Wynonna Judd Reveals Advice She Gave Kelsea Ballerini Amid Divorce From Morgan Evans

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMT)

Divorce is a tough road to travel, even for award-winning country music stars. Thankfully, when Kelsea Ballerini made the decision to divorce her husband of five years, Morgan Evans, she had plenty of friends to lean on, including childhood heroes such as Shania Twain and Wynonna Judd.

During a recent press conference in promotion of The Judds: Love Is Alive – The Final Concert, Wynonna Judd shared the heartfelt advice she gives up-and-coming country stars, specifically mentioning Kelsea Ballerini and the difficulties of divorce.

“I tell them what I don’t do and what I do. I tell Kelsea — because she’s walking an interesting road right now — to make sure that she has people around her to tell her ‘no’. In other words, honesty,” Judd recalled. “Get a good lawyer. For God’s sake, save your money. I have wasted so much time worrying about the things I have no control over.

“I just tell her my story,” Wynonna Judd continued. “And I think that’s what we’re supposed to do, tell our stories. In recovery, we don’t tell people what to do. We give you our story. We learn from our mistakes or unhealthy choices.”

“I’ll tell Kelsea, ‘This is what I did when I got a divorce and it didn’t work,’” she explained. “When you say the word mentor, I take it very seriously. Because there are several women that I’m mentoring by telling them, ‘Please don’t do that because I did and it really cost me a great deal of energy and time that I can’t get back.’”

Wynonna Judd Talks Passing the Torch to the Next Generation of Stars

For Wynonna Judd, sharing the stage with artists as young as Kelsea Ballerini, a person half her age, is simultaneously bizarre and wonderful. Though passing the torch to the next generation of artists is a surreal experience, she wouldn’t have it any other way. Just as Wynonna was handed the keys to the kingdom at Kelsea’s age (actually, she was even younger than Kelsea Ballerini at the time), so must she help usher in the newest era of country music.

“[Kelsea] wasn’t even born when a lot of my songs were out, and that’s weird as heck,” Judd said. “And I’m looking at her, and she’s singing some of the Judds deep cuts. She knows the words, and I’m going, ‘woah,’ because they know my stuff, and they’re young. And they’re taller and thinner and cute as hell.”

“And it’s really humbling to look over, and I looked at Kelsea, and she threw off her stilettos,” she continued. “Who the hell sings in stilettos anymore? These young people, right? And I’m barefoot, and I’m marching around the stage, and she just kicked off her shoes, and we got down on the same level, and I thought, ‘This is what country music is supposed to be,’ where the… elder artists are communicating with the next generation of greatness.”

“And that is key, having just lost Loretta Lynn,” Wynonna Judd concluded. “I think about all the artists that won’t know this woman’s music. So I’m still here, and I take it very seriously. It’s my chance to teach her, and we went back in the dressing room, and Kelsea and I did my first TikTok, which was like, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ But it made sense somehow. Because it’s a trade-off, right? It’s so weird.”