Kelsea Ballerini Details 'Nasty' Divorce From Morgan Evans, Reveals How Romance with Chase Stokes Began
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Kelsea Ballerini is getting candid about her love life. In a new tell-all interview on the Call Her Daddy podcast, Ballerini details her "nasty" divorce from Morgan Evans and talks about her new romance with Outer Banks star, Chase Stokes.
Ballerini and Evans tied the knot in 2017, after what the country singer called a "whirlwind romance." Initially finding an attraction to the security and safety Evans offered, Ballerini said she ignored some of the red flags that were present in the early days of their relationship, like moving in with each other after eight months.
And just months after that, the pair were ready to walk down the aisle, something Ballerini said she didn't want to do.
"I just wanted everyone to have a nice time. I didn't want to have a wedding," Ballerini told host Alex Cooper. "I didn't think, at the end of the day, I really want to get married -- I did, in that moment, but fundamentally, I think from the trauma I had as a kid, I didn't. I think I told myself that I did. And I take full responsibility of that narrative."
Over time, Ballerini said an unevenness in their relationship coupled with busy and conflicting schedules led the couple to drift apart.
"I just did it all, and it is because I started it that way," she said of overcompensating with both her time and her money to make the marriage work. "I didn't ask him to meet me anywhere, I just did it."
Resentment started to build when the pair weren't spending time together, telling Cooper, "I got to a place where if I was like, 'If I wasn't killing myself to figure out how this overlaps and how this works,' as I'm like busy, we just wouldn't exist."
Ballerini added, "I just think, if you want, you will."
In August 2022, Ballerini confirmed that she had filed for divorce from Evans, with the pair settling things by October 2022, but not without the proceedings getting nasty.
"Who you marry is not who you divorce," the 29-year-old singing superstar said. "As he's putting out a song about being blindsided, he's taking half the house that he didn't pay for."
She went on to say, "Hurt people, hurt people. I totally get that. And I have grace, I really do, because I do know that he was hurt and is hurt, but how was I married to this person for so long and I had no idea that that bit of character was tucked within that human being? That's what's hard for me."
While she called their relationship lopsided, Ballerini didn't pin the entire downfall of their marriage on Evans.
"I was not perfect, he was not perfect, it was not perfect. "And so, there were definitely moments that I look back on where I'm like, 'Oh, I should of done that different, or, 'I could of showed up here. I could of taken the flight this time,'" Ballerini explained. "And in the unraveling, that thing I ended up sharing with him, just saying like, 'I need to own the last few years of like, I think, I checked out a long time ago and I need to let you know that.''
Ahead of the episode Tuesday, Evans spoke out about Ballerini's claims, calling them "sad."
"It's really sad for me to see this person, who I spent so much of my life with, and loved with all my heart, saying things that aren't reality and that leave out what really happened," Evans tweeted. "She knows I'm not the type of guy to speak on those things publicly. If this is what she needs to heal, I hope it helps."
"All I ask is that if you're on my pages, please don't be mean," he continued. "Don't be mean to Kelsea, don't be mean to each other. Life's too short."
Ballerini, meanwhile, has moved on from the relationship is now dating Stokes. While the new love has been an exciting one, it didn't come without some trepidation from the "Half of My Hometown" singer who questioned if she was ready to date again after her divorce.
"I think I grieved a lot of the marriage in the marriage, and so I think I was ready to open back up," she said of kicking things off with Stokes just months after her divorce was finalized. "I felt, 'Why not? I've never really dated I don't know how it works. Let's just put ourselves out there, let's just vibe.'"
As for how they met, Ballerini said she slid into the 30-year-old actor's DMs back in December.
"I slid into his DMs," Ballerini admitted. "I was just like, I'm not gonna get on an app. And honestly, he shoots in Charleston, and my manager lives there, and he like, put the bug in my ear. He's like, 'You know who's really cute when you're ready, it's Chase.' I was like, 'You're so right.' And I've never seen the show, but I just knew of him. And so, I followed him, and he followed me, and I just swan dove right on in."
While her relationship with Stokes is very new, Ballerini said she still aims to be respectful of Evans in the process of having another public romance -- but she's putting her feelings first.
"I'm not married to him anymore, and I don't need to care about his feelings anymore," she said when asked if she considered her ex when photos of her and Stokes hit the internet. "And I mean that with all the respect in the world, but his journey is not mine anymore. And so, I hope that he is protected from whatever he needs to be protected from seeing. I hope he has people in his life that help him do that, that is not my job."
She continued, "I'm not exploiting what I am or am not doing, because I do want to be respectful. And also, it's new. Everything's new for me -- dating, being photographed with someone, like, it's all really new, and I'm tiptoeing. And I'm happy and I'm really re-learning a lot about myself and how I show up in a relationship and how I show up for myself. It's been a really beautiful re-awakening."
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