Her biggest and most widely known beef is with pop star Katy Perry. Swift and Perry used to be best friends, but quickly became sworn enemies in 2014 when Swift said Perry tried to hire away her dancers.
“For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not,” Swift said of the pop singer who the song was supposedly about.
Swift added, “She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, ‘Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?’ Then last year, the other star crossed a line. She did something so horrible,” Swift said. “I was like, ‘Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.'”
However, Swift never actually named names, and in a recent interview with GQ’s Chuck Klosterman, Swift strongly suggested the song wasn’t about Perry after all – but an ex-boyfriend she was trying to protect from the press:
You’re in a Rolling Stone interview, and the writer says, “Who is that song about? That sounds like a really intense moment from your life.” And you sit there, and you know you’re on good terms with your ex-boyfriend, and you don’t want him – or his family to think you’re firing shots at him.
So you say, “That was about losing a friend.” And that’s basically all you say. But then people cryptically tweet about what you meant. I never said anything that would point a finger in the specific direction of one specific person, and I can sleep at night knowing that. I knew the song would be assigned to a person, and the easiest mark was someone who I didn’t want to be labled with this song. It was not a song about heartbreak. It was about the loss of friendship.
Whether the song was actually about Perry or not, Swift has listeners right where she wants them. It’s a never ending cycle of subtle blows that everyone speculates about until she releases another one. Swift says not naming names sometimes feels like the one card she can still hold close to the chest. It’s driving fans crazy, but driving her career.