Taylor Swift’s feud with Kanye West has been well-documented over the years, starting with that infamous speech interruption from the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. The latest chapter of this saga happened in 2016, when West included a lyric about Swift in his song “Famous,” calling her “that bitch.” Swift took issue with that specific phrase, but West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, contested the “Lover” singer actually approved the track. She leaked a phone conversation between West and Swift on Snapchat to prove her point, but it didn’t really work. The footage shows the two artists talking about the song, yes, but not the lyric Swift didn’t like. There’s been tension ever since.
Swift hasn’t really given her side of this story, until now. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, she spilled some tea about the feud seen round the world. She told the magazine that “the world didn’t understand the context and the events that led up to” the Snapchat incident. Here’s what she said, in full:
“Some events took place to cause me to be pissed off when he called me a bitch. That was not just a singular event. Basically, I got really sick of the dynamic between he and I. And that wasn’t just based on what happened on that phone call and with that song—it was kind of a chain reaction of things.
“I started to feel like we reconnected, which felt great for me—because all I ever wanted my whole career after that thing happened in 2009 was for him to respect me. When someone doesn’t respect you so loudly and says you literally don’t deserve to be here—I just so badly wanted that respect from him, and I hate that about myself, that I was like, ‘This guy who’s antagonizing me, I just want his approval.’ But that’s where I was. And so we’d go to dinner and stuff. And I was so happy, because he would say really nice things about my music. It just felt like I was healing some childhood rejection or something from when I was 19.
“But the 2015 VMAs come around. He’s getting the Vanguard Award. He called me up beforehand—I didn’t illegally record it, so I can’t play it for you. But he called me up, maybe a week or so before the event, and we had maybe over an hourlong conversation, and he’s like, ‘I really, really would like for you to present this Vanguard Award to me, this would mean so much to me,’ and went into all the reasons why it means so much, because he can be so sweet. He can be the sweetest. And I was so stoked that he asked me that. And so I wrote this speech up, and then we get to the VMAs and I make this speech and he screams, ‘MTV got Taylor Swift up here to present me this award for ratings!’ [Editor’s note: Rolling Stone clarified his exact words were “You know how many times they announced Taylor was going to give me the award ’cause it got them more ratings?”] And I’m standing in the audience with my arm around his wife, and this chill ran through my body. I realized he is so two-faced. That he wants to be nice to me behind the scenes, but then he wants to look cool, get up in front of everyone, and talk shit. And I was so upset.
“He wanted me to come talk to him after the event in his dressing room. I wouldn’t go. So then he sent this big, big thing of flowers the next day to apologize. And I was like, ‘You know what? I really don’t want us to be on bad terms again. So whatever, I’m just going to move past this.’ So when he gets on the phone with me, and I was so touched that he would be respectful and, like, tell me about this one line in the song.”