John Mayer Said Taylor Swift Writing “Dear John” Was a “Lousy Thing to Do”

“I never did anything to deserve that.”

John Mayer Taylor Swift


Who: 12-time Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Taylor Swift, 33, and seven-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Mayer, 45.

How They Met: Back in March 2009, Mayer and Swift first connected on social media after the “Your Body Is a Wonderland” singer tweeted that he wanted to collaborate with the 19-year-old country-pop star.

At the time, he tweeted that he had an idea for a song “called ‘Half of My Heart,’” adding, “I want to sing it with Taylor Swift. She would make a killer [Stevie] ‘Nicks’ in contrast to my [Tom] ‘Petty’ of a song.” Swift was giddy over Mayer’s Twitter mention and told Elle: “I freaked out when I heard, because I’ve been such a big fan of John for such a long time. I’m really excited about just the idea that he would even mention me in his Twitter!”

Eight months later, the duo released “Half of My Heart” on John’s Battle Studies album — and while they weren’t a couple just yet, Mayer still couldn’t help but gush about Swift during his press tour.

John Mayer Taylor Swift


“Taylor is the world’s biggest star who doesn’t know she’s a star … which I think is totally sweet,” he told Access Hollywood. “It’s almost like Taylor Swift is a character in a movie about a small-town girl who has her dreams come true and [does] what any small-town girl would do when her dreams come true, which is to freak out. And I still like it that she freaks out, but pretty soon she’s gonna have to stop because it’s sort of like, ‘You’re that good. You’re that good. You might have to go to therapy and have someone else tell you.'” He also called her “one of the smartest, most talented people around” during an appearance on The Ellen DeGenres Show.

Fresh off her breakup from Taylor Lautner in December 2009, Swift and Mayer performed “Half Of My Heart” at the Z100 Jingle Ball. Their chemistry was so palpable onstage, people instantly presumed the two were dating and it appeared as if they were right — a month later, John and Taylor were spotted grabbing dinner together in Nashville, and, again, at the the taping of CMT’s Crossroads, where John performed with Keith Urban and Taylor danced and sang along in support in the audience.

Why We Loved Them: Their romance may have been brief, but it has captured the internet’s attention with drama that has carried on for more than a decade (and counting).

It all began when Swift released her Speak Now album in October 2010, featuring the song “Dear John” on the track list, which was widely believed to be about Mayer. Three years later, Mayer fired back with his own song about Swift, titled “Paper Doll.” In the lyrics, John sings about a “little paper doll” who is too fragile to handle being in a relationship while also making references to her song “22,” a scarf, and the color red.

TBT: Jessica Simpson Deleted John Mayer’s Phone Number After He Called Her “Sexual Napalm”

For years, Swift and Mayer continued to go back and forth with digs. In 2016, Mayer was accused of shading Swift on her 27th birthday, tweeting: “Tuesday, December 13 may be the lamest day of the year, conceptually.” And most recently, he performed “Paper Doll” at a concert on the day her split from Joe Alwyn was announced. Taylor, for her part, reopened some old wounds from the past with the re-recording of her Red album, unleashing the wrath of her Swifties, and she also released the track “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve,” alluding to her and John’s age gap, on Midnights.

When They Peaked: With their actual relationship being fairly uneventful, Swift and Mayer didn’t really hit their stride until the bitter aftermath of their breakup began to play out publicly — particularly, when Taylor released the song “Dear John.”

Lyrics included zingers, like, “Don’t you think nineteen is too young / To be played by your dark twisted games / When I loved you so?,” as well as “Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with? / The girl in the dress, cried the whole way home / I should’ve known.”

Two years after its release, John spoke about how the song made him feel “terrible” during an interview with Rolling Stone. “I didn’t deserve it. I’m pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that,” he said. “It was a really lousy thing for her to do.”

John Mayer Taylor Swift


He went on to explain that Swift didn’t reach out to him before the song’s release, revealing: “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 then dismissed the track as “cheap songwriting,” adding: “I know she’s the biggest thing in the world, and I’m not trying to sink anybody’s ship, but I think it’s abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, ‘Wait till he gets a load of this!’ That’s bullshit.”

Swift’s response? Well, she thought it was rather presumptuous for John to think the song was even about him in the first place. “How presumptuous! I never disclose who my songs are about,” she told Glamour, before explaining that she hadn’t read John’s reaction but knew it “wasn’t good.”

The Breakup: It’s unclear when exactly Taylor and John stopped seeing each other. Some say it ended in February 2010 after just two months of dating, while others were convinced they were still together during the 2010 Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in June, where they shared a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Aside from their respective breakup ballads, neither Taylor nor John have spoken out directly about the split.

Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Relationship Timeline: A Look Back

Where They Are Now:  Following her breakup with Mayer, Swift moved on with another older man, Jake Gyllenhaal. From there, she dated Connor Kennedy, Harry Styles, and Calvin Harris. Her most recent long-term relationship was with actor Joe Alwyn, whom she dated for six years. However, they broke up in April 2023, after which Taylor embarked on a brief fling with musician Matt Healy.

All of Taylor’s recent relationship drama coincided with her Eras Tour, which kicked off in March, and, tomorrow, she is set to stoke old flames again with a new version of her 2010 Speak Now album. But don’t worry: she already issued a warning to fans, asking them not to bully John, as they did Jake Gyllenhaal during Red (Taylor’s Version), ahead of its re-release.

Two years after his split from Swift, Mayer dated Katy Perry from 2012 to 2014, which was his last serious relationship. Since breaking up with Perry, he’s remained single, giving him more time to focus on music. John released his most recent album Sob Rock, in 2021, and he is set to go on a world tour with Grammy-nominated singer JP Saxe in September.

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