"You know, for the first time, I had the most amazing person to come home to when the spotlight went out and when the crowds were all gone," Swift said slowly, looking a bit hesitant. "So, um, I want to thank my boyfriend Adam for that. And I love you guys so much."
The crowd started screaming, because they knew Adam Wiles is the real name of Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, whom Swift has been dating for a year. "Good night!" Swift added with a nervous laugh/cough before leaving the stage.
If you're unfamiliar with Swift lore, we will explain why the Internet briefly lost its mind in the moments afterwards, with countless tweets pouring in about Swift's words and gossip sites scrambling to post stories about the news.
First, though Swift and Harris have used social media to coyly reveal their relationship, it's a bit unusual for a celebrity on Swift's level of fame to call out a significant other in such a public forum, particularly when it's just a boyfriend as opposed to a spouse. By doing something so bold as to mention them in front of millions of viewers, it essentially gives the media permission to ask about your relationship, something most stars despise.
But it's even more shocking for Swift specifically, because it's a true departure from her well-established brand to rarely confirm anything about her personal life — the same brand that made her the biggest pop star in the world. As you may recall, when Swift started as a country star in Nashville, she became famous for writing songs about boys who hurt her, whether they had broken her heart or simply never knew she had a crush on them. The catch: She swore to never reveal the actual subjects of the songs, only dropping small hints.
A brilliant strategy, because her fans and the press only became more obsessed with figuring out names, such as obvious suspects Joe Jonas and John Mayer. The game became much easier when paparazzi started snapping her driving with Taylor Lautner; strolling through New York with Jake Gyllenhaal; going on walks with Harry Styles; and at the beach with Conor Kennedy.
Once, she broke the rule on her press tour for her sophomore album "Fearless" in 2008 during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres when she spilled that Jonas broke up with her in a 25-second phone call. The next year, she hosted "Saturday Night Live" and called out Jonas again in her monologue, even making a joke about Lautner, whom she was rumored to be dating at the time.
Shortly after that, though, Swift's fame skyrocketed out of the country music sphere and into the mainstream — and she abruptly stopped all talk of her dating. Once, she even authorized a friend to briefly talk about her exes in a Vanity Fair profile, refusing to discuss details herself. She said in interviews she got tired of the narrative about her "boy-crazy" ways and was clearly not pleased when Amy Poehler and Tina Fey made a joke about her dating Michael J. Fox's son at the Golden Globes. "That's public humiliation," she told Glamour UK.
So Swift, a master of image control, deftly changed the story, acquiring a high-powered squad of female friends and made her latest album "1989" a celebration of her single girl world. ("Blank Space," about a terrifying clingy woman, is a parody of how the media sees her, she explained.)
Now that Swift has told the world she's dating someone and even uttered his name in public, it's a thrill to her fandom that craves details, but has only seen the relationship play out on Instagram. Overall, her quote is a signal that the powerful singer is moving on to a new, more adult era where she's comfortable talking about her personal life, given she's obviously in a serious relationship. For her legions of fiercely loyal fans around the world who idolize her every move, this is a very big deal — especially because it will no doubt inform her new music.