We Have All The Receipts In The Feud Between Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, And Kanye West
Here we go again.
In case you live under a rock, you know some major drama went down between Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian last night. Oh, and Kanye West, Kim's husband, was involved as well.
It all started when Kim uploaded video of Kanye on the phone with Taylor to her Snapchat. In the video, Kanye discusses the controversial song "Famous" where he references Taylor by name.
But last night's events weren't an isolated incident. This tangled web of celebrity drama has been going on since late 2008, so long ago that it was when George W. Bush was still president.
Yup, the Taylor/Kanye saga actually begins not at the 2009 VMAs, but in a 2008 Allure interview where she claims she literally had a dream where she collaborated with the rapper.
But the real drama begins a year later. It's the 2009 VMAs and Kanye West is attending with his girlfriend at the time, Amber Rose. Kanye walks the carpet with a bottle of hard liquor in hand, and is also seen drinking from the bottle inside the show.
Early in the show, the trophy for Best Female Video is awarded. The award is one of the most hotly contested of the night — Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Pink, and Kelly Clarkson are all nominated.
You probably know what happens next — Kanye's bizarre speech while Taylor looks on, visibly shocked. You can watch the whole video of the incident here.
Later in the evening, Beyoncé invites Taylor on stage to speak after the former is awarded Video of the Year. The two also hugged.
Following the incident, Kanye was met with immense public backlash. Not many remember, but he was set to co-headline the Fame Kills tour with Lady Gaga that winter. The tour was scrapped in the aftermath of the VMAs and Gaga would eventually tour solo.
Many celebrities rushed to defend Taylor while others were quick to condemn Kanye — including President Barack Obama, who described her as a "perfectly nice person" and the rapper as a "jackass" in a leaked recording.
Kanye gave several public apologies to Taylor in the aftermath: two written on his blog (he deleted the first one) and one on The Jay Leno Show.
Taylor also commented on the incident in an appearance on The View just days after the VMAs. Following her appearance, Kanye reached out to her to personally apologize.
In November 2009, Taylor hosted SNL and used part of her monologue to address the feud — Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis played security guards charged with preventing Kanye from jumping on stage, and she closed the monologue with the line "Kanye West is not here."
Roughly a year later in September 2010, Kanye tweeted a series of Tweets as an apology to Taylor and disclosed that he had written music for the pop star (music which she ostensibly has never accepted and/or performed publicly).
Later in 2010, Swift performed "Innocent", a song off of her new album Speak Now, at the 2010 VMAs. The song was written in response to the 2009 VMAs interruption — she said in an interview it was important for her to write a song "to him." Some read the performance as a vehicle for Taylor to put the controversy behind her, but others saw it differently.
Kanye also closed out the show without incident — only to go on a series of interviews in the fall where he seemed to walk back his apology to Taylor AND try to justify his actions from 2009's show.
This is also where he first starts to acknowledge that not only did the incident hurt him, but Taylor benefited from it — and was aware of this savvy PR move.
In a November 2010 New York Times interview, he discusses private conversations with the singer where Taylor claims she's come to his defense in when people discuss the incident with her.
He contradicts this sentiment in a November 2010 performance in New York, Kanye proclaimed that "Taylor never came to my defense in any interview, and rode the waves and rode it and rode it."
But things take a turn for the better and a peace settles over the relationship for several years. In the spring of 2011, proving the power of Anna Wintour, Kanye and Taylor bump into each other at the Met Gala and seem to have a positive interaction.
Then in 2012, Jay-Z (Beyoncé's husband LOL) parodies the 2009 incident at the BET Awards, and Kanye laughs it off.
Also in 2012, a profile with Rolling Stone reveals that Swift has a photo of the 2009 VMAs incident at her Nashville home with the caption "Life is full of little interruptions," a phrase that's also in the liner notes from Speak Now.
In 2013, Kanye speaks about the VMAs interruption with The New York Times and states he gave in to "peer pressure" when apologizing to Taylor.
Later that year, Taylor makes fun of the incident on Twitter prior to the 2013 VMAs.
And in August 2013, Taylor's friend Ed Sheeran posts this picture of a gift the pop singer gave him that seems to indicate she has a sense of humor about the 2009 VMAs.
Then, at the 2015 Grammys, Kanye is photographed talking with Taylor and poses for pictures with the singer — as does his wife, Kim Kardashian. Things seem to be peachy between the three celebs.
Also at the 2015 Grammys, Kanye nearly repeated history when he went on stage while Beck accepted the Award for Album of the Year (it won over, amongst other works, Beyoncé's self-titled album).
After the Grammys, Kanye speaks to Ryan Seacrest and says he and Taylor will be collaborating on new music soon. This never happens, though the two musicians do have dinner together in New York later in February.
And at the end of February 2015, Kim is seen dancing with Taylor during Kanye's performance at the BRIT Awards. Later, she posts a picture to Instagram of the trio, along with British crooner Sam Smith.
Later in the year at the 2015 VMAs (dammit MTV, what is in the water at the VMAs?!?) Taylor presented Kanye with the Video Vanguard Award, and gave a long and passionate speech about her friendship with the singer that also poked fun at their complicated past.
Kim and Taylor were also photographed embracing while Kanye was on stage.
Following the show (Taylor won Video of the Year) Kanye sent her flowers. Taylor Instagrammed a picture and used the hashtag #KanTay2020 and #BFFs, seemingly in reference to Kanye's VMAs speech where he declared he would one day run for president.
In a September 2015 cover story with Vanity Fair, Taylor said the two weren't ready to be friends until he respected her.
And in an October 2015 cover interview with GQ, Taylor states that the evolution of her relationship with Kanye is "one of my favorite things that has happened in my career."
OK, so this seems like one of the great celebrity feud redemption stories, right? Kanye and Taylor had buried the past and became BFFs. But all of that changed earlier this year with the release of his song "Famous" off his most recent album, The Life of Pablo.
The song contains the controversial lyric "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous."
Following the release of the song, Kanye defended himself on Twitter, stating that he called Taylor about the line in advance, and received her blessing.
However, Taylor's publicist claimed otherwise in an official statement to BuzzFeed News:
"Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single 'Famous' on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, 'I made that bitch famous.'"
While accepting the award for Album of the Year at the 2016 Grammys, Taylor also seemed to acknowledge the lyrics and implicate Kanye in her speech — thus, the feud was 100% back on.
Also in February 2016, Kanye is heard calling Taylor a "fake ass" during a leaked backstage rant at Saturday Night Live.
Later in 2016, GQ dropped an interview with Kim where she backed up her husband's claims regarding Swift's approval of the "Famous" lyrics. But Kim went one step further and said not only did the call happen, but Kanye had VIDEO RECORDING of the conversation.
Included in the GQ interview was this INSANE statement from Taylor's publicist regarding the conversation between Kanye and the pop star.
“Taylor does not hold anything against Kim Kardashian as she recognizes the pressure Kim must be under and that she is only repeating what she has been told by Kanye West. However, that does not change the fact that much of what Kim is saying is incorrect. Kanye West and Taylor only spoke once on the phone while she was on vacation with her family in January of 2016 and they have never spoken since. Taylor has never denied that conversation took place. It was on that phone call that Kanye West also asked her to release the song on her Twitter account, which she declined to do. Kanye West never told Taylor he was going to use the term ‘that bitch’ in referencing her. A song cannot be approved if it was never heard. Kanye West never played the song for Taylor Swift. Taylor heard it for the first time when everyone else did and was humiliated. Kim Kardashian’s claim that Taylor and her team were aware of being recorded is not true, and Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone.”