Chase Stokes was every bit the proud boyfriend watching Kelsea Ballerini's headlining arena hometown show in Knoxville, Tenn. last Thursday (Nov. 1).

Speaking to People, Stokes admits that he "cried the whole time" watching Ballerini's performance, explaining that he knew just how much it meant to her to play that particular stage, for that particular group of fans.

"I'm still recouping from how loud it was," the Outer Banks actor jokes. "For her to go back to her hometown and to sell out an arena, like that stage — it was the coolest thing."

Even more special was the fact that Ballerini got to be surrounded by family and friends as she performed. "Her mom was there ... her family was there," he continues. "It's a magical moment when you see somebody who at 12 years old wanted to have this dream and then to go back to her hometown and do exactly what she set out to do — I mean, there's no way to be more proud."

Ballerini has also been clear with fans how much the headlining show meant to her, as a Knoxville-area native and a singer whose hit single "Half of My Hometown" ruminates on the experience of having a complicated, emotional relationship with the place where you grew up.

She performed "Half of My Hometown" during the show, complete with a special surprise for the audience: Her duet partner on the studio recording, Kenny Chesney, came out onstage to sing it with her. It was an especially meaningful team-up, since Chesney is also a Knoxville native.

Ballerini and Stokes have been romantically linked for nearly a year, and from the looks of it, things are getting serious: They got matching tattoos last month.

Kelsea Ballerini & Chase Stokes Sizzle in Matching Red VMAs Looks

Kelsea Ballerini and Chase Stokes hit the red carpet at the 2023 VMAs, and they really looked good!

Gallery Credit: Jess

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