Taylor Swift was seen to applaud Olivia Rodrigo before the singer’s performance at Tuesday’s 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, suggesing there is no feud between the pair.
Fans had speculated that Rodrigo’s new track The Grudge, released as part of her second album Guts on Friday, could be about a rumoured spat with Swift.
In the song, Rodrigo sings, “Trust that you betrayed, confusion that still lingers / Took everything I loved and crushed it in between your fingers.”
She goes on to say: “You built me up to watch me fall / You have everything, and you still want more.”
taylor swift applauding when olivia rodrigos performance was announced
— liz 💋 (@OGrodrighoe) September 13, 2023
The rumours come just days after Rodrigo denied that Vampire — the first single from Guts — was about Swift, telling the Guardian: “I was very surprised when people thought that.”
But Swift was seen to cheer for Rodrigo as the younger singer took to the stage. It was a good night for Swift as she won four awards for her work on a night that also saw Justin Timberlake’s former boyband NSYNC reform.
“The non-existent beef has been squashed,” one fan wrote on Twitter, with another adding: “Finally, everyone shut up now.”
So what happened between the two singers to have fans believe The Grudge is about Swift? Here we take a look at the timeline of the two singers’ relationship.
Timeline of Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift’s relationship
Rodrigo’s debut track Driver’s License hit the charts directly below two of Swift’s tracks in January 2021, and Swift publicly congratulated her.
The Deja Vu singer told the UK Big Top 40 later that month: “I am the biggest Swiftie in the whole world and the fact she did that truly just made my life.”
Rodrigo revealed in an interview that she received a handwritten note from Swift following the success of her debut track Driver’s License.
She told Radio.com: “I just adore her and that’s what I’ve literally been thinking about since I opened that thing last night, it’s the only thing in my brain.
“I actually can’t talk about it, I’m, like, going to cry. It’s so insane, I can’t even comprehend.”
Read all the lyrics to the new Olivia Rodrigo album. The drama. The anger. I wasn’t on board with vampire being about Taylor swift. But convinced by the lyrics of the grudge. And now I think Taylor really started beef with a literal teenager. Will be on repeat
— Mars (@MarsNRetrowave) September 7, 2023
Rodrigo shared a photo of herself with Swift on Instagram from the Brit Awards in May 2021–the first time they met.
But later in May, when Rodrigo’s debut album Sour was released, Swift was credited on 1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back because it used part of her own song New Year’s Day.
In July 2021, Swift was retroactively credited on Rodrigo’s hit song Deja Vu, alongside writers Jack Antonoff and St Vincent.
The credit came after fans supposedly noticed similarities between Rodrigo’s song and Swift’s 2019 hit Cruel Summer and accused the singer of copyright infringement.
yoooo “the grudge” by olivia is most definitely about taylor right 😭😭
— n (@nourpatour) September 8, 2023
In September 2021, Billboard reported that Rodrigo had given up millions of dollars in royalties due to the credits. She also retroactively credited Paramore singer Haley Williams on Good 4 U after it was compared to Misery Business.
In an interview with the Guardian, Rodrigo quashed rumours that Vampire, the first single from her Guts album, with lyrics such as “bloodsucker, fame f****r, bleedin’ me dry like a goddamn vampire,” was also about Swift.
She said: “I mean, I never want to say who any of my songs are about. I’ve never done that before in my career and probably won’t. I think it’s better to not pigeonhole a song to being about this one thing.
“I was very surprised when people thought that.”
On September 12, both singers were at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards - with Swift winning top honours and also seen to be cheering Rodrigo as she was about to perform.