"I'm so happy right now... You've made my year. Thank you so much," said the 21-year-old singer-songwriter with the supermodel looks at the climax of a three-hour gala in country music's capital city of Nashville, Tennessee.
Just minutes earlier, Swift -- whose "Speak Now" has been one of the year's top country albums -- looked bewildered when she was passed up for female singer of the year and three other categories for which she had been nominated.
Swift last won entertainer of the year -- the top honor at the most prestigious of country music's many award evenings -- in 2009, the youngest artist ever to do so.
Taking the evening by storm was Tennessee sibling trio The Band Perry, who first won single of the year for their melancholic hit "If I Die Young," then song of the year, and then best new artist.
Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles, who perform as Sugarland, won best vocal duo three months after tragedy struck their latest concert tour when an Indiana stage on which they were about to perform collapsed, killing seven people.
Jason Aldean won album of the year for "My Kind of Party." Nashville's Lady Antebellum took best vocal group. Blake Shelton picked up best male vocalist honors and Miranda Lambert won for best female vocalist.
Going home empty-handed was Brad Paisley, last year's entertainer of the year, who had to make do with the memory of co-hosting the evening with "American Idol" alumnus and three-time best female vocalist Carrie Underwood.
Musical performances included Swift in a bright pink sweater on a living room sofa playing a solo acoustic version of "Ours," and soul legend Lionel Ritchie, who belted out three numbers from his upcoming album of country duets.
Mercifully not singing was Miss Piggy, who made a brief appearance alongside Paisley and Underwood in support of "The Muppets," due out in movie theaters later this month.