Kevin Love kept girlfriend Kate Bock’s Sports Illustrated cover a secret from her
When Kate Bock learned that she was on the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, it was through an elaborate ruse involving her boyfriend, Cleveland Cavaliers NBA star Kevin Love.
“[The cover reveal] is always top secret,” Bock, who has been featured in the magazine every year since 2013, told The Post. “A few weeks before the [reveal], you are always wondering who it will be. You shoot every year and you always have your fingers crossed that it will be you.”
Back in November, the 27-year-old posed for the magazine in Bali, but the pandemic shifted priorities. The usual May launch date came and went and, she admitted, “It wasn’t on my mind at all.”
So Bock wasn’t suspicious when, in early July, her agent asked if she and Love would tape a “couples in quarantine” video segment, interviewing each other on camera.
“Kevin started asking me some questions and then said, ‘Are you on the cover of SI?’ and I said, ‘No, it’s not out yet. I don’t even know when it is coming out.’ ”
Love then handed her a copy of her cover, which features Bock in a black bikini alongside former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo and fellow model Jasmine “Golden Barbie” Sanders.
“He knew for a whole week,” said Bock. “They really got me. I had no clue.” As soon as she learned the truth, her agent and team were at the door waiting, in masks, and throwing confetti.
It was a high note for Bock, who had been quarantining with Love, 31, and their Viszla pup, Vestry, at home in Cleveland before heading to a rental in the Hamptons six weeks ago.
“Being in the issue for so long, it made me feel like I worked really hard and earned [the cover],” she said.
Bock has also earned serious airline miles shooting with SI over her eight appearances — from Easter Island to Costa Rica, Malta to Tennessee.
“I’ve been all over the world to these stunning locations,” said the model, who has also posed for Victoria’s Secret and Kith. “It’s the luckiest job in the world.”
And also a fitting one. The West Vancouver, Canada, native was spotted after a swim meet at age 12 — although, to hear her tell it, the model scout saw something no one else did. “I had braces, dorky running shoes and boyfriend jeans,” Bock said.
Raised by a stay-at-home mom and a father who worked in railroad manufacturing, Bock attended French-immersion school from kindergarten and speaks the language fluently. After high school, she modeled in Paris.
“Sometimes when I am on set with French clients, they speak and assume I can’t understand. I just start laughing at their jokes. They are like, ‘hold on a second,’ ” Bock said. “My boyfriend likes to pull that card when we are at dinner. He is like, ‘Kate, speak French to them.’ It’s like a party trick.”
The photogenic pair met in 2016 after shooting in New York with the same photographer, who introduced them. Because of hectic schedules, their first date was a noon coffee meet-up at the St. Regis Hotel. “It was pretty much full-on right away,” Bock recalled.
But there was a learning curve. “Before I met Kevin, I had never watched basketball. When we first started dating, I was gifted ‘Basketball for Dummies.’ ”
Now she tunes in to every game, regardless of where she is. And even though Love’s team isn’t in the NBA “bubble” — a mini tournament for the 22 teams that have been quarantining in Orlando for several weeks — she will still be watching the playoffs because she’s become a true hoops fan.
And even though she is 5-foot-11, don’t ask Bock to try a jump shot herself. “I’ve tried to shoot the ball but it’s embarrassing,” she said. “I won’t be joining a pickup game anytime soon.”
However, her skills have rubbed off on Love, who is known as one of the league’s most fashionable players. The 6-foot-8 power forward modeled his own capsule collection with Banana Republic.
“I am always there to give him tips and tricks along the way but he is very good,” she said of Love’s modeling moves. “He is very comfortable [in front of a camera].”
Meanwhile, Bock has been thinking about her own career and is hoping to break the SI record — held by Elle Macpherson, Anne V and Irina Shayk — for the most consecutive annual appearances in the magazine.
“I think 10 years is the record,” she said. “I am going after the title.”
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