The Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss fallout can all be traced back to one song lyric.

In 2014, Taylor Swift swore off dating.

It makes sense - she'd just come out of a relationship with Harry Styles that, as she puts it, felt like they were being hunted by cellphones. She'd moved to a new city. She'd grown her friendship group to something beyond her wildest, former geeky high schooler dreams.

But at the time, and probably still today in some capacity, 'dating' was a key part of Swift's public persona. And well, how could *she* not be dating? Then, speculation about her tightknit friendships, namely with Karlie Kloss, took off.

The prologue of Swift's fourth re-recording album, 1989 (Taylor's Version), released October 27, offers interesting perspective from Swift about this during the time the original 1989 was released, on the exact same day, nine years earlier.

"It became clear to me that for me there was no such thing as casual dating, or even having a male friend who you platonically hang out with. If I was seen with him, it was assumed I was sleeping with him," she wrote.

"Being a consummate optimist, I assumed I could fix this if I simply changed my behaviour. I swore off dating and decided to focus only on myself, my music, my growth, and my female friendships.

"If I only hung out with my female friends, people couldn't sensationalise or sexualise that, right? I would learn later on that people could and people would."

It is the most empathic response to a subculture of fans that have long 'shipped' her with Kloss, and occasionally other female friends such as Dianna Agron and Zoe Kravitz.


It's also her first, albeit very vague, reference to Kloss, her former bestie, in years.

During the original 1989 era, they were practically inseparable. And now, Kloss is resigned to the (not so) cheap seats at Swift's culture-shattering Eras Tour.

How the hell did we get here?

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If you cast your mind back to 2014 — ah, simpler times! — you may recall a few things. Ellen DeGeneres was still beloved, especially after the Oscars selfie seen around the world. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin changed the celebrity breakup lexicon forever with their conscious uncoupling. We all sobbed as Cristina Yang left Seattle Grace.

And a friendship between two very tall, blonde-haired women became Hollywood's most visible, talked about and uh, conspiratorial, bond.

Swift and Kloss met at the 2013 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, where Swift was performing and Kloss was an Angel.

As they tell it, they immediately clicked. Four months later, in early 2014, they road-tripped through Big Sur in California, where Kloss became the first person to hear 1989, featuring stone-cold classics like 'Style' and 'Blank Space', seven months before its public release.


They spoke freely about Kloss' dedicated room in Swift's New York apartment and were seen out and about all the time - from that year's American Music Awards, to courtside at the Knicks, to just wandering through New York City on the reg.

In December 2014, they, along with a large group of friends, attended a The 1975 concert, and a simmering internet community got its first mainstream moment. Grainy footage that purported to show the pair kissing surfaced, prompting headlines such as 'Is This a Picture of Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss Making Out?' on Entertainment Tonight. It concluded, right there in the same headline, '(Spoiler Alert: No)' but that did nothing to deter speculation.

Soon after, Swift tweeted: "As my 25th birthday present from the media, I'd like for you to stop accusing all my friends of dating me #thirsty".

Swift and Kloss — dubbed Kaylor by those who believed they were more than besties — continued as per usual in 2015, with a joint Vogue cover, a hit music video appearance ('Bad Blood', which is an absolute fever dream to watch in the year 2023, btw), and on-stage appearances during Swift's 1989 World Tour.

Why yes, that IS Martha Hunt, Kendall Jenner, Serena Williams, Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevingne on stage with Swift in London for precisely no reason at all. Image: Getty.


Things clearly fell apart at some point in the next two years. One of their final appearances came in October 2016, when they were seen out in New York with Serena Williams, Zoe Kravitz and Dakota Johnson. 

They were not seen throughout 2017, and in January 2018 fans detected some, uh, shade when Kloss captioned an Instagram video 'Swish Swish', the name of a Katy Perry song believed to be a Swift diss track. She changed the caption soon after.


Their only remaining public appearance came in 2018 when Kloss posted a selfie after attending the Reputation Tour in Nashville.

By 2019, there was very little doubt that something had gone wrong.

Firstly, Swift did not attend either of Kloss' two weddings to Joshua Kushner (yes, of *that* Kushner family). Then, weeks after Swift shared her masters dispute with Scooter Braun and her former label, Big Machine Records publicly, Kloss was seen on a yacht with Braun - whose company then managed her modelling career.

She also liked, and (swiftly) unliked, a tweet calling Swift out for her reaction to the deal.

Rumours about why they fell out reached a fever pitch soon after, with a very scathing source telling Page Six that Swift "got upset over something crazy". It appeared to be in response to information shared by gossip personality Perez Hilton, who said in a video that Kloss had been sharing information about Swift's career with Braun.

Fans considered this information as good as verified when two of Swift's oldest and closest non-famous friends liked tweets that shared it.

Neither Kloss nor Swift have ever spoken about these rumours, but everyone knows Swift is more likely to put something in a song than an interview.

In December 2020 she released her second pandemic album, evermore. Buried in the album's final bonus track, 'it's time to go', is a lyric: "When the words of a sister come back in whispers, that prove she was not in fact what she seemed, not a twin from your dreams, she's a crook who was caught".



This closed the case for many fans. However, there is an entire subculture that considers this only 10 per cent of the story. Fans who believe in Kaylor have entire dossiers of information they consider evidence that the pair dated (and in some cases, are still dating): from The 1975 concert's #Kissgate to other lyrics the rest of the world takes to be about Swift's six-year relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn.

But for all fans, Kaylor truthers or not, Kloss' appearance at the final show of the Eras Tour in Los Angeles this past August (just weeks after she gave birth to her and Kushner's second child) was a cataclysmic event.

Kloss was there in the stands of LA's SoFi Stadium, singing along to 'Bad Blood' among the rest of the crowd, as if she wasn't literally featured in the song's 2015 music video.

Initially, publications claimed through 'eye-witnesses' that Kloss had been moved to a VIP tent during the show - signalling an olive branch, perhaps. This was essentially debunked when TikToks of watching each 'era' from the lower bowl were shared online.

Perhaps Kloss figured the catharsis of screaming the 'Cruel Summer' bridge with 70,000 other people would be so strong that it was worth the social media uproar. That I can understand.


It was crickets afterwards: no acknowledgements, no sightings, and no Instagram carousel of Kloss' dancing along to the songs she heard before anyone else in the world.

Until now, with the prologue. 

Without naming names, Swift made it clear that she does not enjoy fans and media alike 'shipping' her with, well, anyone, but with the context of the time and the most enduring rumours, it certainly felt like she was referencing Kloss directly.

It's a blow for the fans who wholeheartedly believed in Kaylor, and a telling statement from a woman whose new relationship has recently taken over the entertainment news cycle

So much has changed in nine years, and yet it also feels like nothing has at all.

In fact, you could quote 'Bad Blood' and say "time can heal, but this won't", which would be a fun little full-circle moment on one of Hollywood's most intruiging friendships, wouldn't it?

This article was originally published on August 13, 2023 and has been updated.

Feature image: Getty.

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