Some breakups are quiet, quick, and cordial, and some are messy, nuanced, and public. Country music artist Kelsea Ballerini‘s recent split with her husband of almost five years, Morgan Evans, was the latter. On Valentine’s Day, Kelsea Ballerini released Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, a six-song story and short film which detailed her divorce from the moment she knew it was over to what she hoped for them as they moved on separately. After the release, she posted on TikTok that she was going to be a guest on the Call Her Daddy podcast with host Alex Cooper to have one “sit down, in-depth, heart-to-heart conversation” about the record and after that, that she was going to “put it to bed and move on.” This conversation is honest and in-depth, and it outlines the “full spectrum of everything,” according to Kelsea.
Millions of people, whether they are fans of Kelsea’s music or not, are relating to her story and, TBH, are enamored by the drama of it since her now ex also released a country song titled Over For You about their split, which countered hers. Throughout the Call Her Daddy interview, Alex Cooper asks the hard questions to get to the bottom of what really happened between the two of them and what Kelsea is up to now, and of course, we listened to it in full—more than once. We are covering what we learned from Kelsea’s messy breakup including how to avoid ending up in a similar situation and ultimately move forward.
What We Learned From Kelsea Ballerini’s Divorce
1. Know who you are before committing to someone else
When Kelsea Ballerini met her now ex-husband, she was 22 years old and told Alex Cooper that she “thought she had it all figured out,” but she admitted that in hindsight, she lacked opinions on a lot of things and “was a mirror back” to whoever was in front of her. She led with her people-pleasing tendencies instead of leaning into who she was and what she really wanted. Her willingness to become whoever people needed her to be was “in the driver’s seat” of their relationship. Looking back, it’s clear that this is a red flag and no way to have a healthy, happy relationship.
We have all heard the saying “you have to love yourself before you can love someone else,” and this is a harsh reminder of that. What we can take from this is simple: Get to know yourself, stand firm in what you believe, and know the value that you bring to a relationship because otherwise, you are at risk of losing yourself in the midst of it all.
2. Honor your feelings
It’s easy to ignore a gut feeling that we don’t want to face, but in time, that feeling finds a way to take over, and in Kelsea’s case, it did. She tells her audience at the beginning of one of her shows that she has learned as she’s gotten older that “all we’re really in charge of is honoring our feelings,” and to “never dim down your happy and never shine up your sad.” There were many moments at the beginning of their relationship and throughout their marriage when she was more worried about “being of good service” or being a good wife rather than doing what made her happy.
This led to disappointment, lack of communication, disconnect in the relationship, and more. It becomes harder to put on a happy face when you’re pretending to be in a good place, so here’s the lesson: Don’t pretend. Honor your feelings and listen to your gut, because when you can do that, you’re way less likely to let anything bring you down.
3. Remember: your relationships should never be one-sided
I don’t believe in relationships being 50/50. Instead, I believe relationships should be 100/100. But unfortunately, from Kelsea’s perspective, her relationship with Morgan was incredibly uneven, with Kelsea putting in the majority of the effort. She told Cooper that she was “doing it all” which included scheduling anniversaries, sacrificing time with her own family so they could be with his, booking his flights for him to see her, and more. While it felt like she was just trying to help and be a good partner at the moment, it didn’t go unnoticed that she was the one trying to make it work. This led to her feeling depleted and in the end, a little resentful.
In any relationship, whether it be with a partner, family, or friends, it’s important that both sides are putting in the same amount of effort to maintain the connection. And if there is ever an uneven dynamic, it needs to be addressed instead of shoved under the rug to avoid a fallout.
4. You can’t make someone be on the same page as you
We can’t change people. It’s just a fact of life. But when you’re in a relationship with someone who is fundamentally different from you, that is a hard pill to swallow. According to Kelsea, Morgan wanted kids and didn’t want to “be an old dad,” and Kelsea wasn’t ready for that now or possibly ever. This disconnect served as one of the biggest (and last) realizations to Kelsea that they were just on two separate pages. While the topic of kids in a relationship is always complicated when there are opposing views, this is a lesson to all that you can’t force someone to be on the same page as you, no matter what subject you differ in. Sometimes people are on different paths and it’s no one’s fault, but the relationship might not see it through.
5. Lean on your girlfriends
What’s worse than a messy breakup? Not having anyone by your side to help you grieve it and see the possibility of the future. Kelsea noted that she “learned the value of female friendship” because of her divorce and that her friends are the reason she is happy right now. She added that her friends showed up for her even when it wasn’t convenient. Helping a friend through a breakup is no easy feat, so when you have friends that go out of their way to check in on you, make sure you’re okay, and vacation with you in Napa (thanks for the invite, Kels) to help you feel joyful again, hold on to them tight. This is also a reminder to always prioritize your friendships when you’re in a relationship because you will need them more than ever if things don’t work out.
6. Own how you show up in a relationship & learn from it
No one is perfect, and Kelsea admits that there were plenty of times when she could have shown up differently for herself and for her relationship. Looking forward, she is working on relearning what she brings to the table, how she should be contributing to a relationship, and what she should expect from another person as well. The only thing worse than going through something so complicated and sad is doing it all over again because you didn’t learn anything the first time. After a breakup, it’s crucial that you take a step back to learn from your mistakes—whether they are big or small.