Taylor Swift felt like her career was “taken away” after 2016 incident with Kim and Kanye

7 December 2023, 15:24

Taylor Swift thanks fans for making her top of their Spotify Wrapped playlists

By Katie Louise Smith

"Make no mistake—my career was taken away from me."

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After an absolutely mammoth 12 months, Taylor Swift has been named Time's Person of the Year.

In a candid interview with the publication, Taylor touched on all the points of her career so far. From her first heartbreak when she had to drop out of supporting Kenny Chesney's tour because she was not old enough to play a gig sponsored by an alcohol brand, right up to the catalyst that prompted her to reclaim and re-record her first 6 albums.

In the middle of that, there's been chart-topping highs and personal lows, as well as highly publicised romances and well documented feuds.

During the profile, Taylor reflected on how she felt during the aftermath of the infamous Kanye West/Kim Kardashian drama of 2016, which happened just as she was wrapping up her record-breaking 1989 era.

Ahead of the release of her fifth re-recorded album Reputation (Taylor's Version), Taylor has now shared that she felt like the whole thing was "career death" for her, and how she felt like her career had been taken from her.

READ MORE: When does Reputation (Taylor's Version) come out? Here's what Taylor Swift has teased so far

Taylor Swift opens up about feeling like her career was 'over' after Kim and Kanye incident
Taylor Swift opens up about feeling like her career was 'over' after Kim and Kanye incident. Picture: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

In case you forgot, Kanye released a song called 'Famous' in which he raps that he thinks him and Taylor would still have sex, and that he "made that bitch famous". Kanye claimed that he got permission from Taylor to include the lyrics, which she denied. Kim Kardashian, who was married to Kanye at the time, then released a video of a phone call that made it seem like Taylor had been on board with Kanye releasing the song with those lyrics.

After everything erupted on social media, with millions of people deciding to side with Kim and Kanye, Taylor completely disappeared.

(In 2020, an unedited version of the phone call video was leaked, proving that Taylor had been right the entire time. She did not know about or approve the "bitch" lyric.)

Taylor Swift says it felt like her "career was taken away from me" after Kim/Kanye phone call incident in 2016
Taylor Swift says it felt like her "career was taken away from me" after Kim/Kanye phone call incident in 2016. Picture: Getty

Taylor described the whole thing as "a career death". "Make no mistake—my career was taken away from me," she told TIME.

"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," she continued, adding how much of a toll the whole thing took on her mental health.

"That took me down psychologically to a place I’ve never been before. I moved to a foreign country. 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. I went down really, really hard."

Taylor previously opened up about that time in her life in her Miss Americana documentary: "When people decided I was wicked, and evil, and conniving, and not a good person, that was the one that I couldn't really bounce back from because my whole life was centered around it."

"I just wanted to disappear," she continued. "No one physically saw me for a year. That’s what I thought they wanted."

In November 2017, Taylor returned. She wiped her social pages, reclaimed the 'snake' label levelled at her by Kim with a full snake era aesthetic, and dropped Reputation.

The album sold 1.3 million in its first week in the US and the lead single 'Look What You Made Me Do' hit No. 1. But even after the overwhelmingly warm and enthusiastic reception that long-time, loyal fans had for her and the new era, the profile notes that Taylor remembers it being met with "uproar and skepticism".

"I thought that moment of backlash was going to define me negatively for the rest of my life," she tells the publication.

Thankfully, it didn't. Since then, Taylor has won Album of the Year at the Grammys for a third time, re-claimed four of her 'stolen' albums, has been named TIME's Person of the Year and is on track to have the highest grossing tour of all time thanks to the Eras Tour.

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