Kelsea Ballerini opened up about her relationship with ex-husband Morgan Evans in a recent interview with Alex Cooper on the Call Her Daddy podcast on Spotify on Wednesday (Feb. 22).
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Ballerini, 29, talked through all of the couple’s ups and downs with the Australian country singer, 37, including going through multiple therapy sessions and separations. She even shared how she once slept on the couch the evening before she performed at the CMA Awards.
“There were separations, there were years of couples therapy. There was like, many a night of sleeping on the couch,” revealed Ballerini to Cooper. “I don’t think it was the first night, but it was a night where I was like, this is not what I want. I slept on the couch the night before the CMAs and I remember I went to rehearsal at the arena and texted him and him being like, ‘I’ll just see you at the carpet.'”
Starting from the beginning, the singer recounted how their relationship moved fast, which raised some concern among those closest to her. In 2016, Ballerini began dating Evans. The two were married in 2017, and Ballerini filed for divorce in August 2022.
“There was a ‘this is really fast’ undertone,” said Ballerini of the reaction to their marriage by friends and family. “But he’s a good guy, and he was really good to me, especially then. I think they wanted to see me happy. They also started to watch my life start to change, and they wanted someone with me that was more steady, so I didn’t have a go off the rails moment.”
She also revealed that she never wanted to get married since her parents had a divorce. “I think I got married because of my parents. I think I got divorced because of me,” she said. “And I think me choosing to get out of that marriage was me rewriting what divorce looks like and what it means.”
After the couple revealed their divorce in 2022 and were finalizing their marriage, Evans released the song “Over For You.” The track covers all the mixed emotions following the dissolution of a relationship —I would’ve let go if you wanted me to / How many times did you say you loved me / When it wasn’t true?
Evans releasing a song about their divorce caught Ballerini by surprise. “I had a pretty good grasp on my grieving journey until that song came out,” revealed Ballerini. “I was livid. I think that maybe there’s a world where he was blindsided, and I did not blindside him. … If he truly was blindsided, then where was he? And that’s the point.”
She added: “His healing journey is his healing journey, but to publicly exploit that feels a little nasty to me, before it’s final. Now we’re months past it. We’re moving on, and I’ve taken the time to actually sit in my feelings and go through that grieving process and take ownership of what I brought to the table, too.”
On Feb. 14, Ballerini released a surprise short film and EP, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. The project features a collection of songs reflecting on the end of their relationship, including the opening track “Mountain With A View.”
I’m wearing the ring still / But I think I’m lying / Sometimes you forget yours / I think we’re done trying / I realize you loved me much more at 23 / I think that this is when it’s over for me,” sings Ballerini through the biting lyrics.
“Here’s my healing journey,” Ballerini shared in a post, along with the reveal of her six-song EP. “Here’s my heart. Here’s my truth. I’ve never been this open. I’ve never been this bold, and I’ve never been this proud of my art.”
The 15-minute EP also includes the tracks “Just Married,” “Penthouse,” “Interlude,” “Blindsided” and “Leave Me Again,” which are all featured in the short film.
“I wish I would’ve had this in August ,” shared Ballerini of the track. “I wish in August, when I was like I’m blowing up my life, I’m doing it. I wish someone had had those six songs that I could’ve listened to listen to, to go through the intricacy of the emotions of everything that you think your life is going to look like.”
Ballerini also said in the interview that she believed her marriage took a turn when she told Evans she wasn’t ready to have kids. At one point, she even considered freezing her eggs. “That was something that we had talked about early on, and that was something that I was hanging on,” she said of the couple having children. ”He was ready. He was like, ‘I don’t want to be an old dad,’ is what he kept saying. And 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 also revealed details about the last time she spoke to Evans about their divorce in 2022. “It was beautiful,” she said. “We cried. We hugged. It was sweet, and then something changed and I haven’t talked to him since. After that conversation … everything shifted.”
When asked by Cooper if things got nasty after they talked, Ballerini said “yeah, it did.”
Things continued to go downhill during the divorce, according to Ballerini, when she was given the choice of giving Evans alimony or giving up the house they shared.
“As he’s putting out a song about being blindsided, he’s taking half the house he didn’t pay for,” added Ballerini. “[I] got on a call with my manager and my lawyer and they were like ‘He wants half the house,’ … and I just remember being on the phone being like ‘Can you articulate to me right now that I have a choice to either give up half of a house that I bought, and he contributed, but not equal, or stay legally in this marriage and have public alimony hearings indefinitely? And I was like give him the house, I want out.’”
In response to Ballerini’s interview, Evans shared a brief post on his social media pages.
“It’s really sad for me to see this person, who I spent so much of my life with, and loved with all my heart, saying things that aren’t reality and that leave out what really happened,” shared Evans. “She knows I’m not the type of guy to speak on those things publicly.”
Evans added: “If this is what she needs to heal, I hope it helps. All I ask is that if you’re on my pages, please don’t be mean. Don’t be mean to Kelsea. Don’t be mean to each other. Life’s too short.”
Moving past the grieving process, Ballerini, who has been romantically linked to Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes, said that her healing journey through the divorce is different from Evans’ process. “I think I grieved a lot of the marriage in the marriage,” she shared. “So I think I was ready to open back up. I just felt ‘why not.’ I’ve never really dated. I don’t know how it works. … And it’s been fun.”
She added, “You have to move on. Am I supposed to stay here and be sad forever?”
When asked if she was single, Ballerini paused and laughed before saying “no,” but didn’t share too much about her relationship or whether she was worried about Evans seeing her with someone else.
“I’m not married to him anymore, and I don’t need to care about his feelings anymore,” said Ballerini. “And I mean that with all the respect in the world, but his journey is not mine anymore. I hope he is protected from whatever he needs to be protected from seeing.”
She added, “I do want to be respectful… and everything is new for me—dating, being photographed with someone. It’s all really new, and I’m tip-toeing. And I’m happy. I’m really relearning a lot about myself and how I show up in a relationship and how I show up for myself. It’s been a really beautiful reawakening.”
Listen to Ballerini’s entire interview on Call Her Daddy HERE.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for ABA