In recent weeks, Kayla Nicole’s past romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has caused some drama for the on-air sports journalist, who was recently compelled to share an open letter on social media about fighting through “backlash and embarrassment” to silence self-doubt.
Kayla, 31, and Travis, 34, sparked a romance in 2017, and dated through 2022 — albeit with a brief break in 2020. Now, more than a year after they split, their past romance has been thrust into the spotlight.
The recent drama began when Kayla unfriended Travis’ teammate, Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes, as well as Patrick’s wife, Brittany Mahomes, with whom she’d previously been close friends, having developed a bond during her relationship with Travis.
So who exactly is Kayla Nicole? ET is taking a look at the sports broadcaster, and how her past relationship with the NFL star unfolded.
Kayla’s passion for sports and for TV presenting has been evident since college. In 2018, Kayla took to Instagram to share her reel, and broke down her educational background, explaining, “I have a bachelors degree in broadcast journalism (Pepperdine University) and hosting is where my heart is.”
With her mind set on hosting and broadcasting, Kayla set off into the world with her degree and snagged jobs in her field, working for ESPN, Barstool Sports and more. She’s been a sideline reporter for the NFL, and reported courtside on NBA games throughout her professional career — all this on top of her work as a model and influencer.
Her romance with Travis began in 2017, after the NFL star began messaging her on Instagram. In March 2022, Kayla participated in an Instagram Q&A and revealed how the pair first crossed paths.
“He had been following me and insta-flirting for a few months. All double taps and no DM,” Kayla shared. “Soooo after a little liquid courage… I DM’d him on New Years.”
Their romance went strong until 2020, when fans noticed that Kayla had deleted all photos of Travis off her Instagram. Travis later confirmed that they had split, but vehemently denied rumors that the split was due to him cheating on her. Travis wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “This is fake news… a lie… and not why Kayla and I broke up… take all your hatred somewhere else please.”
The couple didn’t stay apart for long and soon rekindled their relationship, which went strong until May 2022, when they finally called things off for good.
Their relationship, however, became the center of attention once more with the news of Travis’ new, high-profile rumored romance and Kayla decided to address the unwanted negative attention in a four-minute video she posted to Instagram on Oct. 9.
Kayla shared an open letter dubbed “Dear Black Girl” to her more than 724,000 followers.
“Dear Black girl, they may call you a traitor for falling in love. You’ll hope the ones closest will protect you, but you will quickly find out that people don’t protect what they don’t value,” she says looking directly into the camera. “They’ll say you’re too much, too provocative, too boisterous, too outspoken. And in the same breath tell you you’re not enough. Not successful enough, not wholesome enough, maybe not even intelligent enough. They’ll say you deserve the backlash and embarrassment. Because of your Blackness you should have known better. They’ll even try to tie your value to your net worth.”
She also added, “You don’t have to participate in this tumultuous, often one-sided journey. Preserve your heart even when they try to quantify your character and best your boundaries you do not have to engage. You do not have to respond because there is power in your silence. And you can use that same power to silence the noise and the self-doubt.”
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