Taylor Swift's Feud With Kim Kardashian & Kanye West Hurt Her More Than We Knew

One of the most problematic and shocking things Kanye "Ye" West has ever done was undoubtedly when the rapper infamously invited himself onto the stage and interrupted Taylor Swift as she was accepting the award for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards — also her first VMA. Fast forward to 2016, and Swift became embroiled in another scandal with Ye and his then-wife Kim Kardashian based on his song "Famous," in which the controversial rapper name-drops Swift and calls her a "b****." 

The pop star claimed that she didn't permit him to call her that in the song, leading Kardashian to leak a video of the conversation between Swift and Ye that made it seem like she did, resulting in Swift being branded a liar. Notably, the video was later revealed to have been edited, but the damage was already done. 

In the 2020 Netflix documentary "Miss Americana," we learned that Swift was incredibly hurt by the incident. In 2023, she delved into it further during her "Person of the Year" interview with TIME, revealing just how traumatic that time of her life was. "Make no mistake — my career was taken away from me," Swift stated.

Swift felt like she couldn't trust anybody anymore

Taylor Swift went on to describe to TIME how she completely changed her life and actively isolated herself because of what happened with Kim Kardashian and Ye. "I moved to a foreign country. I didn't leave a rental house for a year," she recalled. And it didn't sound like it was just a move to get out of the spotlight either. "I was afraid to get on phone calls," Swift admitted. "I pushed away most people in my life because I didn't trust anyone anymore. I went down really, really hard." That's a pretty big breaking point!

It's important to remember the timeline of the drama that led up to her isolation and its intensity. In February 2016, West released "Famous" with the lyrics, "I feel like me and Taylor still might have sex / Why? I made that b**** famous." The singer-songwriter's team denied that she'd approved the lyric or even known about it before the track was released. Then, in June 2016, West dropped the accompanying music video, which featured a model of a naked Taylor Swift in bed with him, Kardashian, and several other celebrities.

That very same month, Kardashian's GQ cover story came out. The reality star asserted that Swift had been recorded confirming that she was totally fine with the song. A representative for the pop star responded to Kardashian's allegations, again denying any approval on Swift's part. 

Taylor Swift felt her emotions and her truth were being ignored

Things amped up significantly in July 2016, when Kim Kardashian released footage from the conversation between Ye and Taylor Swift about the song on her Snapchat. She also wrote on X, formerly Twitter, "Wait it's legit National Snake Day?!?!? They have holidays for everybody, I mean everything these days!" Swift's social media then got flooded with snake emojis, and she was accused of lying and making herself out to be a victim. It was also shortly after her messy public breakup with Calvin Harris.

In a now-deleted Instagram post, Swift argued that she was being unfairly portrayed as a liar, asserting "You don't get to control someone's emotional response to being called 'that b****' in front of the entire world." She ended it with the now famous line, "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative," (via The Fader). By the following month, the "Shake It Off" hit-maker had deleted her social media accounts and gone completely quiet, during what we now recognize to be a time of intense distress.

Of course, Swift reemerged from this period of isolation and into her "Reputation" era. As any Swiftie knows, the album is full of snake imagery and references to the Ye drama, including in "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things," when Swift sings, "Friends don't try to trick you / Get you on the phone and mind-twist you." 

Kim Kardashian doubled down by calling Taylor Swift a liar

Those lyrics make a lot of sense when you consider that, as Taylor Swift explained to Rolling Stone in 2019, while she and Ye certainly had their ups and downs, she thought things were sorted between them especially after the rapper asked her to present him with an award at the 2015 VMAs and then sent her flowers the next day. Swift even saw their now infamous phone call as a sign of good faith so she was completely blindsided by the offensive "Famous" lyric.

A fuller version of the conversation was leaked in March 2020, which confirmed once and for all that Swift didn't approve it. Moreover, Ye started the call by asking if Swift would share the song on her Twitter account when it was released. But that wasn't how Kardashian saw it. In March 2020, the reality star tweeted nine times about the situation, including claiming, "I never edited the footage (another lie) — I only posted a few clips on Snapchat to make my point and the full video that recently leaked doesn't change the narrative."

With the release of Swift's 2023 "Person of the Year" article, people began posting snake emojis to Kardashian's account and demanding that she apologize (the SKIMS founder previously said that she wouldn't talk about the incident again). As Swift put it in her TIME interview, "You have a fully manufactured frame job, in an illegally recorded phone call, which Kim Kardashian edited and then put out to say to everyone that I was a liar. That took me down psychologically to a place I've never been before."