Jake Gyllenhaal is refuting that internet criticism following the release of Taylor Swift’s 10-minute version of “All Too Well” has been hard on him, and says that he doesn’t “begrudge” any artist who taps into their personal experiences while making art.
In an interview with Esquire published Thursday, the Ambulance actor addressed the backlash that followed the release of an extended version of the Grammy-winning singer’s Red track, which Swift dropped — along with a short film starring Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink — back in November 2021. The song is rumored to be about Swift and Gyllenhaal’s brief relationship from over a decade ago, which began in 2010 when she was 20 and he was 29.
The actor said that when it comes to the song’s re-release and the response it garnered, in his opinion, it has “nothing to do with me.”
“It’s about her relationship with her fans,” he told the magazine. “It is her expression. Artists tap into personal experiences for inspiration, and I don’t begrudge anyone that.”
When asked whether the month after the track’s release was “hard on him,” the actor denied that it was, despite having turned off his Instagram comments. Instead, when answering whether it has “affected his life,” even just “as an inconvenience,” Gyllenhaal more broadly reflected on the behavior of an artist’s fans and their relationship with said fans in terms of preventing or avoiding “cyberbullying.”
“At some point, I think it’s important when supporters get unruly that we feel a responsibility to have them be civil and not allow for cyberbullying in one’s name,” he said. “That begs for a deeper philosophical question. Not about any individual, per se, but a conversation that allows us to examine how we can — or should, even — take responsibility for what we put into the world, our contributions into the world.”
The Spider-Man: Far From Home star wondered how an artist might “provoke a conversation,” homing in on politics to aid his argument. “Is anger and divisiveness our future? Or can we be empowered and empower others while simultaneously putting empathy and civility into the dominant conversation? That’s the discussion we should be having.”
As for whether he’s listened to the album, he told Esquire that he hadn’t. Instead, he acknowledged that he was “not unaware that there’s interest in my life,” but that that’s less important than what his life actually contains.
“My life is wonderful. I have a relationship that is truly wonderful, and I have a family I love so much. And this whole period of time has made me realize that,” added Gyllenhaal of his current relationship with model Jeanne Cadieu.
During the New York City premiere event for Swift’s “All Too Well” short film, she spoke about the song’s personal elements, telling her fans, “It started off as a song that was my favorite. It was about something very personal to me.
“It was very hard to perform it live,” she continued. “Now, for me, honestly, this song is 100 percent about us, and for you.”