Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago, Taylor Swift and One Direction's Harry Styles were young and in love, and the couple's eventual breakup is rumoured to have been the catalyst for a few of Swift's biggest hits. Now, Styles has spoken out about the old relationship for the first time.
In a new Rolling Stone cover story (by Cameron Crowe, no less), the boybander-turned-solo-artist opens up about the short-lived 2012 romance, lamenting how the paparazzi added extra pressure to the already-awkward experience of dating as an 18-year-old. He also addressed the relationship getting turned into massive hit pop songs by Swift herself.
"Out of the Woods" and "Style" from Swift's 1989 have long been rumoured to be specifically about Styles. "I mean, I don't know if they're about me or not," he modestly told Rolling Stone, "But the issue is, she's so good, they're bloody everywhere" — including Target commercials, in the case of the latter tune.
"I write from my experiences; everyone does that," he continued. "I'm lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs. That's what hits your heart. That's the stuff that's hardest to say, and it's the stuff I talk least about. That's the part that's about the two people. I'm never going to tell anybody everything."
For the record, Swifties and One Direction fans have long suspected that 1D track "Perfect" references the relationship in the line: "And if you like cameras flashing every time we go out / And if you're looking for someone to write your breakup songs about/ Baby, I'm perfect."
When asked if he'd made his admiration for Swift's songs known to her, though, Styles responded, "She doesn't need me to tell her they're great. They're great songs ... It's the most amazing unspoken dialogue ever."
Finally, despite the fact that he and Swift are likely never (ever ever ever) getting back together, Styles did have a fairly positive parting message for his pop star ex.
"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," he said. "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 shit ever. So thank you."
Styles's self-titled solo debut is due out on May 12; so far, we've heard lead single "Sign of the Times" and the Saturday Night Live premiere of "Ever Since New York."
Before Taylor Swift's new album drops, dive into her back catalogue via Umusic.