Ed Kelce is a Cleveland, Ohio native who attended St. Joseph High School. Like his sons, he played football, and the ramifications of his short time on the field shaped his entire future. While playing, he suffered an injury to his left knee that required surgery to have the cartilage removed.
On his sons’ “New Heights” podcast, Kelce explained that prior generations of the men in his family had served in the military, which was a legacy he wanted to carry on after he graduated from high school. But when he tried to join the Marines, he was disappointed to learn that he was medically disqualified from enlisting due to his past knee injury. He also got turned away by a different branch of the U.S. military. “I got a little pissed off actually at the recruiter’s office for the Army,” he recalled, saying he felt it was unfair because he was willing to serve his country while so many others were dodging the draft. “I had some grizzled old sergeant just chew me out about, ‘What am I going to tell the mother of the guy that dies trying to carry your big a** out of there ’cause you can’t walk?’”
The sergeant sent Kelce on to the Coast Guard, where he was allowed to enlist. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete basic training because he began experiencing symptoms of Crohn’s disease. He eventually wound up working at a steel foundry lab.
When the topic of Donna Kelce and Ed Kelce’s divorce was brought up on “New Heights,” Jason Kelce still sounded like the wounded little boy who couldn’t understand why his parents were no longer together. In reference to Ed, Jason asked his mom, “Why do you hate him?” Donna assured her son that she and her ex-husband still get along just fine. “It’s just sometimes people, they move apart,” she said. The couple had been married for over two decades when they officially called it quits.
The divorce was further discussed in Amazon Prime Video’s “Kelce” documentary. In it, Ed admits that he would have preferred to end the marriage sooner, but he and Donna stayed together for their sons’ sake. Per the New York Post, Donna called that time period “tough,” but on Travis and Jason’s podcast, she explained how she and Ed made the situation work by spending time with each son separately. With so many games and practices to attend, it actually helped that they weren’t functioning as a complete family unit.
According to Travis, he first realized something was amiss with his parents’ marriage when he was in middle school. “I would go and have sleepovers at other houses and the other parents are staying in the same room, and my parents didn’t stay in the same room,” he recalled in “Kelce.” But it wasn’t until he and Jason were in college that Ed and Donna divorced.