Chase Stokes Explains Why He’s ‘So F—king Proud’ of Kelsea Ballerini

Chase Stokes has some seriously sweet things to say about girlfriend Kelsea Ballerini.

Stokes, 31, spoke about Ballerini, 30, at length for an Entertainment Weekly piece published on Thursday, December 14, in honor of her being named one of the outlet’s Entertainers of the Year.

“Something Kelsea has really been good at since the beginning of her career is keeping her authenticity as a songwriter and really honoring and staying in that lane,” Stokes began, shouting out the honesty of Ballerini’s 2023 EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat “in particular.”

Ballerini wrote the collection of songs in the wake of her divorce from Morgan Evans last year. Stokes told EW that he heard the EP before he and Ballerini even met in person. (The pair were first linked in January and confirmed their romance one month later.)

“She sent me Welcome Mat and said, ‘I want you to listen to this because I want you to know who I am and I want you to have some clarity,’” Stokes recalled. “This was before she had any idea of how she was going to put it out [or] what her plan was, and watching it go from this idea into what it’s become has been a wild journey. … That level of vulnerability and honesty has completely shifted her career.”

Chase Stokes Explains Why So Proud of Kelsea Ballerini 2023 CMT Music Awards

Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CMT

Stokes counted himself lucky to have been by Ballerini’s side as she released her most honest work yet into the world.

“To put [Rolling Up the Welcome Mat] out silently and not get radio play and for the world to really accept it in the way that they have is a testament to her artistry. To be that person’s partner and to watch all of this happen in front of my eyes has been so cool. Proud feels like a really lame way of saying it, but I’m so f—king proud,” the Outer Banks star gushed, noting that Ballerini “touched a lot of women” who have dealt with similar experiences.

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes Dating Breaking Down Their Relationship Timeline 305

Related: Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes’ Relationship Timeline

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes quickly became a fan-favorite couple after confirming their relationship status. The country singer and the Outer Banks star were first linked in January 2023 after they were spotted together at the College Football Playoff National Championship in Los Angeles. Ballerini confirmed the romance one month later during an appearance on […]


He continued: “[Kelsea] literally is the best person on planet earth. Every day together is either a comedy show or a life talk that I didn’t know I needed to have that ended up being something I’ll never forget. I just love the girl to pieces and I’m so f—king proud of her.”

Chase Stokes Explains Why So Proud of Kelsea Ballerini 57th Annual Country Music Association Awards

Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini
John Shearer/Getty Images for CMA

The admiration goes both ways, as Ballerini proved during a November appearance on Alex Cooper’s “Call Her Daddy” podcast.

“He’s the most emotionally intelligent man I’ve ever met in my life,” Ballerini told Cooper, 29, of Stokes. “I keep telling him he’s a man written by a woman.”

The singer also revealed how her attitude toward sex had changed since sparking her romance with Stokes.

“My experience with it was very performative and for the other person. It don’t be like that anymore,” Ballerini said. “I didn’t understand how [sex] could be a real connector in a relationship. I always thought it was just something that you did. … Now, I realize it’s a connector for people.”

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