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Inside Travis Kelce's Relationship With His Mom, Donna

Photo: Instagram / Donna Kelce
Donna Kelce

As Travis Kelce gears up to play in the 58th annual Super Bowl in Las Vegas on Sunday, February 11, 2024, he has the adoration of millions of fans cheering him on. 

One fan in particular will be rooting for him harder than anyone. Not his pop queen girlfriend, Taylor Swift, but another Very Important Person: his mom, Donna Kelce.

Who is Donna Kelce, Travis Kelce’s mom?

Donna Kelce, 71, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. She was raised by her father and stepmother, Mary, after her mother died when she was 12 years old. 

Mary was “a wonderful human being” who encouraged Donna to go to college, which she did, majoring in broadcast communications at Ohio State University. Earning her degree was a major milestone, as she was the first person in her family to graduate from college.

Donna chose not to pursue a career in communications. Instead, she earned her Master’s Degree and worked in finance for 40 years. She held roles as the Senior Vice President and Vice President of various banks. Her professional focus centered on commercial real estate finances, including direct affordable housing projects.

RELATED: Jason Kelce Congratulates Taylor Swift For Reaching The Super Bowl In Her 'Rookie Year'

Donna met Ed Kelce, her husband and the father of her sons, Travis and Jason, at a bar in Cleveland.

She recounted the story of the night they met on the Kelce brothers’ podcast, “New Heights.”

   

   

In a twist of fate, Donna had planned to go on a date with someone else that same night, but then, she met Ed.

"I was supposed to go out with a guy that night. We were supposed to go to a play and I never made it,” she told her kids. “Your dad and I talked forever... It was meant to be. It's just the way it was."

Donna and Ed were married for over 20 years. They eventually divorced, yet their split was seemingly amicable.

“We get along great, it’s just sometimes, people, they move apart,” she explained. 

RELATED: 9 Strict Rules Taylor Swift Allegedly Makes Her Boyfriends Follow

Donna is a supportive mom to both of her NFL star sons, Jason, 36, and Travis, 34. 

Travis and Jason’s athletic talents likely come from their mom, who secretly ran track in high school, against her father’s belief that girls shouldn’t play sports. Yet Donna’s step-mom urged her to join the track team, and she won medals for running and high jump at the Junior Olympics.

   

   

When Donna found out she was expecting a second child, she initially wished for a daughter, she explained on her sons' podcast.

“I was hoping for a girl. But I got one! He’s a fashionista and a dancer,” she lovingly joked about Travis’ softer side. 

   

   

She revealed another funny aspect of Travis’ birth, explaining that she named him after a character on a daytime soap opera. “I just thought he was the most gorgeous man in the world, and I named you after him!" she exclaimed. 

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Donna Kelce had one rule for Travis and Jason when it came to playing sports as kids: No quitting. 

As the matriarch of the family, she insisted that Jason and Travis stick to whatever sport they chose for the whole season, even if they didn’t like it.

"Once it’s over, if you don’t like that team, or if you don’t like that sport, you don’t have to play anymore,” she said. ”But your team depends on you. You have to show up on time, every day, whether you want to or not.”

Donna always knew that Travis and Jason had what it takes to play professional football. She shared her go-to parenting philosophy, which is for parents to always tell their kids, “No matter what anyone says, always believe in yourself.” 

She gave advice on how to foster independence and resilience in children, saying, "Go up to teachers. Not the parent — the child has to do this. 'What do I have to do to get more playing time? What do I need to work on?' The parent cannot do it. They cannot be the ones that are on the coach’s backs all the time. It’s got to come from the kid."

For Travis’ big game against the San Francisco 49ers, Donna plans to give him space but still send her love.

   

   

“I try not to bother them on game day because they’re a little busy and I don’t think I’m going to get through, but usually I try,” she explained.

Despite the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs tight-end will be prepping for the game of a lifetime, Donna still makes sure he knows how much she loves him.

“The night before, I will text my sons and will give them a little encouragement, send them a little funny picture of when they were younger, depending on what team they’re playing with or whatever. I go back and get a little nostalgia,” she shared.

That love and devotion from mother to son goes both ways, however. Travis gushed over his mom in a recent press conference calling her a "sweetheart," and she certainly is.

   

   

Travis might be a world-famous athlete with a megawatt musician girlfriend, yet no matter what, his mom sees him for exactly who he is and appreciates every part of him, win or lose. 

RELATED: Travis Kelce Says He's Underpaid At The Kansas City Chiefs Despite Making $14.1 Million A Season — And He’s Happy About It

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.