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With a new album on the way, it was unavoidable that Harry Styles would be asked about his much discussed, though short lived, relationship with Taylor Swift. It turns out, however, that Styles has nothing but good things to say about his famous ex (and even some of the songs she purportedly wrote about him).
But don't expect Styles' album to deal much with Swift. It's more inspired but another relationship, one that may or may not have been with Kendall Jenner.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, the singer gets real about how complicated it can be dating someone constantly in the spotlight, including the frenzy that came when he was spotted on one of his first dates with Swift walking through Central Park all the way back in 2012.
"When I see photos from that day I think: Relationships are hard, at any age. And adding in that you don't really understand exactly how it works when you're 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn't make it easier," he said, adding, "I mean, you're a little bit awkward to begin with. You're on a date with someone you really like. It should be that simple, right? It was a learning experience for sure. But at the heart of it — I just wanted it to be a normal date."
Styles's candid response is a bittersweet admission that he did have real feelings for the 1989 pop star — and hopefully silences any conspiracy theorists who marked the short pairing as merely a publicity stunt.
Styles also spoke up about being the recurring root of inspiration for Swift's music. When asked if he was aware that songs like "Style" and "Out of the Woods" were penned about him, the singer acts coy but manages to truly commend Swift for being frank about her life experiences.
"I mean, I don't know if they're about me or not ..." he says. "But the issue is, she's so good, they're bloody everywhere. I write from my experiences; everyone does that. I'm lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs. That's what hits your heart. That's the stuff that's hardest to say, and it's the stuff I talk least about. That's the part that's about the two people. I'm never going to tell anybody everything."
He continues on, praising Swift's music. (It's also not the first time; In 2014, he shared similar sentiments.)
"She doesn't need me to tell her they're great. They're great songs.... It's the most amazing unspoken dialogue ever."
The former One Directioner also shared what he would say to Swift if he spoke with her now — and it boils down to "thank you." Does that mean there a chance of reconciliation?
"I don't know," he finally said. "Certain things don't work out. There's a lot of things that can be right, and it's still wrong. In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together. You're celebrating the fact it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than 'this didn't work out, and that's bad.' And if you run into that person, maybe it's awkward, maybe you have to get drunk ... but you shared something. Meeting someone new, sharing those experiences, it's the best shit ever. So thank you."
Of course, all of this only further stokes the flames for fans who are busy theorizing which songs on Styles's highly anticipated solo album could be about Swift. Some have made (albeit far-fetched) connections between his track "Ever Since New York" — which he debuted on Saturday Night Live — to Swift. Styles was relatively mum on if she was the inspiration behind the song, but he did allude to a girl being a major influence. (The Rolling Stone interviewer seems to believe he is speaking about Kendall Jenner.)
"She's a huge part of the album," Styles says the unnamed woman. "Sometimes you want to tip the hat, and sometimes you just want to give them the whole cap... and hope they know it's just for them."
The mysterious girl could also be his high school sweetheart, with whom Styles described a painful breakup after an intense relationship.
"My first proper girlfriend used to have one of those laughs," he shared. "There was also a little bit of mystery with her because she didn't go to our school. I just worshipped the ground she walked on. And she knew, probably to a fault, a little. That was a tough one. I was 15."
Swift, Jenner, or high school girlfriend aside, one thing is for sure: Styles promises his new album will be unfailingly "honest" portrayals of his experiences.
"I wanted to write my stories, things that happened to me. The number-one thing was I wanted to be honest. I hadn't done that before."
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