Niecy Nash-Betts Is “Pleasantly Surprised” by ‘Grotesquerie’ Co-Star Travis Kelce’s Acting Skills

Of Ryan Murphy’s unexpected decision to cast him in the forthcoming FX horror series, Kelce himself said of his acting debut “hopefully I don’t bomb this for him.”

Travis Kelce
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As Travis Kelce prepares to make his acting debut in the forthcoming Ryan Murphy horror series Grotesquerie, co-star Niecy Nash-Betts said, per Us Weekly, that she was “pleasantly surprised” by Kelce’s acting abilities.

“He’s doing really well,” Nash-Betts told Entertainment Tonight of Kelce, who, in addition to acting, is a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, defending Super Bowl champion, dedicated Swiftie, podcast co-host (alongside his brother, Jason Kelce), and apparent future game show host, as well.

Nash-Betts said she’s been working with Kelce on set, helping him rehearse lines; the veteran actress said it’s usually “us sitting around eating In-N-Out, reading words off a piece of paper.”

Niecy Nash-Betts and Travis Kelce

Nash-Betts was the first to tell the world that Kelce was set to make his acting debut in the upcoming "Grotesquerie."

(Image credit: Instagram)

When asked about Kelce and his girlfriend of nearly a year, Taylor Swift—who Kelce has followed around to some of her European shows as her Eras Tour continues on—Nash-Betts was coy: “Well, now, I don’t ask and tell!” she said. “Let me just say that.”

It was actually Nash-Betts who was the first to reveal that Kelce will appear alongside her in the FX series, after she shared a video of the two of them on set back in May. In the Instagram clip, Nash-Betts said “Guys, guess who I’m working with on Grotesquerie—dun-dun-dun-dun!” before panning the camera to Kelce, who can be seen behind her. As the two burst into laughter, Kelce said “Jumping into new territory with Niecy!” Kelce later shared the post to his Instagram Story and wrote “Steppin into a new world with one of the legends!” and tagged Nash-Betts for good measure. 

Niecy Nash-Betts and Travis Kelce

Nash-Betts and Kelce on set of the Ryan Murphy show, which will air on FX.

(Image credit: Instagram)

Kelce later opened up about his acting debut on his podcast, “New Heights,” telling his brother that the experience was “so much fun,” and praising Murphy as an “unbelievable writer, director, producer—all of the above.” Kelce added of Murphy that “He seemed very confident that I’d be able to do this, and he kinda injected that in me the first conversation that we had,” he said. “So, hopefully, I don’t bomb this for him.”

A source told Us Weekly that Murphy’s decision to cast Kelce “was pretty spur of the moment,” with another source adding that it was “surprising” to the NFL star that he got cast. “Travis had an incredible time filming,” they said, adding that shooting has wrapped. “He had fun doing it.” 

Niecy Nash-Betts and Travis Kelce

Kelce showed respect to his co-star, calling Nash-Betts"one of the legends."

(Image credit: Instagram)

That’s not Kelce’s only new venture: back in March, he was announced as the host of Amazon Prime Video’s new game show Are You Smarter Than a Celebrity?, a reboot of the classic game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? “I grew up loving game shows, and I’m excited to be following in the footsteps of so many TV icons by hosting my very first one with Are You Smarter Than a Celebrity?,” Kelce said in a statement. “The original show is a great success, so to be bringing a new format with everyone’s favorite celebrities to the screen will definitely be entertaining. I’m just happy to be on the hosting side of the equation here and excited to see how these famous faces keep up.”

As for Grotesquerie, Betts teased that the show is “very dark,” she said. “I’m so excited for people to see it.” She added that “There may be a few cameos. I’m not going to name names. But it’s a good time.”

As for the unexpected casting of Kelce, he said himself on a June 6 Good Morning America interview that, as to whether Kelce considers himself an actor, “I guess you could say that,” Kelce said in response, per People. “I’ve been on a few shows before. I’ve only played myself on those shows, though.” 

Travis Kelce

Kelce, previously known for his skills on the football field, is expanding his resume with new gigs as a game show host and as an actor.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

He continued that it’s “definitely different portraying a character and trying to find the emotions in everything, and the understanding of a script and a scene,” adding “It’s a challenge. I feel like an amateur right now, but I’m coachable,” he said, alluding to his career in the NFL. “That’s one thing I know from being in sports—I’m a coachable guy.”

A source speaking to Entertainment Tonight added that this turn into acting is likely just the beginning: “Travis is excited to exercise this skill set and show another side of himself off the field,” they said. “More projects like this one are to come.”

Kelce has been hopping around Europe, seeing his girlfriend of nearly one year, Swift on tour—and even appearing onstage with her in London. “They loved being onstage together,” a source told People. “He is confident and fun, and it was one of her tour highlights.” 

Night Three Of Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour - London, UK

He further stepped into new territory by joining girlfriend Swift onstage for the Eras Tour while in London last month.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kelce is set to head back to more familiar territory, and will report to Chiefs training camp on July 21 before kicking off the NFL season on September 5, when the Chiefs square off against the Baltimore Ravens. “Football is definitely still his priority, but so is his relationship,” they said. “He makes romantic gestures to show he’s thinking of her when they’re apart. She’s going to try to attend as many games as possible.”

Of the couple, the source added that “They have so much fun together, and it just works,” they said. “It’s funny to their friends, because at first everyone wondered what they had in common, but you realize how similar they are. They both wear their hearts on their sleeves and are all-in with everything they do, whether it’s with career, family, or friends.”

At the one year mark, “They really are very, very happy together,” they said. “They’re very serious about each other, and the relationship feels different for both of them.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.