When Taylor Swift wrote the song “Betty” last year, she had three very special people in mind — turns out they were Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ daughters James, Inez and Betty.
Taylor name-dropped the little girls within the love song, which tells the story of a high school romance gone wrong. “Betty” touches on the aftermath of “August,” which describes a summer love that was doomed from the start. Listeners learn that while the summer affair was going on, the narrator, James, was still dating their classmate, Betty. Per Genius, “Betty” is believed to be the third part of folklore’s “Teenage Love Triangle,” told from the point of view of James.
As people have contemplated if James was a male or female, Taylor confirmed James’ gender, explaining, “[James] has lost the love of his life basically and doesn’t understand how to get it back…Everybody makes mistakes, everybody really messes up sometimes and this is a song that I wrote from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy. I’ve always loved that in music you can kinda slip into different identities and you can sing from other people’s perspectives. So that’s what I did on this one–and I named all the characters in this story after my friends’ kids.”
Per Buzzfeed, parents Ryan and Blake are cool about their daughters being featured in the song — even though it wasn’t directly about them.
“The names are the names of our kids, but we trust her implicitly. She’s very sensitive to any of that stuff. And obviously, the song has nothing to do with our kids other than our kids’ names,” Ryan said. “But I mean, what an honor. We thought it was pretty damn amazing. We still do. You know, I still walk down the street and shake my head thinking, I can’t believe that happened.”
Ryan noted that they kept the feature a secret from the girls and then surprised them when the song was complete. “We surprised them with it. Yeah. They didn’t know. They had no idea.”