Watch Carly Pearce Plant a Big Kiss on Boyfriend Riley King After Big Win at the CMA Awards
Not only did Pearce turn out a stunning performance of "Never Wanted to Be That Girl" with duet partner Ashley McBryde, but she was also named Female Vocalist of the Year, beating out fellow powerhouses McBryde, Gabby Barrett, Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris.
It was an emotional moment that was the culmination of a roller coaster few years for Pearce.
After going through a very public divorce from Michael Ray in 2020, Pearce was accompanied to the 2021 CMA Awards by a new boyfriend, Riley King. After her name was announced as the new Female Vocalist of the Year, cameras caught Pearce planting a big kiss on the former Major League Baseball player.
Thus far, the couple has been rather quiet about their relationship, with Pearce posting not much more than a few random Instagram Story photos of the two of them here and there. In recent days, however, leading up the CMAs, King has been sharing more snaps on his Instagram account, including an adorable selfie when they were in Houston together for Pearce to sing the National Anthem at World Series, Game 6.
Whatever happens in Pearce's personal life, it's nice to know that she got the night she deserved this year, professionally. In fact, her moment at the podium — in which she broke down, cried and was in utter disbelief — was a highlight of the ABC live awards show.
"I've had just like a crazy year and I just want you guys to know that this means everything to me," she remarked while accepting her trophy. "Country music saved me at a time that I needed it, and I just want you guys to know that this is all I've ever wanted in the entire world, and I just hope you know that country music is all I love, so thank you so much."