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Taylor Swift just nailed the reality of “divorce pain” when a relationship ends

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Hollie Richardson
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Taylor Swift

“I think that happens any time you’ve been in a 15-year relationship and it ends in a messy, upsetting way…”

There’s no doubt that divorce can ultimately be a positive experience. But there’s also no denying that, for a lot of people, divorce can be a painful, difficult and somewhat traumatic experience

In fact, it’s something that Kelly Clarkson has been very open and honest about over the last year, explaining divorce as being “the worst thing ever for everyone involved”. 

And Taylor Swift has just offered another relatable perspective: “divorce pain” is an emotional process that can come with the end of any type of relationship. 

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Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the Grammy-winner explains how recent events in her personal life triggered her to explore and use divorce as inspiration for two songs on her latest album, Folkore. Specifically, she talks about the recent pain that came with ending a long-term record contract and losing the rights to her own music.

To quickly recap, her 13-year deal with Big Machine Label Group expired last November and she has since signed a new deal with Republic Records and Universal Music Group. This led to music moguls Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta acquiring all her music from BMLG. Swift is now in the process of re-recording her catalogue of work in a bid to reclaim the music that she originally created. 

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“I found myself being very triggered by any stories, movies, or narratives revolving around divorce, which felt weird because I haven’t experienced it directly,” she says.

“There’s no reason it should cause me so much pain, but all of a sudden it felt like something I had been through. I think that happens any time you’ve been in a 15-year relationship and it ends in a messy, upsetting way.”

Taylor Swift Folklore review.
Taylor Swift has talked about "divorce pain" and how it influenced her songwriting on Folklore.

Swift continued: “I wrote My Tears Ricochet and I was using a lot of imagery that I had conjured up while comparing a relationship ending to when people end an actual marriage. All of a sudden this person that you trusted more than anyone in the world is the person that can hurt you the worst.

“Then all of a sudden the things that you have been through together, hurt. All of a sudden, the person who was your best friend is now your biggest nemesis […] I think I wrote some of the first lyrics to that song after watching Marriage Story and hearing about when marriages go wrong and end in such a catastrophic way. 

“So these songs are in some ways imaginary, in some ways not, and in some ways both.”

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Swift’s words are a reminder that all pain is pain, and you don’t need to have gone through something specific (e.g. a legal divorce) to experience or validate it. It’s also a lesson in channelling these upsetting emotions into creating something positive and powerful. 

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Images, Getty, Beth Garrabrant

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…