Outer Banks star Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini have sparked dating rumors after Chase, 30, shared a photo of himself cuddled up to the 29-year-old country singer at a sporting event on Friday, Jan. 13 (seen below). The snapshot was featured in a carousel he titled “lil recap,” and showed the back of Kelsea’s head leaned toward but in front of Chase as he seemingly whispered something in her ear or potentially even kissed her head. While her face is not shown, Chase let her identity be known by tagging her Instagram handle on her back.
wait so kelsea and chase is a real thing?? pic.twitter.com/35J7yOnszy
— 𝖠𝗆𝗂𝗇𝖺❀ | 𝑜𝑏𝑥 (@glowstrcs) January 13, 2023
“go vols,” the “Heartfirst” singer commented under the carousel with a monkey hiding its eyes emoji. The picture was taken on Monday, Jan. 9 at Georgia vs. Texas Christian University’s football game at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium, but it is not the first photo that showed the potential couple looking friendly. On Monday, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers founder Todd Graves shared a photo from the night that featured entertainment professionals and influencers, including Chase and Kelsea on the right end of the picture. Kelsea had a wide grin on her face as she cozied up next to Chase and held onto his arm. She commented under that photo with three white heart emojis.
If they are indeed a couple, it would be their first public romance since their respective breakups. Chase famously dated his Outer Banks costar, 25-year-old Madelyn Cline, for about a year and a half until the fall of 2021. They have not spoken publicly about their split and continue to amicably work together on set. Season 3 of Netflix’s hit show comes out on Feb. 23.
Country fans may recall that the “Peter Pan” singer and her husband of nearly five years, Morgan Evans, 37, announced their split in Aug. 2022. Kelsea shared the news in a heartfelt message on her Instagram Story, in which she spoke about always wanting to be honest with her fans. “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. This is now public record so I wanted you to hear from me directly that I am going through a divorce,” she wrote. “This deeply difficult decision is the result of a journey of love, growth, and effort that has ultimately 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.”
Morgan later confirmed their divorce with an Instagram message of his own. The split was a shock to fans, as the pair showed no signs of trouble. They finalized their divorce in November, a month after Kelsea released her now Grammy-nominated album, SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
Kelsea opened up about the end of her marriage in Dec. 2022 on an episode of the Tell Me About It With Jade Iovine podcast. “For a while, it was kind of like, ‘Okay, this is just a new phase of a relationship,’ because relationships go through seasons, right? And it’s not always going to be rainbows and butterflies,” she recalled. “For a long time, I was like, ‘Oh this is just, the glitter wears off. That’s what happens.’ And then you get into a phase where you just wait for it to come back. And then sometimes it doesn’t.”
“At the end of the day,” she continued, “It is such a disservice and a dishonoring of yourself if you know something is not right and you stay. [Shame about divorce] is the one thing that I just refuse to feel. Judge me for it, fine, that’s on you.”