What does The One That Got Away mean?

Katy Perry: The One That Got Away Meaning

Album cover for The One That Got Away album cover

Song Released: 2009

The One That Got Away Lyrics

Summer after high school,
When we first met,
We'd make out in your mustang, to RadioHead,
And on my 18th birthday, we got matching tatoos

Used to steal your parent's liquor,
And climb to the roof,
Talk about our future - like we had a...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jun 26th 2011 !⃝

    Katy Perry once said that this Song was about your first love, which would make since as to why this song sounds so deep, as you never forget your first love. The first verse is about the relationship and the little things that shaped it - meeting the summer after high school, making out in his mustang, getting matching tattoos, and climbing up to the roof with their parents liquor talking about what their future would be like - but they didnt plan it to end so soon, something in their relationship went wrong

    In the chorus it gives us hints as to what happened - "In another life, we'd keep all our promises, I'd make you stay, so I don't have to say you were the one that got away". I think he promised her that he'd always be hers, then tried to leave her, and she let him - but later regrets doing so.

    Verse two refers to the fact that they used to be inseparable, and where he's at now - he's moved on (someone said you had your tatoo removed) and the realization that he has finally hit her (it's time to face to music; I'm no longer your muse)

    Verse three says that she's famous now, making slot of money, but no amount of anything could replace how she feels for him, and she can't go back in time to fix what she regrets doing. It also gives another hint as to what happened : "I shouldve told you what you meant to me; cause now I've paid the price" means that she shouldve, when he told her that he didn't want to be with her, said that he meant slot to her, and maybe he wouldve stayed, but she didn't and now shell have to pay the consequences.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 8th 2014 !⃝

    i dont agree its necessarily about first love. its about someone you took for granted and realized later on you made a mistake of letting "the one go".

    According to Katy Perry herself, "I wrote [it] about when you promise someone forever, but you end up not being able to follow through. It's a bittersweet story."


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Oct 17th 2016 !⃝

    I totally agree she's really trying to say that love is precious a gift really remind the guy you care about that he's your one and only. I wish I could do it but remember love is precious and what if the one true love is the only one that you get.Be yourself and be strong and tell him you love him no matter what you should be proud you did your best. love isn't easy That's why we should all work for it

  4. Twilight
    click a star to vote
    Jul 27th 2023 !⃝

    Twilight'a interpretation of "Totga" by Katy Perry.

    It's a bittersweet love story about two people who fell in love at the wrong time.

    They may have been each other's first love but they weren't each other's last.

    It speaks volumes of the girl's regret of letting her "the one" go and that if she could go back in time to change things, she would.

    The song has a reminiscent, bittersweet tone that evokes "a blast from the past" vibes.

  5. anonymous
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    Nov 19th 2022 !⃝

    This song means that the girl want to be relashionship with that boy anyway, so I she said in the another life I would be your girl)

    She's worried about love is will be lied so she said they one said you had tattoo removed) it means she's been left by the boy.

  6. anonymous
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    Oct 8th 2022 !⃝

    I love this song actually.....

    This song goes deep in Love
    This song actually talks about two people who are deeply in love,but one simple mistake rips them apart.
    Its actually the lady who acts then the guy's respond is not good,later on the lady hurts the guy so deep then he goes away feeling bad hurt later on he sees something that reminds him of her,but its to late to go back......
    The lady feels so much regrets for she was the causer and realized that she shouldn't have let the guy go......

  7. anonymous
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    Sep 27th 2022 !⃝

    At the end of the video, the guy gets into a car crash. So, I think it's about a lover who died. And she's probably expressing feelings she should have shown when he was still alive. And by the time the guy died they had broken up, or were in a fight.

  8. anonymous
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    May 10th 2022 !⃝

    I love this song so much it's crazy because I got a matching tattoo with my boyfriend and we have been together for 2 years and he means the world to me and I wouldn't change it for the world we are actually now engaged and about to be married

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 27th 2021 !⃝

    This song always reminded me of my very first crush, Tino. We were probably only eight or nine at the time, but when my family moved away, I missed him so much.
    This song is about a girl who is reminiscing about her ex-boyfriend and all the good times they had. She's saying that if they had lived in another life, she wouldn't let him leave so she wouldn't have to have that one who got away.

  10. anonymous
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    Sep 27th 2021 !⃝

    When I think of this song, I immediately think of Jacob and Bella’s relationship in Twilight (if this song was sung in Jacob’s perspective) I don’t think most people knew what kind of emotion and heart wrenching pain Jacob had to go through. But I think this song is a perfect representation of how he felt (especially the chorus). I think the song is about unconditional love. The person loves another person deeply but knows that she has to let that person go because she knows their relationship would never work even though she believe they were perfect for each other. However she still loves him no matter what and hopes that she would have a chance to be with him "in another life".

  11. anonymous
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    Mar 6th 2020 !⃝

    Sometimes you promise someone forever but it doesn’t work out that way.

  12. anonymous
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    Jan 7th 2020 !⃝

    ALWAYS tell them how you feel and how much they mean to you i feel like this is encouraging you to tell them before it's too late this happened to me VERY recently and well i listen to this song and regret SO MUCH ALWAYS ALWAYS tell them please ?

  13. anonymous
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    Sep 29th 2014 !⃝

    the one that got away can be someone in your past or someone in your present (ideal partner fo life) but there's no chance of being together.. one of you is in a relationship and too scared to leave the person for some reason.. maybe because of the long time of being together, they are scared to do something that they'll both regret. but in reality you have this feelings for another person who happens to be your ideal partner..

  14. anonymous
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    Jan 19th 2013 !⃝

    It's about a girl who met her first love and they were perfect for each other, until they disagreed over something and he dumped her and moved on. She soon found she would never love anyone the way she had loved him, and now had to pay the price of her mistakes that she could never fix.

  15. anonymous
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    Sep 19th 2012 !⃝

    This song is EXACTLY my story,he even drove a mustang. But i believe its about how she was in love with him and in the beginning he was as in love with her and promised her forever but then looses feelings for her so used a little fight to leave her,and even though hes moved on,she hasnt because the love she had for him was real,and even though she has alot of money now,she isnt happy because she dosnt have the one she truly wants to be with.

  16. anonymous
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    Apr 16th 2012 !⃝

    I think this song means that she loved that guy but never got to really tell how she felt about him. Now, "in another life," she remembers and regrets she never told him before he died and replaced the time she could have told him with fighting.

  17. hatts_xx
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    Apr 11th 2012 !⃝

    This song is about a first love, they generally don't last, but she wants to hang on to this love forever, because he died fighting! She says that they were so hopelessly in love, they would break the law for eachother, but suddenly, they fight, and although they both know that they want to be together, things heat up and they split. She wants to follow him, and realises her mistake, she thinks that if she could, she would turn back time to reach him, but even all the riches in the world couldn't help with that, so she grew up alone, only wanting him, her first love.

  18. anonymous
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    Mar 14th 2012 !⃝

    I think that it means that at the beginning they were together, and their love was huge for one another. Then towards the middle, he kind of stopped loving her but she wanted him back. At the end of the song, they get into a fight, where he gets so mad that he leaves angrily in his car. All of a sudden, from one of the compartments, out comes her headband (?). He doesn't pay attention to the road, swerves and dies. I think that she regrets making him mad so that he wouldn't leave her by dying.

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