Why Did Taylor Swift and Harry Styles Break Up? Inside Their Split

Taylor Swift's ex-boyfriends never go out of style. Everyone remembers when Taylor dated Harry Styles —but what's the reason for their breakup?

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Taylor Swift
Image Credit: David Fisher/Shutterstock / John Salangsang/Shutterstock

Taylor Swift has had many famous boyfriends, but Harry Styles might have the most star power of them all. The pair met at an award show in 2012, while Harry was still in One Direction, and they dated for less than year before their breakup. Taylor and Harry have gone on to dominate the music world since their split, and they’ve even been rumored to have written songs about each other. Taylor mentions her breakup with Harry in several songs on , “Is It Over Now?”. Keep reading to learn the reason why Taylor and Harry broke up.

Why Did Taylor Swift and Harry Styles Break Up?

Since they’re both private people, Taylor and Harry never addressed the real reason for their split. They caused breakup speculation in January 2013 when Taylor flew home alone from the Caribbean after the pair took a New Year’s vacation together. Their split was confirmed on January 7, 2013 by PEOPLE. A source told the publication that neither Taylor or Harry were taking their relationship “seriously” when they were together.

Taylor and Harry met at the 2012 Kid’s Choice Awards and dated for less than a year. During that time, the two stars went on a date in Central Park, celebrated her 23rd birthday in England, and went skiing in Park City, Utah for Christmas. Harry gushed over Taylor in an interview with Seventeen in September 2012 while they were dating.

“[Taylor]’s a really lovely girl. Honestly, she couldn’t be a sweeter person,” the former X-Factor contestant said. “She’s a great girl and she’s extremely talented,” he added. Harry also called Taylor “one of those people you meet [who’s] genuinely a nice person. Some people you meet and they are not as nice as you make them out to be, but she’s one of those people who’s really just amazing.”

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift at the 2023 Grammy Awards (Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock)

After their breakup, Taylor and Harry both released songs that fans speculated are about each other. Taylor dropped “Style” as part of her 2014 album, 1989, which seems to be inspired by her relationship with Harry. The following year, One Direction released “Perfect” which was believed to be about Taylor.

The re-recording of 1989 which came out October 27 includes five vault tracks that give nods to Taylor and Harry’s breakup. The song “Is It Over Now?” mentions the iconic 2013 photo of Taylor sitting alone on a boat in the Virgin Islands wearing a blue dress and black sunglasses after the stars broke up on vacation. “Blue dress / On a boat / Your new girl / Is my clone,” she sings. Taylor also calls Harry a “lying traitor” in their song.

In “Now That We Don’t Talk,” Taylor embraces moving on from a relationship that recently ended. She sings, “You grew your hair long / You got new icons. And from the outside / It looks like you’re tryin’ lives on. I miss the old ways / You didn’t have to change / But I guess I don’t have a say / Now that we don’t talk.”

Taylor also appears to call out Harry in “Say Don’t Go,” which is about one half of a couple who is not ready to give on up the relationship. “Why’d you have to lead me on? / Why you’d have to twist the knife? / Walk away and leave me bleeding,” Taylor sings. “Why’d you whisper in the dark? / Just to leave me in the night? / Now your silence has me screamin’, screamin’.”

Harry opened up about his romance with Taylor in a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone. “Relationships are hard, at any age. And adding in that you don’t really understand exactly how it works when you’re 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn’t make it easier,” he said. “I mean, you’re a little bit awkward to begin with. You’re on a date with someone you really like. It should be that simple, right? It was a learning experience for sure. But at the heart of it – I just wanted it to be a normal date.”

Harry Styles
Harry Styles at the 2023 Grammy Awards (Photo: David Fisher/Shutterstock)

Harry continued, “Certain things don’t work out. There’s a lot of things that can be right, and it’s still wrong. In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together. You’re celebrating the fact it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than ‘this didn’t work out, and that’s bad.’ And if you run into that person, maybe it’s awkward, maybe you have to get drunk … but you shared something. Meeting someone new, sharing those experiences, it’s the best s**** ever.”

Are Taylor Swift and Harry Styles Still Friends?

Taylor and Harry have remained on good terms in the 10+ years since their split. They memorably reunited at the 2021 Grammy Awards where they both took home top prizes. Taylor stood up and clapped when Harry won for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Watermelon Sugar.” Two years later, the exes reunited again at the 2023 Grammy Awards.

Who Are Taylor Swift and Harry Styles Dating Now?

After splitting from Harry at the beginning of 2013, Taylor dated Calvin Harris and then Tom Hiddleston before she was in a relationship with Joe Alwyn for six years. Today, Taylor is newly-dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Their relationship has become an absolute spectacle in the media.

Harry, meanwhile, is currently dating actress Taylor Russell. They sparked romance rumors when they were seen spending time together in June 2023. Harry started seeing Taylor after his split from Olivia Wilde, who he met on the set of Don’t Worry Darling and dated for nearly two years.