Popular Songs You Had No Idea Were Written About Other Celebrities

When you’re a musician, communicating is easy — simply write a song about it. These celebrities not only penned songs about famous people, they were just subtle enough to keep the majority of people from knowing who (or what) they were singing about … sort of.

For instance, rumors swirled for months that Ed Sheeran‘s hit track “Don’t” was about Ellie Goulding, his then-rumored girlfriend, cheating on him with close friend Niall Horan.

While the crooner hasn’t ever confirmed that that’s the case, he did reveal that he and Ellie were an item when they attended the 2013 MTV VMAs. Fast forward two years and everyone was convinced that Ellie’s 2015 track, “On My Mind,” was her reply to Ed. The lyrics are damning (“You wanted my heart but I just liked your tattoos”), but she’s never elaborated.

Four years later and, according to Ed, the drama has well and truly died down. “That’s the end of it. I’m grateful I could get a song out of it, to be honest.”

Back in 2002, Justin Timberlake wrote “Cry Me a River” about ex-girlfriend Britney Spears. He even went a step further and hired a lookalike to feature in the music video (you know, just in case you weren’t entirely sure who the song was about). It was only recently, however, that JT ‘fessed up to songwriting about his former flame.

“I was on a phone call that was not the most enjoyable phone call. I walked into the studio and Timbaland could tell I was visibly angry,” he said, and boom, “Cry Me a River” was born. Britney released “Everytime” a few weeks later in what was, apparently, a response to the Palmer actor.

Taylor Swift has perhaps cranked out the most heartbreak-to-hit songs, though, penning many a tune about her ex-boyfriends. “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Style” and “Out of the Woods”  were supposedly about Harry Styles, while “The Last Time” and “All Too Well” were written about Jake Gyllenhaal. “Dear John” was not-so-subtly a nod to, you guessed it, John Mayer.

Scroll through the gallery below to see other songs you had no idea were about fellow stars.

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