Taylor Swift's "Tortured Poet’s Department": Is "Fortnight" about Joe Alwyn?

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn dated for six years before breaking up in 2023.

Pop Culture & Art April 19, 2024

Swifties are dissecting the lyrics from Taylor Swift's new album, "Tortured Poet’s Department," looking for hints or references to her past and present relationships, including her ex Joe Alwyn.

Taylor Swift's new album, "Tortured Poet’s Department," was released on streaming platforms at midnight Eastern Time on April 19th. The album features 17 songs, with the opening track being "Fortnight," a song that fans speculate is about her ex, Joe Alwyn.

According to a theory posted on Just Jared, the title "Fortnight" refers to a period of 14 days, leading fans to speculate that the song alludes to a two-week period in Taylor and Joe's relationship. 

Taylor and Joe’s relationship

Taylor and Joe were first linked in May 2017, after Taylor's breakup with Tom Hiddleston. The couple may have been introduced by mutual friends, including Gigi Hadid, who had previously worked with Alwyn. Throughout their relationship, several of Taylor's songs were rumoured to be about Joe, including "Gorgeous," "Lover," "Paper Rings," "London Boy," and the breakup song "You're Loosing Me."

The pair also confirmed that Joe had collaborated with her on a number of songs including “Exile”, “Champagne Problems” and “Evermore” under the pseudonym William Bowery.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Taylor and Joe quarantined together. Another insider told People magazine that Swift's superstardom was a contributing factor to their breakup. The source said, "Joe has struggled with Taylor's level of fame and the attention from the public," with fans speculating that this issue had come to the surface after the pandemic had finished and the pair were spotted in public more often.

The pair were also often rumoured to be engaged, with Joe being quoted saying to Wall Street Journal "If I had a pound for every time I think I've been told I've been engaged, then I'd have a lot of pound coins," in April of 2022.

In April 2023, the pair confirmed that they had broken up with a source telling CNN that “Taylor and Joe broke up a few weeks ago. They simply grew apart and plan to remain friends.”

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn attended the Vouge BAFTA party together in 2019. (Image: Getty Images)

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn attended the Vouge BAFTA party together in 2019. (Image: Getty Images)

Taylor’s Lyrics

The title of the song "Fortnight" alludes to a two-week period which has been speculated to be a reference to the pair’s time spent together during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was speculation that dealing with Taylor’s fame was difficult for Alwyn after they were seen together in public more often following the pandemic. The two-week period may refer to the recommended quarantine period for people exposed to the virus.

Another reason why fans speculate that the song may be referring to Joe Alwyn is the marriage references. As Joe confirmed in an interview, there were many rumours going around about the pair being engaged. The lyrics of "folklore" contain the lines, “For a fortnight there we were forever running 'til you sometimes ask about the weather”.

Taylor also mentions her “husband” in the song, saying “My husband is cheating, I want to kill him.”


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