From Outer Banks to Austin, Texas. Chase Stokes posed for photos with 2023 CMT Music Awards host Kelsea Ballerini on Sunday night (April 2), marking their red carpet debut since rumors began swirling that the duo are a couple.
The country singer rocked a figure-hugging corseted gray dress with strappy heels and her blonde hair in flowing waves, while the actor opted for an unbuttoned black shirt with white piping, leaving his tattooed arms on display.
After reports of a romance between the two began in January, Ballerini confirmed her relationship with Stokes in a February episode of the Call Her Daddy podcast. “I’ve never seen his show, but I just knew of him, and I just swan dove right on in,” she told host Alex Cooper. “His handle is ‘@hichasestokes,’ and I said, ‘Hi, Chase Stokes.’”
Stokes was previously linked to his Outer Banks co-star Madelyn Cline, while Ballerini announced her divorce from ex-husband and fellow country singer Morgan Evans in August 2022 via an Instagram Story. Since then, she’s released two projects that delved into her heartbreak and personal growth: 2022’s Subject to Change and 2023’s Rolling Up the Welcome Mat.
This year marks Ballerini’s third time co-hosting the CMT Music Awards, joining her co-host Kane Brown in person a year after she hosted and performed remotely during the 2022 ceremony after testing positive for COVID-19.
During her opening monologue, Ballerini sweetly shouted out Outer Banks when naming the span of country music in the United States. “From Nashville and Austin to Yellowstone and the Outer Banks,” she told the audience, who met her with cheers.
The country superstar is nominated for two awards at this year’s event, including video of the year and female video of the year for her hit “Heartfirst.”