Our long national nightmare is over. According to “multiple sources,” the intercontinental for-profit press machine formerly known as Hiddleswift has called it quits. The couple respectfully begs that you fail to honor their privacy at this difficult time; condolences in the form of gluten-free baked goods and unflattering paparazzi shots of Kim Kardashian can be hand-delivered to Taylor Swift by way of Martha Hunt.
Is there anything left to say about Hiddleswift? The three-month long relationship between beloved British actor Tom Hiddleston and the enthusiastic cat owner was a (newly unemployed?) publicist’s June fever dream—a PR stunt that unabashedly walked the line between total genius and utter madness. Hiddleston caught Swift’s eye at the Met Gala in May, where they clicked with the natural compatibility of two people who would actually prefer to dance like everybody is watching. But their faux-relationship officially set sail a month later, when they were spotted rounding first base on the craggy shores of New England.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before Hiddleswift hit a particularly pointy rock off the coast of Rhode Island. That brings us to the Calvin Harris of it all. You see, Swift started sucking face with Hiddleston just two weeks after calling it quits with ex-boyfriend Harris. Like fellow teen idol Justin Bieber, Swift appears to get off on baiting hardworking entertainment bloggers by quickly cycling through identical love interests. Between our Bronte Blampied/Sofia Richie flashcards and this Harris-Hiddleston switcheroo, it’s been an action-packed summer of staring confusedly at our computer screens.
Speaking of staring confusedly at computer screens, Harris was (presumably) overcome with grief when he saw his ex participating in one of their favorite activities—calling the paparazzi to “catch” them at a choreographed date—with another man. Calvin Harris, a just-OK DJ, quickly found his calling as America’s pettiest ex-boyfriend. Before our very eyes, Harris spread his wings and soared with the historically-informed fury of a Scot who has been cuckolded by an English man.
Like any useless ex with a jar full of tears and a free GarageBand trial, Harris thought it would be a good idea to drop a break-up track. The fruit of his misinformed labors is called “Olé,” and it’s an emotionally laden reggae jam that’s allegedly written from Tom Hiddleston’s point of view. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but neither does expecting a woman who literally makes a living off dating and dumping famous dudes to be your happily ever after. If Swift wasn’t going to settle down with a verified Kennedy, she sure as hell wasn’t going to spend the rest of her life watching Calvin Harris press play on his iPod.
Calvin Harris might not be a great musician, or a great boyfriend, but he does have an ideal number of abs. He also has access to his own social media accounts, and an XXL-sized kettle’s worth of piping hot T. Swift tea. Cue the inevitable social media dragging, in which the 32-year-old grown-ass man took to Instagram to complain that Taylor “controlled the media and this situation. I had no idea what was going on.” Harris even went so far as to personally respond to Swifties; when one TayTay fan accused the EDM producer of being jealous of Hiddleswift’s contractually mandated hand-holding, Harris replied, “Not jealous sir, FREE.” Because nobody puts Calvin Harris in a corner.
As Harris’s ab rivulets collected a never-ending stream of tears, Swift and Hiddleston traveled the world together. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and it was all captured in a series of suspiciously crystalline paparazzi photos. Hiddleswift made waves at Swift’s annual Fourth of July party, where the couple cavorted in embarrassing beachwear as Ryan Reynolds eyed potential escape routes and Ruby Rose wondered where it all went wrong. Next, Hiddleswift took their love abroad, jet-setting to Rome, Australia, and Hiddleston’s family home. They partook in local customs, like holding hands outside and also kissing outside. They ate dinner together, not just once, but multiple times. Hiddleston introduced Swift to his parents, and well-meaning sources reported that Hiddleston was preparing to pop the question.
In July, Hiddleston addressed all of those faux-mance rumors, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “Look, the truth is that Taylor Swift and I are together, and we’re very happy.” Like a man who is relaying actual facts, Hiddleston emphasized that he was not lying. “That’s the truth. It’s not a publicity stunt.” But even a rock-solid, definitely real relationship like Tom and Taylor’s was no match for Kim Kardashian. After a mounting he-said she-said debate over whether or not TayTay had signed off on Kanye’s infamous track “Famous,” in which he raps “I think me and Taylor might still have sex,” Kardashian decided to stop fucking around. On July 17, Mrs. West released some beautifully edited, never-before-seen studio footage via Snapchat, confirming once and for all that Kanye had in fact run his track’s most incendiary lyrics by Swift.
By failing to beware the Ides of July, Swift landed in a publicity nightmare of her own creation. A pop star who’s managed to make a career out of being likable, Swift suddenly found herself in the middle of an unfavorable news cycle that refused to blow over. The internet cried, rejoiced, and threw a party. The squad went into hiding, and Camilla Belle emerged triumphant. Selena Gomez acted a fool, Katy Perry won an Olympic gold medal for social media shade, and Calvin Harris realized that it really does get better.
Swift’s sudden plunge in popularity even forced her to attend jury duty in lieu of the 2016 VMAs—the celebrity equivalent of a middle schooler eating her lunch alone in the bathroom. Hiddleston, who just wanted Americans to like him enough to go see Thor: Ragnarok, understandably started to regret that “I heart T.S.” tank top. In a genius move that could only have come from pop music’s blondest Machiavelli, an un-named source managed to twist this narrative in Taylor’s favor, telling Page Six, “Tom wants their relationship to be public, even asking Taylor to go to the Emmys with him, but Taylor wants to keep her private life private. Tom’s need for their relationship to be so public so quickly makes her uncomfortable.” The source most likely then checked their texts from Swift before adding, “She tried to be OK with it in the beginning but fears he is in love with the idea of her and not falling in love with her for the right reasons. Taylor is an independent young woman and doesn’t feel like she needs a boyfriend to make her feel complete.”
Back when Hiddleswift was in still in its prototype phase, Taylor Swift had the necessary fan backing to pull off totally gross, self-serving displays of public affection. But now that she’s been caught blatantly manipulating the narrative and lying to feed her own fame monster, Swift can’t afford to maintain a fake relationship. In order to gain back some semblance of likability, Swift has to stop lying and return to her relatable roots—and pleading discomfort in the face of a publicity-hungry partner is a great place to start. Plus, another hit single about a heart-wrenching breakup might be just what Taylor Swift needs to get back on top.