Singer Taylor Swift was named Time’s 2023 Person of the Year and revealed one of the lowest points in her life and career for her interview in the magazine.
She’s made headlines this year for her staggering concert numbers, a concert movie released for fans to see in theaters, and her relationship with NFL star Travis Kelce.
Those are celebratory moments for the singer in 2023. However, she said in 2016 that she went “down psychologically to a place” that she’d “never been before.”
She said one of her most challenging times occurred during her infamous feud with hip-hop star Kanye West, who famously interrupted her MTV Video Music Awards acceptance on stage and later name-dropped her in vulgar lyrics for one of his songs.
Things took a rougher turn for Swift when West’s then-wife Kim Kardashian got involved.
According to Swift in her Time interview, there was an “illegally recorded phone call” that Kardashian edited, which took a toll on her.
Swift called out Kardashian’s ‘illegally recorded phone call’ from 2016
Swift claims she was “getting canceled within an inch of my life and sanity” due to that phone call in 2016.
“You have a fully manufactured frame job, in an illegally recorded phone call, which Kim Kardashian edited and then put out to say to everyone that I was a liar,” Swift said.
The singer said she had to change her life as she “went down really hard.”
“I didn’t leave a rental house for a year. I was afraid to get on phone calls. I pushed away most people in my life because I didn’t trust anyone anymore,” Swift said in her Time interview.
Swift said the backlash she received after that edited and illegally recorded call felt like “career death.”
“Make no mistake — my career was taken away from me,” she told Time.
She went on to release a revenge-themed song called Reputation in 2017, but Swift said she thought “that moment of backlash was going to define me negatively for the rest of my life.”
What happened between Swift, West, and Kardashian?
In 2009, Swift’s video You Belong With Me won Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. It defeated Beyonce’s Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It), which West took exception to.
The outspoken hip-hop star stormed the stage and took the microphone away from Swift as she attempted to give an acceptance speech, indicating Beyonce’s video deserved the win.
An archived report from Rolling Stone indicated sources said Swift was seen crying backstage at the event after that moment.
Toward the end of the VMA ceremony, Beyonce won Video of the Year and invited Swift on stage so she could give the acceptance speech she was unable to earlier.
West apologized later to Swift on his blog, but their feud didn’t end there. Seven years later, West released his song Famous, which mentioned Swift in the explicit lyrics.
“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that b***h famous (Goddamn),” West rapped in the 2016 song from his album, The Life of Pablo.
As of this writing, a clean version of the song exists on West’s YouTube channel (below) and a 10-minute explicit music video.
Swift denied approving the song’s inappropriate lyric, referring to her as “b***h,” leading to Kardashian releasing that edited, “illegally recorded phone call” in 2016 to make it seem the singer had approved of it.
Per TMZ’s report, Kardashian claimed with the version of the call she released that Swift was OK with the song lyrics.
It created backlash towards Swift then, as it seemed she was a liar based on the edited call. Swift maintains that she disapproved of the use of the word “b***h” in the song lyrics about her.
Although the singer would be open to one, TMZ indicates via sources that Kim has yet to issue an apology, even after Swift’s 2023 Time interview.
While that 2016 incident was a rough time for Swift, she persevered and continued succeeding in her career and personal life. The 2023 Time Person of the Year said she’s since learned to focus more on her music and making art.
“I’ve also learned there’s no point in actively trying to quote unquote defeat your enemies,” she told Time, adding, “Trash takes itself out every single time.”
The Kardashians Season 5 is TBA for Hulu.