Taylor Swift sent her army of fans into meltdown earlier this week when she announced she was surprise-releasing her eighth studio album Folklore.
The 30-year-old, who recorded the indie-inspired Folklore while in lockdown, set the album live at midnight in America (EST) – seeing fans over here in the UK waking up at the crack of dawn to listen to Swift’s 16 new tracks (17, if you count bonus track, The Lakes).
And now Swifties all over the world are left asking the same question – who on earth is this ‘Betty’ that Taylor is singing about?
The biggest mystery in music since Beyoncé and Becky with the Good Hair, here are some of the best fan theories about Betty’s identity…
1. Betty is part of a teenage love triangle, and each song tells a different perspective of the romance.
Many fans believe the emotional album, which features powerful songs such as Swift’s collaboration with Bon Iver, is a fictional story about first love amongst a group of teenagers over one particular summer.
Some believe the track August is from Betty’s point of view, the song Betty tells the story from James’ perspective, while Cardigan is the story of how James cheats.
Others have suggested that the song ‘the last great american dynasty’ is a tribute to Rebekah Harkness and her husband William, who previously owned the Rhode Island house that Swift herself now lives in. The video for Cardigan certainly suggests this, with the painting of a house by the sea not dissimilar to Swift’s abode. To further strengthen the theory, Rebekah was also known as Betty amongst friends.
2. Taylor Swift is James
Other Swifties have pointed out that Taylor Swift was named after singer-songwriter James Taylor, and therefore she could be the ‘James’ in the story, with ‘Betty’ being one of Swift’s former boyfriends.
Swift is no stranger to playing with genders in order to appear ambiguous, with the singer dressing up us a man in order to fire shots at some of Hollywood’s most famous men.
Could this be a throwback to her previous album?
And with the Cardigan music video drawing comparisons to Harry Styles’ Falling, could Betty be the former One Direction star?
3. Betty is the name of Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s daughter
In a song titled ‘Betty’ on the eighth studio album, Swift sings about a girl named Betty who is mistreated.
She also mentions the names Inez and James in the tune, which Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds fans will know are the names of their two eldest daughters.
Some fans believe Swift may have revealed the name of her friends’ youngest child.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Swift has got the couple’s children involved in her music.
James, five, featured at the beginning of Swift’s song Gorgeous from her Reputation album.
Whoever Betty may be, Swift is no stranger to teasing her fans with Easter eggs and clues about who particularly songs may be about – with her first single from the album, Cardigan, peppered with references to Swift’s life.
Folklore is available to stream and download now