Retracing the Turbulent Kanye West and Taylor Swift Relationship Before the 13th Anniversary of the Infamous VMA Showdown

Published 09/03/2023, 2:23 PM EDT

via Imago

Tinseltown feuds stand the test of time. Be it the grandeur of Grammy or the all-time popular MTV VMAs, what keeps the fans invested in these luxurious extravaganzas are the timeless controversies and age-old disputes. Nonetheless, to quench your thirst, here is a big fat feud as old as Montague versus the Capulets, that spanned over a good ten years of Hollywood. Ahead of the 2023 MTV Celebration, here is the complete timeline of the infamous Taylor Swift and Kanye West beef.

Unlike others, this one is full of potential disses, bitter references, and whatnot. 

What happened between Kanye West and Taylor Swift?


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Fourteen years ago, around this time, on the fateful date of 2009, Taylor Swift rose to the MTV VMA stage to accept the Best Female Video Award for her unrequited love anthem, ‘You Belong With Me’. However, as the songstress looked forward to delivering her acceptance speech, ‘Donda’ rapper Kanye West jumped on Swift, both literally and figuratively. 

He congratulated the singer but kept his point that Swift apparently did not deserve the award. “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time,” he said, before leaving. Flabbergasted, Swift could hardly comprehend what just happened since her time was up. 

Did Taylor Swift and Beyonce cry after Kanye West’s interruption at the VMA?

Back in the seats, Beyoncé was witnessing all of it, shocked herself, and knew what was apt on her part to do. And she did it. The evening continued to wear on. In between the brief heated moments of Swift’s and Beyoncé’s award giveaway, the then-Viacom president, Van Toffler, found Beyoncé crying backstage at her dad. Swift was disappointed, and Beyoncé broke down in tears. 

As he revealed to Billboard, Beyoncé apparently held herself accountable for what had happened on stage between Taylor Swift and Kanye West. As unprecedented as it was, the guilt trip of Queen Bey inspired an idea of making things right that evening. Later, in the same function, during her own award, Beyoncé devoted her own speech time to the young artist, who did not get a chance to thank the audience. No matter how trying the situation, Queen Bey slays! 

Did Kanye West ever apologize to Taylor Swift after the VMA episode? 

Days later, a “jackass” Kanye West, as President Obama called him, appeared on The Jay Leno Show, admitting his fault. “It was rude, period. I don’t try to justify it, ’cause I was in the wrong,” said the contrite rapper on the show. Not only in public, he in fact called the ‘Bad Blood’ singer personally to beg pardon for his actions. “He was very sincere in his apology, and I accepted that apology,” she said later.

The barrage of apologies continued. Following the personal message, he took to his then-famous Twitter account to jot down a heartfelt message for the singer. In typical Kanye West style, he even thanked the Twitter co-founders for the platform while teasing a ‘tribute’ to Swift. 

However, what looked to us like a heartfelt apology was just a mere patch on the road before another hurdle brought down their frenemy-ship. Wait, did he take back his apology? 


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Yes, he did take back his apology, making sure that the Swift-West feud is very much alive. 

Why did he take back his apology?

In a slew of interviews, West declared publicly that Swift had been using the incident for publicity. And perhaps that fed his mind fodder to write the song, ‘Famous’, which soon became a breeding ground of another wildfire of controversies. Hold your horses, since there is a lot that happened in between before Ye dropped the mic. After officially taking back his apologies with the New York Times, the musicians met and collided in various instances. 

As the facade continued to wear on, the artists further added grist to the rumor mill with claims of an upcoming collaboration in the near future. West and Swift, in fact, grabbed dinner together, which obviously made an impression of things getting diluted. At least that is what the world thought. However, the upcoming Ye solo and the anticipated duo took a halt. 

Did Taylor Swift write a song about Kanye West?

The entire world then looked forward to West dropping yet another Grammy-worthy hit song. However, before he could, Taylor Swift stole the show releasing a song sincerely for West. A year later, on the very same platform at MTV VMA 2010 show, Swift took to the stage to perform her song, ‘Innocent’. Barefoot on stage, Swift performed the lines, “Who you are is not what you did / You’re still an innocent”. 

It did not remain as subtle as it sounded though, since the New York Times dubbed it as “an extremely savvy insult masquerading as the high road“. The game of apologies, thus, turned into a game of accusations. 

Revenge (Taylor’s Version)

The MTV VMAs arrived again. Six years after the incident that started it all, Swift put on a gracious smile while presenting the award to the rapper. However, what marked the strikeback was her standing in Ye’s way to cite sweet revenge. “So I guess I have to say to all the other winners tonight, I’m really happy for you, and I’mma let you finish, but Kanye West I’ve had one of the greatest careers of ALL TIME,” she said. Taylor Swift undoubtedly dissed Kanye West, but in the process, irked the ‘Donda’ rapper even further. 

The award presentation, however, came to be known as one of the most public declarations of their “supposed” alliance. But that was soon to turn false. 


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Did Kanye West make Taylor Swift “Famous”?

A couple of months later, Kanye West dropped one of his most controversial raps of all time. Although it had bashes written for Swift throughout the disc, what made it an official hate song was the line, “I feel like I and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that bitch famous”. In his defense, he cited Swift’s “blessing” for the lyrics. However, the singer’s office soon declined the remarks. 

They explained that Ye had not called Swift for consent but to promote the same on her socials. To this, the singer declined and cautioned him of whatever he was up to. However, she was never made aware of the lyrics that held her name. Swift reasonably maintained a rigid silence over the entire fiasco. Her allies, however, continued the backfire. While her camp repeatedly denied the approval claims, her brother thrashed the Yeezy’s into the trash. 

Here we go again,” wrote Austin Kinsley, and the world nodded. 

Does Kim Kardashian like Taylor Swift?

The feud soon turned into a clash of clans, as it openly involved family ties. And with the enormous legacy of Kardashians then having his back, Ye did not lose any point in that aspect either. His former wife, Kim K further backed her beloved in various interviews, claiming Swift had approved of the lyrics. And in the entire debacle over the “stirring” video, the SKIMS owner dropped the biggest bombshell of the Kanye West and Taylor Swift phone call recording. 

Nonetheless, even in the phone call, nowhere were the lyrics mentioned. Although words like respect and friends were sprinkled over here and there, Swift nowhere approved Ye of using the lyrics. And that’s what she wrote. 

What had Taylor Swift written in her diary? What was her side of the leaked phone call?

In a Twitter post attaching one of her notes entries, Swift asked publicly, “Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that bitch’ in his song?”. “It doesn’t exist because it never happened,” she added, further ending the note with a strong claim. “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I never asked to be a part of, since 2009,” wrote the singer. 


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The feud stretched long, with no one caving on from either party. The facade of being ‘friends’ dropped off when the words of respect were soon replaced with mentions of snakes. Both the artists further kept their beef alive with songs. When Taylor Swift dropped songs like ‘Reputation’ and ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, it did not take fans long to theorize that it was entirely for the ‘Gold Digger’ singer. 

With the continuous disses and backlashes, the phone call debacle rose again but soon faded away into thin air. The entire Swift-Ye debacle seemingly came to an end in 2021 when Kim Kardashian was asked about her favorite Swift album, but surprisingly, she only had positive things to say. The wife in her might have always stood against the singer, but the Kardashian admitted she was a Taylor Swift fan, after all. 


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While the Swift-West feud is currently at an impasse, we never know what the future holds. Should it ever happen, whose side will you be on?




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Shraddha Das is a Hollywood News writer at Netflix Junkie. She was captivated by the power of storytelling and the written word at a young age, which led her to pursue a career in journalism. She has over 1000 articles to her name.