The unofficial story of the romance of the season, the one known so far, sounded like something out of a movie: Travis Kelce liked Taylor Swift and when, last July, she came to sing at Arrowhead Stadium, where he plays with the Kansas City Chiefs, he wanted to give her one of the bracelets that the singer’s fans make for her concerts. The bracelet, instead of a song title, had his phone number on it. But he failed in the attempt: she is very reserved after her shows and he was not able to give her the bracelet. Nevertheless, the story reached Swift’s ears, who was amused by the anecdote, and decided to meet the American football player. Now, some four months later, they have become the couple of the season. And it has also come to light that the story wasn’t quite like that.
Because Travis Kelce, 34, has given a lengthy interview to The Wall Street Journal — he graces the cover of their December/January magazine, due out December 9 — in which he talks openly about the singer, their relationship, how they met and how they’re doing right now. In the interview with J. R. Moehringer — author of tennis player Andre Agassi’s memoirs and, more recently, of Prince Harry’s — Kelce opens up candidly about their famous romance. While Swift and her entourage are extremely secretive about her private life — she hasn’t given interviews for years —, Kelce has taken advantage of this moment of popularity to sit down in front of the cameras and chat calmly, and as naturally as he does in front of the microphones of his own weekly podcast, New Heights, which he hosts with his brother, fellow American football player Jason Kelce. It is a long chat in which he states that he is a shy man of few words. “Being around her, seeing how smart Taylor is, has been f***ing mind-blowing. I’m learning every day,” he says.
“There were definitely people she knew that knew who I was, in her corner [who said]: Yo! Did you know he was coming? I had somebody playing Cupid,” the athlete tells the magazine about what that first contact was like in July. Even the singer’s family lent him a hand. “She’ll probably hate me for saying this, but… when she came to Arrowhead, they gave her the big locker room as a dressing room, and her little cousins were taking pictures… in front of my locker,” he said. The singer herself told him all of this later, because she was the one who contacted the player directly. One day, he found that the artist had sent him a text message, and it had all been thanks to that “Cupid,” as he calls that person, a woman: “She told me exactly what was going on and how I got lucky enough to get her to reach out.”
When the Pennsylvania singer was spotted at a Kelce game on Sept. 24, some thought it was her first meeting. But no. The couple had met in person in New York after they had been “talking for a while,” he said. “When I met her in New York, we had already kind of been talking, so I knew we could have a nice dinner and, like, a conversation, and what goes from there will go from there,” he added. According to him, he went to the date calmly, but his entourage was more nervous: “Everybody around me telling me: Don’t f— this up! And me sitting here saying: Yeah — got it,” he said. The relationship had been progressing slowly and he, he admits, wanted to be discreet, not say or do anything “that would push Taylor away.”
In the end, Kelce ended up telling his brother and his mother, Donna, what he felt and what he was going through, explaining that he had “never dated anyone with that kind of aura about them.” The player’s mother has told the magazine that her son is “happier” than she has seen him in a long time. Kelce dated model Kayla Nicole from 2016 to 2020, and from that year on and off until 2022. For her part, last spring Swift ended a relationship of more than six years with British actor Joe Alwyn, with whom she kept a very low profile, with few public appearances.
“I’ve never dealt with it. But at the same time, I’m not running away from any of it,” Kelce confessed about the start of his relationship with the artist, currently one of the most important in the world, immersed in a year-and-a-half world tour with more than 100 concerts around the globe and which has made her a multimillionaire. “The scrutiny she gets, how much she has a magnifying glass on her, every single day, paparazzi outside her house, outside every restaurant she goes to, after every flight she gets off, and she’s just living, enjoying life. When she acts like that I better not be the one acting all strange.” After that first match, there were a couple more, and finally they were seen holding hands in New York, confirming the relationship. In mid-November, he attended a concert of hers in Buenos Aires and they kissed at the end of it, in another sign that Swift has now decided not to be so secretive about her private life.
It is also important to Kelce that the singer shares with him a similar view of family, which is very important to both of them, and also a similar work ethic. “Everybody knows I’m a family guy,” he said. “Her team is her family. Her family does a lot of stuff in terms of the tour, the marketing, being around, so I think she has a lot of those values as well, which is right up my alley.”
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