Time magazine’s 2023 person of the year, Taylor Swift, isn’t holding back anymore. In her cover story for Time, she opened up about the phone call in which Kanye West seemingly called Taylor Swift to approve the lyrics referencing her in his song “Famous,” a phone call that was famously leaked by Kanye’s then-wife, Kim Kardashian.
Though the call that Kim Kardashian initially posted to social media made it seem like she had approved the lyrics and Taylor Swift’s later comments against the lyrics were her backtracking, an extended cut of call later made its way online and backed up Taylor’s side of the story.
Now, Taylor Swift is ready to talk about that call and that time in her life again.
"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. 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."
The massive toll on her mental health that she’s referring to manifested itself in Taylor Swift’s music with her next album after the phone call was released, Reputation, showcasing the place she was in and how she was handling the betrayal.
She fired shots at Kim Kardashian and specifically Kanye West in songs like “Look What You Made Me Do” when she sang, “I don’t like your little games / Don’t like your tilted stage / The role you made me play,” a direct reference to Kanye West’s tilted state during his Saint Pablo tour. Along with angry quips at the people who recorded and released a phone call to taint her image, she sang about the way her then-boyfriend Joe Alwyn was patching her back up in songs like “Call It What You Want.”
Unfortunately, Reputation wasn’t a hit, whether because it was such a stark departure from Taylor Swift’s image or because of the reputation she now had after the Kim Kardashian and Kanye West phone call. “I thought that moment of backlash was going to define me negatively for the rest of my life,” Taylor told Time magazine as she recalled the negative response to the album that many people had when it was released.
Fortunately, the tides have turned and people are back on the side of Taylor Swift with sold out tour dates, a massive tour film release, and the celebration of her re-recording her first six albums that the masters of were famously sold to Scooter Braun in 2019.
Even the photoshoot from her Time cover has become theory fodder for her fans that are anxiously awaiting the announcement of Reptuation (Taylor’s Version). And on that upcoming album? Taylor promises fans that the wait is worth it. In the Time interview, she promises that the vault tracks (previously unreleased songs that are exclusive to the re-recordings) from the album will be “fire.”