Taylor Swift does plenty to guard her Reputation. From asking to be excluded from a narrative to her own lyrical defenses in songs like “Look What You Made Me Do,” from her fearless testimony in a sexual assault trial to penning an essay explaining her views on music streaming, Swift is not one to pull punches.
But with a list of
names feuds and controversies this long (see: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Katy Perry, her political silence, the Beyhive), it can’t hurt that a gaggle of stars has come to her defense over the years. Here are 11 of Swift’s biggest defenders.
1. Ruby Rose
Hours after Kanye West released his 2016 song “Famous” — and reigniting the Swift-West feud in the process — Ruby Rose raced to Swift’s defense. The Orange Is the New Black actress responded to West’s lyrics — “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why, I made that bitch famous / God damn / I made that bitch famous” — by tweeting, “Too many lines crossed. If I put myself in the shoes of the women he has hurt recently. Victims of Bill Cosby, The Slut shaming, Amber [Rose]…And now my dear friend Taylor.. Right before another huge moment for her.. Can I still support him and call myself a feminist? A friend? No.” Detractors jumped on Rose, accusing her of commenting on something that didn’t involve her. She responded swiftly on behalf of her friend, writing, “I was talking to Taylor last night. I wouldn’t comment on something before doing due diligence.”
2. Selena Gomez
When the Kimye feud exploded in summer 2016, Selena Gomez was quick to support one of her besties. A refresher: Kim Kardashian released a tape recording of a phone call West had with Swift about “Famous,” resulting in a debate over which lyrics Swift did or did not approve. Swift claimed she was never asked about West calling her “that bitch,” and the internet could not stop talking about it. All the chatter prompted Gomez to tweet, “There are more important things to talk about… Why can’t people use their voice for something that f—ing matters? Truth is, last thing we need right now is hate, in any form. This industry is so disappointing yet the most influential smh.”
3. Joseph Kahn
Joseph Kahn is one of Swift’s most frequent collaborators, having directed the music videos for “Look What You Made Me Do,” “Blank Space,” “Bad Blood,” “Wildest Dreams,” and “Out of the Woods.” In 2016, he stood by Swift’s side throughout the Kimye feud, tweeting, “I”ve worked with everybody. I don’t need to work with anybody. Taylor Swift is a rainbow in a swamp.” He proceeded to reference O.J. Simpson, whom Kardashian’s late father, Robert Kardashian, defended when Simpson was on trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman: “Ain’t the first time the Kardashians supported the murder of an innocent blonde woman,” Kahn wrote. He dove back into the fray following the release of the polarizing “Look What You Made Me Do” video in 2017. “If I plan something as a man I’m a ‘genius.’ If Taylor as a woman plans something she is ‘manipulative.’ Double standards. This is wrong,” he tweeted. As a follow-up, he retweeted a link to a Guardian article arguing that Swift regularly battles misogyny. He continued to defend Swift when the Beyhive claimed the “LWYMMD” video’s choreography and design appeared to copy Beyoncé’s “Formation” video, going so far as to suggest that Beyoncé actually copied the “Bad Blood” video.
4. Martha Hunt
Swift’s squad members have continuously had her back, and Martha Hunt is no exception. The Victoria’s Secret model spoke out on Twitter last summer in the wake of the Kimye scandal. “It’s pathetic how quick our culture is to sensationalize a fabricated story,” she wrote. “Take interest in the real problems going on. Spread love.” Hunt regularly tweets about Swift, most recently sharing an image of Swift’s first Reputation single and writing, “Working out like 5x harder today.”
5. Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik once appeared to be a critic of Swift (see Calvin Harris’ section below), but the stars no longer have bad blood after teaming up on their Fifty Shades Darker duet, “I Don’t Want to Live Forever.” In a recent interview, the former One Directioner came to Swift’s defense when he was asked about the drama surrounding the release of “Look What You Made Me Do.” “I rate her as an artist, I think she’s cool, I think she’s successful, and I think she deserves her success because she’s worked hard,” he told The Fader. “That’s just how I look at it. I did a song with her, it was fun, she was professional. She gets on with my girlfriend [Gigi Hadid], they’re good friends. I don’t have a bad word to say about her. She’s cool.”
6. Todrick Hall
Swift’s friend Todrick Hall found himself defending both Swift and his own choices after appearing as a dancer in her “Look What You Made Me Do” video. In an in-depth interview with Yahoo!, Hall defended Swift against complaints about her political silence in the 2016 presidential election, saying accusations that she was pro-Trump are “huge assumptions” and that he has discussed sexuality and racism around Swift. “Maybe one day, Taylor will start being super-political, and using her voice to do the things that people think that she should be doing,” he said. “But even then, she will probably be ridiculed for not being vocal enough, or not being on the right side. I don’t think that there is a way to win in this industry, so every person has to take their own journey at their own pace, at their own time, and do what they feel like is right. All I know is that Taylor has been nothing but sweet to me since day one, and if she asks me to do a video, I’m absolutely going be there.”
7. Lena Dunham
Swift isn’t just friends with Lena Dunham — she’s also pals with the Girls creator’s boyfriend, Jack Antonoff, who first worked with Swift on her 1989 album and has since co-written and produced “Look What You Made Me Do.” Dunham, herself a target online, has often spoken out in support of the singer. When asked by Rolling Stone about Swift’s political silence during the 2016 election, the Girls creator responded, “I just think everyone has to do it their way.” Dunham also praised Swift’s approach to her career. “Watching the way that she understands the vicissitudes of the cycle, and she just keeps making her work — that’s just really impressive to me,” Dunham said. “That’s how I hope to live my life, which is not as a slave to public opinion but just as somebody who continues to make things… People who understand how to protect themselves but aren’t so beaten down that they can’t be creative — that to me is the greatest.” More recently, the actress tweeted a powerful response to Swift’s testimony in her sexual assault trial involving a former radio DJ she accused of groping her. “Proud of @taylorswift13 for her fierce & cutting testimony & her refusal to settle for being treated like property. Her example is powerful,” she wrote.
8. Ed Sheeran
Swift helped expose her pal Ed Sheeran to audiences in the U.S., writing and recording “Everything Has Changed” with the crooner for her 2012 album Red and taking him on The Red Tour with her in 2013. Though they’ve never been an item, Swift has called him the James Taylor to her Carole King, and he echoes the sentiment. “She would be there if everything ended for me,” Sheeran told Rolling Stone. “Taylor is kind of an anomaly in that sense.” In the same interview, he commented on the constant media backlash that follows her. “She’s omnipresent because she’s the most famous woman in the world, so she can’t make the decision to not be in the press,” he shared. “I always stick up for Taylor.” Following the online dust-up between Swift and Nicki Minaj over MTV Video Music Awards in 2015, Sheeran spoke out on the pop star’s behalf, telling The Daily Telegraph, “She didn’t nominate herself for the awards. It’s not her fault, she just made some good videos and people think they’re good.” He added, “And I think the Minaj point is a bit redundant, her point is that you have to be skinny and white to get a video of the year nomination but Beyoncé’s ‘7/11’ is in there and that is celebrating the female figure in every form.” Of late, Sheeran has taken a different tack, suggesting he doesn’t believe Swift needs his defense in some cases, particularly in response to Katy Perry’s rumored feud track “Swish Swish.” “I don’t think she needs [to be defended] at all,” he told PEOPLE at the 2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame 48th Annual Induction and Awards Gala. “I don’t think feud songs are a hot thing — there’s always been beef songs.”
9. Calvin Harris
The former couple had their share of breakup drama, but Harris was a supportive boyfriend while they were still an item. The DJ leaped to defend his girlfriend when in 2015 Malik retweeted a post attempting to compare Swift and Miley Cyrus’ views on compensation in the music industry, seemingly criticizing Swift’s decision to pull her music from Spotify. The post included a quote from Cyrus, who has said that she “made my money” and didn’t care if people didn’t buy her music. Harris jumped on Malik, whom he tagged in the post. “You’ve made your money? Cool…f–k the 99% of musicians who depend on these services to survive right? Yeah f— em,” wrote Harris. In additional posts, Harris wrote, “If u don’t get what it means when a successful artist uses their celebrity to benefit every other musician and songwriter in the industry……stay out my f—in mentions pls. While u kids are refresh voting teen choice awards there’s some poor f—er in a basement making your new favorite record trying to survive. Meaning…stay out of things you don’t understand.”
10. Kris Jenner
The Kardashian matriarch might be the last person you’d expect to defend Swift after the Kimye drama, but she had the pop star’s back when the legitimacy of Swift’s relationship with Tom Hiddleston was questioned in 2016. “I don’t know any of the details about her relationship or any of that, but she’s lovely and I’m sure just like anybody else, when you date somebody in this town, everything becomes a photoshoot and there are people following you around and taking pictures,” Jenner said on The Kyle and Jackie O Show, an Australian radio program, when asked if she thought Hiddleswift was a publicity stunt. “I think when you’re young and you’re dating and you have a very public life, it’s got to be really hard,” she added. “I think that only Taylor and whoever she’s with knows what’s going on in that relationship.”
11. Katy Perry
After their multi-year feud inspired countless headlines, Perry appeared ready to bury the hatchet in an interview on Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global Podcast, saying, “I forgive her and I’m sorry for anything I ever did, and I hope the same from her.” Perry went on to praise Swift and her talents, as well as defend her skills as a songwriter and a woman in the entertainment industry. “I love her, and I want the best for her,” Perry said. “And I think she’s a fantastic songwriter, and I think that, you know, if we — both her and I — can be representatives of strong women that come together despite their differences, I think the whole world is going to go like, ‘Yeah, well, we can do this.’ Like, maybe I don’t agree with everything she does and she doesn’t agree with everything I do, but I just really truly want to come together in a place of love and forgiveness and understanding and compassion.”