Protector mode! Kelsea Ballerini’s mom, Carla Denham, got real about her daughter’s heartbreak — and how hard it was to watch — following her split from Morgan Evans.
When Ballerini, 29, separated from Evans, 37, in summer 2022, her mom had a front row seat. When their divorce was finalized in November 2022 — and the country songstress released her six-track EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat about her breakup in February — Denham once again was there to listen and guide her daughter.
“As she was sending me those songs when she would write them … I would just bawl,” the musician’s mom revealed during a Monday, February 27, appearance on the “Got It From My Momma” podcast. “The songs were hard enough to listen to, but I also know that it’s cathartic for her. That’s her way of processing hurt and pain. It’s to go write it — then it’s out of her.”
Denham revealed that the “Peter Pan” singer’s choice to also include six music videos that correlate to her six new songs made her even more nervous.
“I was thinking, ‘God, how are you gonna do that?’ I couldn’t do that — there’s no way,” she said. “If she had hired an actress to do that, it still would’ve hurt for me to watch it, but to watch her acting out what she really felt and experienced was just … it’s that blend between I’m in total awe, when she showed me the piece, and I just wanted to take her and put her in a plastic bubble and let’s just go away somewhere away from the world.”
Denham noted that the emotions Ballerini was able to portray in the videos, which are all pegged to her and Evans’ ups and downs before and after their divorce, was authentically her daughter.
“I watched that film and the pain on her face … I’ve seen that pain. It’s real pain,” Denham said. “That was a hard day for her.”
The “You’re Drunk, Go Home” songstress made headlines in August 2022 after she and Evans announced they split after nearly five years of marriage. Following their divorce, the Aussie crooner released his own breakup ballad, “Over For You.” In the November 2022 song he asked, “How long have you been breaking? / Why am I just finding out? / How long has it been over for you?”
It wasn’t until the new year, however, that Ballerini shared her side of the story with her new tracks. “I’m wearin’ the ring still, but I think I’m lyin’ / Sometimes you forget yours, I think we’re done tryin’,” she sings in “Mountain With a View,” which came out on Valentine’s Day. “I realize you loved me much more at twenty-three / I think that this is when it’s over for me.”
Later that month, Ballerini opened up about the split during a February 22 appearance on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast.
“Who you marry is not who you divorce. As he’s putting out a song about being blindsided, he’s taking half the house that he didn’t pay for,” she said, noting that the breakup wasn’t totally one-sided. “I was not perfect, he was not perfect, it was not perfect. And in the unraveling, that thing I ended up sharing with him, just saying like, ‘I need to own the last few years of like, I think, I checked out a long time ago and I need to let you know that.’”
Evans, for his part, documented the former couple’s downfall in his five-part docuseries, which was released on his YouTube on Tuesday, February 28. “When we started filming this as a tour docuseries last year, we had no idea it would end up documenting some of the most vulnerable parts of my life as an artist and a songwriter,” he said in the teaser.
The “Day Drunk” crooner’s dad, John Evans, sounded off on the tension during episode 3, revealing that his son’s choice to come home to Australia amid his and Ballerini’s ups and downs was good for him. (Some of the docuseries was filmed in September 2022, one month after the pair announced their split.)
“Everything’s blowing up and destroyed in his life. I think he needed to come home and feel like he’s a special person and everyone loves him,” John told the camera.
A source exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, March 1, that one of Ballerini and Morgan’s biggest “issues” stemmed from their “disagreement about having kids.” The Tennessee native “wasn’t ready” to have a family, while the “Kiss Somebody” singer had been “ready for a long time,” the insider explained, noting the friction over the topic was the “nail in the coffin” for the pair.
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The “Hole in the Bottle” singer, however, has since moved on romantically with Chase Stokes. The twosome sparked relationship speculation in January and later confirmed the budding romance last month.