Swift wrote “The Story of Us” after an awkward encounter with ex John Mayer at the 2010 CMT Music Awards, where both parties tried to ignore each other’s presence. She told USA Today that she came up with the song concept after returning home from the event, after telling her mom she felt like she was “standing alone in a crowded room” throughout the evening.
Swift released the song as the fourth single from Speak Now in April 2011, and the music video came out the next month. Swift recruited Noble Jones to direct the video, which they filmed in the library at Vanderbilt University.
The hidden message for this song was “CMT Awards” in the album booklet, leading fans to speculate that the subject of this song is ex John Mayer, who attended the 2010 awards show.