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Kelsea Ballerini, Chase Stokes shower each other with affection at the CMT Music Awards

The country hitmaker and “Outer Banks” star have been going strong for over a year.
/ Source: TODAY

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes packed on the PDA at the 2024 CMT Music Awards.

On April 7, the couple shared a kiss on the red carpet while posing for pictures before the show, which Ballerini hosted.

Egged on slightly by a photographer who asked for them to lock lips, Stokes gently held her chin while they leaned in for a smooch before they chuckled.

The couple also walked the red carpet while fans cheered them on. Stokes, sporting a white shirt and jacket and black pants, held hands with Ballerini, who wore a flowing red dress.

2024 CMT Music Awards - Arrivals
Is that the look of love? Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini share a moment at the 2024 CMT Music Awards at Moody Center on April 7, 2024 in Austin, Texas.Taylor Hill / WireImage

The couple, who first went public with their relationship in February 2023, recently celebrated their one-year anniversary.

Over the past year, the couple have frequently gushed about their relationship on social media. They have made multiple red carpet appearances together, too.

From initial romance rumors to going steady, here is a look back at the first year of Ballerini and Stokes' relationship.

Romance rumors spark after a teasy photo

Chase Stokes posted a photo of two people at a football game and tagged Kelsea Ballerini.
Chase Stokes posted a photo of two people at a football game and tagged Kelsea Ballerini. Instagram/Chase Stokes

On Jan. 13, 2023, Stokes posted a photo dump, with one in particular sparking romance rumors between him and Ballerini.

In one of those photos, two people are seen from behind sitting in seats while at the College Football National Championship game. No faces are seen. However, Stokes tagged Ballerini in the photo.

The “Miss Me More” singer further added fuel to the fire by commenting, “Go vols.”

Stokes later told “Entertainment Tonight” that Ballerini was “the best” after she was announced as a “Saturday Night Live” musical guest.

“I mean she’s the best,” Stokes said on Feb. 16 at the Season Three premiere of “Outer Banks.” “I’m so excited for her and everything happening in her career right now.”

Kelsea Ballerini confirms she’s dating Chase Stokes

The country singer was asked if she was single during a February 2023 chat on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast. She laughed and said “no” before further sharing how they connected.

After her divorce from country singer Morgan Evans, Ballerini said she was “ready to open back up.”

“Why not? I’ve never really dated. I don’t know how it works. I’m like, what? Let’s just put ourselves out there,” she said, revealing that she slid into Stokes’ DMs in December 2022.?

“I’ve never seen the show and but I just knew of him,” she said. “So I followed him and he followed me and I just swung through right on it.”

“His handle is ‘@hichasestokes,’ and I said, ‘Hi, Chase Stokes,’” she said of how she reached out to him.

In a TikTok she shared in August 2023, Ballerini revealed that for their first date, they went to a sushi restaurant. In the clip, she shared a behind-the-scenes look at how she prepared for her first official date with Stokes.

“here’s a video I sent to my best friend before my first date with Chase,” Ballerini captioned the post.

In the video, Ballerini poses in front of a mirror showing off her outfit, a mini-dress and boots.

“I can do this,” she tells herself in front of the mirror. “I can do this. It’s just a date, you just go and you just eat food and you talk about things that you do.”

During the "Call Her Daddy" podcast, she also touched on the photo Stokes shared of the two of them at the football game.

“We had been hanging out and people got a photo of us at the game, at the championship. And so that was kind of just going,” she recalled. “And he was like, ‘I mean, it’s gonna keep going. So should I just like poke the bear?’ and I was like, ‘Sure.’ And the poking the bear was like a photo of me just like, leaning on him.”

The couple cheers each other on

When Season Three of “Outer Banks” premiered on Feb. 23, 2023, the “If You Go Down” singer promoted the show on her Instagram story. She shared a poster of Stokes and added a smiley face.

@kelseaballerini via Instagram

That same day, Stokes shared a photo of Ballerini giving him a kiss on the cheek. On the side of the Instagram story snap, he wrote, “my ??.”

Chris Stokes kisses Kelsea Ballerini
Chris Stokes shares a sweet kiss with girlfriend Kelsea BalleriniChris Stokes via Instagram / @hichasestokes via Instagram

Chase Stokes confirms he's dating Kelsea Ballerini on TODAY

During an appearance on TODAY on March 3, 2023, Stokes confirmed that he and Ballerini were dating while chatting with Sheinelle Jones.

“Right across the street, on ‘SNL,’ we have a pretty good show planned for tomorrow night,” Jones said. “Kelsea Ballerini, she’ll be taking the stage. Going out on a limb here — are you a fan?”

“Absolutely I’m a fan," he replied. "Yeah, who isn’t a fan?”

Sheinelle then said, “For those of you who don’t know, they’re... dating?” to which Stokes nodded.

2023 CMT Music Awards – Red Carpet
Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini at the 2023 CMT Music Awards on April 2, 2023 in Austin, Texas.Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images for CMT

Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini make their red carpet debut

Ballerini co-hosted the CMT Music Awards on April 2, 2023, and took the actor as her date. The event marked their first red carpet appearance together after publicly confirming their romance.

The two showed PDA by hugging and holding each other while posing for photos ahead of the awards ceremony.

From then on, Ballerini and Stokes would continue to share little snippets from their adventures on social media. They also continued to attend public events, like the Broadway premiere of “Shucked” on April 4, 2023 in New York City.

"Shucked" Broadway Premiere - Party
Ballerini and Stokes at the party celebrating the Broadway premiere of "Shucked" on April 4, 2023 in New York City.Nina Westervelt / Variety via Getty Images

Kelsea Ballerini shares why she decided to go public with their relationship

In a July interview with Stylecaster, Ballerini explained why she and her beau decided to share their love with the world.

“The thing that we’ve decided, and to each their own, is when you’re with someone that you feel secure with and that you’re proud to be with, why not share it?” she said. “He’s also a Virgo; we’re both Labrador retrievers in human form. It doesn’t take much conversation to be on the same page. It’s been half a year and it’s been great.”

After performing on TODAY Aug. 11, Ballerini gave a glowing relationship update to Sheinelle.

“I’m so happy,” she said. “It’s nice to feel so supported and seen. He’s such a wonderful, wonderful human being.”

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes celebrate her 30th birthday at the VMAs

2023 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet
Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini cozy up at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards.Christopher Polk / Variety via Getty Images

The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards doubled as a birthday party for the country star, who was joined by boyfriend Stokes on the red carpet. The two donned matching red color schemes as they shared a PDA-filled moment, with a kiss for the cameras.

Kelsea Ballerini reveals how she slid into Chase Stokes' DMs

Last September, in honor of Stokes’ birthday, Ballerini shared a glimpse at how their adorable relationship began.

In a Sept. 16 Instagram carousel post, Ballerini uploaded a screenshot of the first messages between her and her beau.

The “Blindsided” singer first reached out to Stokes in an Instagram direct message on Dec. 1, 2022, at 1 a.m. and said, “hiii chase stokes.”

The actor replied two hours later with, “Hey there how u doin.”

“I’m kels, nice to meet you,” Ballerini wrote back with a smiley face emoji. The “Outer Banks” star then “loved” the message.

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes pose for photos on the CMA Awards red carpet

Their love was on full display at the 2023 CMA Awards.

The couple cozied up for the cameras as they attended the 57th annual awards held at Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 8 in Nashville. The country singer looked pretty in pink in a one-shoulder silk gown with a thigh-high slit.

Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini attend the 57th Annual CMA Awards
Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini attend the 57th Annual CMA Awards.Jason Davis / WireImage

While posing on the red carpet, she nuzzled up against the “Outer Banks” star and at one point, struck a kissing pose.

Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini at the 57th annual Country Music Association Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 8, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini at the 57th annual Country Music Association Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 8, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.John Shearer / Getty Images for CMA

Stokes, on his end, wore a dark suit with black trimmings. He was all smiles as he held onto his lady love.

They celebrated their first anniversary in January 2024

Both Stokes and Ballerini posted cute slideshows on Instagram to mark one-year of dating.

The “Outer Banks” star shared a sweet Instagram tribute to the country music singer on Jan. 7. “One year of lovin you,” he wrote in the caption, adding a red heart emoji.

The 31-year-old actor’s post featured a slideshow of adorable moments he and Ballerini have shared over the past year. In the first snap, the country music singer planted a kiss on Stokes’ forehead as he smiled wide.

He also uploaded a video of him giving her a kiss on the head as they listened to her song “Heartfirst” in a car. They sang the lyrics to each other and danced while stopped at a traffic light.

Stokes further showed off his singing skills when they sang a duet of Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” in the next clip. The two played the piano together and harmonized while sitting next to a fireplace.

The rest of the post included funny snaps and more romantic memories. On her Instagram story, the “Peter Pan” singer revealed that the clip of her and Stokes singing together in a car was filmed the first night they met.

Ballerini also shared a carousel of photos on Jan. 7 to commemorate their anniversary. Her post showed multiple instances of her boyfriend supporting her at her concerts and a glimpse into some of their vacations together.

“A whole trip around the sun with my bestie.?@hichasestokes?thanks for making me write love songs,” she said in the caption.

Her slideshow included a photo of her sitting on her boyfriend’s lap, a video of him watching her perform at a concert and a snap of them playfully sticking their tongues out at each other.

In one clip, the two laughed at the kiss imprint she left on his neck. She recorded him snoring in another funny video.

The final picture in her post showed the two cuddling on a bench together as they stared out into the sea.


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