Carly Pearce Opens Up About Her New Relationship After Kissing Her Boyfriend at the CMA Awards (Exclusive)

Pearce gave her new boyfriend, Riley King, a smooch on live TV when she won Female Vocalist of the Year on Wednesday night.

Carly Pearce couldn't contain her excitement on Wednesday night when she was named Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2021 CMA Awards. In fact, the 31-year-old singer was so overcome with emotion that she turned and planted a big kiss on her date -- her new boyfriend, Riley King -- on live TV. 

"Truly, I was just like out of body," Pearce told ET's Rachel Smith after winning the honor. "This is something I've wanted my entire life... and so when I heard my name, I don't know, it is just wild."

Pearce, who walked the red carpet solo, but who sat next to King at the event, couldn't avoid talking about that kiss. 

"I did kiss him. I got excited," she admitted. "It's been a good year for me in all regards." 

Though King took the backseat to his lady love's big night, he had no problem cheering her on and even held her shoes on the carpet. 

"It feels really good, and I think it is all in the right timing," Pearce said. "I feel really lucky in every sense."

When ET's Smith told King, who was standing off camera, that he is a lucky man, he replied, "I agree!" 

Pearce added of her new beau that "he's hot" and "tall." 

This is Pearce's first public romance since she filed for divorce from fellow country singer Michael Ray in June 2020 after less than a year of marriage. Ray was not in attendance at the CMAs. 

Prior to her big night at the CMAs, Pearce invited ET's Cassie DiLaura on her tour bus over the weekend where she gave more insight into the split and her new romance. 

"I remember feeling so embarrassed when this all happened to me and I think that even as I was writing some of these songs thinking nobody's ever going to let me put this music out," she said of her split, without directly mentioning Ray. "And being a little bit afraid of it and how it would affect me. And I think now fans have latched onto this record more than anything else I've put out. And what they don't understand is when they're receptive to me and sharing their stories, they've allowed me to let go of a lot of that embarrassment of myself with this happening to me and more taking the power of going, 'Wow, I now am putting out music that has purpose and is something that is meaningful to people.'"

As for her romance with King, Pearce said, "We met through mutual friends a while ago, but I think it has been important to kind of keep this one to myself a little bit. But not by any means trying to hide but just be more aware of my personal life and protect my heart a little bit."