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Ed Sheeran’s First Date with Girlfriend Was Taylor Swift’s July 4 Party: ‘You’re Like, “Holy F—, I Know Everyone Here!”‘

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Did Ed Sheeran‘s girlfriend get longtime friend Taylor Swift‘s stamp of approval? Yes — and then some!

“Well, our anniversary is her 4th of July party,” Sheeran, 26, tells PEOPLE of risk advisory consultant Cherry Seaborn, 24, whom he began dating in the summer of 2015 after Swift hosted them at her famous Independence Day fête at her Rhode Island home.

“I’ve known Cherry since I was 11,” adds the “Shape of You” singer — whose third album ÷ debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 — of his girlfriend. “She worked on Wall Street in New York, and I had like six shows [around New York in 2015].”

When Ed shows up in a red coat for the 4th of July because he just can't let it go. @teddysphotos

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

“It was around then, and we reconnected. I went on tour again, and then I went to Taylor’s 4th of July party. I was texting [Seaborn], and she was like, ‘I’m in Rhode Island at a 4th of July party,’ and I was like, ‘So am I.’ I kinda said to Taylor, ‘Can I invite one of my old schoolmates?’ The rest is history.”

FatPapSlim / Splash News

Indeed, last summer, Sheeran and Seaborn celebrated their one-year anniversary at Swift’s 2016 soirée, as documented by Swift’s childhood pal Abigail Anderson on Instagram.

Swift’s annual summer bashes have fueled headlines the past few years, with squad members from Karlie Kloss and Blake Lively to Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevingne descending on her estate for the holiday weekend.

“It’s just a load of like-minded people that you would never expect to see in the same place, together,” Sheeran says of the parties. “I found myself chatting to Ryan Reynolds for a long time, and I did not expect to see him there. [Taylor]’s kind of a magnet for like-minded people, and they’re always super-sweet. Anyone that’s around her is very, very nice. It’s a fun party. But it’s a lot of stories. You walk in, and you’re like, ‘Holy f—! I know everyone in here!’ It’s cool.”
For more on Ed Sheeran, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

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In addition to providing a space for Sheeran’s relationship to blossom, Swift and Seaborn have become friends themselves, the “Castle on the Hill” singer says.

“Her and Taylor have hung out without me quite a few times; I think they have gal chats,” he says. “I don’t know what they get up to, talking about cats or whatever.”

Sheeran’s new album ÷ is out now; he’ll kick off his North American tour on June 29.