Travis Kelce, the two-time Super Bowl champion, is no stranger to the spotlight, especially this football season. Nearing the halfway point, Kelce has impressively racked up four touchdowns and a whopping 583 receiving yards, showcasing why Rob Gronkowski hails him as the best receiving tight end of all time. And coming from Gronk, a titan in the tight end world, that’s high praise indeed.
But, let’s not kid ourselves—the magnifying glass on Kelce often zooms in on his personal life, rather than his on-field prowess. His relationship with pop sensation Taylor Swift has spurred a whirlwind of wild headlines and quirky incidents, from persistent neighborhood moms attempting to trick-or-treat at his private residence to Swifties raising eyebrows at his candid ‘breeding’ discussion on a podcast with his brother. Meanwhile, Kelce’s family is allegedly exhausted from the media attention, including the extreme scrutiny from Swift’s rabid fan base.
Who can blame them? It’s been a lot since day one, even for those of us trying to avoid the new and watch some damn football from the comfort of our couch. In the immortal wisdom of Al Michaels, the modern day voice of football in America, “you can’t make a sideshow the real show.”
Yet, when it comes to Travis Kelce, sometimes the sideshow is just as captivating as the main event. He’s easily one of the NFL’s most bankable stars at the moment; the spokesperson for so many advertising campaigns that I’ve officially lost count. Heck, after so much hullabaloo over the past two months, I’m not totally convinced there won’t be a Bud Light Super Bowl commercial featuring Kelce and Swift come February. Something about that righteously cool Chevrolet Chevelle SS getaway car after the first Chiefs game Swift was spotted felt just a little too made-for-TV, in one idiot writer’s humble opinion (me).
Kelce’s dating life has been in the public eye since 2016 when he starred in Catching Kelce, a dating reality show on the E! Network, reminiscent of the hit series The Bachelor. With 50 women from every state competing for his heart, Kelce navigated the challenges and intricacies of finding love under the spotlight. In hindsight, seven years later, it feels like a cultural byproduct of the peak reality TV era – practically ancient history.
Fast forward to the present, and Kelce’s romantic life with Taylor Swift continue to draw attention and speculation. It’s a full-fledged social media spectacle.
In 2016, Travis Kelce came to the BroBible office in New York City to promote his dating show. I interviewed him on Facebook Live, which was primitive streaming technology at the time. A couple times the feed froze up. You can still watch it in chunks on the BroBible Facebook page. Kelce was a super nice guy – extremely genuine and affable. It was a good hang, fun to Bro-down for a couple hours in the office and talk about the show with a goal of drumming up publicity for it.
But one particular story stands out and makes me chuckle, offering a glimpse into the unexpected and sometimes awkward moments that can come with dating in the limelight. I asked Kelce to share an awkward date story. In the conversation, Kelce recounted a memorable encounter with a Playboy bunny who flew all the way to Kansas City, hoping for a connection with the Chiefs’ star tight end.
Kelce on his date with a Playboy Bunny
The reality is this: Navigating the dating world can be as tricky as dodging tackles on the football field, and even NFL superstars aren’t immune to the occasional awkward encounter.
“I’ve got a pretty funny story to share,” Kelce says during the 2016 conversation wth BroBible. “Growing up, it was always a dream of mine to date or even just talk to a Playboy bunny. I mean, come on, the Playboy Mansion is idolized by many and it’s like this fantastical place. Hugh Hefner, that’s like the idolized manly man.”
“So, to be able to talk to one of the bunnies, I was, you know what? That would be awesome,” the Kansas City Chiefs tight end continues. “Eventually, I got that chance. I was talking to a young lady, a Playboy bunny, and she came to Kansas City for an event that I was hosting. It absolutely made me despise…”
He trails off, then continues.
“I feel like they’re treated so well at the Mansion; they’re really pampered and taken care of. ‘Anything you need, and this and that.’ But when she got to Kansas City… Let’s be real, Kansas City is not the Mansion. It’s Kansas City.”
“So for her to expect that I was going to fall on my knees and do everything for her… it pissed her off. It kind of made her upset. I guess she was used to being the center of attention, and at the event, she started complaining to me about how I wasn’t showing her enough attention. But it was my event, and I had to work the room and talk to certain people.”
Talk about catching footballs instead of feelings. Here’s the video clip:
In the Facebook Live conversation in 2016, I also asked Kelce to dish some dating advice to fellow dudes.
“Last question,” I asked him in another clip, which you can watch below. “What sort of tips do you have for dudes who aren’t NFL players? Just about keeping it real with the ladies?”
“I’ll tell you what,” Kelce said. “Own your personality. Women, from what I’ve talked to in the past, love confidence. They love guys that are true to themselves.”
“And it’s just one of those things where, as long as you look presentable and you’re yourself all the way through and through, you’re golden,” Kelce adds.
My coworker David, behind the camera, then asks: “Do you always pick up the check on the first date? Do people expect you to do it just because you’ve got a big contract?”
“I’m just a friendly fellow,” Kelce explains, “Even with friends visiting me in Kansas City, I don’t let them pay. I make it my treat, and even on the first date, I definitely pick up the check, even if it’s a bad first date. I won’t stoop down to that level; I’ll just maintain my gentlemanly form.”
Great advice, fellas. Hope you’re paying attention. Bravo for being a gentlemen, Kelce. Who says chivalry is dead?