Chase Stokes’s Letter to Girlfriend Kelsea Ballerini Will Make You Shed a Tear

The country singer was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s 2023 Entertainers of the Year.
Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini

Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini.

Singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s 2023 Entertainers of the Year, and to celebrate, the publication asked her partner, actor Chase Stokes, to share some heartfelt thoughts on her success. And to read through the full letter, you may need some tissues at the ready.

The 30-year-old Tennessee native released her EP, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, in February, along with a short film of the same name that detailed her divorce from fellow country singer Morgan Evans.

“Sometimes, especially in this industry, we just naturally put on a mask because it’s scary to be vulnerable and to be soft with the world, and I think this year, in particular, she found that being soft and being present and being vulnerable has allowed her to grow and has allowed her to heal,” Stokes, 31, wrote of his girlfriend. “It’s allowed her acceptance, it’s allowed her a little bit of calm throughout a storm in her life, and I’ve learned a lot from her in watching her stay soft.”

The two have been dating since last December, when Ballerini slid into Stokes’s DMs with a simple and sweet message. They’ve quickly become a beloved power couple and regularly show their love for one another on social media.

“She literally is the best person on planet earth,” the Outer Banks star continued. “Every day together is either a comedy show or a life talk that I didn’t know I needed to have that ended up being something I’ll never forget. I just love the girl to pieces and I’m so f------- proud of her.”

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Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.