Kelsea Ballerini is quite a ways away from the “outer banks,” but she wasn’t that far from Chase Stokes‘s thoughts on Thursday (Feb. 23). As Kelsea, 29, wrapped up her February with shows in Birmingham and London, Chase, 30, took a moment to send a sweet message to his new love. The Outer Banks star posted a photo of Kelsea kissing him to his Instagram Story. Chase has the sweetest smile in the blurry pic as Kelsea wraps her arms around him. “imy,” he captioned the pic with a heart emoji, short for “I Miss You.”
This new couple will get a week together before Kelsea heads back out on the road. After playing Toronto’s HISTORY on Mar. 06, she’ll travel across the United States, playing dates in cities like Columbus, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. The tour continues well into April and May before she seemingly gets the summer off to take a breather and enjoy herself.
Chase confirmed that he and Kelsea had struck up a new romance in mid-January, days after fans speculated that he and the country-pop singer had started dating. He and his Outer Banks costar Madelyn Cline broke up towards the end of 2021, and when reporters asked Chase about Kelsea, he said, “She’s a sweet girl, and we’re having a good time. That’s all I’ll say.”
Kelsea was more open about how the romance came about when she appeared on the Feb. 22 episode of the Call her Daddy podcast. “I slid into his DMs,” she proudly said. “I was just like… I’m not going to get on the apps. And he shoots [Outer Banks] in Charleston, and my manager lives there. He put the bug in my ear. He’s like, ‘You know who’s really cute when you’re ready…’ and I’m like, ‘You’re so right!’ I’ve never seen the show, but I knew of him. I followed him, he followed me, and I swan dove right in.”
Kelsea filed for divorce from her fellow country star, Morgan Evans, in August 2022. Afterward, Morgan, 37, released a song about the breakup (“Over For You”), which she seemingly addressed on her 2023 EP, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. In “Mountain With A View,” Kelsea sang, “I think that this is when I cut the ties, I think that this is when I set myself free, one day you’ll ask, ‘When was it over for you?’”
While on the Call Her Daddy podcast, Kelsea said that “realizing I wasn’t ready for kids” was the moment she knew the marriage wasn’t going to work. “That’s a fundamental difference. I still don’t know if I want kids at all or not. That was something we had talked about early on and something I was changing on. He was ready. He was like, ‘I don’t want to be an old dad.’ And I’m like… I’m just not there yet. I can’t do this to save us. I can’t do that to myself.”
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