LAS VEGAS — Taylor Swift strolled into Allegiant Stadium for the Super Bowl surrounded by celebrity friends. She cuddled with Blake Lively during Post Malone’s performance of “America the Beautiful” and won what appeared to be a beer chugging contest, slamming her cup down to an appreciative roar from the fans.
The pop superstar flew halfway around the world to see her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, and his team play the San Francisco 49ers. The defending Super Bowl champions struggled through a sloppy first half filled with miscues before taking their first lead with a third-quarter touchdown — to Swift’s delight — only for the Niners to regain a three-point advantage early in the fourth.
Swift completed her trip from the Tokyo Dome to Allegiant Stadium for the game, walking through security along with Lively, Ice Spice and her mom, Andrea Swift. She later was spotted talking to Kelce’s brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in one of the private boxes that reportedly cost more than $1 million. Singer Lana Del Rey joined the celeb-packed suite in time to catch Usher’s halftime show.
Swift, who has been dating Kelce since the first few weeks of the NFL season, flew on a private plane across nine time zones and the international date line from the last of four shows at the Tokyo Dome in Japan to arrive about two hours before kickoff. The time change allowed her to land in Los Angeles and make the final hop to Las Vegas.
The 14-time Grammy winner walked in wearing a black outfit with a red jacket slung over her shoulder, apparently getting the memo from Kelce and many of the Chiefs. He wore a shimmering black suit, quarterback Patrick Mahomes wore a sharp black suit of his own, and even Chiefs coach Andy Reid wore a black blazer as the Chiefs leaned into the role of the villains.
“Anti-Hero” also happens to be the lead single from Swift’s Grammy-winning album, “Midnights.”
“She’s unbelievable. She’s rewriting the history books herself,” Kelce said a day after last Sunday’s Grammys. “I told her I’ll have to hold up my end of the bargain and come home with hardware, too.”
Swift began dating Kelce after he said on his “New Heights” podcast that he had tried and failed to give her a friendship bracelet during her performance at Arrowhead Stadium. Kelce then invited her to watch him perform at the home of the Chiefs, and she surprisingly showed up for their Week 2 game against Chicago.
Swift soon became a regular at games, both home and away, frequently sitting with Brittany Mahomes, the wife of Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Swift occasionally brought along friends, including Lively and her husband, Ryan Reynolds.
“Having Taylor as a new Chiefs fan is very unique,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said during Super Bowl week. “I don’t ever do an interview without someone asking me about it. I think a lot of players and coaches on the team are in the same boat. The most important thing is we’re happy for the two of them that they have found each other and have such a special relationship.”
There was plenty of star power besides Swift for the NFL’s marquee night. Usher’s halftime show included guest performers Alicia Keys, Ludacris and Lil Jon. Reba McEntire sang the national anthem.
Few were to be under a brighter spotlight than Swift, though. Her dash from the Tokyo Dome, where she promised fans that “we’re all gonna go on a great adventure,” had Swifties around the world watching online flight trackers, while her boyfriend seemed to get as many questions about his relationship as the game during the run-up to kickoff.
Asked to explain the intense interest, Kelce replied: “I think the values we stand for and just who we are as people — we love to shine light on others, shine light on the people that help and support us, and on top of that, I think we both just love life.”
Kelce and Swift won’t have a whole lot of time together, regardless of how the game plays out.
After winning a record-breaking fourth album of the year award at the Grammys for “Midnights” — where she announced her next album will drop in April — Swift is due back across the Pacific later this week. The international leg of her Eras Tour resumes Friday night in Australia with the first of three shows at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“This week is truly the best kind of chaos,” she posted Wednesday on Instagram.
AP Music Writer Maria Sherman contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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