On Friday, the anticipated Taylor Swift documentary, Miss Americana, finally debuted on Netflix, giving fans an inside look at what her life was like while she recorded her most recent album, Lover. And although she tends to keep her relationship as private as possible, the topic of her boyfriend did happen to come up. The film also gives us a glimpse at just how long have Swift and Joe Alwyn been dating — as well a few details about their romance. Just not the ones that might make the cover of a gossip magazine.
Swift and Alwyn's relationship started while she was in hiding from the public, between the 1989 era and the release of her 2017 album, Reputation, which included a few songs about her then-new beau. In fact, in Miss Americana, we get to watch as she and Jack Antonoff actively write one of the songs Swift released about her relationship with Alwyn — a wide smile across her face as it comes together.
The earliest reports of Swift dating Alwyn didn't surface until 2017, when there were rumors she was hiding out in London, attempting to date him off the grid, but conventional wisdom suggests they met before that. Some fans have a theory that the duo met at the 2016 Met Gala, largely because Swift's lyrics in the Reputation song "Dress" (specifically, "Flashback when you met me/Your buzzcut and my hair bleached") seem to match the way they both looked that night. Swift, who has had bright, chemically bleached blonde hair exactly one time, debuted the look on the cover of Vogue, just before that year's gala. Despite the evidence, the notoriously private couple has obviously never confirmed the theory directly.
Their earliest public sighting together was also in 2016, when fans realized that Swift and Alwyn were both at the same Kings of Leon concert and after party in October of that year. Like most details about their relationship, Swift has never spoken out about their meet cute or first date herself — and that didn't change all that much in Miss Americana, but she did share something a little more emotional about their pairing.
In the documentary, she says that with Alwyn, she was able to find "happiness without anyone else's input." She continues, "I was falling in love with someone who had a really wonderfully normal, balanced, grounded life. And we decided together that we wanted our relationship to be private."
And private it has stayed.
It's a decision, per her voiceover in Miss Americana, she and Alwyn made together. The timeline of that decision? Still a secret only known to the pair, unfortunately. Between that, and the fact that the singer is almost never spotted with him in public, more casual followers of Swift's career might not even be aware that she has a boyfriend at all.
But, it seems to be working for them. Based on the timeline of the songs she wrote about Alwyn on Reputation, it's safe to reason that Swift and Alwyn will be celebrating four years together at some point in 2020, which would make this her longest relationship.
So while Alwyn didn't make more of an appearance in Miss Americana, it's easy to understand why that might be: After the way Swift has been hounded and even shamed for her dating past, there's no good reason to open herself up to that kind of public judgment again. Especially if she feels that there's something different this time — an impression supported by her very brief, but very sweet description of their lives together in Miss Americana.