Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans' Relationship Timeline

From award show co-hosts to filing for divorce, here's a complete breakdown of Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans' love story

The 52nd Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals
Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini attend the 52nd annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 14, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Terry Wyatt/FilmMagic

Country music artists Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans were married for nearly five years before announcing their split in 2022.

They first met as co-hosts of Australia's Country Music Channel Awards in 2016 and got married a year and a half later. Throughout their marriage, the pair often shared sweet tributes to each other on Instagram and released music together.

However, in August 2022, Ballerini filed for divorce from Evans, which was finalized in November.

Following their split, Ballerini has been most recently linked to Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes in January 2023.

Here's a complete timeline of Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans' relationship.

March 12, 2016: Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans meet for the first time

Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans

Ballerini and Evans were first introduced to each other when they co-hosted an award show in his native Australia, but it was at the afterparty that sparks began to fly. Recalling their first encounter to PEOPLE, Ballerini said, "He was like, 'Let's take a shot.' "

She added, "I remember taking that shot and putting it down and looking at him like, 'Oh … he's superhot.' Later that night he leaned over and asked if he could kiss me, like a proper gentleman, and I said yes."

November 2, 2016: Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans make their red carpet debut

Morgan Evans (L) and Kelsea Ballerini
Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini. Michael Loccisano/Getty

What better event for a country music couple to make their red carpet debut at than the Country Music Association Awards? At the 2016 award show, Ballerini and Evans donned coordinating outfits while posing for photos together.

It was an extra exciting evening as Ballerini was up for two awards: female vocalist of the year and new artist of the year.

December 25, 2016: Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans get engaged

Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini on their engagement day. Kelsea Ballerini

Both Evans and Ballerini announced their engagement news on Instagram, but the songstress revealed it in a sentimental two-part post on Christmas in 2016.

The first post was a nostalgic video from when the two co-hosted the Australian award show, while the second post featured her receiving a kiss from Evans as she showed off her stunning sparkler.

"This morning, 9 months and 13 days later, he got down on one knee in the kitchen while I was burning pancakes and asked me to marry him. Loving him has been the greatest gift of my life. And now I get to do it for life," Ballerini wrote.

December 2, 2017: Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans get married

Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini wedding
Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini. Joseph Llanes

In December 2017, the couple tied the knot on the beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with 100 of their closest friends and family.

Toasting with a shot of tequila, Ballerini and Evans kicked off their festivities in an untraditional manner — but the songstress told PEOPLE that it was symbolic of how their relationship first started. "It's a little bit different but that's how we started," she said.

In addition to the "tequila theme," it was their handwritten vows that were the most sentimental for the two.

"Kelsea's vows were, as you would expect, poetic, sweet — like, mind-blowingly good. Our officiant was like, 'Hey, Morgan, beat that!'" Evans added. "I said mine, and I was going to finish with a few lines of the first song I wrote for her ['Dance with Me']. I got halfway through them, and she started to lose it, then I started to lose it — so I ended up having to cut it a little bit short!"

December 4, 2017: Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans go on their honeymoon

Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans
Morgan Evans/Instagram

A few days after the country couple said "I do," they spent time together in Mexico. Ballerini and Evans shared sweet photos of themselves enjoying the sun, pool, and each other, paired with mushy captions on Instagram.

October 12, 2018: Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans release first song together

Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini attend the 2019 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 05, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini. John Shearer/Getty

Released in October 2018, "Dance With Me" marked the first song that the country couple collaborated on. Written by Evans about Ballerini, he didn't initially plan to have her sing on the track, but after she had asked him to be featured on one of her songs, he insisted that she be on one of his as well.

"[Ballerini] came in and it was like 'I don't know, do we really want to mess with this?' Evans told Rolling Stone about his wife's initial apprehension. "But the second she opened her mouth to sing on that chorus, Chris [DeStefano] looked at me and we both had the hairs on the back of our necks standing up, it worked out perfectly. It was the first song I ever wrote for her, and my favorite song I've ever written."

November 13, 2019: Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans say having kids is a "little ways off"

While walking the red carpet before the 2019 Country Music Association Awards, Evans said that while they "look forward" to having kids, he said, "we're a little ways off from that." Evans also called being an uncle "great" but also "a little bit of birth control."

August 17, 2020: Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans battle a bat in their home

As Ballerini and Evans attempted to settle down for a good night's rest in their home, the two were surprised to see a bat flying around in their bedroom. Ballerini hilariously live-tweeted the bat encounter, calling the bat "cute" and putting water out for the bat. She also shared a clip of Evans attempting to net the bat in a pool skimmer.

The next morning, Ballerini provided an update: the couple slept downstairs and the bat must have found its way out of the upstairs bedroom sometime during the night.

October 19, 2020: Kelsea Ballerini and Morgan Evans get their first house together

Kelsea Ballerini, Morgan Evans
Morgan Evans/Instagram

Nearly three years after the couple tied the knot, Evans announced on Instagram that he and Ballerini moved into their first home together on Oct. 19, 2020. They relocated from their downtown apartment in Nashville to the suburbs.

"Yesterday we moved out of our first place together. Almost 3 years of marriage in there. So many great memories. Grateful for every one! We look mega sleepy in the photo, cause we took it at 5am as we left for the airport, but it had to be done. Onto the next adventure 🤙" he shared in the caption.

"Honestly, [the move] just [is] giving us a little bit of purpose," Ballerini told PEOPLE. "I've obviously not had a lot of things to do this year other than make records, so I have needed to put my time and creativity into something, and getting this house together has definitely been a good outlet for me."

September 12, 2021: Morgan Evans wishes wife Kelsea Ballerini a happy birthday

To celebrate Ballerini's 28th birthday, Evans posted a selfie of the two on Instagram and wished his "favourite human of all" a happy birthday. In the photo, Evans is holding a paint roller in front of the phrase "You're Hot!!" written in green paint on the wall.

November 18, 2021: Kelsea Ballerini opens up about her relationship with Morgan Evans

kelsea ballerini
Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini. Getty

During an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Ballerini got real about her marriage to Evans, while also opening up about her parents' relationship when she was growing up. "I swore I was never going to get married," the singer said, noting how her parents' split was "super-messy and really drawn-out."

While she's working with her husband on a different idea of marriage, Ballerini said she doesn't "see it as a fairytale-esque, ride-off-into-the-sunset kind of thing." "It's work, but it's worth it," she said, adding that they are taking part in couples therapy.

"We approach our relationship so differently, but [Evans] shows up — he shows up in every way he needs to," Ballerini said. The two also had to adjust during the coronavirus pandemic when they were spending more time together than they've ever been before — but the songstress noted, "That was a really beautiful thing for our marriage."

March 8, 2022: Morgan Evans posts his appreciation for Kelsea Ballerini

kelsea ballerini and morgan evans
Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini. Kelsea Ballerini/instagram

Whether the couple is at each other's sides on the red carpet or randomly shouting each other out on social media, Evans and Ballerini are each other's biggest supporters. Evans posted the sweetest tribute to his wife on National Women's Day this year.

"Posting this on International Women's Day, with my international woman!" the Australian native wrote. "So proud of you, for all of your achievements of course, but more so for the way you carry yourself through it all. You don't need to talk or post about strength or kindness or intelligence or talent … you just do it, you are it. The real deal. Congrats [on] everything this week ♥️ "

August 29, 2022: Kelsea Ballerini files for divorce from Morgan Evans

Via a message on her Instagram stories, Ballerini shared with fans that she and Evans had come to the decision to end their marriage after nearly five years.

"This deeply difficult decision is the result of a journey of love, growth, and effort that ultimately has come to an end," she wrote. "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."

A source told PEOPLE that the two had given it their best shot before deciding to split. "They've been working on their marriage for a very long time. Prior to this they had separated privately once before and have been in therapy for several years. They gave it their best go but unfortunately arrived at the decision to formally separate."

September 24, 2022: Kelsea Ballerini changes song lyrics during New York City show to reflect divorce from Morgan Evans

Ballerini didn't shy away from addressing her split during a New York City. concert stop. To reflect her newly single status, the singer revised the lyrics of a few songs.

While singing "What I Have," Ballerini changed the words "I got a warm body in bed" to "I got my own body in bed."

And during her performance of "Get Over Yourself," she sang, "I'm the crazy bitch that wrecked your life," instead of, "I'm the crazy ex that wrecked your life." Fans cheered in support on both accounts.

September 24, 2022: Morgan Evans hints at Kelsea Ballerini breakup in new ballad

Evans debuted his new piano ballad "How Long" at CMC Rocks QLD 2022 in Australia. The lyrics seem to allude to his split from Ballerini. He sang: "How long have you been waiting to take our pictures down?/How long have you been breaking? Why am I just finding out? It kills me to know/That you were drifting alone."

Other poignant lyrics include, "It would be easier if I hated you/But I still miss the person/That I thought I knew."

October 3, 2022: Kelsea Ballerini says she's on an "active healing journey" post-split

Ballerini made an appearance on CBS Mornings where she spoke about her recent breakup and touring for her new album Subject to Change. "When there's a big life decision like that, it's not a sudden one — there is a lot that happens before that becomes public," she said. "So I'm on my active healing journey, and a big part of that is showing up for this album and showing up for myself like I never have."

When discussing what led to her divorce from Evans, the singer said the decision was "not chaotic" nor "volatile," adding, "It just didn't work."

"That sometimes is a difficult narrative to get your head around when you're just like, 'Oh my gosh, this is a good person and I'm a good person and this just isn't good anymore,' " she added.

"It's easy to shame yourself and it's easy to want to hide, and I just want to be proud of myself in 10 years on this season of my life," Ballerini continued. "This is not just a heavy time in my life, this is also a celebratory time in my life. I don't want to shade that because that's important to feel."

November 3, 2022: Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini reach settlement agreement in divorce

After filing for divorce in August 2022, the exes reached an agreement regarding their assets. Evans and Ballerini, who had a pre-nuptial agreement in place, have put their Nashville home on the market and divided household furniture and other personal property, according to a court document obtained by PEOPLE.

November 9, 2022: Morgan Evans says he's "lonely" amid divorce from Kelsea Ballerini

While chatting with Access at the 2022 CMA Awards, Evans opened up about his divorce.

"One of the hardest parts of it is how lonely it feels," he said. "It's strangely comforting to realize that so many other people have been through it."

Evans added that he'll "eventually" try dating again.

November 15, 2022: Kelsea Ballerini says she finalized her divorce from Morgan Evans

While performing at the Grand Ole Opry, Ballerini revealed to fans that she finalized her divorce, picked up the keys to her new house and was nominated for a Grammy Award — all in one day.

"This is what's going on, there's… in my last song [I sing], 'There's no judgment or keeping score,' " the singer explained on stage. "The truth is that this morning I started my day at the courthouse finalizing my divorce and then getting nominated for a Grammy, and then getting the keys to my dream home, and now standing in the circle of the Opry."

She added: "And s—, if that ain't country music, I don't know what is."

December 14, 2022: Kelsea Ballerini says it would have been a "disservice" to stay in her marriage to Morgan Evans

During an interview on the iHeart podcast Tell Me About It with Jade Iovine, Ballerini opened up about the decision to split from Evans.

"For a while, it was kind of like, 'OK, this is just a new phase of a relationship,' because relationships go through seasons, right? And it's not always going to be butterflies and rainbows," she said. "For a long time, I was like, 'Oh this is just… The glitter wears off. That's what happens.' And then you get into a phase where you wait for it to come back. And then sometimes it doesn't."

Ballerini added: "At the end of the day, it is such a disservice and a dishonoring of yourself if you know something is not right and you stay. [Shame] is the one thing that I just refuse to feel."

January 18, 2023: Kelsea Ballerini sparks dating rumors with Chase Stokes

After Ballerini and Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes were seen together at a football game, Stokes addressed rumors about dating the country star.

"She's a sweet girl," Stokes said during an interview with TMZ. "We're having a good time and that's all I'll say."

Feb. 14, 2023: Kelsea Ballerini details reasons behind her divorce with short film

Ballerini released Rolling Up the Welcome Mat on Valentine's Day, a 6-track EP alongside a heart-tugging short film which shows the country singer-songwriter contemplating the demise of her marriage as she struggles to voice her thoughts with a romantic partner.

According to Ballerini, the project is the next chapter of 2022's SUBJECT TO CHANGE. "I was writing by myself for most of the project, and it was nice to trust myself again," she said in a statement.

February 22, 2023: Kelsea Ballerini shares difficult memories of her marriage to Morgan Evans

Ballerini recalled painful moments that led to her split from Evans in an episode of the Call Her Daddy podcast.

"There were separations, there was years of couples therapy. There was like, many a night of sleeping on the couch," Ballerini said of her relationship. "I don't think it was the first night, but it was a night where I was like, this is not what I want."

Ballerini added that her marriage was filled with "such a sense of disconnection," and that she and Evans would go long stretches without seeing each other. "I was getting resentful because any time we did see each other, I felt like I was carrying that load, and I was tired," she said.

Elsewhere in the episode, the singer spoke about splitting assets. She recalled a phone call with her manager and lawyer during which she was told she would need to give Evans half of her house or pay him alimony.

"And I was like, 'Give him the house. I want out,' " Ballerini said.

Ballerini also revealed that one big point of contention between her and Evans was that he was eager to be a father while she didn't feel ready to have kids. "I was like, 'I'm not there yet, and I can't do that to save this and give you something that I'm not ready for,' " she explained.

The "Blindsided" singer then recalled telling Evans she wanted to freeze her eggs. "It was not a good day," she said. "And I think that was when I was like, there's a fundamental difference here that has happened, that has shifted."

February 28, 2023: Morgan Evans releases a docuseries about his breakup single "Over for You"

Evans released a five-part docuseries about the making of "Over for You," a single that details his divorce from Ballerini.

A press release explained that the docuseries "brings viewers backstage and back home where Evans grew up. After a year of planning and just weeks before shooting, Evans went through a divorce. That's when Evans sat down to write what he calls 'the song from my heart.' "

March 1, 2023: Source says Kelsea Ballerini is in a "much better place" after divorce

Ballerini is "right where she wants to be," a source told PEOPLE, adding that the country star is in a "much better place" after her "awful" divorce.

The insider went on to confirm that Ballerini "is dating, but doesn't feel any pressure to be serious" with Chase Stokes.

"She has fun with him," the source said. "They support each other's careers. She is touring right now and he has been to some of her shows. Otherwise, they see each other in L.A. where Chase lives."

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