Kelsea Ballerini Makes Met Gala Debut With Shirtless Chase Stokes

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Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes made their Met Gala debut at the 2024 event on Monday evening (May 6).

The couple arrived at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City fit for the “Garden of Time” dress code. The theme of this year’s event and title of the Costume Institute’s new exhibit is “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” Ballerini walked the red carpet wearing a floral Michael Kors gown, complete with a flowing train and sheer cutouts.

“I think he likes it,” Ballerini said when iHeartRadio’s Emily Curl asked what her boyfriend, Outer Banks actor Stokes, thought of the singer’s look that evening. “I hope so because we’re here together. So, if he doesn’t, he’s a good actor,” she said as she playfully flipped a strand of her hair. “And he’s a good actor anyway.”

Stokes recently shared the “crazy story” of finding out he and Ballerini would attend the 2024 Met Gala. He told PEOPLE: “I had just flown from Morocco to Atlanta to do re-shoots for a movie with Netflix. It was a 26-hour travel day. I worked all day and then I had the next morning to do something. I was on the way to the aquarium with my girlfriend and we got the call. I was like, ‘Oh my God, we're going to the Met.’”

Ballerini and Stokes first began talking in December 2022, when the “HEARTFIRST” artist slid into his DMs on Instagram (she’s since shared the screenshot to prove it). They quickly sparked dating rumors when Stokes posted a photo sitting closely with Ballerini at the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 9, 2023. Ballerini confirmed the budding relationship in an interview the following month.

Since then, Stokes has already inspired some of Ballerini’s songwriting. Ballerini, who has teased her next full-length album following Subject To Change and Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, said she’s working on music that reflects the current chapter of her life. during a performance at the historic Grand Ole Opry in November, Ballerini welcomed Karen Fairchild and Hillary Lindsey to the Opry stage to deliver the debut live performance of the song they wrote together, “To The Men That Love Women After Heartbreak.”

“The reality is, I’ve been singing about a chapter of my life that is far past me now,” Ballerini said on the Opry stage, referencing the Rolling Up The Welcome Mat tracks that share her story of heartbreak and healing after divorce. “And I’m writing about the chapter of life that I’m in, and it looks very different, and I kind of wanted to share a bit of it now. I’m very gently and slowly starting to make the next record. I really want to take the time to handle it with care.”