Cook and his girlfriend, Kelsi Taylor, haven’t exactly kept their relationship a secret — both of their Instagram feeds are full of adventurous vacation shots, cozy cuddle images and lazy Sunday selfies. Yet, besides dating each other, which is, in its own way, controversial, neither of them have done much to make headlines lately, so the story hasn’t gotten a lot of circulation.
Now, their relationship is drawing a lot of heat from fans and critics, who don’t approve of their 26-year age difference. In turn, others are chiming in to defend their right to fall in love, citing that old adage about age being just a number.
Regardless of how or why, the internet is suddenly very curious about this relationship, so here’s a look at who Kelsi Taylor is and how she stole the heart of Dane Cook.
Taylor is a singer and actress, best known for providing back up vocals for a few prominent artists.
Most notably, Taylor has performed at two prominent appearances with Demi Lovato — once in November at the American Music Awards, and once in December at the 2017 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball concert hosted by KIIS FM. Taylor is making a hard push to get a foothold in the music industry, which might be part of the “work hard / play hard” lifestyle Cook was alluding to in his recent Instagram post.
Taylor doesn’t want to be permanently consigned to back-up vocals, however. The 19-year-old has plenty of music online for those who want to listen. She has a SoundCloud page full of popular covers, exemplifying her vocal range, and she regularly posts original music on YouTube. She even has a few selections available on the iTunes store.
Taylor has done a considerable amount of acting work as well, and it sounds as though she intends to do more. In 2013, she appeared in two TV series and a feature film.
It appears that only two episodes of The Funny Bunch, in which Taylor played “various characters,” were made. She played Sandra in Can, a film written and directed by Ray Cartier. She also appeared in one episode Up in Arms, a topical comedy series which premiered on YouTube.
The year after, Taylor worked on several short films, which did a lot to expand her resumé. She played Ali in Totally, Bree in My Name Is Asia, Kaylyn in Josephine, Karli in The Overlooked, and Serena in Beach Seasons. She also made an appearance as a cousin in Alchemy, which is the best known of her short film work.
Online, Taylor has a considerable following, which is only growing since news of her relationship with Cook came to light. She had about 8,000 followers on Friday night, when Cook’s post about her went viral, and by Saturday night she was quickly approaching 9,000. On Twitter she has just over 1,000 followers.
The question of when this relationship began is a point of contention for many fans. Taylor’s earliest Instagram post with Cook in it is dated Dec. 19, 2016, less than two months after her 18th birthday. The harshest amongst Cook’s critics are accusing him of pedophilia, saying that the age difference is too extreme to justify.
Cook waited quite a bit longer than Taylor to post photographic evidence of their relationship. It’s possible that he predicted the fallout over their age difference and wanted to wait until after his show aired. Cook appeared in the Starz smash hit American Gods from April to June of 2017. He played the main character’s late best friend, Robbie Burton, in flashbacks and other surreal sequences. In the story, based on a novel by Neil Gaiman, Robbie sleeps with the hero’s wife while he’s in jail, leading many fans to perceive him as a sexual miscreant already.
In the past six months or so, Cook and Taylor have been on a photogenic odyssey. The couple has posted photos from idyllic locales such as Hawaii and Malibu, leaving the paper trail of a year-long relationship that fans and detractors are just catching up on now, since the couple entered the headlines. They even appear to have spent Christmas together.
Comments on the couple’s sappy tributes to one another has been brutal and vitriolic. “You are a disgusting pedophile,” one user wrote on Cook’s most recent Instagram post. “Buddy, seriously it looks like your daughter for God’s sake. And lay off the Botox,” another wrote on one of Taylor’s photos.
Of course, others have come to their defense, but people on either side of the issue are putting a lot of attention on the couple, turning them into a social media spectacle.
The next few months are work hard / play hard ones. I’m grateful to my friends and fans who continue to support my artistic endeavors. I can’t get to where I’m going without this foundation of support. My sister & right arm @_courtneycook_ - talented & helpful x10000. My gf @itskelsitaylor who quite simply is a gift. #bestlaughs More than anything you have to accept the universe is gonna challenge the shit outta you & sometimes it heaps several on you all at once. It can feel impossible - THAT is where it begins to turn. The events you must endure determine your character and the ability to cope & conclude regardless of who is pushing what button or slandering you or undermining you. The impossible moment of hardship is the very beginning of the pendulum about to swing the other way. Don’t deny you want something more right now & it starts to reveal throughout the days and weeks to come.
It’s impossible to say what the future holds for Taylor and Cook, but it sounds like they’re gearing up for something big. After building a strong bond in a short time, their social media posts seem to imply that they’re planning to keep their lives intertwined. Taylor, who’s still extremely young and only beginning her professional and creative life, is looking for ways to build her brand and break into the entertainment world, while Cook is looking to maintain and reconstruct the swagger he had in the early 2000s.
Cook posted a lengthy motivational rant on Instagram on Saturday, which played a big part in bringing the couple into the spotlight. Hopefully, he takes his own advice and does the right thing, no matter what.