Taylor Swift once wrote the lyrics, “This me swallowing my pride, standing in front of you, saying I’m sorry for that night,” allegedly about Taylor Lautner, and now, the Twilight actor is returning the favor. In a recent podcast appearance, Lautner opened up about regretting how he handled that fateful night in September 2009 when, seconds after he presented a VMA award to the pop star, Kanye West rushed the stage and took the microphone.
The recollection comes during a Wednesday (Feb. 1) episode of The Squeeze, a podcast hosted by Lautner’s wife, health influencer Taylor Lautner (that’s not a typo, they share the same first and last name!). When Mrs. Lautner asked Mr. Lautner which moment in his life to which he’d like to travel back in time and change, he said, “Probably the 2009 VMAs when I presented the award to Taylor and was unaware that the Kanye thing was not a skit.”
You might recall that this was also around the time Swift and the Home Team star dated, as confirmed during the podcast by Lautner’s wife. “You and Taylor [Swift] had just gone public,” the podcast host prompted.
“I presented the award to her,” the actor continued. “I took five steps back and was standing five feet behind her. Kanye jumps up on to the stage. I could barely hear it, I can’t see them, I’m just assuming this whole thing was a practiced and rehearsed skit. Because why else would Kanye West be jumping up on the stage interrupting Taylor Swift? It just didn’t make sense.”
The Tracers star went on to say he regrets his onstage reaction to the moment, even though he couldn’t hear what was happening at the time. “If you look back at it, I’m actually caught laughing and giggling at them,” he recalled. “The second she turned back around and I saw her face for the first time, I was like, ‘Oh, that wasn’t good.'”
It was a pop-culture moment that immediately went down in history: Swift winning best video, female artist for “You Belong With Me,” Kanye West grabbing the microphone and shouting the now infamous line, “I’mma let you finish, but …,” and Beyoncé’s horrified expression as he declared her the rightful winner of the award. It was the very beginning of a decade-long, on-off feud between the “All Too Well” singer and Ye, who, 13 years later, has been in and out of the news for making infinitely more shocking statements about antisemitism.
After that chaotic VMAs ceremony, Swift went on to release her 2010 third studio album, Speak Now, with songs seemingly dedicated to both Ye (“Innocent”) and Lautner (“Back to December”). In the latter track, she even appeared to reference the award-show incident, singing about how a love “held me in your arms that September night/ The first time you ever saw me cry.”
Watch Taylor Lautner reflect on the infamous Kanye West/Taylor Swift VMAs moment below: