Holding hands at the honky-tonk! Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes were spotted getting cozy while out in Nashville after playing coy about romance rumors.
The country star, 29, and the Outer Banks actor, 30, were seen visiting Robert’s Western World bar in Ballerini’s hometown on Tuesday, January 24, in footage obtained by TMZ. In the video, Stokes leans in close to whisper in the “Peter Pan” singer’s ear before grabbing her hand, which was resting on her leg.
The pair first sparked dating speculation earlier this month after Stokes shared an Instagram photo of himself cuddling with Ballerini at the College Football Playoff National Championship. The picture only showed the backs of their heads, but the Stranger Things alum tagged the CMA Award winner’s account.
Days later, however, Ballerini shot down rumors about her love life in a TikTok video. “I know, I know, I know,” she said in the January 16 clip. “Stop reading, stop reading. Stop looking. But what is happening, guys. What? Let’s not do this.”
The “Half of My Hometown” crooner sat in front of a screenshot from the gossip account DeuxMoi that showed comments about her alleged romance with Stokes. Ballerini didn’t confirm or deny her status with the Tell Me Your Secrets alum, but she made it clear she was unhappy about the speculation. “I’m about to break up with the internet 5 sure,” she captioned the video, adding a laughing emoji.
Stokes, for his part, called the Grammy nominee a “sweet girl” when asked about what drew him to her. “We’re having a good time and that’s all I’ll say,” the Maryland native told TMZ on January 17.
Before sparking romance speculation with Stokes, Ballerini was married to fellow country singer Morgan Evans. The Tennessee native confirmed the duo’s split in August 2022 after nearly five years of marriage. She filed for divorce that same month, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the breakup.
“This deeply difficult decision is the result of a journey of love, growth, and effort that ultimately has come to an end,” she wrote via her Instagram Story at the time. “It’s hard to find the words here … but I feel extremely grateful for the years of marriage to Morgan and hopeful for the next seasons.”
Us Weekly confirmed in November 2022 that the former couple finalized their divorce two months after their split. According to court records obtained by Us, the twosome listed their Nashville home for sale and divided household furniture and other personal property.
Stokes, for his part, was previously linked to Outer Banks costar Madelyn Cline, whom he dated from April 2020 to May 2021.
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“She’s one of my favorite people on planet Earth,” the Between Waves star exclusively told Us one month after the split, adding that the duo still keep in touch despite their breakup. “You know, it’s super awesome to work with somebody that you care about that much, and yeah, I’ll leave it at that.”
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