In preparation for this interview, I watched the latest episode of New heights, the top-rated sports podcast hosted by her sons, Jason and Travis, and if there’s one thing you’ll take away from the comments section, it’s that everyone loves Donna Kelce. True to her sweet nature, however, she doesn’t accept the compliment without acknowledging others who helped shape her sons beyond her and her ex-husband, Ed. It takes a village, as they say.
“There were a lot of people who helped raise those two,” she tells StyleCaster via Zoom. “I don’t think two people can do this by themselves. Many coaches, many teachers, and many other parents were very, very involved in raising my two sons. And it’s just been a joy, because I keep in touch with most of them.”
Sunday, February 11, 2024, is a big day for the family. The Kansas City Chiefs, for whom Travis is the star tight end, face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. The Chiefs have been here before — they’ve been to the Super Bowl four times in the last five years, in fact — and in those years, there’s a ritual that mom Kelce doesn’t skip.
“I just send them a message and wish them the best of luck, hopefully they’ll leave everything out on the field and hopefully they’ll come home with a win. I think that’s enough,” she says. “I tried to relate it to whoever they play. I’ll send them a picture of them on a horse if they’re playing the Broncos or whatever.”
For many fans, this will be their first Super Bowl because, in case you hadn’t heard, Travis and his relationship with a certain pop star is all anyone can talk about. Taylor Swift has caused a huge wave of new audiences to the game of football; especially young women and girls who have historically been left out of the conversation. Of course, there are detractors – there are times when male-dominated things are shaken up by a woman – but Donna can see nothing but positives.
“I’m so happy that finally more women and young ladies are finding football and discovering how exciting it is and how much fun it is,” she says. “I’ve gotten so many letters from dads saying ‘Thank you. My daughter is finally watching football. She’s understanding the game, she’s enjoying it. This is something we can share.’ So for that alone, it’s just making families feel more united.”
That’s why Donna’s collaboration with Barefoot Wine made so much sense. Summer can be tricky; so does football, but you also don’t need encyclopedic knowledge to enjoy them. “That’s one of the things we’re trying to understand is that beginners are great; they can taste the wine and figure out what kind they like. Sometimes they pick them by color like they would a team,” she explains.
Speaking of teams, there was a time when pundits had their doubts about the Chiefs. There have been more losses this year and more hard fought wins. Travis, a team leader in tackles, started the season injured; avoiding a season-threatening ACL tear and finishing with a bone bruise that sidelined him for the opener against the Detroit Lions. I ask Donna if, as a mother, she worries about the physicality of the game. While Travis was lucky, players can and do get seriously injured.
“I’m a real fan. I like football. And I can be separated,” she says. “I saw them go down, they took them out of the field on a stretcher, one or the other. But you can get into a car tomorrow and have an accident. Football is something they believe in so much and for you, as a parent, you want your kids to do what they love. It makes me feel happy that they are doing what they want to do.”
Apparently, a lot of people like what Kelches are doing, so much so that “Travis” has become a sought-after haircut at barbershops (by his own admission, he didn’t Invents fades, but he sure has a good one). “I’m sure they’ll all look good,” says Donna, adding that her son’s bold fashion choices are an opportunity for him to be alive. “He doesn’t take himself seriously. He always says, “I like to put a smile on people’s faces.”
And they smile. I mean, can you blame them?