Kelsea Ballerini Reveals Details Of Her & Morgan Evans’ Divorce With Heartbreaking Short Film, ‘Rolling Up The Welcome Mat’

Ballerini also responded to ex-husband Morgan Evans’ track “Over For You” within the EP’s lyrics.

By

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 February 14, 2023

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Kelsea Ballerini, Photo Courtesy of Instagram

After dropping her 2022 Subject To Change album, Kelsea Ballerini returns with what is inarguably her most intimate release yet – an EP titled, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. The vulnerable six-track offering finds the singer/songwriter breaking up a fallen romance into chapters as she closes the door on a life she once knew and shared with ex-husband Morgan Evans.

The EP comes with a deeply personal new short film, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat. In the film, Ballerini gives fans a deeper perspective into her emotional romantic journey over the past few years as she goes through the process of dealing with the changes that come with starting over.

Ballerini carefully constructed Rolling Up The Welcome Mat as the writer and director of the film, working alongside director Patrick Tracy. She wrote three of the six songs solo and collaborated with Alysa Vanderheym on three more tracks. 

“I was writing by myself for most of the project, and it was nice to trust myself again,” Ballerini shares in a press release. “The only way I’ve been able to handle my life since I was 12 was to write about it. Ironically, I started writing music because my parents got divorced; that was my therapy. Rolling Up The Welcome Mat was how I processed everything. It’s the way I got my feelings out of my body and heart and put them to music, which is the purest way I could’ve handled it.” 

The 20-minute masterpiece, which debuted at Midnight on Valentine’s Day, comes nearly three months after she officially finalized her divorce from Evans.  

See below to find out more about Ballerini’s Rolling Up The Welcome Mat EP. 

Chapter 1 – “Mountain With A View”

The opening sequence of the short film begins with “Mountain With A View” – a song that finds Ballerini examining all aspects of her relationship. Ballerini knows her husband won’t be home anytime soon, so she makes her way to a dark, empty kitchen, overlooking a breathtaking view of the city. Despite the gorgeous view, she can’t help but feel lonely. 

I’m the only one at a table meant for two / Picture looks beautiful this morning, and I should be missing you / I should be missing you,” she sings, as she begins to realize she is ready to call it quits. “....I think that this is when it’s over for me / I think that this is when I cut the ties / I think that this is when I set myself free.” 

Chapter 2 – “Just Married”

In the second series of the 20-minute video, Ballerini becomes a silhouette dressed in a beautiful silk ensemble. She ruminates over everything she thought she once wanted in marriage as a man who plays the role of her husband only approaches her to add more weight to the relationship. Before she knows it, she and her husband are just two people living in one house. She no longer feels the heartwarming feelings of love, but rather someone with the title of being “just married.”

But I wasn’t made for fixing a plate or keeping our problems buried / I wasn’t strong enough to keep on with all of the weight that I carried / Yeah, it was love / Then it was just married,” Ballerini, who drops the Dec. 2nd wedding date in her song, sings over picking acoustics. 

Chapter 3 – “Penthouse”

Chapter 3 finds Ballerini and her significant other transitioning their lifestyle by living in a Penthouse on 8th avenue in Nashville. Over time, Ballerini can’t continue to drown out the problems they face. She is ready to move into her dream house and even shares how she and her husband don’t talk anymore. Ballerini acknowledges that the pair are only playing house in the penthouse singing, “We played the part five nights, but we were never there on the weekends, baby / We got along real nice, but when I left town, did you hate me?”

“I lived in a penthouse,” she says of her “Penthouse” inspiration in a press release. “The concept of a penthouse seems so glamorous, but it stopped feeling that way. I lost track of what was good in how I got there, and suddenly, I realized what you think isn’t always what there actually is.”

Chapter 4 – “Interlude”

“There’s a thin line between love and hate / And it was love, but it wasn’t fate / Now my momma’s asking if I’m okay / And the internet says I’m losing weight / This wasn’t how it was supposed to play out / So which side are you gonna take now?” Ballerini sings the lyrics in a 45-second interlude, which finds her taking a dip in a rooftop pool – perhaps a moment that signifies her cleansing her way to freedom. “‘cause people that I loved / Are just people that I knew once / Rumors going ‘round, but the truth is kinda nuanced / I wanna set it straight, but my lawyer says I shouldn’t / And ain’t it like this town to only criticize a woman / I’m blowing up my life, but I’m standing by the crater / I walk out on the stage and go cry about later / Good thing I’m good alone ‘cause that’s how I’ll sign the papers.”

Chapter 5 – “Blindsided”

The film segues into Ballerini, addressing the real–life issues she and her husband faced before their marriage led to divorce. Tossing and turning in a bed, she recalls the moments the pair sat across from each other in therapy, how they had to drink to find conversation, and the big fight they had in 2019 when “I slept on the couch and then the next night you put on your suit / I put on a smile and sang about how it’s okay to cry, dying inside.”

“Were you blindsided or were you just blind,” she questions throughout the track’s hook.

Chapter 6 – “Leave Me Again”

Ballerini closes her EP with the solo acoustic “Leave Me Again.” Appearing in a near-empty closet, she takes a place on the floor and abandons her wedding ring. As she picks up the guitar, she finds herself on a new journey in song, re-claiming the girl she once was. The song also plays as a farewell letter to her former loved one. 

I hope when I see you that you smile / I hope that you find somebody new / I hope that you get the house, and the good wife, and the kids / And I hope I never leave me again,” she sings to her ex-husband, wishing him well. 

Throughout the 20-minute short film and 6-song EP, Ballerini mentioned several details that are very specific to her marriage to Morgan Evans, including the date of their wedding (Dec. 2) and more.

Kelsea Ballerini shared the news that she and Evans were splitting up after nearly five years of marriage back in late August of 2022. Evans also shared the sad news of their divorce days after Ballerini, writing “I am very sad to confirm that after almost five years of marriage, Kelsea and I are parting ways. I wish it were otherwise, but sadly it is not.”

According to court documents, obtained by PEOPLE, Ballerini and Evans reached a divorce settlement in October of 2022, which unveiled details that the pair had “vacated” the home they shared in Nashville. The couple’s divorce was finalized in mid-November of 2022, on the same day Ballerini earned a GRAMMY nomination and picked up the keys to her dream home.

Ballerini’s rumored boyfriend, Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes, took to social media at the time of the release of Rolling Up The Welcome Mat to share a photo with Ballerini accompanied by a congratulatory message.

“So proud of you, your heart, & your beautiful soul. Congrats Kels,” Stokes wrote.

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes; Photo Courtesy of Stokes' Instagram Stories
Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes; Photo Courtesy of Stokes’ Instagram Stories

Kelsea Ballerini Will Soon Hit The Road

On Feb. 23 Ballerini will launch the UK leg of her HEARTFIRST tour, which comes in support of her fourth studio album, Subject To Change. The trek will visit Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, and London. Following the sold-out mini trek, Ballerini will return to the states for the US leg of the tour, with nine new headline shows across North America. The US leg of her Heartfirst tour begins on March 6 at History in Toronto, ON, and will wrap on March 18 in Pittsburgh, PA, at Stage AE. 

Later this year, Ballerini will hit the road with her longtime friend and musical hero, and “Half Of My Hometown” collaborator, Kenny Chesney, on the I Go Back Tour. The trek will visit 21 cities and will kick off on March 25 in State College, PA.

“Music has taken me so many incredible places,” Ballerini said. “Around the world, singing with some of my heroes in pop, alternative and contemporary music, but singing with Kenny is going home. He was the only voice I heard on ‘half of my hometown,’ and when he comes in, it’s just like hitting the Knoxville city limits. So to be able to go out to those cities like the place he and I grew up with an artist who’s accomplished what he has, it’s a lot like going home.”

Kenny Chesney, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo Courtesy of Ballerini Instagram
Kenny Chesney, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo Courtesy of Ballerini Instagram

For a complete list of upcoming tour dates, visit Kelsea Ballerini’s official website.

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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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