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Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter are dominating pop music. Their most visible supporters may be their famous boyfriends.

Travis Kelce, Barry Keoghan and Louis Partridge aren't afraid to show their fandom.

Louis Partridge, Travis Kelce and Barry Keoghan have all been spotted at their respective pop star girlfriends' tours. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Lia Toby/Getty Images, Martin Meissner/AP, Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Louis Partridge, Travis Kelce and Barry Keoghan have all been spotted at their respective pop star girlfriends' tours. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Lia Toby/Getty Images, Martin Meissner/AP, Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

From releasing new albums to embarking on Ticketmaster-crash-inducing world tours, three of pop music’s most famous women — Taylor Swift, Sabrina Carpenter and Olivia Rodrigo — are experiencing career highs. Hordes of Swifties, Carpenters and Livies — their respective fandoms — are flocking to stadiums to watch them put on critically acclaimed shows.

Also among their biggest supporters? Their boyfriends.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, Saltburn star Barry Keoghan and Enola Holmes actor Louis Partridge have emerged as the trifecta of pop star boyfriends who are quite literally showing up for their girlfriends as they tour.

Kelce, who attended Swift’s Kansas City stop on her “Eras Tour” in July 2023 even before they began dating, has been known to travel across the world, including to Buenos Aires, Sydney, Australia, and Singapore, to cheer her on. Keoghan was first linked to Carpenter, Swift’s opening act on her Latin America, Australia and Asia tour legs, in December 2023; he was also spotted at all three of her “Eras Tour” sets in Singapore in March. Partridge, who went public with Rodrigo in October 2023, has already been seen at a handful of her “Guts World Tour” shows across the U.S.

By repeatedly attending shows, recording footage of their performances, engaging with fellow concertgoers and even wearing tour merch, these boyfriends are showing that they’re fans, just like us.

A modern celebrity practice

Katherine Taylor, a music journalist and author of She’s a Badass: Women in Rock Shaping Feminism, explained that in the past, there was a tendency to ensure that all pop stars, not just female ones, appear romantically “available” to the public.

“The worry was that fans wouldn't pay as much attention to them if they couldn't have daydreams of dating them, so having a partner in the picture dashed those hopes. That kind of approach seems to have gone away in recent decades, though,” Taylor told Yahoo Entertainment.

While Kelce, Keoghan and Partridge aren’t the first celebrities to outwardly support their significant others, their respective public displays of admiration for their partners signal a rejection of societal norms and traditional gender stereotypes, particularly in the context of celebrity relationships.

“In the past, a heterosexual relationship where [a] woman is more successful might have been seen as humiliating for the man as it conflicts [with] the traditional conception of masculinity where men are considered dominant over women,” Katariina Kakko, a PhD researcher at Tampere University in Finland with an expertise in interpersonal impacts of fame, told Yahoo Entertainment. “Today, the conceptions of masculinity are less restrictive and welcome different types of masculinities that are not tied to the traditional ‘manly’ stereotypes. This may also reflect today as male celebrities being more comfortable in showing public support to their superstar girlfriends.”

Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have made the documentation and circulation of outward displays of admiration much easier to see.

“Now that everyone has a video camera in their pocket, it’s easier to catch this kind of support on film,” Michele Ramsey, an associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Penn State University, told Yahoo Entertainment. “We can’t be sure if it’s new or not because most of what gets caught on film now couldn’t have been distributed like it can today, even 10 years ago.”

Taylor added: “It is a relatively new thing that we can track these couples' every move with 24/7 media coverage — and younger people grew up with social media, so they're far more comfortable with revealing details of their lives than older generations, so it seems like it these relationships are more prominent because of that exposure.”

From 'groupie' to 'superstar'

Ramsey believes the shift away from a “sexist, patriarchal culture” is largely due to the increased consumption of music made by female artists.

In the cases of Swift, Carpenter and Rodrigo, all three stars have all hit career milestones in 2024. In February, Swift became the first artist to win the Grammy for Album of the Year four times and Carpenter earned her first No. 1 on Top 40 Radio with the platinum hit “Feather.” Earlier this month, Rodrigo’s debut album Sour hit 8.5 million streams on Spotify.

Pop music fandoms, Kakko added, have also historically been linked to feminine behavior. This may have previously deterred men from publicly identifying themselves as fans of female pop stars.

“As pop music provides tools for identity construction, male fans in general might have been hesitant to publicly show interest in pop stars. I think that the modern perceptions of masculinities are more inclusive for men expressing behavior and characteristics that are traditionally seen as feminine,” she said.

“I cannot think of a time in history where women’s stories have been as central to our culture as they are now. Typically, we have a movie or two or perhaps a sitcom centered on the lives of women, but it’s not the norm. Suddenly, you have artists like Taylor Swift telling stories of vulnerability and bad treatment on the radio, on television, at the movies, onstage and on social media,” said Ramsey, who will be teaching a course called “Taylor Swift, Gender and Communication” at Penn State in the fall. “That’s groundbreaking and shifts ‘women’s roles’ in music from ‘groupie’ to ‘superstar’ on a massive scale we’ve not seen before.”

To assume that all men are now more inclined to publicly support their successful female counterparts would be a generalization. Men like Kelce, Keoghan and Partridge are all famous in their own right and have a considerable amount of money and power which, according to Ramsey, “gives them more freedom to act as they see fit.”

Kelce, for instance, is the fourth-highest-paid tight end in the NFL with a salary of $14.3 million per season.

“I hope all men will aspire to the goal of outwardly, proudly and loudly supporting their female partners and begin to show the emotional intelligence of some of these men, but I do recognize that when men are not famous, powerful or wealthy, it is more difficult to stand up to those traditional assumptions about masculinity,” she said. “It’s not fair to compare the privileges and positions of celebrities to everyday people.”