Carly Pearce and Kelsea Ballerini are close friends, but in a new interview, Pearce admits she had a very negative reaction the first time they met. In an interview with SiriusXM radio host Storme Warren for his podcast, Pearce reveals why she "hated" Ballerini at first.

At first glance, one might assume that Pearce and Ballerini would’ve been fast friends: an easy friendship between two women trying to make it in the same world. The two have toured together, Ballerini has been very vocal about praising Pearce’s work, and Pearce even leaked that she was hoping to collaborate with Ballerini recently. But while the pair are great friends now, they began their relationship on rocky ground.

Pearce and Ballerini met at a group therapy session that was specifically for artists, and as Ballerini began to open up about what was going on in her world — her recent success at the time included landing a record deal — something unexpected began to nag at Pearce. She was jealous.

“I hated her,” Pearce remembers. “I literally looked at her and was like, 'This girl is like five years younger than me. She’s so happy and not jaded and, like, innocent.'”

Pearce had a choice to make: She could keep what she was feeling to herself and try to work through it on her own, or she could open up and be honest about how she was feeling. Fortunately for all involved, she chose the latter.

“I remember crying in that meeting and being like, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing,’” says Pearce. Because she was open and honest, what could’ve been the beginning of a rivalry instead became the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

“Kelsea and I became friends in that, in that meeting; we aligned because I was honest," Pearce says. And since that day, the two have only grown closer.

“She then goes on to bust down a lot of doors for people like me," Pearce tells Warren. "And she took me on tour and I didn’t even have a record deal. She took me on as her opening act. And because I was honest with her in that, not knowing what I was doing, she would let me ride her bus because she wanted me to be able to sleep and not drive in the 12-passenger van … I mean, like, so many moments, so many people have given back to me or taken a chance on me or just shown me love.”

These days Pearce is enjoying the same success she found herself envious of in that first meeting, and thanks to her honesty in the moment, she’s enjoying her friendship with Ballerini as well.

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