Ok, Taylor Swift’s got what she wants; a young Kennedy boy, wealthy, way less famous than she is, now what are you going to do with him?
OK, let’s look at it a bit different; Conor Kennedy is the 18-year-old administrator of his family’s estate, in his junior year of high school. Wow, is he going to be top dog at school dating Swift.
Swift attracts young teenagers so it not going to make a difference that young Conor is a democrat. People understand that sometimes relationships do not always share their politics. For that matter the two have only been together for two months; and things seem to be all good for Swift and Kennedy.
“People” has reported that Swift spent $5 million on a beachside mansion near the home of Ethel Kennedy, widow of RFK and Conor’s grandmother. That’s an expensive purchase for just a summer romance, not to mention awkward if they break up eventually.
It’s been quite difficult to confirm that Swift concluded the purchase of the home. The deed on the property is held by Coleman Limited Partnership of Greenwich, Conn., and calls to the previous owner, Nancy Coleman, were not returned. Meanwhile, an employee at the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds — who told us he’s talked to “tons” of reporters trying to confirm the sale — said if Swift did indeed purchase the place, her name would not necessarily appear on public records.
While Swift herself is welcome in town, some residents we spoke to aren’t so wild about the press and paparazzi that have followed her. An ominous “Do Not Enter” sign hangs on a white fence at the edge of the gravel drive leading to the shingled home on Merchant Avenue.
But some locals seem to be enjoying the attention. Elizabeth Rubino, 21, works at the Hyannis Port News Shop, and she’s spotted the cute couple outside the store’s front window, strolling hand in hand down the street.
“They looked happy,” says Rubino. “She was wearing a coral dress, and Conor was wearing blue swim shorts.” Rubino said she hasn’t seen Swift buy any snacks, but “Curb Your Enthusiasm” actress Cheryl Hines has been in.
“A lot,” Rubino says. “She was charging to Bobby Kennedy’s account.” (That’s because Hines and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have been dating for a while.)
But Swift and her beau did drop into Four Seas Ice Cream for some sweet treats. Christian Cedeno said he wasn’t expecting the singer to wander in the door while he was working the counter, and the 16-year-old was “a little jealous” that his co-worker got to serve her a cup of cookie-dough ice cream.
Conor, Swift, and two girls also caused a minor stir while having lunch recently at Common Ground Café & Juice Bar — where Maria Shriver frequently stops in the morning to get a smoothie. Manager Nezer Aldokhi said the foursome sat together in the cafe that’s decorated like a forest, and he treated them like ordinary folks.
“Celebrities don’t get a table before anyone else,” he said.
Aldokhi didn’t ask for an autograph but joked that he could have sold Swift’s receipt on eBay.
Maybe next time. If the superstar singer really bought that house down the road, she’ll be back.
This weekend saw Swift accompanying Conor on a windswept visit to the grave of his mother, Mary Richardson Kennedy, who suffered from alcoholism and depression and hanged herself in a barn at her New York estate in May.
Swift has introduced Kennedy to her parents in Nashville; now there’s speculation about whether he will accompany her on the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards Sept. 6, where she is scheduled to perform her latest single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
Swift is no Jackie Kennedy, nor even a Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, but people can hope, especially Swift’s deeply loyal fan base.
Adam Bromberg, founder and webmaster of a Swift fan website/podcast (TaylorTalk.org), says he doesn’t see objections from her fans to her new romance, although the relationship has yet to be confirmed to them by Swift herself.
“If she is happy with Conor, and that’s who she decides to date, we as fans are happy for her,” he says. “The age difference is something I hear least about within fan community discussions.
“To me, age is just a number, and it cannot dictate what makes Taylor happy. If she’s happy, then the age difference means nothing.”
The history of the Kennedys hooking up with Hollywood has not always been happy: If Gloria Swanson, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Peter Lawford were around today, they’d have some snarky stories to tell. But at least those stars of yesteryear had plenty of life and romantic experience when they do-si-doed with the Kennedys.
Anyway, “there’s an exception to every rule… Taylor is not Marilyn Monroe [so] who knows how this will turn out?”
One thing is certain, say experts on branding and image: The romance is not going to have consequences, one way or another, for Swift’s career and ad sponsorships, even though many of her country-music fans may not be enthused about the politics of the Kennedys.
“They’re just dating; they’re not setting policy… She hasn’t come out and said, ‘I believe everything my boyfriend believes.’ Until she’s his guest at (the Democratic) convention and she makes a speech, I really think … they’re just having a good time.”
“I don’t think the Kennedy romance is an issue at all with her fans or with country music fans in general. She’s just dating the young man. She’s not making political statements, nor will she.”
Can associating with the Kennedy name help her? In the past, romances with Kennedys have been beneficial for some, not so much for others. “It carries a name, but she wasn’t a nobody to begin with — she has her own name and she doesn’t need him to rely on,” In fact, now he’s better known because of Swift. “There are so many Kennedys that we know only 1% of them, and the other 99% we never heard of,” Shankman says.
Then there’s the question of whether an enduring happy relationship will derail Swift’s skill at writing sad songs that become huge hits.
“She’s a very talented songwriter, so I’m sure she’d have no problem writing happy love songs. But then we’d all lose the fun game of trying to figure out who each of her songs is about.”