Who Is Calvin Harris? How Taylor Swift's Boyfriend Went from Shy, Reluctant Star to Studly Megaproducer

Once a shy Scottish star, the sculpted Armani model is now the highest-paid deejay in the world

Photo: David Ryle/Redferns; Lachlan Bailey/Courtesy of Giorgio Armani

Long before Forbes crowned him and Taylor Swift Hollywood’s highest-paid power couple, Calvin Harris was just a shy lad making dance music on his older brother’s Amiga keyboard.

The Early Years

Born Adam Richard Wiles, Harris – the youngest of three kids born to biochemist David and homemaker Pamela – grew up in Dumfries, Scotland, before moving to London in 2003 to pursue his music dreams.

When things didn’t pan out, a disheartened Harris moved home – but after he was discovered on MySpace a few years later, he signed with a major label in 2006.

A Wary Star Is Born

The deejay-producer got his start working with A-listers like Kylie Minogue. And his first releases – 2007’s I Created Disco and 2009’s Ready for the Weekend – earned him acclaim on the EDM circuit and across Europe.

But Harris was a reluctant star.

The U.K.’s Independent painted him as shy, skinny and awkward in a 2009 feature story. The piece chronicled the breakout’s day on-set at a music video shoot in Ibiza for “Holiday,” a song he wrote and produced for Dizzee Rascal.

Harris didn’t even end up in the clip, though. “I’m not a dancer. So if it’s a choice between being in it and dancing, and not being in it and not dancing, then I’ll pick not being in it,” he told the paper. “I couldn’t be arsed, to be honest. It’s not my video.”

At the time, the hesitant celebrity added: “I’m not good at interviews, I’m not good at dancing, I’m not good at looking like I’m having fun … I never will be, I don’t think. Unless I go to a life coach.”

Then something changed over the next couple years. Harris broke big in the U.S. with his hit “Feel So Close” in 2011 and solidified his status as a mainstream staple with his smash Rihanna collab “We Found Love” just months later.

On Top of the World

Fast forward five years and two massively successful albums (2012’s 18 Months and 2014’s Motion), and Harris is one of the most successful EDM artists – and a sex symbol.

The producer has worked with a slew of his girlfriend’s pals on projects, from collaborating with HAIM on “Pray to God” and Ellie Goulding on “Outside” to featuring Gigi Hadid in his ”How Deep Is Your Love” video.

In 2014, Harris signed on as a spokesmodel with Emporio Armani, starring in drool-inducing ads showing off his sculpted frame and rock-hard six-pack. He starred in another steamy campaign last summer.

Harris took to Instagram last year to reveal the secret to his sleek new physique, captioning a shirtless selfie: “On tour but also training for next Armani shoot! Staying in a gym routine while on the road is tricky, but as long as you don’t drink, eat well, sleep enough and take one of those mad little ab rollers with u everywhere you’ll be good.”

And in 2015, Harris inked a three-year Las Vegas nightclub residency with the Hakkasan Group: Harris is spinning exclusively at Hakkasan Nightclub, Wet Republic at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, in addition to acting as music consultant for the brand.

For more on Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

Per a Forbes report last year, he’s the highest-paid deejay in the world, having raked in a modest $66 million. So combined with Swift’s $80 million, they edged out Beyoncé and Jay Z to be named the highest-paid couple in entertainment, with $146 million.

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