Everything We Know About Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes' Sweet Love Story

He loves her like he means it.
Chase Stokes and girlfriend Kelsea Ballerini
Photo: Getty Images | Design by Tiana Crispino
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Aug 21, 2023

File these two under "current celebrity obsessions." Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes are one of our favorite Hollywood couples of the moment, and for good reason. Although they only started dating earlier this year, they're constant fixtures on each other's social media pages, and they can't help but feed into the buzz around their high-profile romance. Not only are they both Gen Z icons (she's a prolific country star and he plays the beloved John B on Netflix's wildly-popular drama Outer Banks), they're fiercely supportive of each other. Plus, amid the start of Ballerini's anticipated summer tour, Stokes has been spotted at a ton of her shows… and she often changes her lyrics to shout him out. Swoon!

We simply can't get enough of Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini's love story, which is why we've broken down their complete relationship timeline here—including rumors of a possible engagement that might be coming soon (!!).

  • Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes began dating in early 2023. Amid romance buzz, the two soft-launched their relationship on Instagram on January 13.
  • Kelsea Ballerini confirmed she was dating boyfriend Chase Stokes during a February interview on the Call Her Daddy podcast.
  • Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini made their red carpet debut as a couple at the CMT Music Awards on April 2, 2023.
  • Although Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes aren't fiancés just yet, rumors of an engagement began circulating in July 2023.

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes' Relationship Timeline

Kelsea Ballerini and boyfriend Chase Stokes
Photo: Nina Westervelt/Variety | Getty Images

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes began dating in 2023, and their romance garnered plenty of buzz from fans online. In 2022, Ballerini finalized her highly-publicized divorce with ex-husband Morgan Evans, while Stokes made headlines for breaking up with his Outer Banks co-star Madelyn Cline.

We explore Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini's complete relationship timeline, from January 2023 to now.

January 11, 2023: Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes Spark Romance Rumors

Rumors of a Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes romance began swirling at the beginning of 2023, just off the heels of the singer's emotional EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, which chronicled her divorce from Morgan Evans. The two were spotted cuddling up next to each other in a group photo from a Georgia v. Texas Christian University football game at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

January 13, 2023: Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes Soft-Launch Their Relationship on Instagram

Two days later, Chase Stokes seemingly soft-launched his relationship with Kelsea Ballerini by sharing an Instagram photo dump featuring a snap of them from behind at that exact football game, where they could be seen leaning on each other.

January 16, 2023: Kelsea Ballerini Teases Boyfriend Rumors on TikTok

This sent the internet ablaze with fan theories, especially after the popular celebrity gossip account DeuxMoi shared a blind item further fueling the rumors. Kelsea Ballerini addressed the suspected romance by sharing a TikTok video of herself in front of a screenshot of the anonymous tip, saying, "I know, stop reading. But what is happening, you guys? What? What? No. Let's not do this, you know?"

February 21, 2023: Kelsea Ballerini Says She's "Not Single"

Despite playing coy online, Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes continued to be photographed together, enjoying dates in Nashville and packing on the PDA in airports. In another cheeky TikTok video, Ballerini shared a clip of herself holding a coffee cup in bed next to a man's arm—and eagle-eyed fans were quick to confirm it was Stokes, thanks to the tattoos.

On Valentine's Day, Ballerini shared a short film to support her EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, documenting the end of her marriage. Chase Stokes supported his girlfriend through the emotional release, writing on his Instagram Story, "SO proud of you, your heart & your beautiful soul. Congrats kels."

Finally, on February 21, Kelsea Ballerini confirmed that she did indeed have a boyfriend on the Call Her Daddy podcast. "Am I single?" she said in the trailer. "Am I single. God. Um… nope." In the interview, she went on to explain exactly how their relationship began… over Instagram DMs, that is. "I've never seen his show, but I just knew of him, and I just swan dove right on in," Ballerini told host Alex Cooper. "His handle is '@hichasestokes,' and I said, 'Hi, Chase Stokes.'"

March 4, 2023: Chase Stokes Supports His Girlfriend on SNL

On March 4, Kelsea Ballerini starred as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live—a milestone her boyfriend excitedly supported. "Well s***. That was special," he captioned a series of Instagram Stories. "QUEEN s***. @kelseaballerini you did the f****** damn thing."

March 2023: Chase Stokes Joins Kelsea Ballerini on Tour

Kelsea Ballerini embarked on her HEARTFIRST Tour in March 2023, and fans were quick to notice she was joined by Chase Stokes at the majority of her shows. Not only have they shared plenty of their own backstage photos together, fan recordings of their sweet interactions often go viral online. In one video, a concertgoer captured the singer swapping a name in one of her songs to "John B," a nod to Stokes' Outer Banks character. In another, Ballerini could be seen running offstage to kiss her boyfriend before singing the lyrics "I kissed someone new last night."

April 2, 2023: Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes Make Their Red Carpet Debut

Kelsea Ballerini and boyfriend Chase Stokes at CMT Music Awareds
Photo: Hubert Vestil | WireImage

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes made their relationship official at the 2023 CMT Awards. Before she hosted the event alongside singer Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini walked the red carpet with her boyfriend, where they were all smiles.

May 2023: Chase Stokes Visits Kelsea Ballerini's Hometown

In May 2023, Chase Stokes paid a visit to his girlfriend's hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. Instagram Stories showed the couple walking around her high school and eating at her favorite restaurant. "A heart fillin 24 hours at home," Ballerini wrote of the adventure.

June 20, 2023: Chase Stokes Says He'll Be a "Golden Retriever Boyfriend"

During a June 2023 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Chase Stokes was asked if he considered himself to be Kelsea Ballerini's "golden retriever boyfriend." (According to Urban Dictionary, that means you're "a significant other that is easygoing and makes it fairly simple to maintain a happy and fulfilling relationship.") He answered with a smile, saying, "I'll take the job, I'll take it. She seriously is the best human being on planet Earth and she's so damn talented."

July 2023: Rumors of a Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes Engagement Take Off

Are Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes engaged? The answer is no…at least, not yet. Although these two have yet to publicly confirm that they've taken the next step in their relationship, buzz of a possible proposal sparked when DeuxMoi—the same gossip account that speculated about their romance in early 2023—reported that an engagement may be imminent. Only time will tell if Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini are engaged…but we'll be anxiously awaiting confirmation until then.

August 2023: Kelsea Ballerini Shares a Video from the Night of Her First Date with Chase Stokes

If this doesn't make you smile, we don't know what will. In August 2023, Kelsea Ballerini posted an adorable TikTok clip of a video she sent her best friend on the night of her first date with Chase Stokes. The singer shows off her outfit in the short snap (a black floral-print mini dress with cowgirl boots), which was set to the tune of her song "How Do I Do This" off her EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat. "He's picking me up and we're going to a sushi place," she says excitedly before repeating a mantra: "I can do this! I can do this! It's just a date. You just go and eat food and talk about things that you do. Okay?"

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