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Why Did Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal Break Up? All We Know About Their Split That Might Have Inspired 'All Too Well'

Dayna Remus
May 19, 2022
10:50 A.M.

There has always been a pronounced focus on country-turned-pop artist Taylor Swift's songs relating to her past romances. With the re-release of "All Too Well," there is chatter once more around actor Jake Gyllenhaal and their past love affair.


On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Taylor Swift took to the stage at Yankee Stadium dressed in a purple and black graduation gown and delivered the commencement address for New York University's class of 2022.

In the address, she covered many topics, from not following the typical educational path to her career and the importance of enthusiasm.

Taylor Swift on stage at Wembley Stadium on June 22, 2018 in London | Source: Getty Images

Taylor Swift on stage at Wembley Stadium on June 22, 2018 in London | Source: Getty Images

Of course, she could not resist talking about what she is consistently praised and also criticized for - her songwriting. The "Folklore" artist expressed:

“I started writing songs when I was twelve, and since then, it’s been the compass guiding my life, and in turn, my life guided my writing."


One aspect of her life that she appears to write about frequently and receives a lot of commentary on is her romantic relationships.



Dating rumors first swirled around Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal in late 2010. Theirs was a short-lived romance of around three months, and they reportedly broke up in December of the same year.

The two had what some deemed a significant age gap, with the pop icon being 20 years old while her then-boyfriend was 29 years old.



When the pair broke up, there were reports that Gyllenhaal broke it off; beyond the fact that he was seemingly not okay with the intense media attention, there were claims that their age gap was a huge factor in his decision.

Two years after their split, Swift released the album "Red," including the 5-minute track "All Too Well." Fans were sure it was about their favorite vocalist and her ex-boyfriend Gyllenhaal's relationship and breakup.

Near the end of 2021, Swift re-released "Red" and a 10-minute version of "All Too Well," again sparking the Gyllenhaal conversation.


Talk around the exes heightened with theories that new lines in the song were alluding to the age gap between the two.

The fresh lines go, "You said if we had been closer in age, maybe it would have been fine / and that made me want to die," and, "And I was never good at tellin' jokes, but the punchline goes / 'I'll get older, but your lovers stay my age.''"


The 11-year age gap of the couple in the "All Too Well" short film, played by actors Sadie Sink and Dylan O'Brien, also appeared to confirm this theory.

Swifties have speculated about many of the lines in the lyrics and the apparent connection to the ended relationship. This line in particular, "Check the pulse and come back swearin' it's the same / After three months in the grave," reportedly refers to the brief nature of their romance.



There is no shortage of songs theorized to be written about some of Swift's past romances. Some of them include "Picture to Burn," which is rumored to be about Jordan Alford, "Teardrops On My Guitar" is thought to be about Drew Hardwick, and "Hey Stephen" could be about Stephen Barker Liles.

Apart from those, John Mayor gets the credit for allegedly inspiring "The Story of Us," "Starlight" is said to be written about Conor Kennedy, and "Style" about Harry Styles.


It is no secret that Swift has received an enormous amount of criticism for purportedly writing songs about ex-lovers. But she has stood her ground, saying:


"'Oh, you know, like, she just writes songs about her ex-boyfriends.' And I think frankly, that’s a very sexist angle to take. No one says that about Ed Sheeran. No one says that about Bruno Mars. They’re all writing songs about their exes, their current girlfriends, their love life, and no one raises the red flag there."

Whatever you may think of Swift's apparent decision to make music about her lovers, there is no denying that this type of vulnerability and authenticity may be a part of what has kept her relevant for so long.

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