Chase Stokes Cheers Kelsea Ballerini on After EP Release: ‘So Proud of You’
Kelsea Ballerini surprised fans with a new EP for Valentine's Day, dropping the six-song Rolling Up the Welcome Mat EP — a vulnerable and brutally honest account of her perspective on divorce.
Many of the lyrics appear to speak specifically to the singer's 2022 divorce from fellow country star Morgan Evans, and reflecting on her journey through the various stages of heartbreak and, ultimately, healing.
After the EP arrived, Ballerini got some high praise from actor Chase Stokes, to whom she has been romantically linked in recent weeks. Stokes hopped on Instagram Stories to share a picture of him and Ballerini sharing a laugh in a corner, and he also offered some words of support for Ballerini's new music.
"So proud of you, your heart and your beautiful soul," Stokes writes. "Congrats Kels. Rolling Up the Welcome Mat now streaming."
Ballerini's connection to Stokes dates back to mid-January, when eagle-eyed fans spied the pair watching the National Championship game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. together. The rumors grew, and though Ballerini initially brushed them off, she later appeared to lean into the speculation: In one TikTok video responding to the gossip, she even appeared to show a blink-and-you'll-miss-it glimpse of the Outer Banks actor sitting in bed beside her.
For his part, Stokes has stopped short of denying any romance between him and Ballerini. When confronted by a TMZ reporter on the street in mid-January, he allowed that he and the country star were "having a good time" and that she was a "sweet girl."
Ballerini's Rolling Up the Welcome Mat EP arrives five months after her latest studio album, Subject to Change. The singer earned a 2023 Grammy nomination for the lead single off that project, "Heartfirst."