Joe Alwyn secretly co-wrote six Taylor Swift songs and we had no idea

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn
(Image credit: Jackson Lee / Getty)

Taylor Swift dropped her highly-anticipated new studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, on Friday, and unsurprisingly it's all anyone has been able to talk about. 

The surprise double album features a whopping 31 tracks, with the 34-year-old releasing 15 additional songs two hours after the original album dropped.

"The Tortured Poets Department," Swift announced on social media. "An anthology of new works that reflect events, opinions and sentiments from a fleeting and fatalistic moment in time - one that was both sensational and sorrowful in equal measure." 

Her message continued: "This period of the author's life is now over, the chapter closed and boarded up. There is nothing to avenge, no scores to settle once wounds have healed. And upon further reflection, a good number of them turned out to be self-inflicted. This writer is of the firm belief that our tears become holy in the form of ink on a page. Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it. And then all that's left behind is the tortured poetry."

The long-awaited album has been teased for months, with Swifties already unpicking the many high profile names referenced, including that of ex boyfriend Joe Alwyn.

Swift dated the British actor from 2017 to 2023, with new track 'So Long, London' - dubbed the saddest on the album - thought to be about their break up.

It was Joe Alwyn's link to other Taylor Swift albums that made headlines today however, as theories resurfaced about Alwyn's involvement on Folklore, Evermore and Midnights. 

Yes really, Alwyn was a co-writer on two songs from Taylor Swift's eighth studio album, with his pseudonym "William Bowery" credited for co-writing 'Betty' and 'Exile'. Not to mention, he also has been credited for co-writing 'Champagne Problems', 'Coney Island', 'Evermore' and 'Sweet Nothing' on her later albums, Evermore and Midnights.

Despite the pseudonym, Swifties theorised that Bowery was in fact Alwyn, with "William" being the name of his grandfather, and Bowery coming from the name of the hotel where Swift and Alwyn would often stay in London - The Bowery Hotel.

This was then confirmed by Taylor Swift herself, who revealed 'William Bowery' to be her then boyfriend in her Disney+ special, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions.

The Tortured Poets Department double album is out now.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.