By Laura Harding in Los Angeles
IF there was one celebrity who had a banner year in 2023, it was Taylor Swift.
In the past 12 months, she embarked on the highest-grossing tour of all time, smashed the box office with a film of that tour, re-released her biggest album, kept the gossip industry afloat with her split from Joe Alwyn and her new high-profile romance to a handsome athlete and was named “Time’s Person of The Year”.
Swift, 34, kicked off the year in the aftermath of her huge album “Midnights”, which was released in October 2022, dropping the video to single “Lavender Haze” on January 27.
But her year really took off in March when she opened her Eras tour in Glendale, Arizona. The tour, which takes fans on a journey through the different musical stages of her career, has been a juggernaut.
It has gone on to gross more than one billion dollars, the biggest haul for any act ever, and sparked a ticket-buying frenzy that caused Ticketmaster to buckle under the strain, triggering a Senate hearing.
Tickets were in such high demand that one wedding venue owner in Boise, Idaho hosted a wedding for free in exchange for passes to a show.
Jennifer Bowerman and her husband Mike tied the knot on October 8 at the Vintage Rose wedding venue after handing over three of their six concert tickets to the venue’s co-owner Emily Cloud.
The tour, which will come to the Australia in February, is currently in South America.
But Swift was not content with simply selling out stadiums and making headlines with her constantly rotating list of A-list attendees; in July she released “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)”.
The record was the third in her endeavour to re-record her first six albums after the master recordings were acquired by the prominent talent manager Scooter Braun when he bought her former label, much to her fury.
The masters have since changed hands but Swift has continued with a bid to regain ownership of the music by creating new versions of the songs.
The re-recording project reached an even higher level in October with the re-release of her blockbuster 2014 album “1989”, the record that solidified her switch from country ingenue to bona fide pop megastar.
“1989 (Taylor’s Version)” had the biggest opening week for any album released this year in the UK.
The Eras Tour, meanwhile, carried on apace, bagging a Guinness World Record for the highest-grossing music tour ever, with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak even reportedly attending one of her concerts in Los Angeles in August.
It was during the six-night run at the So-Fi Stadium that the show was captured on camera by director Sam Wrench to make a concert film.
Swift flexed her considerable negotiating muscles by bypassing the traditional Hollywood studios and releasing the film directly to cinemas.
The concert film, which was made available to rent at home on her birthday, December 13, had the highest ticket sales at the UK and Ireland box office on its opening day, according to Vue International.
But Swift’s personal life has also thrived in 2023.
Her split from “The Favourite” actor Alwyn, which emerged in April, came as a blow to Swifties, who hoped the star had finally found her happy ever after.
The couple had been together for six years and he has songwriting credits on her albums “Folklore”, “Evermore”, and “Midnights”, including tracks “Exile”, “Betty”, “Champagne Problems”, “Coney Island”, the title track “Evermore” and “Sweet Nothing”.
What followed was a brief rumoured romance with the 1975 frontman Matty Healy, which was largely met with horror by her fanbase because of Healy’s past controversies.
He has faced criticism for kissing fans during the band’s latest tour, joining in on jokes about rapper Ice Spice and previously appearing to make a Nazi-style salute on stage.
Swift was later linked to NFL star Travis Kelce, the Kanas City Chiefs tight end, after he expressed his interest in her on his podcast in July.
Their romance was finally confirmed when she appeared in a box alongside his mother to cheer him on as the Chiefs defeated the Chicago Bears in September.
The duo were photographed leaving the stadium together later that day.
She has since been a regular at his games and according to Google Trends data, consumer interest in the NFL spiked to nearly 44 million searches after she attended two back-to-back clashes.
There have also been record numbers of female viewers since Swift started showing her support for the sport and the Chiefs game against the New York Jets averaged 27 million viewers, making it the most-watched Sunday game in the US since the Super Bowl in February.
In December, she was named “Time’s Person of The Year” after she was selected from a group of nine finalists, including King Charles, Barbie and the Hollywood strikers.
Time said of Swift’s selection: “While her popularity has grown across the decades, this is the year that Swift achieved a kind of nuclear fusion: shooting art and commerce together to release an energy of historic force.”
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