His mother knows him best. “I think Travis [Kelce] is embracing [fame] as much as he can,” Donna Kelce recently told Good Morning America of the Kansas City Chiefs tight end, who started last year by winning his second Super Bowl and ended it as Taylor Swift’s boyfriend. “He likes attention, so he’ll be fine.”

Especially because he’s been working toward this for years. “Travis was far from some shy wallflower before hooking up with Taylor,” a source exclusively tells In Touch of the charismatic football star, who also fulfilled his dream of hosting Saturday Night Live, signed with Hollywood’s powerful Creative Artists Agency, co-hosted a chart-topping podcast and even had a No. 1 single on iTunes last year.

According to a New York Times article with his managers, 2023 would have been his breakout year with or without the A-list romance. “His success didn’t come out of nowhere,” says the source. “He’s been playing the fame game for a long time now.” The goal? To make Travis, 34, “as famous as The Rock,” says his longtime manager, André Eanes, whose twin and co-manager, Aaron, reveals they have been plotting to propel their 6-foot-5, all-American client to superstardom since they were all in college in Ohio 15 years ago. “People say, ‘It’s been a crazy year,’” says Aaron. “Actually, it’s not. It’s easy when you have a plan. We’re executing that plan.”

Into the Stratosphere

Wooing Taylor was never part of the deal. Travis, the Eanes brothers point out, first landed a reality dating show, Catching Kelce, in 2016. And he alone charmed SNL honcho Lorne Michaels at a party, turning his Super Bowl win into a coveted hosting gig that is usually reserved for MVP quarterbacks. He’d also booked a slew of commercials long before he met Taylor, 34. “He truly fell in love with her — he’s not using her for fame,” says the source. “But there’s no denying the timing was perfect. Their relationship pushed his plan into overdrive.”

Travis now has the full force of the Swifties behind him. “The awareness of Travis is much larger and with an even broader audience,” CAA’s co-chairman Richard Lovett says of the singer’s mostly female fanbase. Their attempts to learn the rules of Travis’ sport have inspired some hilarious memes over the past six months. “It’s accelerated that which was probably inevitable in terms of his level of awareness and appeal.”

Luckily, Taylor doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight, says the source. “She’s one of the most famous people in the world, so how could she not be fine with it? She’s impressed by his achievements,” says the source. “They’re both super competitive and ambitious, which is part of why they’re so good for each other. They’re the new Hollywood power couple!”

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