Whether you’re a Swiftie, a John Mayer fan, neither, or both, you’ve definitely heard about their little fling. Well, it wasn’t so little. In fact, it created some major headlines with rumors being spread over their secret romance, the age gap between the two, and the songs each one wrote about the other.
Taylor Swift has been writing the soundtrack of our love lives ever since she was handed a microphone, and to be honest, we don’t expect her NOT to sing about the men in her life. But sometimes social media has a way of resurfacing past events and romances, shedding light and new angles on stuff we thought was old news.
That’s what happened in early March 2021, when John Mayer joined TikTok for the first time and was instantly met with unflattering comments from the Swifties – Taylor’s ride or die fans. So, what’s the deal? It’s high time we get down and dirty and dig deep into John and Taylor’s romance. At the end of the day, after you’ve examined all the facts, you can decide which team you’re really on: Team John or Team Taylor.
The John Mayer fans feel bad for the dude. The way they see it, the singer was only trying to get the hang of this whole Tik Tok trend and be funny at the same time. The 43-year-old’s first video was of him struggling to flip his camera to the front-facing position. The caption: “How do you use tik tok ## how do you use tik tok google.com how to use tik tok.”
The Swifties, however, weren’t having it. In their eyes, he should not exist in happiness – he should forever be in remorse for what he did to Taylor. Take it from the Tik Tok Taylor fans themselves, who wrote things like “You’re not safe here, John,” and “We will never forget what you did to our girl Taylor.” Another Swift fan said, “Taylor would know how to flip the camera.”
So, what did he even do to her? Well, he dated her, dumped her, and basically led her to write a song about him.
Swift and Mayer supposedly started dating back in 2009, and the funny thing is that the aftermath of their relationship lasted a heck of a lot longer than the relationship itself. The singing-songwriting couple allegedly dated December 2009 and February 2010.
Their relationship seemed to start out as a mentor/mentee kind of thing at first since they only started getting close when she sang on Mayer’s track Half of My Heart. Rumors swirled of their possible romance, but it only went public when her song Dear John was released.
If you want more of a timeline, keep scrolling…
31-year-old Swift may have been pushing 20 at the time, but she was by no means a stranger to the dating game. She was already using past loves as fodder for her song-making process. Before John came Joe… Jonas, that is. Taylor and Jonas dated from July 2008 to October 2008, which is when he broke up with her over a 25-second phone call! So yeah, she wasn’t so pleased with men at that point. And of course, she wrote a song about it (Forever & Always).
Wanna see everything there is to know about Taylor Swift? Read this
Mayer had his fair share of famous flings, too, earning himself a reputation as Hollywood’s resident bad boy. He dated Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson, for example, and both involved very public breakups and unflattering words. When Mayer referred to Simpson as “sexual napalm in bed,” people were curious why Swift would even associate with him. She’s Hollywood’s sweetheart, after all.
At the time of their relationship, she was still a teenager – 19 to be exact – and he was 32. Taylor’s had previous relationships, but this 12-year gap between her and Mayer was one that made many eyebrows rise. Let’s not forget the swooner’s reputation as being a serial philanderer. Many people will say that he should have known better than to get involved with someone over a decade younger than him. When he was asked about the age difference, Mayer declined to comment. Well, his actual words were: “I don’t want to go into that.”
Taylor did what she does best: She wrote a song about their love affair called Dear John. In the song, she accused him of taking advantage of her during a truly formative time in her life. At first, people were skeptical of the song – not sure if it was actually written with Mayer in mind. But Swift cleared up all the confusion in an interview, saying, “There are things that were little nuances of the relationship, little hints. Everyone will know, so I don’t really have to send out emails on this one.”
If you’ve somehow never seen the video before, here it is:
The song has some moving lyrics, like “I lived in your chess game, but you changed the rules every day,” and “don’t you think nineteen is too young to be played by your dark, twisted games.”
In a Rolling Stone interview, Mayer admitted that he felt “humiliated” by Swift’s song and that he only learned of her true feelings after hearing it. “I never got an email. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down. I mean, how would you feel if, at the lowest you’ve ever been, someone kicked you even lower?”
Mayer said he “didn’t deserve it.” He says he’s good at taking accountability (now) and “never did anything to deserve that.” Swift’s song was “a really lousy thing for her to do.” He added that, as a songwriter, he thinks Dear John is “cheap songwriting.” He knows that she’s “the biggest thing in the world,” but he sees it as “abusing your talent” to write a revenge song just to get a rise out of it. For him, it’s “bulls***.”
Who knows, maybe he’s telling the truth – maybe he really was hurt by Swift. And his eight-minute and 34 second YouTube video in which he compliments Swift the entire time might just be proof. It was clear that when they dated, the guy was smitten.
After all that talk about Swift taking a “cheap” swing at him, he goes ahead and writes his own version of Dear John. Mayer wrote a revenge song of his own in 2013 called Paper Doll. Some of the lyrics were arguably about Swift, such as “you’re like 22 girls in one,” referencing her hit song 22. Then there’s the lyric “someone’s gonna paint you another sky,” which referenced her Dear John lyric “you paint me a blue sky.”
This one is a little more debatable, as Mayer never confirmed the inspiration behind the track.
Let’s rewind (or fast forward) to the whole Tik Tok fiasco. It was clear from the get-go that he was not welcome on the app. Some Swifties literally told Mayer to leave the app. One comment read, “Soon you’ll look back and regret how u ignored when we said ‘run as fast as u can’ off this app.”
So, the unwelcome singer decided to respond to the comments with his second-ever post. In the video, he’s mumbling and nodding along as if he’s responding to a conversation. He captioned the clip: “POV: You’re berating me, and I’m hearing you out.” Of course, the Swifties were just as quick to fire insults at him, like how he has an “old man victim complex” and that he’s “the original indie boy gaslighter.”
And then came his third post, where he shared a video of himself singing, “That was a weird day. That was a real weird day.” (What a weird post). Soon enough, the TikTok conversation carried over to Twitter. By the next morning, Mayer’s name was trending on the platform.
In 2015, he gave an even stranger remark to Ronan Farrow during an MSNBC interview: “Now I can just go, ‘Look, I can say the name, Taylor Swift.’ She’s an artist. I’m an artist. Everybody stop; nobody’s got cancer.” Oh, and the cherry on top? He added, “We’re rich people who get to live out our dreams. Let’s just stop it. I’m a musician who’s bigger than one song or one record.” Just when you were about to feel bad for the guy, he goes and says that…
Mayer’s less-than-warm introduction to Tik Tok came just one week after he spoke out about The New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears, the expose about how the pop star is dealing with the misogynistic treatment directed at her. Mayer spoke about how he got emotional watching the documentary and “almost cried five times.”
He told Andy Cohen on SiriusXM that he came out okay, largely due to the fact that he’s a man. After his shared sentiments about the documentary, TikTok and Twitter users called him out by referring to his past relationships, accusing him of manipulative behavior. So, really, it looks like he was on the hot seat even before he joined Tik Tok.
Let’s not forget that these bitter exes once adored each other. It began back in March 2009, when Mayer wrote a (now deleted) Tweet:
“Waking up to this song idea that won’t leave my head. 3 days straight now. That means it’s good enough to finish. It’s called Half of My Heart, and I want to sing it with Taylor Swift. She would make a killer Nicks in contrast to my Petty of a song.”
Swift was 19 at the time, and Fearless, her second studio album, had been released just months prior. Having a seasoned star like John Mayer Tweet about doing a duet with Swift was a pretty big deal. “I freaked out when I heard because I’ve been such a big fan of John for such a long time,” Swift told Elle in an interview. “I’m really excited about just the idea that he would even mention me on his Twitter!”
In May 2009, during a performance at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles (in the middle of her Fearless tour), Mayer surprised everybody by coming on stage. The two sang Mayer’s Your Body Is a Wonderland as well as Swift’s White Horse.
In June 2009, two months after his Twitter post about singing with Swift, Half of My Heart was released, which featured Swift on the track. They then performed live together in December at NYC’s The Jingle Ball.
By October 2010, there was bad blood between the pair.
It isn’t clear whether the two are still in contact. It’s safe to say that these two will not be seen performing together or attending any public events arm in arm. Judging by Mayer’s Tik Tok behavior, he might still be digesting all the information that Swifties have enlightened him to. After all, it has been over a decade and the guy has had many women to share the sheets with since.
So, after all is said and done, which team are you on? Team Swift or Mayer? If you’re looking for some numbers, just look at a survey on Nicki Swift, which indicated that 30.58% of 605 participants considered Mayer to be Swift’s “worst ex-boyfriend.” Who came in second? 19.50% said it was Harry Styles (they dated in late 2012).
Whomever’s team you’re on, let’s all agree that Swift and Mayer are both talented artists and it’s better off that they’re apart.