Kelsea Ballerini Runs Side-Stage to Smooch Chase Stokes Mid-Show [Watch]
Ballerini was in the middle of performing her song "Penthouse," one of the tracks off her early-2023 Rolling Up the Welcome Mat EP. During a pause in the music, the singer stood facing the crowd, grinned, then turned and sprinted to the side of the stage where a seemingly-unsuspecting Stokes was watching from the wings.
She grabbed him and planted a long kiss on his mouth, as fans roared their applause. Then Ballerini ran back to her spot in the center of the stage to sing the song's next line, "I kissed someone new last night," pointing towards Stokes gleefully as she sang.
Fans quickly shared video of the moment to social media, with many chiming in to express their approval of the relationship in the comments section. "We will accept nothing less than happily ever after for these two," one TikTok user wrote. "Her healing with Chase is the most beautiful thing ever," another added.
Ballerini and Stokes -- who is an actor known for his starring role in Outer Banks -- made their relationship public early this year, and since then, the singer's fans have dubbed him a "golden retriever boyfriend" due to his track record of showing up at her shows and events and applauding her success on his social media.
Her link to Stokes marks Ballerini's first public romantic relationship since her mid-2022 divorce from fellow country singer Morgan Evans. Ballerini reflects extensively on the heartbreak and healing that followed her divorce in Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, with lyrics that document the split.
She's been performing many of those songs, as well as the songs on her fall 2022 Subject to Change album, on her Heartfirst Tour. Ballerini has become known for changing lines and lyrics from her new songs onstage during the run, and in the show where she ran offstage to smooch Stokes, Ballerini changed a "Penthouse" line from "Now I don't know where you're sleeping, baby" to "Now I don't care where you're sleeping, baby."
The Heartfirst Tour launched last year and continued with a new leg in summer 2023.The latest leg of the Heartfirst Tour is set to wrap in early July.