Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes made their debut as a couple at the CMT Awards on April 2 at the Moody Center in Austin, TX. Ballerini, who cohosted the event with fellow country singer Kane Brown, walked the red carpet hand in hand with Stokes. The pair were also snapped sharing an embrace backstage. See the pictures from their night ahead.
Speculation about Ballerini and Stokes dating started back in January when he shared a carousel of Instagram photos that included a stealth shot of her. Five days later, Stokes told TMZ that Ballerini is a “sweet girl” and confirmed they were “having a good time” together. Stokes finally confirmed they’re an official couple once and for all during a March 3 appearance on the “Today” show.
Ballerini, meanwhile, opened up about how their connection grew online in a February interview with the “Call Her Daddy” podcast. “His handle is ‘hichasestokes’ and I just said, ‘Hi Chase Stokes,'” she said. “I have my sh*t together and for me to share that with anyone is a gift. I want to be with someone that feels the same way about their life.” She also called herself a “relationship b*tch.”
Stokes, 30, previously dated his “Outer Banks” costar Madelyn Cline. The pair split in November 2021, about a year after they started dating. Meanwhile Ballerini, 29, married Australian country singer Morgan Evans in 2017. They announced their separation in summer 2022, and their divorce was finalized that November. Her most recent album, titled “Subject to Change,” was released in September. This February she released a six-song EP, “Rolling Up the Welcome Mat,” and the songs include lyrics about her divorce and her rebuilding in the aftermath.
At Sunday night’s awards, Ballerini performed her song “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too)” flanked by four drag queens — Kennedy Davenport, Manila Luzon, Jan Sport, and Olivia Lux, all “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alums. Ballerini wrote on Instagram alongside a still from the performance, “If you go down, i’m going down too,” with a rainbow flag emoji and added, “Thank you to these iconic queens.” The performance comes almost a month after Tennessee passed a “drag ban” that restricts public show by drag performers and targets trans people.