference Taylor’s ‘You Belong With Me’ video, saying: “I’ve been trying to tell you, I’ve been in love with her for ages”. Then there was the news stories claiming they were already madly in love. If that wasn’t enough, both Taylor and Matty looked straight into the camera and mouthed “this one is about you. You know who you are. I love you.” It’s like something out of a film.

Taylor Swift

Flying straight from a show in Manila to Nashville, Matty is now spending his break from his own tour seemingly following Taylor on her’s. Seen both on stage with Phoebe Bridgers and dancing with Taylor’s friends and parents in the VIP box, he’s now been there for six shows, seeming visibly delighted and as equally obsessed with Taylor as we all are – something we never really saw from Joe.

Most recently being seen leaving a party at Electric Lady Studios where mutual friends Jack Antonoff, Lorde, Florence Welch, Maggie Rogers and more were all in attendance, fans note how happy Taylor looks. And surely that’s all that matters.

But isn’t Matty Healy a terrible person?

I hear you asking the question. Since the dating rumours resurfaced lately, Twitter has gone crazy, seeming to level up accusations against Matty day by day. First, he was problematic, then he was misogynistic and now people are saying they’re disgusted in Taylor for even being linked to him.

While we can’t deny that Matty regularly puts his foot in it, and that especially his recent comments about Ice Spice were hugely out of line, he has also done a lot of apologising, a lot of good and a lot of very public, loud and proud political statements in support of feminism, gay rights, political and religious freedom.

Matty Healy The 1975

Photo: Marcelo Hernandez

Using out-of-context lyrics, clips of the recent tour and old interviews against him, without history of the band and Matty himself, the pile-on feels intense but baseless on the whole. In a well-shared thread, a fan went through every accusation or article used against Matty, zooming-out to provide the actual context that social media spirals lack.

If all you’ve seen of Matty is recent videos from their At Their Very Best tour, I can understand why you’d dislike him; especially if you’re American with a limited understanding of dark humour and British sarcasm. One section in the tour, when the band appear to cut Matty off mid-sentence as he begins to talk about his online persona and this ‘problematic’ character certainly look bad without the context of the show and the skit.

And while Matty is a tough person to defend, context is vital. Matty was raised by Benidorm’s Tim Healy, after all, so no wonder he likes to play on the line of socially acceptable humour…

Also, calling out Taylor for daring to be linked to, or even be associated with, ‘a person like Matty’, is dehumanising of Taylor. If Matty Healy was a terrible person, she wouldn’t have been friends with him for close to a decade, and Matty wouldn’t have such good working relationships with people in her circle, including Jack Antonoff who apparently reconnected the pair. If you love Taylor, you have to give her enough credit that she wouldn’t keep a bad person around.

Taylor Swift

Who has Matty Healy dated before?

One thing Swifties might not know about Matty is that he’s a certified lover boy. In all his public relationships, Matty has been the living definition of smitten, seen in the same way as he was recently photographed hand-on-heart at Taylor’s show.

Previously linked to models Gemma Janes and Gabrielle Brooks, and most recently splitting from artist FKA Twigs, all three were long-term relationships. Not afraid to publicly post about his girlfriends, declaring his love, maybe we’ll see an online outpouring of love for Taylor soon.

Do Taylor and Matty have songs about each other?

To dive into the over-analysing Swiftie brain for a moment, in the light of their new relationship and suggestions they’ve reconnected after years of friendship, fans are looking back at both Taylor and Matty’s lyrics. When they shocked fans by both mouthing the same speech, the songs ‘Cardigan’ and ‘About You’ have been the focal point.

In ‘Cardigan’, Taylor sings about young love, drunk dancing, tattoos and “the smell of smoke”, which all seem to scream Matty Healy. On ‘About You’, meanwhile, Matty says simply “do you think I have forgotten about you?”.

Matty Healy

Photo: Mauricio Santana

The links are tenuous and obviously entirely conspiracy but as more interview clips and forgotten lyrics resurface, fans are increasingly convinced of the connection. One of the big ones is a forgotten interview Matty did with NME in pre-pandemic 2020 after reconnecting with Taylor at the NME Awards.

He speaks of wanting to pitch Taylor a “post-rock Joni Mitchell project”, leaving people to wonder if Matty planted the seed for Taylor’s indie pivot on folklore and evermore? In her Long Pond Sessions documentary when speaking about the folklore track ‘This Is Me Trying’, Taylor discusses addiction, saying “I’ve been thinking about addiction and people, if they’re either suffering through mental illness or addiction, they have an everyday struggle; no one pats them on the back every day but every day they are actively fighting something.” 

To dive even deeper into the web, Taylor’s articulation on addiction matches up beautifully with The 1975’s ‘Part Of The Band’, where Matty references his recovery as his “daily iteration”. When you add in the fact that in ‘Bejeweled’, Taylor sings “and when I meet the band, they ask do I have a man?” and The 1975 have released merch that simply says “The band”, maybe the fans aren’t crazy after all…

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