How Taylor Swift Celebrated Her Enchanting Birthday Without Travis Kelce

Even without boyfriend Travis Kelce by her side, Taylor Swift was made of starlight, starlight on her 34th birthday as she stepped out with Blake Lively in New York City.

‘Tis the damn season for Taylor Swift’s birthday.

The superstar was in a state of grace on Dec. 13 while celebrating her 34th year around the sun with a glamorous night out in New York City.

Although boyfriend Travis Kelce wasn’t able to find a place in this world by Taylor’s side, she got the party started with pal Blake Lively.

Video footage of the outing shows paparazzi photographers singing happy birthday to the “Lavender Haze” singer, who gave a big smile before linking arms with Blake as she stepped out of the car.

The two were dressed dark ensembles for their evening in the Big Apple, with the Gossip Girl actress wearing a black leather dress featuring a high slit, along with a pair of edgy knee-high Louboutin boots.

As for Taylor’s birthday suit dress, she proved she’s a true Sagittarius by rocking a glittering minidress with cloud, moon and star motifs reminiscent of the constellations. Basically, she looked like she was made of starlight, starlight.

Travis, meanwhile, hung back in Kansas City, Mo., to prepare for the Kansas City Chiefs game against the New England Patriots on Dec. 17, according to People.

Fortunately, the Grammy winner understands how important each of their careers are, even recently heading to Arrowhead Stadium to cheer on her man.

“When you say a relationship is public, that means I’m going to see him do what he loves, we’re showing up for each other, other people are there and we don’t care,” she told TIME for its Dec. 6 cover story. “The opposite of that is you have to go to an extreme amount of effort to make sure no one knows that you’re seeing someone. And we’re just proud of each other.”

And it wasn’t such a champagne problem for Taylor on her birthday, who found it was nice to have many friends to celebrate with instead.

The night prior, she headed out for dinner with Selena Gomez, Miles Teller and his wife Keleigh Sperry Teller at Zero Bond in New York.

“Happy birthday to the goddess that is @taylorswift,” Selena later wrote on her Instagram Story. “I love you.”

Naturally, Taylor also marked the occasion with a gift to fans, making her Eras Tour movie available to rent on Amazon Prime starting Dec. 13.

How do you condense a 17-year career and 10 albums into one tour? Well, if you are Taylor Swift, it becomes a three-and-a-half-hour event that includes over 40 songs, 16 costume changes and intricate pyrotechnics and stage production, which she performed 66 times in the U.S. before kicking off the international leg in November.

Given how hard it was to attend The Eras Tour—maybe you heard that there was a whole Live Nation controversy, resulting in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, NBD!—the “Love Story” singer felt the pressure to deliver an experience worth the hassle.

“They had to work really hard to get the tickets,” Swift explained to TIME. “I wanted to play a show that was longer than they ever thought it would be, because that makes me feel good leaving the stadium.”

Swift’s efforts proved worth it as the tour grossed more than $2.2 billion in North American ticket sales alone, generated an estimated $5.7 billion in consumer spending and led to $3 million in Etsy sales of friendship bracelets. And did we mention her fans caused seismic activity equivalent of a 2.3 magnitude earthquake at her Seattle run of shows in July?

Even before it was released in theaters on Oct. 13, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour made movie history when it generated the highest single day ticket sales revenue in AMC Theater’s 103-year history.

The movie grossed $93 million in its opening weekend, shattering the record for a concert film, which was previously held by Justin Bieber: Never Say Never ($73 million). It went on to become the highest-grossing concert film of all time, earning $249.6 million worldwide.

Almost 10 years after its first release, the re-recorded version of 1989 led Swift to break her own record in October, when 1989 (Taylor’s Version) became the most-streamed Spotify album in a single day, a title she previously held with her 2022 album, Midnights.

In addition to topping the Billboard 200, the album was streamed 3.5 million times globally, which made her the first artist to score six No. 1 album debuts with over 1 million units sold in history.

1989 (Taylor’s Version) surpassed the 2014 first-week sales of the original, making it the first of Swift’s re-recorded to net a bigger debut than the OG album.

Thanks to the massive success of The Eras Tour, the “Bejeweled” singer officially crossed the threshold into billionaire status.

So, how exactly does Taylor’s wealth break down? Per Bloomberg: earned $80 million from music sales, $110 million in current property values, $120 million from streaming, a whopping $370 million in ticket sales and merchandise and the music she’s rereleased since 2019 has an estimated $400 million value.

After four years, Swift finally released “Cruel Summer” as a single, much to her fans’ delight.

The beloved bop unexpectedly became the the fifth single off of 2019’s Lover when Swift announced its belated release during the Pittsburgh stop of her Eras Tour June 17 show.

“You know, you have conversations before the album comes out and everyone around weighs in on what they think should be singles,” she explained on stage. “And I was finally, finally about to have my favorite song became a single off of Lover, and I’m not trying to blame the global pandemic that we had but that is something that happened that stopped ‘Cruel Summer’ from ever being a single.”

Cruel, indeed. Alas, it was well worth the wait as the song became Swift’s 8th No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the sixth most-streamed song globally on Spotify in 2023.

Swift added two handfuls’ worth of new trophies to her case when she won 10 awards at the 2023 Billboard Music Awards. With 39 career BBMA wins, Swift is tied with Drake for the ceremony’s most-honored artist of all time.

And she made history at the Grammys, too, when she won Best Music Video for “All Too Well: The Short Film,” becoming the first artist to win the category with a sole directing credit for their own video. Meanwhile, Swift nabbed nine awards at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year and Album of the Year.

Swift was also named Apple Music’s Artist of the Year, the most-listened to artist on Spotify with more than 26.1 billion global streams since Jan.1, and, most recently, was nominated for cinematic and box office achievement for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour at the 2024 Golden Globes.

Once her split from actor Joe Alwyn after six year together was confirmed in April, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was ready to shoot his shot with the superstar.

During a July 26 episode of his New Heights podcast, Super Bowl winner shared his failed attempt at meeting the singer during her Eras Tour concert—which ended up catching Swift’s attention nonetheless.

“Travis very adorably put me on blast on his podcast, which I thought was metal as hell,” she revealed to TIME. “We started hanging out right after that. So we actually had a significant amount of time that no one knew, which I’m grateful for, because we got to get to know each other.”

So, yes, the pair were dating for a few months before their romance nearly broke the Internet when she appeared at the Sept. 24 Chiefs game. As Swift put it, “We would never be psychotic enough to hard launch a first date.”

Unlike her previous relationships, Swift and Kelce haven’t been shy about being photographed together, with Swift attending six games thus far and Kelce traveling to Buenos Aires to attend her Nov. 11 Eras Tour show. And the singer gave her boyfriend a sweet shoutout by changing a lyric in her song “Karma.”

Instead of singing, “Karma is that guy on the screen coming straight home to me,” the pop star replaced the word “screen” with “Chiefs.” After the concert, the pair were spotted kissing off-stage.

When Swift and Kelce chose to go public with their romance, they did it in a major way: She attended the Chiefs’ Sept. 24 game at Arrowhead Stadium, with her every reaction (and food choice, like “seemingly ranch”) becoming a viral sensation.

Swift’s impact on the NFL, was, um, swift: There was a 63 percent week-over-week viewership increase among women 18-49, while there was a 400 percent increase in sales of Kelce’s jersey.

And when Swift arrived with her squad at the Oct. 1 game, the broadcast garnered 27 million viewers on NBC and digital platforms, making it the second most watched NFL game of the season.

If you’re annoyed over Swift’s presence at the games being highlighted by the league, well, she’s got a message for you.

“I don’t know how they know what suite I’m in,” Swift told TIME. “There’s a camera, like, a half-mile away, and you don’t know where it is, and you have no idea when the camera is putting you in the broadcast, so I don’t know if I’m being shown 17 times or once. I have no awareness of if I’m being shown too much and pissing off a few dads, Brads, and Chads.”

Sorry, Chad!

Despite her jam-packed touring schedule and new relationship, Swift was seen hanging with her friends more than ever this year.

She enjoyed multiple outings with longtime pal Selena Gomez, sitting together at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards and going on dinner dates—some of which featured appearances from other squad members like Gigi Hadid, Zoe Kravitz, the HAIM sisters, and Miles Teller’s wife Keleigh Teller.

And Swift appears to have grown even closer to Blake Lively and husband Ryan Reynolds, who joined the “Bad Blood” singer in the VIP suite at the Oct. 1 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets. The couple were seen dining with Swift in New York shortly after her breakup with Alwyn was confirmed, and the Gossip Girl star joined Swift at the London premiere of Beyoncé’s Renaissance.

Swift also showed support for her BFF Emma Stone when she attended a Dec. 6 screening of her new film Poor Things in New York.

Of course, Swift was also in attendance when her best friend and frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff married Margaret Qualley in Long Beach Island, N.J., in August.

Swift’s annual Fourth of July party made its epic comeback when the pop star enjoyed a “single summer” with some of her besties.

It had been a minute—actually, seven years, but who’s counting?—since fans got to see the singer hosting her friends at her Rhode Island home over the Independence Day holiday.

For the extravaganza’s return, Swift welcomed Gomez and Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, among other friends.

“Happy belated Independence Day from your local neighborhood independent girlies,” Swift wrote on Instagram July 7, alongside photos from the bash.

HAIM, who’ve collaborated on music with Swift and joined her on the Eras Tour, also shared pics from the festivities on their Instagram, writing, “Single summer.”

While Swift was often spotted out and about with some of her longtime friends, she did add some new members to her inner circle, including Sophie Turner following her split with Joe Jonas in September. The Game of Thrones star has frequently stepped out with Swift, who dated the Jonas Brothers singer for several months in 2008.

Plus, Swift has been having fun with Brittany Mahomes, the wife of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, while cheering on the team at several games.

Other new friends include Hugh Jackman, with The Greatest Showman star attending the Oct. 1. game between the Chiefs and the Jets, as did Deadpool 3 director Shawn Levy and Sabrina Carpenter, who served as the opening act for Swift’s Eras Tour shows in Mexico.

Should you need any more proof that Swift owned 2023, may we offer up TIME Magazine naming her Person of the Year?

“In a divided world, where too many institutions are failing, Taylor Swift found a way to transcend borders and be a source of light,” the publication explained. “No one else on the planet today can move so many people so well. Achieving this feat is something we often chalk up to the alignments of planets and fates, but giving too much credit to the stars ignores her skill and her power.”

Seventeen years into her career, the 34-year-old seems more confident than ever, both in her professional and personal life, especially after choosing to “move to a foreign country” after Kim Kardashian leaked the infamous 2016 phone call between Taylor and Kanye West regarding his song “Famous.”

“Over the years, I’ve learned I don’t have the time or bandwidth to get pressed about things that don’t matter,” Swift explained to TIME. “Yes, if I go out to dinner, there’s going to be a whole chaotic situation outside the restaurant. But I still want to go to dinner with my friends.”

Now, Swift isn’t holding back.

“Life is short,” she said. “Have adventures. Me locking myself away in my house for a lot of years—I’ll never get that time back. I’m more trusting now than I was six years ago.”

And Swift isn’t hiding her relationship with Kelce either.

“When you say a relationship is public, that means I’m going to see him do what he loves, we’re showing up for each other, other people are there and we don’t care,” she shared. “The opposite of that is you have to go to an extreme amount of effort to make sure no one knows that you’re seeing someone. And we’re just proud of each other.”