Carly Pearce Is ‘Proud’ Of Kelsea Ballerini For ‘Laying It All Out There’ Amid Divorce

Pearce knows what it’s like to go through a public divorce, so she has Ballerini’s back.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

March 25, 2023

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Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Carly Pearce and Kelsea Ballerini have both endured public divorces, but through it all, Pearce admits they’ve had each other’s back.

After just two years of marriage, Pearce filed for divorce from fellow country star, Michael Ray, in 2020. This heartbreaking chapter of her life inspired her painfully honest collection, 29: Written In Stone. 

Carly Pearce - Written In Stone Cover Art; Courtesy Big Machine Records
Carly Pearce – Written In Stone Cover Art; Courtesy Big Machine Records

During this trying time, the songstress was putting her emotions on display through songwriting, and Ballerini was right by her side to lend some much-needed support. Pearce got the chance to return the favor to Ballerini, who announced her own divorce from Morgan Evans in August of 2022.

“I think Kelsea was one of the very first people that I told I was filing for divorce, and I was one of the first people she told when she was filing,” the singer told Taste of Country Nights‘ Evan Paul.

Much like the “What He Didn’t Do” singer, fans were heavily invested in Ballerini and Evans’ breakup, leaving them little room to grieve on their own. Once the tables had turned, Pearce was ready to step up to help her friend and give her the same confidence to speak openly about her experience, just as Ballerini did for her a few years back. 

Kelsea Ballerini, Carly Pearce; Photo by 	John Russell/CMA
Kelsea Ballerini, Carly Pearce; Photo by John Russell/CMA

“It’s hard to go through things like this publicly, and she gave me a lot of confidence back when she didn’t even know that this was gonna be a part of her story, too,” Pearce added. “So it’s been a really interesting full circle moment for me now to kind of boost her up and tell her that she can do it.”

Following the recent divorce, Ballerini dropped her Subject To Change album, which features several nods to the breakup along with some more uplifting tunes like the collaborative track with Pearce and Kelly Clarkson, “YOU”RE DRUNK, GO HOME.”

Meanwhile, Evans opened up about his side of the story when he unveiled his heartbreaking song, “Over For You.”

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Ballerini followed up with a deeply reflective EP and short film titled, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. This project matched the energy of Pearce’s 29 as it unleashes a slew of pent-up emotions surrounding the major shift in her life.

While it may have been a challenge to tap into those emotions and put her heart on display with the world, Pearce expressed great pride for her friend’s ability to do so. 

“I’m proud of her for just laying it all out there and doing what she needed to do to get through a season of her life that’s very hard to do in the public eye,” Pearce told the outlet.

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The “Love Is A Cowboy” singer and Pearce have both found the strength to move forward with their love lives. Pearce is now with her boyfriend, Nashville Realtor and former MLB player Riley King, and Ballerini has been spending her time with Outerbanks star, Chase Stokes.

Rumors of their budding romance began when the pair were captured side-by-side in a group photo at the National College Football Championship in mid-January.

Stokes then confirmed the speculations during an appearance on the TODAY Show on March 3. 

They have continued to share glimpses into their relationship through social media and public outings. Fans have even taken to TikTok to share their own videos of Stokes cheering Ballerini on throughout her current headlining trek.

“he’s her biggest supporter and i love this for them 🥹🥹,” one user wrote in the comments while another said, “He is singing in every video I’ve seen. This is the only energy I’ll be accepting after my divorce.”


Chase Stokes at the Kelsea Ballerini concert. He sang along to every song and was taking videos and pictures.. so cute🥹 #kelseaballerini #chasestokes #fyp #concert #foryou

♬ IF YOU GO DOWN (I’M GOIN’ DOWN TOO) – Kelsea Ballerini

While Evans does not appear to be in a new relationship currently, he recently released a new track titled, “On My Own Again,” which finds him looking ahead to new beginnings. 

“I’m gonna drive until the wheels fall off this old truck in my heart / If forever’s gonna end like that, I guess I’d better start / The rеst of my life, like the bеst times, up around the bend / Oh, on my own again,” he delivers in the chorus. 

On March 18, Ballerini wrapped up another leg of her HEARTFIRST Tour. On Thursday (March 23), she embarked on another touring journey with longtime friend and “Half Of My Hometown” collaborator, Kenny Chesney. His headlining I Go Back Tour runs through May 27.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.