Entertainment TV Chase Stokes Talks New Season of 'Outer Banks' and 'Having a Good Time' with Singer Kelsea Ballerini The third season of the hit Netflix series Outer Banks premieres on Feb. 23 By Julie Jordan Published on February 8, 2023 09:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Chase Stokes. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/2021 MTV Movie and TV Awards/Getty Images Fans of Netflix's hit series Outer Banks can expect the upcoming third season to be "filled with surprises," according to star Chase Stokes. "I think they are going to be thoroughly impressed and relieved with certain things," the 30-year-old actor tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "And then other things are going to continue to keep them on the edge of their seat." Stokes — who portrays the leader of the Pogues crew, John B — says he is drawn to the character "because regardless of the obstacles that he faces, he's willing to take them head-on." "And he wears his heart on his sleeve a lot," he continues. "It's just a really cool narrative for young men to look at somebody who is flawed, who isn't always right and makes mistakes and learns from them and tries to grow as a young man and to a better version of himself every time." JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline Detail How They Handled Filming 'Outer Banks' After Split For Stokes, the highlight of working on the show for three seasons has been the camaraderie of the cast and crew. "We've had almost entirely the exact same group of people on and off camera since day one," he says. "So getting to go to work with familiar faces and people that you've shared this incredible journey with just continues to be the best part of this whole thing. I think that's what constantly keeps us going." The actor has also made his friendship with costar Madelyn Cline, whom he dated for more than a year before they announced their split in November 2021, a priority. "A long time ago, we agreed to always put the work first. So I think going into this next chapter, we just wanted to equally honor that promise," he says of Cline, 25. "Truth be told, she's an incredible actress. She's a lovely human being. And I'm over the moon and just super proud of the work that we've done over the past three seasons. I'm always going to root for her." As for the photo he recently posted on Instagram of him cuddling with country singer Kelsea Ballerini, Stokes insists the two "have just been spending some time together." He adds, "Kelsea is a lovely, lovely girl. She's great. We're having a good time." Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes. Chase Stokes/instagram Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Any downtime these days finds Stokes at home with his dog, Milo, and staying grounded. "I think one thing for me is this journey has not been a quick and easy one," he says. "I've been out in LA for a long time and I've been through a lot of trials and tribulations. Even prior to jumping into this industry, life was never really handed to me on a silver platter. So I know that it can all be taken away in the blink of an eye." "I try to walk through life with that mentality and make sure that everything that I do, I do it to the best of my ability and hopefully it resonates with the world," he adds. For more on Chase Stokes, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here. The third season of Outer Banks premieres on Feb. 23 on Netflix.