The 30-year-old actor uploaded a PDA photo via his Instagram Story on Thursday, February 23, writing the abbreviation for “I miss you” in the caption alongside a red heart emoji. In the candid selfie, Stokes smiled at the camera as the 29-year-old country singer wrapped her arms around him and planted a kiss on his cheek.
Stokes’ sweet social media post comes shortly after Ballerini kicked off her Heartfirst tour overseas, beginning in Manchester, England. “I’m really happy to be here in the UK,” she captioned an Instagram photo dump earlier this week before her first show.
Ballerini and Stokes sparked dating rumors in January after they were spotted together at the College Football Playoff National Championship in Los Angeles. That month, eagle-eyed fans noticed that the Maryland native snuck a cozy photo with the Grammy nominee in an Instagram slideshow. The twosome were later spotted holding hands in Nashville.
After playing coy about her love life in the wake of her divorce from Morgan Evans, the “Hole in the Bottle” artist spoke publicly about where she stands with the Outer Banks star during the Wednesday, February 22, episode of the “Call Her Daddy” podcast.
“I slid into those DMs,” she teased, noting that her manager was the one to encourage the romance. “He shoots [Outer Banks] in Charleston, and my manager lives there. … He was like, ‘You know who’s really cute, like, when you’re ready? Chase.’ I was like, ‘You’re so right.'”
Ballerini joked that she “swan dove” into Stokes’ messages, revealing what she wrote to break the ice. “His handle is ‘hichasestokes’ and I just said, ‘Hi Chase Stokes,'” she said. “We’re manifesting, baby.”
The “Blindsided” artist and Evans, 37, announced their split in August 2022, with Ballerini filing for divorce the same month. The musicians reached a settlement in November 2022 — one month before Ballerini began talking to Stokes.
When asked whether she was concerned about her ex-husband seeing photos of her out and about with the Netflix star, Ballerini was brutally honest. “I’m not married to him anymore,” she said on the podcast. “I don’t need to care about his feelings anymore. I mean that with all the respect in the world, but his journey is not mine. I hope that he is protected from what he needs to be protected from seeing … [but] that is not my job.”
While she referred to herself as a “relationship bitch,” the “What I Have” singer asserted that she’s simply having fun with Stokes — and isn’t sure she sees another marriage in her future. “Right now, I would say I don’t think I will get married again,” she said. “I love the idea, again, of partnership … but I don’t know if I believe in the legality of it all anymore. I think if you want to be with someone, it should be a daily choice.”
The Tell Me Your Secrets star, for his part, has openly praised Ballerini amid their budding romance. “She’s an incredible human being,” he gushed to Extra earlier this month. “I adore her to death.”