2013 - 2014: The backup dancer incident that started it all
This is where shit gets complicated. Though the important incidents in the besties-to-enemies timeline occurred during 2013, the actual information didn't emerge until 2014 when Swift was interviewed by Rolling Stone for a cover story to promote her pop-centric album 1989. The profile was memorable for a few reasons: It revealed what Girls character Swift thinks of herself as ("I'm Shoshanna"), contained a part where she compared herself to the Loneliest Whale ("I think Adrian Grenier is making a documentary about it"), and ended with Swift nodding along to Kendrick Lamar's "Backseat Freestyle" ("I know every word"). It's an incredible time capsule.
But even the details about the cat stickers on her phone and the basket of Whole Foods treats she kept next to Karlie Kloss's bed in her New York apartment couldn't compare to the story's juiciest bit of gossip: Taylor Swift had beef with another female artist who had inspired the track "Bad Blood."
"For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not," Swift told Rolling Stone. "She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, 'Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?'" In Swift's telling, the act of betrayal was all about business. "She did something so horrible," she said. "I was like, 'Oh, we're just straight-up enemies."
Based on clues in the Rolling Stone piece, fans and bloggers quickly put the pieces together and realized Swift was referring to Perry -- specifically a kerfuffle involving dancers Lockhart Brownlie, Scott Myrick, and Leah Adler. The three were originally on Perry's California Dreams tour before joining Swift's world tour in support of Red. As TMZ reported at the time, they allegedly gave Swift a 30-day notice to let her know they would be leaving her tour early to rejoin another leg of Perry's tour, but they were fired on the spot. "She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour," Swift told Rolling Stone. "So now I have to avoid her. It's awkward, and I don't like it."
Other versions of the situation inevitably emerged. "Obviously we were with Katy for two-and-a-half years, she's like family to us," one of the dancers, Lockhart Brownlie, told The Examiner in an interview. "We weren't really dancing in Taylor's tour anyway so I had got a little bored."
Perry jumped in the fray too, posting a Mean Girls-referencing tweet: