While the rise of Taylor Swift and NFL star Travis Kelce’s relationship has taken over the world at large, this isn’t the first time the Kansas City Chiefs player has been in a high-profile romance. A serial monogamist, he and broadcast reporter Kayla Nicole displayed their on-again-off-again five-year romance for the world to see, until things eventually came to an end.

As she rebuilds her brand and rewrites her narrative outside of the romance, more and more are beginning to want to know more about Kayla Nicole, especially when it comes to her opinion on his new superstar romance. Here’s everything we know about Kelce’s ex-girlfriend and how their passionate romance eventually fizzled out.

Who is Kayla Nicole?

Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Graduating from Pepperdine University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, Nicole had an interest in football long before she and Kelce struck a romance. She always envisioned herself reporting on sports news and worked her way up to live out her journalistic dreams, landing hosting gigs at sports media outlets like ESPN and Barstool Sports, among others.

Beyond her work as a host, she’s also built a career in modeling and is an ambassador for brands like Revolve, Crocs and Savage X Fenty. She also launched her own fitness brand Tribe Therepe in October of 2023, based on feel-good fitness. “It’s focusing on the mental health component of working out, which is really, really important for me and really resonates with me, and really just encouraging people to mentally take care of themselves,” she said about the line, explaining, “I think that when your mind is in a healthy place, your body will follow.”

How Did Nicole and Kelce Meet?

Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Like most modern-day romances, it all began on social media. “He had been following me and insta-flirting for a few months,” Nicole shared with TMZ on the start of their romance. “All double taps and no DM. After a little liquid courage and a pep talk, I DM’d him on New Years.”

Sparks flew and the two began their relationship in 2017, though it certainly wasn’t always a honeymoon. Their romance was pretty up and down, splitting in August 2020 before reconciling in November 2020 amidst cheating rumors. However, when they were on, they were on, with constant marriage rumors swirling about the two. Beyond attending many red carpets together and displaying their love online, the two made a lot of couple friends in the industry, as Nicole befriended a slew of NFL wives and girlfriends.

Kelce and Nicole Break Up

In May 2022, the couple broke up for good, and rumors swirled that the reason for their split was that Kelce forced Nicole to pay for “half of everything” while they were dating. He denied the rumors on The Pivot Podcast in January 2023, stating “I would never say that I was supporting her. She had a very financially stable life and what she was doing in her career.” He added, “But you’ve got to be crazy if you’d think I would never helped or gave her a couple thousand to grab some food or she gave me some money to go get some food…. we were in a relationship for five years. A hundred dollars here, a hundred dollars there wasn’t even thought about.”

On the Behind the Likes podcast in January 2024, Nicole declared she’s done dating athletes. “I’ll never say never, but I fully, wholeheartedly believe that I am out of the athlete stage,” she said. “I do think that I am attracted to men in positions of power, and I also think that those types of men are attracted to me.”

Who Is Kayla Nicole Dating Now?

Watching your ex date one of the world’s biggest superstars is certainly no easy feat, though Nicole is standing strong and taking it as an invitation to move forward with her life and cut ties with the past. This included staying intentionally single and unfollowing friends of their former social group like Brittany and Patrick Mahomes on Instagram, as she’s most likely hanging out with different crowds.

Luckily, Nicole has built enough of a foundation for herself beyond her association with the NFL star to where her name won’t always be branded with “ex-girlfriend.” From hosting women’s events to modeling for her own fitness brand, Kayla Nicole is booked and busy. A strong, independent and successful black woman, she’s certainly doing just fine on her own.