Kelsea Ballerini Shares Her and Chase Stokes' First DMs That Launched Their Romance

Kelsea Ballerini showed how she shot her shot with her now-boyfriend Chase Stokes, as the couple celebrate his birthday.

By Corinne Heller Sep 16, 2023 9:03 PMTags
Watch: Chase Stokes Officially Confirms He's Dating Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini demonstrates how you shoot your shot!

The country star paid tribute to boyfriend Chase Stokes for his 31st birthday Sept. 16, sharing a slew of couples pics on Instagram as well as a curious extra image: A screenshot of the DMs that launched their romance.

On Dec. 1, 2022 at 1:07 a.m., Kelsea wrote to Chase in a private Instagram message, "hiii chase stokes." He responded more than two hours later, at 3:17 a.m., "Hey there how u doin." Later that morning, at 11:38 a.m., the singer wrote to him, "i'm kels, nice to meet you," adding a blushing smiling face. Chase liked the DM.

Kelsea, 30, captioned her Instagram post, "Happy birthday, my sweet virgo. @hichasestokes."

Chase commented, "My human," adding a red heart emoji.

The singer had revealed on the Call Her Daddy podcast in February that she and the actor began communicating in December 2022—four months after she announced her split from husband Morgan Evans after almost five years of marriage.

Kelsea Ballerini's Social Media Confessions

"I slid into his DMs," she said. "I was just like, 'I'm not gonna get on an app.' And honestly, he shoots in Charleston and my manager lives there and he put the bug in my ear. He was like, 'You know who's really cute? When you're ready. Chase.' And I was like, 'You're so right.'"

She continued, "I've never seen the show but I just knew of him and yeah, I followed him and he followed me and I just swan dove right on in. His handle is @hichasestokes and I said, 'Hi Chase Stokes.'"

This is not the first glimpse into the early days of the pair's relationship. In August, Kelsea shared a Tiktok containing a never-before-seen throwback video of herself preparing for her first date with Chase.

The two sparked romance rumors in January when they were photographed looking cozy at a football game. In February, Chase shared a pic of the two showing some PDA and the following month, confirmed on Today that he is dating Kelsea. The couple made their red carpet debut as a couple at the 2023 CMT Music Awards in April. Earlier this week, the actor accompanied Kelsea to the 2023 MTV VMAs.

Look back at Kelsea and Chase's road to romance below:

Jumping Heartfirst

Kelsea Ballerini slid into Chase Stokes' DMs on Dec. 1, 2022 at 1:30 a.m. while she was out drunk with friends at a bar.

They eventually met up in person for the first time on Jan. 7, 2023, which she considers their anniversary. 

"He hopped out of his Bronco, and he did not say a word to me," Kelsea later recalled on Call Her Daddy, "and he grabbed my face and he kissed me and he pulled my face away and he said, 'Thank God you're real.'"

Shooting Her Shot

A romance blossomed after that first DM.

"He shoots in Charleston and my manager lives there and he put the bug in my ear," the "Heartfirst" singer explained on the Call Her Daddy podcast. "I've never seen the show but I just knew of him and I followed him and he followed me and I just swan dove right on in."

The singer eventually shared the screenshot of their first convo in honor of her boyfriend's 31st birthday.


First Date Nerves

Kelsea would later post footage of the beginning of their relationship, sharing a throwback clip on TikTok of herself preparing for their first official date. 

"Happy weekend," she captioned the post, "heres a video i sent to my best friend before my first date with chase."

Set to her song "How Do I Do This," which is about going on a first date after many years, Kelsea models her outfit in the video.

"Here's the look, with the boots" Kelsea says while checking herself out in a full-length mirror. Turning around to showcase her half-up, half-down hairstyle, she adds, "We've got the hair clip, because we're trying to be a cool girl."

She continues speaking to an unnamed friend, explaining, "He's picking me up and we're going to a sushi place and I'll call you tomorrow and for a full update."

Taking a deep breath and raising one arm and finger in the air, she finally says, "I can do this. I can do this." And, after doing a little dance, she proclaims, "It's just a date. You just go and you just eat food and you talk about things that you do, OK?"

Romance Rumors

The two made their romance public in January 2023 when they were photographed looking cozy at a football game.

Instagram Cuteness

In February, Chase shared a pic of himself and Kelsea showing some PDA.

Red Carpet Debut

The pair officially stepped out as a couple at the CMT Music Awards in April 2023.

Award Show PDA

The two showcased their love on the red carpet.

Broadway Baby

The twosome attended the premiere party for the Broadway musical Shucked at Capitale in April 2023.

Hometown Visit

In May 2023, Chase joined Kelsea on a trip to her hometown of Knoxville, Tenn.

PDA Alert

The two attended Armani Beauty's ACQUA DI GIO and Gen A celebration in Malibu, Calif., in July 2023.

The Sweetest Surprise

Chase shocked Kelsea when he unexpectedly greeted her at the airport in July, with both stars posting video and photos from their adorable reunion. 

Ciao Bella

The couple only had eyes for one another at a Venice Film Festival event in August 2023. 

NYC Date Night

The two were spotted on a summer date in NYC, where she performed on TODAY.

"It's just nice to feel so supported and seen," Kelsea said on the show of Chase, "and, yeah, he's such a wonderful, wonderful human being."

A Black Tie Affair

Kelsea and Chase were dressed to the nines when they attended designer Giorgio Armani's "One Night Only" event on Sept. 2, 2023 in Venice, Italy. 

The singer-songwriter and the Outer Banks star shared images of their getaway on Instagram, including snaps from a cooking class and lounging at the beach.

All Smiles

Kelsea shared this behind-the-scenes look from the event.

Birthday Love

To commemorate Kelsea's 30th birthday on Sept. 12, Chase posted a carousel of photos and videos of the three-time Grammy nominee. 

"dirty 30 looks pretty damn good on you ballerini," he captioned the series. "i love you."

Red Hot

The two appeared together at the 2023 MTV VMAs on her birthday.

Red Carpet Romance

The two shared a kiss at the event.

Couple's Selfie

Kelsea unveiled this pic on Chase's 31st birthday Sept. 16, 2023.

Loving Like They Mean It

She planted a smooch on his cheek at the CMA Awards 2023 in November.

Sex Confession

Kelsea revealed details of their sex life in November, telling Alex Cooper on Call Her Daddy, "I'm having a nice time."

"My experience with it was very performative and for the other person," she noted. "And it don't be like that anymore."

The musician didn't understand how sex could be "a real connector in a relationship" before dating him.

"I always thought that it was just something that you did because that's who you do it with," the Grammy nominee shared. "Now I realize it's a connector for people."

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