Kelsea Ballerini dishes on split from Morgan Evans, who says claims aren’t ‘reality’

A woman in a draped yellow gown poses on a red carpet
Kelsea Ballerini‘s red carpet arrival at the 65th Grammy Awards at Arena.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Kelsea Ballerini got candid about her short-lived marriage to fellow country singer Morgan Evans during Wednesday’s episode of the “Call Her Daddy” podcast.

The “Peter Pan” and “This Feeling” singer filed for divorce from Evans last August after nearly five years of marriage and this week described their relationship as “lopsided.” She told host Alex Cooper that their relationship “would not be alive if I if I didn’t do everything” and readily dished about making more of an effort to see Evans during their marriage than he did. Ballerini also claimed that she financially funded the relationship.

Ballerini, who also opens up about the split on her new divorce EP “Rolling Up the Welcome Mat,” said she met Evans while they were co-hosting an awards show. She was 22. Evans, who is nine years older, moved in with her after eight months of dating and popped the question after they were together for nine months

A man and woman pose on a red carpet
Morgan Evans, left, and Kelsea Ballerini arrive at the 53rd CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville in 2019.
(Evan Agostini / Invision / Associated Press)

Ballerini described herself as quieter and as “a people pleaser” at the time. Although they didn’t fight, she said the relationship devolved and that the decision to divorce came after several separations, years of couples therapy and “many a night of sleeping on the couch.”

“Like this was just a relationship that took work for a long time,” the 29-year-old recording artist said. “I remember — I don’t think it was the first night [I slept on the couch] — but I remember it was a night where I was like, ‘This is not what I want,’ but I slept on the couch the night before the CMAs and I remember I went to rehearsal at the arena and texting him and him being like, ‘I’ll just see you at the carpet.’ Like, OK.”

The “Feel Your Way Through” author said that there “was just such a sense of disconnection” between them.


“I was getting resentful because anytime we did see each other, I felt like I was carrying that load and I was tired. I was just tired of showing up in that way all the time and not feeling like I was seen or matched. And then I was also tired from traveling all the time and like giving so much of myself, because that’s what I want to do to honor my career too. And I think I just felt really depleted and not understood,” she added.

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The relationship continued, however, because she felt pressure to stay together because they had been so public with their romance and because she didn’t want to relive her parents’ broken marriage. She ultimately decided she wanted a divorce when she realized she was not ready to have kids — and wasn’t sure she wanted to have any.

“I think I’m finally an adult,” she said. “I think that just happened over the last couple of years, and I feel like what that means to me is I have opinions. I have a career that is a priority for me, to show up for myself and the people that I’ve aligned with along this journey. And I have aspirations and goals that are tied to no one, and those are all really important things.”

Last November, Evans released the song “Over for You” about their divorce before it was finalized — a song that angered Ballerini because Evans claimed to be blindsided in it. (She has a song titled “Blindsided” on her new EP too.)

“I had a pretty good grasp on my grieving journey until that song came out and I was livid,” she told Cooper. “I think that maybe there’s a world where he was blindsided. I did not blindside him. I think two things can be true, and I think if he truly was blindsided, then, where was he?”

After a preview of the podcast went online, Evans took to Instagram on Tuesday to address his ex’s claims and asked fans not to be mean.


“It’s really sad for me to see this person, who I spent so much of my life with, and loved with all my heart, saying things that aren’t reality and that leave out what really happened,” he wrote. “She knows I’m not the type of guy to speak on those things publicly.

“If this is what she needs to heal, I hope it helps,” he added. “All I ask is that if you’re on my pages, please don’t be mean. Don’t be mean to Kelsea, don’t be mean to each other. Life’s too short.”

Elsewhere on the podcast, Ballerini confirmed that she was dating “Outer Banks” actor Chase Stokes since December, after sliding into his DMs.

“I’ve never seen his show, but I just knew of him, and I just swan dove right on in,” Ballerini said. “His handle is ‘@hichasestokes,’ and I said, ‘Hi, Chase Stokes.’”