Taylor made headlines following the rerelease of her 2012 studio album Red, titled Red (Taylor’s Version), last week — and specifically, the rerelease of her single “All Too Well” on Friday.
The new 10-minute version of the song — which is assumed to be about her three-month-long romance with actor Jake Gyllenhaal in 2010 — has received significant attention from fans.
In the wake of the rerecorded single and the resurfaced past romance, it wasn’t long before fans recalled another of Taylor’s turbulent relationships, with singer-songwriter John Mayer.
If you weren’t aware, John and Taylor were romantically linked for a few months back in December 2009. At the time, Taylor was 19 years old, while John was 32. He has long faced scrutiny for the 12-year age gap between the former couple.
Their relationship was short-lived, however, with reports of a split surfacing in February 2010. Neither publicly confirmed nor denied the rumors at the time.
Shortly after the reported split, Taylor seemingly confirmed the breakup through the release of a song titled "Dear John" on her 2010 studio album, Speak Now.
Fans had reason to believe Taylor’s track was about her ex not just because of its title, but because of the lyrics. She sings: “Dear John, I see it all, now it was wrong / Don't you think nineteen is too young / To be played by your dark twisted games, when I loved you so? / I should've known.”
A couple of years after its release, John addressed and condemned the song in an interview with Rolling Stone.
“It made me feel terrible,” he said. “It was a really lousy thing to do. I never got an email. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off guard.”
“I will say as a songwriter that I think it’s kind of cheap songwriting,” he continued. “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.”
When John was asked about the song’s line, “Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with?” he said, “I don’t want to go into that.”
And despite having called Taylor’s songwriting “cheap,” John went on to release a song titled “Paper Doll” the following year, which was widely interpreted to be about their failed relationship.
John’s past comments resurfaced earlier this year, after he spoke out against the treatment of women in Hollywood following the release of the Framing Britney Spears documentary in February.
After John revealed he “almost cried five times” when watching the documentary — which uncovers Spears’ challenging experiences being scrutinized by the media — many fans criticized him for his own comments discrediting Taylor. Fans argued that John’s demeaning remarks about the Red singer following their breakup added to the long-running narrative about her being “crazy” for writing songs about her past relationships.
Speaking of his chemistry with Jessica, he told Playboy: “Sexually it was crazy. That's all I'll say. It was like napalm, sexual napalm. Did you ever say, ‘I want to quit my life and just fucking snort you? If you charged me $10,000 to fuck you, I would start selling all my shit just to keep fucking you.’” John eventually apologized to Jessica for his comments, but she did not accept.
Well, with John’s history of addressing negativity around his and Taylor’s past — and the fact that he’d poked fun at some of her song lyrics as recently as 2019 — it’s perhaps unsurprising that he’s publicly responded to a recent onslaught of hate.
As mentioned, Taylor released “All Too Well” on Friday, which is assumed to be about her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal. The two dated back in 2010, when Taylor was 20 and Jake was 29. According to reports, their relationship ended in December 2011, with a source telling Us Weekly at the time that Jake “wasn't feeling it anymore” and was “uncomfortable” with all of the attention they received.
Speculation that Jake was the subject of the song has been rife among fans since its original release in 2012, but the theorizing has reached new heights in the wake of the rerecorded album. One of the biggest pointers of this is the nod toward a stark age difference between Taylor and her lover, through the line: “You said if we had been closer in age maybe it would have been fine / and that made me want to die.”
Taylor also released All Too Well: A Short Film over the weekend. The 15-minute video stars actors Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien — who are, perhaps conveniently, aged 19 and 30, respectively — in what fans have interpreted as a portrayal of Taylor and Jake’s relationship and dynamic. Dylan portrays a character who appears to gaslight and emotionally manipulate Sadie’s. He did, however, deny that the short film was about Jake and Taylor in a recent interview.
However, in light of the criticism Jake has been facing for his assumed history with his ex, many fans began to reflect back on Taylor’s tumultuous past with John Mayer.
Fans flooded social media with several tweets and comments about John and Taylor’s past and poked fun at the prospect of her releasing a revised version of “Dear John.”
However, some fans appeared to take things too far, sending the musician harsh messages — and even death threats.
In screenshots surfacing across social media, a fan named Alondra sent John several harmful direct messages on Instagram. She initially shared the screenshot on TikTok but has since made the videos private.
In a DM to John, Alondra wrote, “fuck yourself ugly bitch i hope you choke on something,” alongside a heart symbol.
Hours later, she sent another message saying, “answer me you bitch.”
While celebrities typically ignore these types of threatening and harmful messages, John decided to respond to the fan.
According to the screenshots, John addressed the user directly to let her know that he’d been receiving several hateful messages before questioning why she and other fans were targeting him.
“Hi Alondra, it’s John. I’ve been getting so many messages like these the past couple of days, I decided to choose your message at random to reply to,” he purportedly wrote. “You can feel free to screenshot, share in any way you like if you want.”
“I’m not upset, I just tend to have a curious mind and feel compelled to ask. Do you really hope that I die?” John wrote.
According to Us Weekly, Alondra followed up by apologizing to John for the hateful messages. She reportedly said, “My friend literally dared me to do that. She’s a Taylor fan and like so am I. It was a dare. I’m sorry. I did not expect you to see.”
“So it’s a fun thing people are doing without taking into account that I might see it and be affected by it?” John went on to ask, before adding that it was “100 percent OK.”
“Go forth and live happy and healthy!” he wrote.