Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift’s friendship is a hidden gem amongst country fans and Swifties. The musicians have loved singing each other’s praises over the years and the “There Goes My Life” singer made sure to give Taylor her flowers after becoming TIME’s 2023 Person of the Year.
“Taylor, I knew looking in your eyes that first time on stage with us, you had ‘it.’ The hunger, that something special… A gift not everyone has to connect. It’s been awesome watching you shine! Congratulations on being @TIME’s Person of the Year,” Kenny, 55, wrote via Instagram on Wednesday, December 6, alongside old photos of the pair. “I’m glad TIME sees what I’ve always loved about your music, your art and you as a human being. I’m so proud of you and I love you.”
Fans echoed the country legend’s sweet message to Taylor, 33, in the comment section, while others applauded him for supporting his fellow artists in a cutthroat industry.
“It’s things like this, that have always made at Kenny Chesney so special. In a world where everyone is tearing others apart, he never misses an opportunity to lift up another artist or showcase someone else’s greatness,” a fan wrote, adding, “One of the many reasons I have been a loyal fan for 20+years.”
“In a world of Kanyes and Scooters be a Kenny Chesney,” a second person commented in reference to Taylor’s infamous past feuds with Kanye West and former manager Scooter Braun.
Coincidentally enough, the “Lover” singer mentioned her past feud with Kanye, 46, and Kim Kardashian in her TIME interview that was published earlier that day.
“Make no mistake — my career was taken away from me. You have a fully manufactured frame job, in an illegally recorded phone call, which Kim Kardashian edited and then put out to say to everyone that I was a liar,” she told the outlet.
Taylor’s friendship with Kenny, however, has been drama free. The pair first met in an airport before the “Back to December” artist signed her first record deal. Two years later, the “Come Over” musician asked Taylor to be his opening act for either his 2007 or 2008 tour. However, Kenny had to revoke the invitation after Taylor said yes because he had a pre-existing tour sponsorship with Corona and she was only 17 years old.
The entertainers have since collaborated together and even made guest appearances at each other’s concerts. In 2011, Taylor shared her deepest appreciation for Kenny taking her under his wing since her first days of stardom.
“He is one of the coolest, most affectionate, gracious people that I’ve met in the music industry, and he’s always reaching out to me to say ‘hey’ and check up on me and see how I’m doing,” the “Blank Space” singer told Taste of Country at the time. “It seems like he has this weird intuition to know when I need someone to stop in and say, ‘How are you.'”