Whatever Ed & Donna Kelce Did To Help Their Sons Become Emotionally Available Should Be Studied

Their success is secondary to their emotional intelligence.

Ed and Donna Kelce @papakelce Instagram / @donnakelce Instagram /  Canva Pro

Jason Kelce announced his retirement from the NFL after 13 years with the Philadelphia Eagles, and while people are lauding his accomplishments, many have also noted the impact of how emotional he was during the press conference.

Jason let the tears flow as he shared the news that he was leaving professional football.

It was striking to witness Jason’s open expression of vulnerability, compassion, and sorrow. In physical appearance, Jason is the pinnacle of stereotypical masculinity: He’s 6’3, with a full beard, broad shoulders, and major muscles. He’s devoted his life to a sport that represents American masculinity in its highest form, and there he was, weeping and sharing his innermost emotions with the world.


Whatever Ed and Donna Kelce did to help Jason and Travis be so emotionally available should be studied and celebrated. 

The qualities that Mama and Papa Kelce imbued in their sons break apart any notion of toxic masculinity, as they’ve clearly raised Jason and Travis to be entirely in touch with their emotions and not afraid to share them.

RELATED: Inside Travis Kelce's Relationship With His Mom, Donna


Here are 3 ways these proud parents did things right and taught their boys to be emotionally available:

1. They taught their sons to be loving, supportive partners.

Both Jason and Travis speak highly of their respective partners, showing that they’re willing and able to be vulnerable in their romantic relationships.

As part of his retirement announcement, Jason told the story of meeting his wife, Kylie, after an Eagles Christmas party in 2014, calling the after-party at Buffalo Billiards, “The night my life would change forever. That night, I’d meet my future wife.”



“I still remember the moment she walked through the door,” he said tearfully. “It was like she glided through the opening, an aura around her. Then she started talking, and I thought, ‘Man, is this what love feels like?’”


Jason described Kylie as “beautiful and smart, serious yet playful.” He credited their relationship with making him a better version of himself, saying, “I think it’s no coincidence I have enjoyed my best years of my career with Kylie by my side.”

With that acknowledgment, Jason did what many husbands neglect to do: recognize the impact that their wives’ caregiving role has on the success of their careers. “Every accolade I have ever received has come with her in my life,” he continued. “She has brought the best out of me through love, devotion, support, honesty, [and] intelligence.” 

“She has also given me three beautiful girls and a life that increasingly brings me more fulfillment off the field than it does on,” he said. “We’ve had a great run, Ky.”

While Travis and his girlfriend, Taylor Swift, have yet to announce any plans for marriage, the depth of their love and commitment to each other is crystal clear. In post-game footage from the Chief’s Super Bowl win, Travis and Taylor embraced, as Travis exclaimed, “Thank you for coming, baby… Thank you for the support… Thank you for making it halfway across the world. You’re the best, baby.”




He’d just won the biggest game of his career for the third time, yet the first thing he did was thank his partner for showing up, for being there for him.

RELATED: ​​Travis Kelce Calls Out His Own Brother For How He Treats His Wife — And Is Applauded For It

2. They taught Travis and Jason to support each other and take pride in each other’s wins.

During his announcement, Jason touched on balancing the complex and bittersweet emotions of losing the Super Bowl to his brother’s team in 2023. 


“I won’t forget falling short to the Chiefs,” Jason began, then took a deep breath and said, “This is where it’s gonna go off the rails.” He wiped tears from his eyes, before starting his sentence again. 



“I won’t forget falling short to the Chiefs and the conflicted feeling of immense heartbreak I had selfishly, for myself and for my teammates,” he said. “And at the same time, the amount of pride I had for my brother. He climbed the mountaintop once again.”

Jason was able to pinpoint and express his very mixed emotions, which is no easy feat. He shared in Travis’ joy at winning while being open about his own disappointment, showing just how deep his well of compassion and care is.


3. The Kelces stressed the importance of prioritizing family. 

Jason spoke about just how close he and Travis are, saying, “We have a small family, no cousins, one aunt, one uncle. It was really my brother and I our whole lives.”

“We did almost everything together: competed, fought, laughed, cried, and learned from each other,” he said. "We invented games — imagined ourselves as star players of that time. We’d envision making the winning plays, day after day on Coleridge Road,” he shared. “We won countless Super Bowls in our minds, before ever leaving the house.”

“There is no chance I’d be here without the bond Travis and I share,” Jason continued. “It made me stronger, tougher, smarter, and it taught me the values of cooperation, loyalty, patience, and understanding.”

That love and respect clearly extends both ways, as Travis was seen crying in the audience, and was the first person to hug his brother after he stepped off stage.




RELATED: Travis Kelce Yelling At His Boss Is Not A Sign Of 'Passion' — In A 'Normal' Job He Would Have Been Fired

Both Travis and Jason have expressed how much they love and appreciate their mom, and her endlessly supportive presence in their lives. On their podcast, "New Heights," the brothers openly teared up when talking about Donna, as Jason recalled the memory of seeing her after the 2023 Super Bowl. He shared, “When I saw Mom is when I got really emotional.” 



As he spoke, Travis teared up, too. The brothers cried together, sharing a moment of vulnerability and connection.


Donna clearly raised her sons to be in touch with their emotions and not be scared of sharing their feelings. 

As far as parenting advice goes, Donna shared a pearl of wisdom with UsWeekly, explaining, “Let your children choose what they love to do. Don’t try to steer them into something.”



“They will be good at whatever they love to do,” she said. 


Donna’s outlook on raising kids and the way she taught her sons to access their emotions will have far-reaching effects for years to come.

As YourTango CEO Andrea Miller shared, “When I think about all the nonsense in our society that says things like, ‘Boys don’t cry,’ and ‘Just suck it up and be a man,’ and ‘hide your emotions,’ Jason just shattered it all in the most beautiful and incredible way.”



Miller touched on her own role as the mother of two sons, saying, “I was so glad that I could share that with my young sons and talk to them about it and have them look at one of their icons and understand that’s what a real man looks like.”

While Jason chose to step back from the game that made him famous, it’s clear that his impact will live on, not only for football fans but for every boy and man reaching inside themselves to express the depths of how they feel


RELATED: How Taylor Swift & Travis Kelce Can Change The Course Of Human History Faster Than Elon Musk

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