Taylor Swift turns 30: Seven facts about the pop star to know on her birthday

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Taylor Swift is celebrating her milestone 30th birthday and she marked the occasion on Twitter and Instagram with a sweet throwback picture of herself as a toddler.


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In honour of her big day, we take a look at some things you probably should know about singer-songwriter Swift.

1. Her lucky number is 13

Given that her birthday is on December 13, it’s no surprise that the number – although often considered to be unlucky – is her favourite.

The number has even made its way into her social media presence, with her Twitter handle being @taylorswift13, and her music videos often reference the digits in subtle ways.

She has even been known to write 13 on her hand for good luck.

2. She’s a big lover of cats

If you follow Swift on any form of social media, you’ll be well aware of the fact that she is obsessed with her three feline friends Olivia Benson, Meredith Grey and Benjamin Button, the latter of whom she adopted from the set of her music video for Me! in the summer.

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Benjamin joined the singer’s other cats Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey, named for the Law & Order: SVU and Grey’s Anatomy characters played by Mariska Hargitay and Ellen Pompeo respectively.

On National Cat Day in October she spread the word of love for her furry friends, posting on Instagram: “Hug your cat today. Or don’t, if your cat hates hugs. But anyway. Happy #NationalCatDay from me, Olivia, Meredith, and Benjamin.”

3. Chart success in the UK came later

Swift is undeniably one of the biggest music stars of her generation, but it took a while for her career to really make an impact in the UK.

Her self-titled country-flavoured debut album in 2006 was a number five hit in her native America, but it only reached 81 here, and her second and third records Fearless and Speak Now only peaked at number five and number six respectively.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift in 2009 at V Festival (Yui Mok/PA)

Since then though – and as she has ventured into more commercial pop away from her country beginnings – she has managed to score four number one albums in the UK, starting with 2012 classic Red and finishing with her most recent release Lover.

More of an album artist, her first and only UK number one single was Look What You Made Me Do in 2017, with her previous major singles including Love Story, Shake It Off and I Knew You Were Trouble only peaking at number two.

4. She has more awards than you can shake a stick at

Swift’s awards cabinet at home must be heaving, the doors bursting at their hinges.

Among her extensive collection of gongs include 10 Grammy Awards, a record-breaking 29 American Music Awards (she is the most awarded artist in AMAs history) and even a Brit Award, for international female solo artist.

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Her most notable award is perhaps her 2009 MTV Video Music Award for best female video for You Belong With Me thanks to Kanye West storming the stage to interrupt her acceptance speech. Rather than holding her back, his tirade only boosted Swift’s fame further, and she really is having the last laugh.

5. Her musical film career could have been different

Swift may be one of the stars of major new musical film Cats along with the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen and Idris Elba, but her fledgling movie career could have taken a very different turn had she won a role in Les Miserables.

Taylor Swift appears in the upcoming Cats film (Universal Pictures)
Taylor Swift appears in the upcoming Cats film (Universal Pictures)

She has admitted to auditioning for the role of Eponine in Tom Hooper’s musical film, but lost out on it to West End star Samantha Barks.

However, her meeting with Hooper helped her land the role of Bombalurina for Cats, as she has said that the director did not even ask for her to audition, telling Zane Lowe: “When I was approached this time, it was a straight-up offer.”

6. She has quite the string of famous exes

Swift has been romantically linked to One Direction star Harry Styles as well as Hollywood star Jake Gyllenhaal and singer Joe Jonas. It’s reported Jonas broke up with her over the phone, prompting people to speculate that her song Forever And Always may have been about him.

Joe Alwyn and Taylor Swift
Joe Alwyn and Swift have kept their romance out of the public eye (PA)

The pair have since smoothed things over with Jonas being quoted in 2015 as saying he “thinks they are friends”.

Her other high-profile romances over the years include dating actor Tom Hiddleston and DJ Calvin Harris.

Harris told GQ in 2017: “When we were together, we were very careful for it not to be a media circus. She respected my feelings in that sense.”

She is currently in a relationship with British actor Joe Alwyn and fans have speculated that her song London Boy is about her relationship with him.

7. She stands up for what she believes in

Swift has recently been embroiled in a battle over her back catalogue, as talent manager Scooter Braun now has the rights to her first six albums.

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Braun’s company, Ithica Holdings, bought Swift’s first record label in a deal reportedly worth more than 300 million US dollars, about £222 million.

The pop superstar was named woman of the decade by American magazine Billboard and used her acceptance speech to discuss the matter.

The singer also wasn’t scared to take on corporate giants Spotify and Apple over royalties to artists for their music being streamed.