Who is Rob Gronkowski's girlfriend? Meet Sports Illustrated model Camille Kostek

AOL.com Editors

Rob Gronkowski is hanging up his helmet, and his girlfriend couldn't be more proud of him.

The New England Patriots star confirmed speculation on Sunday night that he's retiring from the NFL, and Sports Illustrated model, Camille Kostek, took to Instagram to commend her significant other on making the difficult decision to call it quits.

"You motivate me to be better, you show me that limits can be pushed and that challenges make you stronger," Kostek wrote alongside a slideshow of photos of them together. "If you ask me, you’re the best to ever do it. There is nothing like the thrill of watching you play. I love you with all my heart, you allow me to take the term 'proud girlfriend' to a new level."

"For all the people that have come up to us to tell you they are your biggest fan, I quietly smile because I know I’m yours," she added. "And I will continue to root you on in all that you do ❤️💙 WE LOVE YOU PATS NATION."

The post came about a month and a half after Kostek stepped into the spotlight after Gronk's latest Super Bowl win at Super Bowl LIII. Kostek joined him on the field after the game for a romantic moment that she shared on Instagram with the cheeky caption, "tastes like a champion."

But who is Kostek? And how long has she been dating Patriots tight-end Gronkowski?

Camille Kostek, 26, first made waves as the first winner of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue's Instagram-based model search. This year, she was named as the iconic magazine's rookie model.

The blonde bombshell has been linked to Gronk, 29, since 2015, when she met the NFL star right after she quit her job as a Patriots cheerleader.

"We first got in touch once I resigned from the team," she told Fox News. "I always knew who he was before I was even a cheerleader. I knew who he was on the roster. I just never paid any mind. Once I resigned is when we finally met."

In the last several years, the pair has gotten more and more public about their romance on social media as their relationship has progressed. They first appeared on one another's Instagram accounts in 2015 and made their red carpet debut together at the 2018 Kids' Choice Sports Awards.

Kostek has gotten more and more used to her private life being fodder for the public, but it definitely took some time for her to get comfortable with it.

"I am such a private person,” she said. “It was hard at first when people would send articles with my name on it. It’s an overwhelming feeling to read something that you have no control over. But like most things, you get strong when you have to deal with situations like that. It’s gotten a little easier. And usually, the people that are close to you know the truth. So it’s one of those things where you just have to let people think what they wanted to think."

Gronk and Kostek briefly split in 2017, before getting back together.