Kelsea Ballerini, Chase Stokes Make Red Carpet Debut at the CMT Music Awards

A major milestone! Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes were all smiles during their red carpet debut at the 2023 CMT Music Awards on Sunday, April 2.

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Ballerini, 29, and Stokes, 30, posed for photos at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, before the country singer took the stage as a cohost alongside Kane Brown. In addition to performing during the awards show, Ballerini has been nominated for Female Video of the Year for her “HEARTFIRST” visual.

Stokes’ show of support for his girlfriend comes after they recently took their relationship public. The Tennessee native offered a glimpse at her romance when she opened up about their first interaction.

“His handle is ‘hichasestokes’ and I just said, ‘Hi Chase Stokes,’” she shared during an appearance on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast in February. “I have my s–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. … I’m a relationship bitch.”

Ballerini noted that she wasn’t worried about ex-husband Morgan Evans‘ response, adding, “I’m not married to him anymore and I don’t need to care about his feelings anymore. I mean that with all the respect in the world, but his journey is not mine.”

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The “Blindsided” songstress broke the news in August 2022 about her and Evans’ split after nearly five years of marriage.

“Friends, I’ve always tried my best to share my life with you in a real and vulnerable way, while also protecting layers of my personal life as they unfold,” the ”Hole in the Bottle” singer wrote via her Instagram Story at the time. “This is now public record, so I wanted you to hear from me directly that I am going through a divorce.”

She concluded: “This deeply difficult decision is the result of a journey of love, growth, and effort that ultimately has come to an end. It’s hard to find the words here … but I feel extremely grateful for the years of marriage to Morgan and hopeful for the next seasons. With very active schedules coming up, please be mindful that we are both fragile, actively healing, and showing up the best we can.”

Following their split, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that the pair faced many “issues” in their marriage before pulling the plug. “Kelsea was very young and naive when she met Morgan, they clicked right away, but their relationship was always an emotional roller-coaster,” the insider revealed in March, noting that their “intense romance” went through periods of “friction, tension and toxicity.”

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According to the source, Ballerini was “not ready” to expand her family with Evans, 37. “Morgan [had] been ready for a long time,” the insider added. “They had been having issues, relating to each other and trouble being kind to each other, but the disagreement over kids was the nail in the coffin.”

Stokes, for his part, previously made headlines for his high-profile romance with Outer Banks costar Madelyn Cline. The duo, who parted ways in November 2021 after more than one year of dating, have praised their approach to working together post-split.

“Mads and I have been working together now for 30 episodes, and we made a promise to each other before we even started dating that the work was always going to come first,” the Maryland native told Entertainment Weekly in February. “And that no matter what happens in our personal lives, and the ways that life sometimes takes you in different directions, that we’re always going to honor the work. That stayed 100 percent truthful this season.”