Carly Pearce Is “Very Proud” Of Kelsea Ballerini For “Turning Her Pain Into Art” Amid Divorce

“Kelsea was the first person in the industry I told I was filing for divorce, and I was one of the first people that she told,” Pearce recalled.

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Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on March 28, 2023

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Kelsea Ballerini, Carly Pearce; Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for CMA

Carly Pearce and Kelsea Ballerini are two female country music powerhouses who aren’t afraid to get vulnerable with fans and share their personal stories. Over the past few years, both stars have found themselves navigating the treacherous waters of highly publicized divorces.

In 2020, Pearce filed for divorce from fellow country artist Michael Ray after eight months of marriage. And, in August of 2022, Ballerini did the same thing, announcing her divorce from her ex-husband and fellow country artist Morgan Evans.

“Kelsea was the first person in the industry I told I was filing for divorce, and I was one of the first people that she told,” Pearce recalled while co-hosting the Country Countdown USA with host Lon Helton.

Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for CMT
Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for CMT

Throughout her healing process, Pearce was able to lean on Ballerini, who encouraged her to share her experience with others who may be suffering while going through the same situation. 

“What He Didn’t Do”

What unfolded was Pearce’s fearless 2021 album, 29: Written in Stone – a 15-track collection that finds the singer/songwriter turning her pain into purpose and documenting the emotions she went through in her recovery post-divorce.

One such song on the project is the No. 1 award-winning ballad, “What He Didn’t Do,” which masterfully depicts all the things – big or small – that an ex didn’t do in a relationship.

Recalling her time co-writing the track, Pearce shares, “I was writing with Emily Shackelford and Ashley Gorley, and Ashley asked me, ‘What did he do?’ And I said, ‘What didn’t he do?’ He said, ‘Sit down.’ We wrote it in 45 minutes. I called my mom and read her the lyrics. I knew when I left, it was an idea I had never heard that I felt needed to be heard. What’s fun is I can see it on the other side of the hurt. Now I have people come to my shows and ask if they can get over it, and I can now stand on the other side and say, ‘you’ll be alright.’”

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Kelsea Ballerini’s Rolling Up The Welcome Mat

Now that Ballerini is in the post-divorce recovery process, Pearce has been able to return the favor and offer an ear of support to the “HEARTFIRST” songstress, who has since released an album titled Subject To Change, which includes “YOU’RE DRUNK, GO HOME” – a collaboration with Pearce and Kelly Clarkson.

Ballerini has also chronicled her process of dealing with and overcoming divorce with a 6-track project and an accompanying 20-minute short film entitled Rolling Up The Welcome Mat.

Of Ballerini’s bravery to share her story with the world, Pearce says she couldn’t be more proud. So much so she is championing her friend for turning her pain into art. 

“It was this very weird, full circle moment,” Pearce acknowledged both artists’ parallel journeys. “I’m very proud of her. She’s turning her pain into art.”  

“It’s hard to go through things like this publicly, and she gave me a lot of confidence back when she didn’t even know that this was gonna be a part of her story, too,” Pearce added, according to Taste of Country. “So it’s been a really interesting full circle moment for me now to boost her up and tell her that she can do it. I’m proud of her for just laying it all out there and doing what she needed to do to get through a season of her life that’s very hard to do in the public eye.”

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Pearce and Ballerini have since moved on from their heartbreaking pasts, with Pearce now dating former MLB player Riley King and Ballerini having been spotted out with Outerbanks star Chase Stokes.

Carly Recently Concluded Her Time On The Road With Blake Shelton

Pearce recently wrapped up her time on the road with Blake Shelton as part of his Back to the Honky Tonk Tour. She is also in the process of planning new music releases.  

“Probably sooner than you think,” she says of the next set of songs. “I’m very excited. This album taught me not to be afraid to be me. Everybody thinks it’s going to be love songs because I’m in a happy relationship. But people will hear what’s been going on in the last few years for me. It’s a good time to be me, but I’ll never abandon my sad songs.”

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Kelsea Ballerini Is On The Road With Kenny Chesney

Ballerini, meanwhile, recently wrapped up another leg of her HEARTFIRST Tour. She is on the road as part of Kenny Chesney’s I Go Back Tour, which runs through May 27.

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Written by

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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