Kelsea Ballerini + Chase Stokes Make Their Red Carpet Debut at the 2023 CMTs [Photos]
As she geared up to co-host the 2023 CMT Music Awards on Sunday night (April 2), Kelsea Ballerini had a big moment on the show's red carpet, too. She walked the carpet and posed for photos with her boyfriend, actor Chase Stokes.
The couple were all smiles as they made their grand entrance to Moody Center in Austin, Texas, where the awards show is set to take place. Ballerini wore a form-fitting, strappy gray gown with a structured bodice and a small flowing train, while Stokes kept things casual with a dark, short-sleeved collared shirt and white tee underneath. The pair held hands and shared a playful hug as they posed for the cameras.
Ballerini and Stokes' relationship is relatively recent: She officially confirmed their status in late February, after weeks of swirling rumors, hints and flirty social media posts. During an appearance in the Call Her Daddy podcast, she revealed that she was the one who started the relationship after getting the idea from her manager.
"I slid into his DMs," Ballerini revealed. "His Instagram handle is @HiChaseStokes, and I said, 'Hi, Chase Stokes.'"
Since going public with their relationship, Ballerini and Stokes have frequently been spotted together. When the country singer made her Saturday Night Live debut as a musical guest, Stokes was backstage cheering her on, and both stars' Instagram stories from that note showed all the behind-the-scenes fun.
Ballerini and Stokes' relationship follows Ballerini's very public divorce from fellow country star Morgan Evans in mid-2022. That split inspired Ballerini's early-2023 Rolling Up the Welcome Mat EP, which features multiple songs detailing her marital strife, heartbreak after the split and healing process.
The 2023 CMT Music Awards is set to air on CBS and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+. In addition to co-hosting the show with Kane Brown, Ballerini is a nominee at Sunday night's ceremony, and she's performing, too.