Who Was Taylor Swift Singing About On SNL?

Image via SNL

Just a day after the monumental re-release of her re-recorded 2012 album Red, Taylor Swift took the stage in studio 8H to give one of Saturday Night Live’s most memorable musical performances ever. 

The episode, hosted by Jonathan Majors, featured an unconventional musical spotlight that ran for 10 minutes — the length of the new version of “All Too Well.” Infamously known as a scathing rebuke of Jake Gyllenhaal, the 10-minute version of the track featured on Red (Taylors Version) captures the messy, aching heartbreak in raw detail. The new track both delighted and inflamed Swifties, who sharpened their old swords to come after the actor online.

Swift and Gyllenhaal dated briefly in 2010 and 2011, and if the new lyrics in “All Too Well” are any indication, it ended very, very poorly.

The idea you had of me

Who was she?

A never-needy, ever lovely jewel

Whose shine reflects on you

Not weeping in a party bathroom

Some actress asking me what happened


That’s what happened: You

New lyrics in the 10-minute version emphasize the uneven dynamic of the relationship, given the couple’s age gap. Taylor had just turned 21 while Gyllenhaal was about 9 years her senior. “You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine,” she sings in a new verse, “And that made me want to die.”

Behind Swift, a 10-minute music video that accompanied the album’s release last Friday played in full. All Too Well: The Short Film was written and directed by the singer and illustrates the romance and heartbreak described in the song. Sadie Sink (Stranger Things) and Dylan O’Brien (Bumblebee) play the roles of Swift and Gyllenhaal, respectively. 

The live performance has amassed almost two million views at press time. You can watch a recording of the performance below.