Joe Alwyn went to great lengths to avoid talking about his ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift during their six-year relationship. Days after Swift told her side of the breakup on her new album, The Tortured Poets Department (particularly on “So Long, London” and “loml”), a source close to Alwyn spoke to People about why he chose not to share anything.

Alwyn and Swift’s romance “took a lot of people by surprise, but he wasn’t showing off in some way,” the source said. His silence on the topic stemmed from his desire for their relationship to remain “his own personal story.”

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Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn arrive at Zuma on October 06, 2019 in New York City.

The British actor dodged Taylor Swift questions during numerous interviews. He told ELLE UK in April 2022, “It’s not really [because I] want to be guarded and private, it’s more a response to something else. We live in a culture that is so increasingly intrusive… The more you give—and frankly, even if you don’t give it—something will be taken.”

Swift later shared her own feelings about that approach in her December 2023 Time interview. She was asked about her very public romance with Travis Kelce. She contrasted it to her private relationships that preceded it, saying, “when you say a relationship is public, that means I’m going to see him do what he loves, we’re showing up for each other, other people are there and we don’t care. The opposite of that is you have to go to an extreme amount of effort to make sure no one knows that you’re seeing someone. And we’re just proud of each other.”

She also took aim at the six years she spent away from the spotlight while dating Alwyn. She told the outlet, “Me locking myself away in my house for a lot of years—I’ll never get that time back. I’m more trusting now than I was six years ago.”

After Swift’s announcement of Tortured Poets in February, a source connected to Alwyn spoke to Daily Mail about why he wasn’t planning to address the album.

“Joe has not said one word about Taylor or their breakup and has been completely respectful of her,” the insider began.

At that point, Alwyn was optimistic the album would be respectful of him. “Joe has no reason to believe yet that she is going to diss him or their relationship,” the source said. “She writes about her past using code and points of reference. It may just be that she is reflecting on their time together, and he is hoping it is nothing more. If it is a diss album, that is shady. He helped her with song writing on her past album [under pseudonym William Bowery on Folklore and Evermore] so it will really come as a shock to him if she talks about their breakup, as it is something he has not spoken of at all. Regardless of what she does, he will still not respond because he has removed himself from her narrative and is very glad he did.”

This article originally appeared in ELLE US.