Kelsea Ballerini Mocks Rumors That Romance With Chase Stokes Is For ‘PR’: ‘IDK, Seems Staged’

As Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes' romance heats up, she addressed buzz that they're only dating to further their careers.

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kelsea ballerini chase stokes
Image Credit: Eric Kowalsky / MEGA

Kelsea Ballerini is very aware of what haters online have been saying about her relationship with Chase Stokes, and she’s leaning into the rumors. Since Kelsea and Chase were first linked in early January, critics have wondered whether they only got together as a publicity stunt to help their careers. On March 7, Kelsea took to her Instagram story, which you can see here, to share a cute photo of the two that Chase had posted on his Instagram page. In the pic, which you can see here, Kelsea is sitting on Chase’s lap while getting her hair done. “IDK, seems staged,” Kelsea wrote, mockingly. “Probably PR.” She also included an upside down smiling face to make it clear that she was being sarcastic.

After going public with their relationship in January, Chase and Kelsea have seemingly gotten even more serious in recent weeks. They spent time together in New York City at the beginning of March, with Chase in town to promote Outer Banks and Kelsea there to make her debut on Saturday Night Live. Chase was backstage with Kelsea at the show on March 4, and celebrated with her and her friends afterwards. They were also photographed looking quite cozy at a New York Rangers game on March 2.

kelsea ballerini chase stokes
Kelsea and Chase out in NYC. (Eric Kowalsky / MEGA)

Fans suspected Kelsea and Chase were dating after various social media posts in January and early February. However, Kelsea didn’t address the relationship until her Feb. 22 interview on the Call Her Daddy podcast. She mostly kept tight-lipped about the situation, but confirmed that she was “not single.” She also admitted that she started talking to Chase because she slid into his DMs. Her message? “Hi, Chase Stokes,” which was a reference to his Instagram handle (@hichasestokes).

This new romance comes following Kelsea’s Aug. 2022 divorce from Morgan Evans, who she was married to for nearly five years. Kelsea spilled her heart out about the divorce on her recent EP Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, which features six songs. Morgan had previously released his own song about the split, “Over For You,” in which he sings about being blindsided by Kelsea’s divorce filing. Kelsea shut down this narrative on her record, as well as in the Call Her Daddy interview. She also admitted that a conversation about having kids is what eventually led her to file for divorce.

“I was realizing I wasn’t ready for kids,” Kelsea explained. “That’s a fundamental difference. I still don’t know if I want kids at all or not. That was something we talked about early on and something I ws changing on. He was ready. He was like, ‘I don’t want to be an old dad.’ I’m like…I’m just not there yet. I can’t do this to save us. I can’t do that to myself.”