Taylor Swift and Kanye West's feud goes back a whole decade, and offers twists and turns that no one saw coming. It all started at the MTV VMAs in September 2009, when Kanye interrupted Taylor's acceptance speech, and has bubbled behind closed doors - and in right in front of our eyes - ever since. Here's a complete timeline of the shade you need to know about.
13 August 2019
Most recently, almost 10 years after their feud began, Taylor Swift opened up toVogue
about how being 'cancelled' by Kim Kardashian 'changed her life'.
"A mass public shaming, with millions of people saying you are quote-unquote cancelled, is a very isolating experience," she commented. "I don’t think there are that many people who can actually understand what it’s like to have millions of people hate you very loudly. When you say someone is cancelled, it’s not a TV show.
"It’s a human being. You’re sending mass amounts of messaging to this person to either shut up, disappear, or it could also be perceived as, Kill yourself."
Taylor then opened up about how the 'cancelling' impacted her everyday life, encouraging her to create the album Reputation. "I realised I needed to restructure my life because it felt completely out of control," she added. "I knew immediately I needed to make music about it because I knew it was the only way I could survive it. It was the only way I could preserve my mental health and also tell the story of what it’s like to go through something so humiliating."
13th September 2009
It begins. On this fateful date in New York City, a 19-year-old Taylor Swift was at the MTV Video Music Awards, accepting the Best Female Video award for unrequited love anthem 'You Belong with Me'. During her cute acceptance speech, Kanye West jumped up on the stage and grabbed the mic, interrupting with the now-immortal words: "Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you and I'mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!"
If you Google the words "sad kitten", you'll get a pretty good approximation of what Taylor's face looked like during this whole fiasco, while MTV's cameras cut to Beyonce herself looking horrified in the audience. Once Kanye had shrugged and handed the mic back to Taylor, her time was up.
Nobody was impressed. President Obama famously called Kanye "a jackass" over the incident. Even Katy Perry, now widely known as the subject of Swift's diss-track 'Bad Blood', was not on board: "F*** you, Kanye. It's like you stepped on a kitten," she tweeted, which is pretty much as accurate as metaphors get.
Kanye was promptly kicked out, while Beyonce used her Video of the Year win later in the evening as an opportunity to bring Swift back on stage, and let her finish her speech. Because no matter how trying the circumstances, Beyonce remains a flawless human being.
15th September 2009
A contrite Kanye appears on The Jay Leno Show, admitting "It was rude, period. I don't try to justify it, 'cause I was in the wrong. Dealing with the fact that I hurt someone or took anything away, you know, from a talented artist – or from anyone – because I only wanted to help people.
"My entire life, I've only wanted to do and give something that I felt was right and I immediately knew in this situation that it was wrong."
Meanwhile, Taylor addresses the incident on The View: "My overall thought process was something like: 'Wow, I can't believe I won, this is awesome, don't trip and fall, I'm gonna get to thank the fans, this is so cool. Oh, Kanye West is here. Cool haircut. What are you doing there?' And then, 'Ouch.' And then, 'I guess I'm not gonna get to thank the fans.'" She also confirms that Kanye has not reached out to her to apologise.
Following her appearance on The View, Kanye calls Taylor personally to apologise. "He was very sincere in his apology, and I accepted that apology," she said.
4th September 2010
Kanye apologises publicly via the then-exciting-and-new social media platform of Twitter: "I'm sorry, Taylor," he wrote. "We're both artists, and the media and managers are trying to get between us. She deserves the apology more than anyone. Thank you [Twitter co-founders] Biz Stone and Evan Williams for creating a platform where we can communicate directly." During the heartfelt barrage of tweets, Kanye also reveals he's written a song for Taylor.
12th September 2010
… But before we ever get to hear Kanye's song about Taylor, she releases one about him. At the 2010 VMAs, Taylor marks the one-year anniversary of the Kanye fiasco with a barefoot performance of her brand new song 'Innocent', which includes the lyrics "Who you are is not what you did / You're still an innocent." While fairly vague, most critics take the lyrics as a tacit blend of forgiveness and revenge, with The New York Times dubbing the song "an extremely savvy insult masquerading as the high road".
Kanye backtracks on his apology in several separate interviews, claiming that interrupting Taylor was "selfless" and not arrogant on his part, because she didn't deserve to win the award. "Taylor never came to my defence at any interview," he complained, accusing Swift of exploiting the incident for publicity.
3rd May 2011
Taylor and Kanye have at least publicly buried the hatchet. On the red carpet at the Met Costume Institute Gala, "the two exchanged a studiedly casual, "down low" high five", but it's clear things are still strained.
25th October 2012
A Rolling Stone profile reveals that Swift has a memento of the VMAs moment in her Nashville home: "Above the fireplace, which is emblazoned with a small heart, there's even a photo of the moment Kanye stormed her VMA stage (captioned, "Life is full of little interruptions," a phrase that's also in the liner notes of her last album), right next to what is presumably the actual award in question under glass."
11th June 2013
Kanye all-but officially takes back his apology, telling The New York Times that he only apologised in the first place because he'd caved to peer pressure. "I don't have one regret," he says of the VMAs incident.
A new leaf has been seriously turned over. Not only are Taylor and Kanye super-pally backstage at the 2015 Grammys, but there are rumours of a collaboration, following Taylor's final transition out of country and into pop with 1989.
"She wants to get in the studio and we're definitely going to go in," Kanye tells Ryan Seacrest. "I don't have an elitism about music, I don't discriminate." A few days after the Grammys, the pair are seen grabbing dinner together at New York hotspot The Spotted Pig, adding grist to that rumor mill.
At the 2015 VMAs, six years after the little interruption that started it all, Taylor presents Kanye with the Video Vanguard Award, the most public confirmation yet of their newfound alliance.
Forget musical collaboration – Kanye and Taylor literally want to rule the world together. Or at least America. After Kanye announces his plans to run for President in 2020, Taylor volunteers as his running mate.
"Awww Kanye sent me the coolest flowers!! #KanTay2020 #BFFs"
…Which would still make 2020 less wacky than the 2016 election.
11th February 2016
Just when it's all going so well… Kanye debuts a new track by the name of 'Famous', and its lyrics include the following: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous."
Yikes. Kanye claims that he sought Taylor's approval before the song's release: "I called Taylor and had a hour long convo with her about the line and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings."
Taylor's camp immediately denies this in a statement, claiming that Kanye hadn't run the lyrics past Taylor, but had instead asked her to promote the song: "Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single 'Famous' on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, "I made that bitch famous.'"
While Taylor herself stays silent, several members of her #squad leap to her defence, while her brother Austin posts a video in which he throws his Yeezys in the trash.
"Here we go again" indeed, Austin.
15th February 2016
Another awards show, another landmark moment in the KanTay saga. After Taylor wins Album of the Year for 1989, she swipes back at Kanye in what can only be described as a perfect real-life subtweet.
"As the first woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there—there are going to be people along the way who are going to try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame," Swift said, naming absolutely no names.
"But if you just focus on the work and you don't let those people sidetrack you, someday 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 greatest feeling in the world."
Is the feud over? Not even close, says Chrissy Teigen: "I'll tell you, it's not over. This is going to go on. This is being waged."
16th June 2016
…Yeah, that didn't take long. Just as Chrissy predicted, this feud will probably outlive all of us, especially now that it's evolved and mutated into a feud triangle. Kim Kardashian West stepped into the fray during a GQ interview in June, echoing Kanye's claim that Taylor had given her blessing to those 'Famous' lyrics, and later backtracked in order to play the victim.
"She totally approved that," Kim said. "She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn't. I swear, my husband gets so much shit for things [when] he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved."
And it didn't stop there – Kim went on to claim that the phone conversation in question, where Taylor approved the lyrics, had been recorded on camera.
"And then they sent an attorney's letter like 'Don't you dare do anything with that footage,' and asking us to destroy it."
We're gonna need to see those receipts, Kim.
25th June 2016
Kanye being Kanye, the music video for 'Famous' was always going to add more fuel to the feud fire, but nobody quite saw this coming.
The video begins with a shot of Kanye and Kim asleep in bed, and pans outwards to reveal a naked Taylor asleep on the other side of Kanye. Also snoozing nude in this bizarre fictional bed: Rihanna, Chris Brown, Donald Trump, Caitlyn Jenner, George W Bush, Anna Wintour, Ruby Rose, Ray J and Bill Cosby. Taylor is noticeably positioned right next to Kanye, which becomes even creepier in light of the "might still have sex" lyric.
The celebrities were all confirmed to be lifelike waxworks rather than the real deal, but it remained unclear how many had agreed to their depictions in the video.
28th June 2016
Although there was no response from the Swift camp, one of Taylor's many BFFs Lena Dunham leapt to her defence in a justifiably angry Facebook post, which slammed the video for its apparent legitimisation of rape culture.
"Now I have to see the prone, unconscious, waxy bodies of famous women, twisted like they've been drugged and chucked aside at a rager?" Dunham wrote. "I'm sure that Bill Cosby doll being in the bed alongside Donald Trump is some kind of statement… I don't have a hip, cool reaction, because seeing a woman I love like Taylor Swift (fuck that one hurt to look at, I couldn't look), a woman I admire like Rihanna or Anna [Wintour], reduced to a pair of waxy breasts made by some special effects guy in the Valley, it makes me feel sad and unsafe and worried for the teenage girls who watch this and may not understand that grainy roving camera as the stuff of snuff films."
Elsewhere, the question on everyone's lips was whether Taylor – or any of the celebrities in question – would grant Kanye's wish and sue over the video.
18th July 2016
Wait it's legit National Snake Day?!?!?They have holidays for everybody, I mean everything these days! 🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍🐍— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 17, 2016
The plot massively thickens. Kanye's wife Kim Kardashian starts teasing that her Twitter followers should start following her on Snapchat also, where she later drops the BIGGEST of bombshells: a secret recording of Taylor Swift's phone conversation with Kanye, seemingly agreeing to the use of her name etc on his song Famous. The words "respect" and "friends" are also thrown around a lot in the conversation (mainly by Taylor).
But Taylor gets pissed at being painted as a liar, saying she was never consulted about the fact she's referred to as a "bitch" in the song, and then posts an Instagram note saying she doesn't want to be involved in this "narrative" and never has done since it began in 2009.
30th May 2017
Kim Kardashian reignites the feud by saying that Kendall Jenner was never in Taylor's squad, so there was no awkwardness over the Famous debacle. But Kendall was totally in the squad, right?
18th July 2017
It's been a whole year since Kimmy K called out Taylor Swift for lying about her knowledge of Kanye West's 'Famous' lyrics, and people are celebrating hard on Twitter. Someone grab the party poppers!
never forget the day that Kim Kardashian exposed Taylucifer Snake 😊 A year ago today 🐍 pic.twitter.com/eoIH2OwfwE— manny (@mannyrams_) July 18, 2017
One year ago today was the day Kim Kardashian exposed Taylor Swift as the snake she is aka the absolute best day of my life— Lauren (@lauren_spencer1) July 18, 2017
21st August 2017
Taylor starts posting videos of snakes on her Instagram. This is particularly odd seeing as she deleted everything from her social media just days before.
Is this all to do with Kim and Kanye fans posting snake emojis all over her Instagram and Twitter when all that nasty 'Famous' business was going on? It sure looks like it.
23rd August 2017
Taylor announces that she's releasing a new album in November. But have we seen that font before? It sure reminds us of Kanye's Saint Pablo tour merch...
25th August 2017
Taylor drops the first single from her sixth album Reputation, 'Look What You Made Me Do'. Certain lyrics definitely lend themselves to potentially being about her feud with Kimye, such as:
"I don't like your little games / Don't like your tilted stage / The role you made me play / Of the fool / No, I don't like you"
Does the tilted stage bit remind anyone else of Kanye's Saint Pablo Tour staging? Hmm.
"I'm sorry. The old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, 'cause she's dead!"
Y'all remember when Kim called Taylor out on Twitter over the whole 'Famous' debacle and an RIP Taylor Swift mural from Melbourne went viral? Inteeeresting.
27th August 2017
Taylor premieres the new video for 'Look What You Made Me Do', and fans think there are some less-than subtle references to the Kanye/Kim feud, thanks to the snake rings.
5th October 2017
Idris Elba comments on the ongoing beef, admitting that he felt hella awks when he had to present an award with Taylor at the 2016 Met Gala.
Speaking to the New York Times, Idris said: "It was a bit awkward because Taylor Swift and I had to present an award. We were walking through the crowd and obviously, there was a little beef between Taylor and Kanye. I didn't know any of this. But I was there! And I was, like, 'Oh, this is awks.'"
10th November 2017
Taylor releases her much-anticipated album Reputation, and boy do fans have A LOT of theories about what the songs are about?! Along with theories about there being songs about Taylor's exes Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston, fans also think not one but TWO songs are about Taylor's feud with Kanye and Kim.
Firstly, in 'I Did Something Bad', lyrics include, "They're burning all the witches even if you aren't one / They got their pitchforks and proof / Their receipts and reasons"
This seems like a definite nod to Taylor Swift's public feud with Kimye, right? Specifically, referencing 'receipts' as a nod to Kim's recording of Taylor.
And in 'This Is why We Can't Have Nice Things', Taylor sings: "It was so nice being friends again / There I was giving you a second chance / But then you stabbed my back while shaking my hand."
Fans are convinced this lyric is about Taylor's friendship with Kim and Kanye, as despite Kanye crashing the stage at the MTV VMAs in 2009 to tell the world Beyoncé deserved to win Best Female Video over Taylor, the three of them went on to be friends, and were even pictured bonding at red carpet events together. And then, er, 'Famous' happened.
29th March 2018: Taylor's BFF Lorde covers two of Kanye's songs, which seems a bit weird, right?
Not only did Lorde cover an a cappella version of 'Love Lockdown' she sang 'Runaway' during a show in Rosemont, Illinois.
To be fair, this isn't the first time she's played Kanye's music on stage — plus, back in 2014 she called him her "idol." But still... Taylor's gonna be pisssssssed.
7th March 2019: Taylor reignites the feud with Kim and Kanye, referring to them as 'bullies' who started an internet hate campaign against her.
"In my experience, I've come to see that bullies want to be feared and taken seriously," she said in the April issue of Elle Magazine. "A few years ago, someone started an online hate campaign by calling me a snake on the internet. The fact that so many people jumped on board with it led me to feeling lower than I've ever felt in my life."
The singer went on to detail how she reclaimed the snake comparison by introducing a mammoth inflatable cobra named Karyn - note the K - to her tour shows.
"I can't tell you how hard I had to keep from laughing every time my 63-foot inflatable cobra named Karyn appeared onstage in front of 60,000 screaming fans," she continued. "It's the Stadium Tour equivalent of responding to a troll's hateful Instagram comment with "lol".'
"It would be nice if we could get an apology from people who bully us, but maybe all I'll ever get is the satisfaction of knowing I could survive it, and thrive in spite of it."
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