Inside Travis Kelce's Relationship With His Mom, Donna

Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce has emerged as one of the most popular sports figures in the NFL, not only because of the future Hall-of-Famer's performance as an elite tight end, but also due to his charismatic off-the-field personality and his tight-knit family. For those not in the know, Travis is the younger brother of Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, with whom he hosts the "New Heights" podcast. While much has been made about Travis' relationship with Jason, the hype surrounding the brothers' matchup in the 2023 Super Bowl meant that their close bond with mom Donna Kelce similarly turned the Kelce matriarch herself into a media sensation.

With the continued buzz around the Eagles and the Chiefs in the 2023-2024 season, as well as Travis' highly publicized relationship with Taylor Swift, Donna's overnight celebrity hasn't exactly faded. With fans and media outlets alike marveling at the woman who can forever boast about having two sons playing against one another in the NFL's big game, let's dive into what we know about Travis Kelce's strong relationship with his mom, Donna.

Donna Kelce named Travis after a soap opera star

Picking the name of a baby can sometimes be a difficult and daunting task, but for Donna Kelce, the moniker for her second-born child actually came pretty easily. In a February 2023 episode of "New Heights," Donna revealed to her sons and podcast hosts Jason and Travis Kelce the inspiration behind the latter's name — which came as a surprise to the Kelce brothers. 

According to Jason and Travis, it was a longtime belief that Donna named Travis after Travis Proffitt, a character from the 1987 film "Overboard," but she actually had a different muse. "Okay, there was another Travis on a soap opera during the day, and I just thought had he was the most gorgeous man in the whole world, and I named you after him," Donna explained. Though she didn't offer up specifics, it seems like the inspiration may have come from "All My Children" character Travis Montgomery, played by late actor Larkin Malloy. It turns out the NFL matriarch didn't share with her now ex-husband, Ed Kelce, that their younger son carries on her onscreen crush's name, but today, Travis and Donna have found humor behind the story. 

During this podcast appearance, Donna also shared that, before she gave birth to her second-born, she was hoping to have a baby girl. "But I got one," she joked, before listing some of Travis' more traditional feminine qualities, which he's become known for openly embracing throughout his NFL career. "He's a fashionista and a dancer."

Everything was 'a competition' for the Kelce boys

Jason and Travis Kelce are nearly two years apart: Jason was born in November 1987, and Travis arrived in October 1989. So, their sibling rivalry started young. As the family matriarch, Donna Kelce felt it was her job to find the right balance of encouraging healthy competition between the two, but it wasn't always pretty. As kids, the Kelce brothers got away with a lot of roughhousing, which resulted in broken windows, damaged floors, holes in the wall, and even broken furniture, according to Travis himself in that same episode of "New Heights." 

Outside of wild home antics, Travis was also active in sports and played lacrosse, hockey, basketball, and football (of course) alongside his older brother. As such, being equally interested in athletics, combined with that fierce sibling competition, led to plenty of fights. "It was always a competition," Donna told the New York Post in a January 2023 interview. "Who gets to the table first. Who's got the last chicken wing. Who's gonna get in the front seat of the car. Who's gonna take the elevator and get down to the bottom floor first. ... And they don't like to lose. They want to win, and that's just the way they are." 

His deeply ingrained competitive edge doesn't get in the way of Travis' personal life, however. Touching on what makes her younger son special, Donna noted that, more than anything, the Kansas City Chiefs player cares deeply about his family and friends and loves being part of a community. 

Donna Kelce was protective about the rising sports star

When Travis Kelce was young, Donna Kelce was supportive of his sports dreams but also embraced being a "mama bear" by protecting him. Travis followed in his older brother's footsteps and began playing hockey at the age of three. Once the future Kansas City Chiefs tight end hit his teenage years, he expressed a desire to play in the junior leagues in Canada, but a protective Donna made the decision to keep him home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. 

"I'm like, 'There's no way I'm letting somebody else raise my kid,'" she told the New York Post of the decision. "He was good enough, he coulda played anywhere. ... But it's like you're away from your family most of the year. It just wasn't an option." Similarly, when it came to football, Donna was hesitant to let her sons partake in the rough sport at a young age, so she made Travis and Jason Kelce wait until middle school to start playing. Travis worked hard to develop his skills on the field, and by the time he reached high school, he was a double-threat quarterback known for throwing and running the football depending on the play.

Through it all, Donna remained hopeful that Travis — and Jason, of course — would make it in the NFL. "Everything aligned just perfectly on how you were able to play, get on the field, show your talents, and show what passion you have for sports," she proudly explained on "New Heights." 

She once crashed Travis Kelce's postgame presser

The 2021-2022 NFL season was a big year for both Jason and Travis Kelce. By January 2022, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs were in the Wild Card round. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Donna Kelce wasn't going to miss her sons' same-day playoff games for the world, meaning the Kelce matriarch traveled 1,200 miles to attend both. First, she watched the Eagles face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Following a tough loss in Tampa, Donna traveled to Arrowhead Stadium and cheered on Travis as the Chiefs played the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

The Chiefs defeated the Steelers 42-21 and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs. Making his day even sweeter, during a postgame press conference, Travis received a question from none other than Donna herself, which surprised the NFL star upon hearing it. Typically, press conference questions are obviously reserved for reporters, but Donna embraced her inner journalist by asking her youngest how it felt to make a surprise touchdown pass during such an important game. The touchdown specifically marked a significant moment for Travis, as he was still a quarterback during his early years playing at the University of Cincinnati, and always had a dream of throwing a touchdown in the NFL.

"To finally throw a touchdown like I used to tell my mom when I was like five years old that I was going to eventually throw a touchdown in the National Football League, I finally got it done," the tight end said with a smile. "It only took me nine years. That's a good question though, Mom."

Travis loved seeing Mama Kelce shine during Super Bowl LVII

As previously mentioned, both Jason and Travis Kelce's respective teams made it to Super Bowl LVII. The February 2023 sports event was subsequently dubbed the "Kelce Bowl" since it marked the first Super Bowl in NFL history to feature two brothers playing against one another. Because of this, the Kelce family received a ton of media attention, with Donna Kelce at the center of the buzz. 

Donna revealed to People prior to the big game that she wrote both her sons letters and made them batches of chocolate chip cookies to show support, pride, and encouragement. As any mom would do, Donna told People, her goal was to let Jason and Travis know "that my fingers are crossed for both of them, that I'm proud of them, and I hope their dreams come true." From interviews to commercials, Donna became a mom figure that the country adored, and Travis was hyped to see the Kelce matriarch get so much positive attention.

The Chiefs ultimately won over the Eagles with a score of 38-35, and Donna took to the field to immediately embrace Travis and express her joy about his important win. Shortly after the Super Bowl wrapped, both Jason and Travis got emotional while talking about their mom being in the spotlight in an episode of "New Heights." "She was the heavyweight champ, man," Travis said while drying tears. "She was on top of it, and she's shining the whole time. Man, that was the coolest part. Mom, you absolutely killed it."

Donna supports Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift's relationship

When Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift's relationship made headlines in the fall of 2023, it quickly became a media frenzy that grabbed the attention of sports fans and Swifties alike. It all started that July, when Travis revealed on the "New Heights" podcast that he'd attended an "Eras Tour" concert with the intention of giving the "Bejeweled" hitmaker a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it. By September, several outlets reported that the two were hanging out — and from that point on, their high-profile romance has blossomed, with Swift publicly cheering on her man at Chiefs games and Travis supporting her at a show in Argentina.

Given that Donna Kelce has become so popular in recent years, many have zeroed in on her to gather any kind of insight into her son's relationship. But Mama Kelce has perhaps unsurprisingly remained rather tightlipped, uninterested in dishing out many details about her son's love life. "I'll talk about my life and when the kids were little and I was with them. But they're men now, and they've got their own lives," she told "TODAY." "There isn't a man alive that's going to talk to their mom about their personal life." 

But Donna has expressed support for Traylor. Noting that it's basically impossible to escape news about Travis' burgeoning romance, she shared with "Access Hollywood" that November, "They're making their own story, and they're telling it their way, and so that's as good as it gets. ... I can't say anything except for I'm just glad that he's happy."