If your algorithm is anything like mine, you’ve probably heard that Matty Healy, the frontman for the 1975, and Taylor Swift, no introduction necessary, are dating. Allegedly!
As the rumor crept from my social feeds into my group chats, the discussion has (mainly) centered around one thing: Is this actually true?
As someone who works in comms, albeit a very different type, I have a bit of a Reputation (Katie’s version) for talking ad nauseam about which celebrity couples are real and which are PR relations-ships. Because let’s get one thing out of the way: Celebrity PR relationships have been around as long as celebrities have existed. The celebrity fauxmance is a tabloid tale ingrained in Hollywood culture, extending back to the days of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, through Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson, all the way to Emily Ratajkowski and Pete Davidson (probably).
There are a million reasons for celebrities to get into a PR relationship: To sell a project they’re working on, to hide another relationship, or to simply get fans to, well, perhaps calm down about another big breakup. Reps do this because it works: we are all constantly talking about who’s dating who, aren’t we? And sometimes they even work out…at least for a little (I’m looking at you Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson).
I, for one, think celeb PR relationships are fun, strategic, and nothing to get upset over, but I don’t think you’re here to hear my #Slatepitch about why we should embrace fauxmances. You’re here to understand whether Taylor Swift is really entering her Matty Healy era, or if this is simply an example of publicist extraordinaire Tree Paine working overtime.
To me, the operative question is: If it is PR, what exactly would these two celebrities get out of it?
For Matty Healy, it’s obvious. Love her or hate her, Taylor is arguably the most famous celebrity on the planet right now. She is breaking records as the the most streamed artist on Spotify after selling the most tickets ever by an artist in a single day for a 20-city, 52-date U.S. stadium tour. Videos of said tour are everywhere. She has recently landed a record 10 albums on the Billboard 200 chart. I could go on.
So, even though Matty Healy’s band (the 1975) is doing just fine (five official Number 1 albums, more than 2.5 million albums sold worldwide), they do stand to get more attention—and Spotify streams—as a result of Taylor and Matty’s union (“union”). Moreover, Matty could use a little good press these days. Matty doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation, which is why so many Taylor Swift fans are either confused or downright angry about Swift’s new capital L “Lover.” He has sparked backlash over posting racist and insensitive tweets about Black Lives Matter, mocking Japanese, Hawaiian and Scottish people, kissing fans onstage at his concerts, and making derogatory comments about women. He is even on the record saying dating Taylor Swift would be “emasculating” for him. Aligning with her presumably helps him shake some of that baggage off.
But…what exactly does Taylor get out of dating this guy? Or really anyone at this point? She quite literally has no more concert tickets to sell, and doesn’t seem to be in hot water for anything at the moment. Could it be that she is hiding another relationship? Maybe. But Occam’s razor logic here is that she probably just wants everybody to stop speculating about her breakup with ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn. Taylor is a self-proclaimed Mastermind and has surely seen the TikToks about Swifties grieving on Cornelia Street. So, with this new relationship she is telling us: Thank you for the support, but I am just fine without him!
She could do that with anyone. Why pick a skinny Brit with a problematic past?
There are signs that Healy was actually not the first potential suitor for Swift’s next relationship over the past couple of weeks. There was the rumor she was dating Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso (fueled, in part, by his own TikTok). There was the DeuxMoi blind that she was spotted at a “cozy private dinner” with Bradley Cooper (lol). But none of those really stuck, because they frankly don’t make much sense. After all, if she and Joe split in April, (or in the recently updated version of this story, in February), and she’s been on tour since March, how could she already be fully dating someone new that she has seemingly no history with?
Enter Matty Healy. He is, quite simply, the path of least resistance for Taylor’s next “relationship.” Matty and Taylor have known each other for years and have one key mutual connection: Jack Antonoff who has produced both Swift and Healy’ albums and is friends with both singers. My money is that the next beat of this rumored relationship is stories about how they reconnected after spending time with, or being set up by, Antonoff.
This connection and years of “history” make it much easier to explain how their relationship could have blossomed so quickly, even though they’re both on tour. It also gives some cover for how she moved on so quickly from Alwyn. Not to mention, Antonoff has some incentive to keep this fauxmance a secret—it’s good business for him. Plus, Taylor’s team doesn’t have to coordinate with a whole new set of people on how they are framing this narrative.
This isn’t even the first time Matty and Taylor have been piloted (allegedly). One longstanding industry rumor is that Matty Healy and Taylor Swift were supposed to get together at the end of 2014. They soft launched the idea by having Taylor attend the 1975 concerts around that time. What happened? Well, she and friend Karlie Kloss were photographed maybe, maybe not, kissing at one of those very concerts. But that, my friends, is a whole other story.
Back to the question at hand—is it real? Is it just TreeR genius? I lean heavily toward the latter, though honestly…what is more relatable than rebounding from your milquetoast, Wonder bread of an ex to the bad boy all your friends warn you about?
Either way—I hope we at least get a collab out of it.