“People questioned him more than they questioned me. My friend Megan — I’ll never forget this — the first time she met him she pulled him aside and she said, ‘You have a lot more to gain from this than she does,’” the 29-year-old “Leave Me Again” songstress explained on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast on Wednesday, February 22. “I think we were in different places, you know, he’s nine years older than me and he was kind of restarting his career in the States. I was, like, digging my heels in.”
Ballerini and Evans, 37, wed in December 2017 after getting engaged within nine months of dating. Weeks after she filed for divorce in August 2022, he debuted an emotional breakup song called “Over For You,” hinting he was blindsided by the end of his marriage.
“I felt like it was really opportunistic for him to put that out when he did — when we were still going through the legalities of getting divorced,” the “Peter Pan” songstress told host Alex Cooper. “I felt really used in that moment. … His healing journey is his healing journey and I respect that, but publicly exploiting it feels a little nasty to me — before it’s final.”
Ballerini has since responded via a six-song EP titled Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, released on Valentine’s Day, which explains the former couple were in therapy and had been fighting for years before pulling the plug.
“Now, we’re, like, months passed it,” she explained. “I’ve taken the time to, like, actually sit in my feelings and, like, go through that grieving process and take ownership of what I brought to the table too.”
As she first revealed in the track “Penthouse,” Evans “got half” of the profits of their house in their divorce. Things getting “nasty” in the legal process had Ballerini reflecting on her friends’ past concerns.
“One thing he was so diehard about in the beginning was like, ‘I don’t want people to ever think I’m using you or riding any coattails or trying to get opportunities through you or anything like that.’ And I never felt like he did,” she explained. “To my core — even now, I have to believe that this man was purely just in love with me. Not artist me. Me me. And then we got divorced. And who you marry is not who you divorce. And as he’s putting out a song about being blindsided, he’s taking half the house that he didn’t pay for.”
Ballerini recalled a conversation with her lawyer and manager over the details of her prenup. She said Evans either wanted “half the house” or alimony — and she didn’t want to deal with public hearings to hash out the spousal support.
“[It made me feel] like s–t. It makes me not trust myself,” she noted. “How was I married to this person for this long and I had no idea that bit of character was tucked within this human being?”
“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,” he wrote via Instagram. “She knows I’m not the type of guy to speak on those things publicly. If this is what she needs to heal, I hope it helps.”