Paclitaxel, an anti-microtubule agent, is an effective chemotherapeutic drug in breast cancer. Nonetheless, resistance to paclitaxel remains a major clinical challenge. The need to better understand the resistant phenotype and to find biomarkers that could predict tumor response to paclitaxel is evident. In estrogen receptor α-positive (ER+) breast cancer cells, phosphorylation of caveolin-1 (CAV1) on Tyr-14 facilitates mitochondrial apoptosis by increasing BCL2 phosphorylation in response to low dose paclitaxel (10 nM). However, two variants of CAV1 exist: the full-length form, CAV1α (wild-type CAV1 or wtCAV1), and a truncated form, CAV1β. Only wtCAV1 has the Tyr-14 region at the N terminus. The precise cellular functions of CAV1 variants are unknown. We now show that CAV1 variants play distinct roles in paclitaxel-mediated cell death/survival. CAV1β expression is increased in paclitaxel-resistant cells when compared with sensitive cells. Expression of CAV1β in sensitive cells significantly reduces their responsiveness to paclitaxel. These activities reflect an essential role for Tyr-14 phosphorylation because wtCAV1 expression, but not a phosphorylation-deficient mutant (Y14F), inactivates BCL2 and BCLxL through activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). MCF-7 cells that express Y14F are resistant to paclitaxel and are resensitized by co-treatment with ABT-737, a BH3-mimetic small molecule inhibitor. Using structural homology modeling, we propose that phosphorylation on Tyr-14 enables a favorable conformation for proteins to bind to the CAV1 scaffolding domain. Thus, we highlight novel roles for CAV1 variants in cell death; wtCAV1 promotes cell death, whereas CAV1β promotes cell survival by preventing inactivation of BCL2 and BCLxL via JNK in paclitaxel-mediated apoptosis.