A Timeline of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry’s Feud, From Beginning to End
The meanings of Taylor Swift‘s songs often take some serious decoding from fans, but that wasn’t the case when it came to Swift’s 2014 track “Bad Blood,” from her album “1989.” Swift made it very clear that the track was about a feud with fellow singer Katy Perry, and it all went back to some world tour drama. With the release of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” and “Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version),” we thought we’d revisit their feud, how it all ended, and where the duo stand now.
The feud itself wasn’t really on our radar until Swift mentioned it in a Rolling Stone interview back in August 2014, a few months before “1989”‘s original release. The drama, which inspired multiple songs, eventually came to an end when Perry literally sent Swift an olive branch in May 2018 ahead of her “Reputation” Tour. Then, in 2019, Swift included Perry in the “You Need to Calm Down” music video, cementing that the drama was behind them.
Ahead, here’s a full timeline of Swift and Perry’s friendship, feud, and reconciliation.
Sept. 7, 2008: Katy Perry and Taylor Swift Pose Together at the MTV VMAs
The first official photos of Perry and Swift were at the MTV VMAs in 2008. Miley Cyrus posed with them as well.
Feb. 7, 2009: Taylor Swift and Katy Perry Celebrate at the Grammys
Swift and Perry paired up again at one of music’s biggest events.
November 2009-February 2010: Taylor Swift Dates John Mayer
And, as you probably know, Mayer inspired Swift’s song “Dear John” and some others.
Jan. 30, 2010: Taylor Swift and Katy Perry Attend the Grammy Awards (Again)
The duo posed for more happy photos together in 2010.
April 15, 2010: Taylor Swift and Katy Perry Sing "Hot N Cold" Together
Perry joined Swift during one of her “Fearless” tour stops in Los Angeles, and they sang Perry’s hit “Hot N Cold” together. Swift tweeted at the time, “Katy! LA! I will always love you!”
Nov. 20, 2011: Taylor Swift and Katy Perry Are Photographed Hugging
The two looked especially friendly at the 2011 American Music Awards, where they shared smiles and sweet embraces.
Feb. 10, 2013: Taylor Swift and Katy Perry Take a Strange Photo at the Grammys
Not only is this the first year we didn’t see them hugging it out, but this photo is also the only picture of the two from the night of. It would be less odd if they didn’t pose for multiple photos together almost every other year.
March 13, 2013: Taylor Swift's "Red" Tour Begins
Swift begins the tour for her 2012 album “Red.” Included in the tour’s dancers are Lockhart Brownlie, Leah Adler, and Scott Myrick, who all toured with Perry on her California Dreams tour in 2011. At the end of 2012, they auditioned for and booked a spot with Swift. This became the root of the feud.
March 23, 2013: Katy Perry Tweets About 2 Cakes
Perry gave Scott Myrick, one of the three dancers in question, a Barbie doll cake in 2012 to celebrate his birthday. When he tweeted a side by side with a similar cake to commemorate Swifts’s “Red” tour, Perry retweeted, adding, “Mothers [sic] always watching.” Was Perry referring to herself? Was the drama already brewing? It’s unclear, but it was a strange tweet.
2013: The Tour Dancer Drama
This is where things really heated up: six months into Swift’s tour, the three aforementioned dancers were asked to join Perry again for her Prismatic World Tour. They all agreed and left the “Red” tour in the middle of its run. In an interview with The Examiner, which hit the web in December 2013, Lockhart spoke about this decision like it was no big deal: “It was a great experience and [Taylor]’s a great person to work with, but then Katy contacted us. Obviously we were with Katy for two and a half years, she’s like family to us, so we were, like, ‘Absolutely.’ We weren’t really dancing in Taylor’s tour anyway so I had got a little bored and I really wanted to do a promo tour.'”
August 2014: Taylor Swift Opens Up About the Feud and "Bad Blood"
This all brings us to Swift’s infamous Rolling Stone interview from September 2014. Swift talked about her new song “Bad Blood” and where the inspiration came from:
“For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not. She would come up to me at award shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, ‘Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?'” she said. “[Then last year] she did something so horrible. I was like, ‘Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.’ And it wasn’t even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I’m surprisingly non-confrontational – you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It’s awkward, and I don’t like it.”
Considering everything there is out there about the tour drama, this would have to be about Perry. Plus, as the quotes allude to, we’d seen them at plenty of award shows. Swift talked a bit about a personal element in the piece as well. The article reads, “(Pressed, Swift admits there might have been a personal element to the conflict. ‘But I don’t think there would be any personal problem if she weren’t ‘competitive,’ she says.).” While it still seems to be about business, there’s a hint of a moment in there where you could see how it might be about Mayer, too.
Sept. 9, 2014: Katy Perry's Enigmatic Clapback
Shortly after Swift’s interview hit the web, Perry tweeted, “Watch out for the Regina George in sheep’s clothing…” There’s no context, nothing it could be linked to – except, of course, Swift and her Rolling Stone quotes.
Jan. 30, 2015: Katy Perry Comments on the Feud
While it’s not quite the diatribe Swift went on in Rolling Stone, Perry still addressed the whole thing in an interview with Billboard Magazine, just ahead of her halftime performance at the Super Bowl in 2015. “If somebody is trying to defame my character,” her quote said, “you’re going to hear about it.”
May 23, 2015: Taylor Swift Tries to Nip the Feud in the Bud
In an interview with The Telegraph, Swift said she was basically done talking about “Bad Blood,” in so many words: “I’m not giving them anything to write about . . . I’m never going to talk about her in my interview. It’s not going to happen.”
July 22, 2015: Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry Tweet About the VMAs
Swift had a Twitter exchange with Nicki Minaj about the MTV VMAs in July 2015. Minaj called out issues within the music industry after the “Anaconda” music video didn’t make the nominations for best video. Swift took Minaj’s comments personally, tweeting to the rapper, “I’ve done nothing but love and support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other.” Minaj quickly replied to clarify her comments, telling Swift it wasn’t about her. The next day, Perry weighed in on the conversation, making a pretty clear reference to Swift’s tweet when she said, “Finding it ironic to parade the pit against other women argument about as one unmeasurably capitalizes on the takedown of a woman…”
February 21, 2016: Katy Perry's Grammys Party
Just ahead of the 2016 Grammys, Perry decided to throw a preparty that was meant only for creators. “You have to be a creator,” she told The New York Times. “It’s artists, producers and songwriters.” Perry also confirmed that Swift was invited, and that it was just up to her schedule whether she could make it. Swift did not attend.
May 22, 2017: Katy Perry Addresses the Feud During "Carpool Karaoke"
The singer appeared ready to finally end her feud with Swift when she dropped by “The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special.” Perry talked candidly with host James Corden about her ongoing beef with the pop star, saying, “There’s a situation. She started it, and it’s time for her to finish it.”
She also admitted that she’s ready to wipe her hands clean of the drama and move on. “What I want to say is that I’m ready for that BS to be done,” she said. “Now, there is the law of cause and effect. You do something, there’s going to be a reaction, and trust me, daddy, there’s going to be a reaction. It’s all about karma, right? I think personally that women together – not divided, and none of this petty bullsh*t – women together will heal the world.”
Later that same month, a source told Us Weekly of Swift’s position on the feud, “She honestly wants no part of this, that’s why she avoids talking about it. She doesn’t want to engage.”
June 8, 2017: Taylor Swift's Music Returns to Streaming
Swift’s team announced that she would be returning her extensive music back catalog to streaming services, including Spotify, at midnight on June 9, 2017, the same time as Perry’s “Witness” was set to drop. She had previously kept her discography off of most streaming services to protest the business model. Swift didn’t mention Perry in her decision, but the timing was interesting.
June 10, 2017: Katy Perry Publicly Forgives Taylor Swift
In an interview with Thrive Global’s Arianna Huffington, the “Swish Swish” singer said she was finally ready to put their feud to rest. “I am ready to let it go,” she said during a podcast interview. “I forgive her and I’m sorry for anything I ever did, and I hope the same from her. I think it’s actually like, I think it’s time. There are bigger fish to fry, and there are real problems in the world. You know what I’m saying?”
“I love her, and I want the best for her,” Perry continued. “And I think she’s a fantastic songwriter, and I think that if we, both her and I, can be representatives of strong women that come together despite their differences, I think the whole world is going to go like, ‘Yeah, well we can do this.’ I don’t know. Maybe I don’t agree with everything she does and she doesn’t agree with everything I do, but I just really, truly want to come together in a place of love and forgiveness and understanding and compassion.”
“There’s a lot of other things out there in the world that people need to be focused on. God bless her on her journey. God bless her. Honestly,” she said.
May 8, 2018: Katy Perry Sends Swift a Literal Olive Branch
After years of feuding, the two superstars actually called a truce that stuck. Ahead of opening night for Swift’s’s “Reputation” stadium tour in Glendale, AZ, Swift shared a video on her Instagram Story of an olive branch Perry sent to her dressing room. “So I just got to my dressing room and found this actual olive branch,” she said in the clip. “This means so much to me.” In addition to the gift, Perry also sent her “old friend” a hand-written note detailing how she wanted to clear the air.