‘I Felt Used’ – Billboard
Written by GRB on 22/02/2023
“If I’m being honest, I felt like that was really opportunistic for him to put that out when he did when we were still going through the legalities of getting divorced,” Ballerini said. “I felt really used in that moment. And again, his healing journey is his healing journey, I respect that. But publicly exploiting it feels a little nasty to me, before it’s final.”
The three-time Grammy nominee added that she was initially “so angry, so angry” after hearing the song. “I had a pretty good grasp on my grieving journey until that song came out and I was livid. I think that maybe there’s a world that he was blindsided. I did not blindside him. Two things can be true at once, and I think like if he truly was blindsided, then where was he?”
Shortly after news of the couple’s divorce went public in August 2022, Evans released “Over for You,” featuring the pointed lyrics, “How many times did you say you loved me when it wasn’t true?/ I’m just wondering how long has it been over for you?” The couple met when Ballerini was 22 and became engaged nine months later, on Christmas Day in 2016. Ballerini and Evans wed in 2017 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Ballerini revealed her own perspective on the relationship’s dissolution on her recent six-song EP, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, which was released on Valentine’s Day. The album’s handful of songs are littered with details of the couple’s crumbling marriage and the emotional wreckage left in its wake. In one song, Ballerini recalls sleeping on the couch and heading out to a big awards show separately from her husband. Elsewhere, she detailed how physical distance led to emotional distance.
In the new Call Her Daddy interview, Ballerini also said she wished she had released the album back in August, when the relationship was reaching the peak of its dissolution.
“I wish I would have had it in August,” she said. “I wish in August when I would have been like, ‘I’m blowing up my life, I’m doing it’ that someone would have had those six songs that I could have listened to, to like go through the intricacies of the emotions of everything you think your life is going to look like, it’s not.”
On Tuesday, in the wake of Ballerini’s media comments, Evans took to his socials, stating, “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. 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. All I ask is that if you’re on my pages, please don’t be mean. Don’t be mean to Kelsea, don’t be mean to each other. Life’s too short.”
Ballerini now says she’s moved on from the pain of hearing Evans’ song.
“Now we’re like months past it,” she said. “We’re moving on and I’ve taken the time to, like, actually sit in my feelings and go through that grieving process and take ownership of what I brought to the table too.”
Ballerini has recently been seen with Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes, also telling the Call Her Daddy podcast that the two met by Ballerini sliding into the actor’s DMs.
“I was ready to open back up,” Ballerini told Cooper. “I just felt, why not? I’ve never really dated; I don’t know how it works. I’m like, ‘Let’s just put ourselves out there — let’s just vibe.’ And it’s been fun.”
She added, “I’ve never seen his show, but I just knew of him, and I just swan-dove right on in. … His handle is @hichasestokes, and I said, ‘Hi, Chase Stokes.’”
She also added that she had not taken her ex’s feelings into consideration when moving on, because “I’m not married to him anymore and 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 anymore. I hope he is protected from whatever he needs to be protected from seeing — I hope he has people in his life that help him do that — [but] that is not my job.”