Taylor Swift Wanted To Work With Kanye West In 2008 And We Have The Receipts To Prove It
A complete history of the superstars' unlikely journey to friendship.
Last night Taylor Swift presented Kanye West with the Video Music Awards' highest honor: The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
In her introduction, Taylor revealed that, despite her complicated history with the rapper, she's actually been a huge fan for over a decade.
Some people on Twitter expressed doubts that Taylor was telling the truth, suggesting that she was engaging in a little bit of revisionist history.
While we can't confirm if College Dropout really was Taylor's first iTunes purchase — maybe she got the timeline wrong, only Apple knows for sure — we did pull receipts on her long, rocky relationship with Kanye.
(Spoiler alert: She really was a Kanye fan as a teenager.)
So, without further ado, here's a complete history of Taylor and Kanye's seven-year journey to friendship:
September 13, 2009
September 15, 2009
September 14, 2009
Kanye West published a second apology on his blog, writing "I feel like Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents when he messed up everything and Robert DeNiro asked him to leave... That was Taylor's moment and I had no right in any way to take it from her. I am truly sorry."
Sept 4, 2010
A year after the VMAs incident, Kanye West published a 70-tweet missive on his personal Twitter account. It began with an apology ("I'm sorry, Taylor") and then devolved into an endorsement of Twitter ("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.")
Kanye went on to write "[Taylor Swift] had nothing to do with my issues with award shows. She had no idea what hit her. She's justa lil girl with dreams like the rest of us. Beyoncé didn't need that. MTV didn't need that and Taylor and her family friends and fans definitely didn't want or need that."
He wrapped up the Taylor portion of the Tweetstorm by saying he wrote a "beautiful" song for her. "If she won't take it," he continued, "then I'll perform it for her. She had nothing to do with my issues with award shows. She had no idea what hit her. She's justa lil girl with dreams like the rest of us. I'm ready to get out of my own way. The ego is overdone... it's like hoodies... With new found humility ... who am I to run on stage? I would never ever again in a million years do that. Sorry to let you down ... TAYLOR LOVES RAP MUSIC... I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC ... I'm sorry Taylor."
September 12, 2010
Taylor Swift and Kanye West both performed at the 2010 Video Music Awards, touching on the "Imma Let You Finish" moment in their own unique way. Taylor did her singer-songwriter thing and granted Kanye absolution with "Innocent," a very serious ballad about how Kanye is still a good person underneath all his antics. Kanye, on the other hand, leaned hard into his bad boy side and ended the show with a triumphant performance of his nine-minute toast to assholes, "Runaway."
September 21, 2010
During an interview with MTV, Taylor Swift called "Innocent" the most important song on her album Speak Now because it helped her move on from the incident.
October 19, 2010
October 25, 2010
Taylor Swift's album Speak Now was released. In the liner notes for "Innocent" there's a secret message that reads "LIFE IS FULL OF LITTLE INTERRUPTIONS."
November 3, 2010
In an interview with the New York Times, Kanye West revealed that he and Taylor Swift had spoken privately about the incident. He started off by joking that Taylor had thanked him for the effect had on her career before saying:
She just talked about how people would come up to her in the grocery store and really just bring it up, and she would defend me at the grocery store – I'm sorry, defend me in an interview, she said at her grocery store, she was actually defending me. It's an amazing, compelling situation. The situation is bigger to me than the Bush moment. It's bigger than a lot of things. I try to downplay it, but for the sake of being able to try to sell records and just get acceptance on that level that I did as a pop artist, there's just so few black men make it that far. That's a responsibility, that's why so many fans of mine were upset because they're like: 'Man, you've got a powerful situation where you can put your music out like that and do award shows and everything. You can't be so reckless with your opinion. Like, we can agree with you but you've got to play it in another type of way, because you can't throw away the opportunity.'
November 24, 2010
Kanye West called out Taylor Swift during a concert at Bowery Ballroom, again suggesting that she used the VMAs incident to her advantage. "Taylor never came to my defense in any interview," he said. "[She] rode the waves and rode it and rode it."
October 10, 2011
In a story about Taylor Swift for The New Yorker, it's revealed that Taylor and Kanye had a brief run-in at the 2010 Met Gal:
[Taylor] grabbed [her publicist's] sleeve in a panic: 'Am I supposed to talk to him or not?' Standing by the door was the rapper Kanye West.At the Costume Institute Gala, Swift hesitated for a second, and then, realizing that there was no time to wait for advice, continued walking up the stairs toward West. As she neared the door, he held a hand out, and the two exchanged a studiedly casual, 'down low' high five. When it was over, Swift stopped just inside the museum, looking giddy. Erickson let out a breath and exclaimed, 'That wasn't bad!'
March 06, 2012
October 25, 2012
In a cover story for Rolling Stone, journalist Brian Hiatt reveals that Taylor Swift has a framed photo of the VMAs incident in her Nashville penthouse. The frame is engraved with the phrase "Life is full of little interruptions."
June 11, 2013
July 17, 2013
July 18, 2013
Gawker published audio of Kanye West allegedly ranting about Taylor Swift in a restaurant immediately after the 2009 VMAs. In it, he doesn't sound particularly apologetic.
I'd rather just let the [inaudible] speak for itself. You know, it's like, I was happy to be in a situation where people couldn't say, oh, I was trying to promote my own song. For the times that I've, like, defended myself... [Tape break] I'm pushing the envelope! I wrote my fuckin' 'Run This Town' verse for a fuckin' month! When I heard Eminem's verse on the Drake shit, I went back and rewrote my shit for two days. I canceled appointments to rewrite! I fuckin' care! You know what I'm saying? And that's what I'm saying. Because I did that, Taylor Swift cannot win over Beyoncé! Because I wrote my verse in two days, Taylor Swift cannot beat Beyoncé. As long as I'm alive! And if I'm alive, kill me then! Kill me then! As long as I'm alive, you gon' have to deal with it. 'Cause there ain't gonna be no more motherfucking Elvises with no James Browns.
August 20, 2013
September 30, 2014
December 13, 2014
February 8, 2015
Taylor Swift and Kanye West publicly made-up at the Grammys.
February 11, 2015
February 13, 2015
February 20, 2015
February 25, 2015
Taylor Swift started the day by shutting down rumors of a "Bad Blood" remix featuring Kanye West.
Then, that night, she got down with Kanye's wife Kim Kardashian during his performance of "All Day" at the 2015 Brit Awards.
June 15, 2015
August 4, 2015
In an interview for Vanity Fair, Taylor Swift revealed how she was finally to become friends with Kanye West despite their history.
I feel like I wasn't ready to be friends with him until I felt like he had some sort of respect for me, and he wasn't ready to be friends with me until he had some sort of respect for me—so it was the same issue, and we both reached the same place at the same time. I became friends with Jay Z, and I think it was important, for Jay Z, for Kanye and I to get along. It started with both of us really liking Jay and wanting him to be happy. And then Kanye and I both reached a place where he would say really nice things about my music and what I've accomplished, and I could ask him how his kid's doing.