The eldest daughter of Todd Chrisley announced her split exclusively to PEOPLE Wednesday, explaining that the two simply grew apart.
“He was my first love. We got together when we were 19 years old, and over time we grew separately in different directions instead of together,” says Lindsie, now 26. “I feel like I’ve become more independent, I’ve come more into myself, I’m more confident with myself and I just don’t feel that relationship gives me what I need anymore. I’ve outgrown the relationship.”
“I hope in the future that he and I can be great friends,” adds the reality star. “He still holds a special place in my heart. I still love him, always and forever. I have nothing negative to say.”
Lindsie and her ex share 3-year-old son Jackson together, and the star maintains their child is their primary focus.
“We’re not fighting – unfortunately it is what it is, and we truly just want to come together and make it the best situation for our child and families and move forward with our lives,” she says.
The former couple’s decision to elope for their January 2012 wedding created waves among the Chrisley family, particularly with Lindsie’s father Todd, 47.
Over the years, Campbell has been largely absent from the family’s reality show, Chrisley Knows Best, and Lindsie reveals the two actually separated for some time two years ago.
“We had a little time apart, then we got back together in the hopes that we could make it work for our child,” Lindsie says. “But we realized that two people that are not happy with one another and trying to make it work just for the child and not for themselves personally – that’s not in the best interest of the child, or either of us.”
Campbell will be featured on Chrisley Knows Best this season in an attempt to rebuild his relationship with Todd and the rest of the Chrisley family, and the show will also touch upon the divorce later in the season. Though the efforts didn’t ultimately save their marriage, Lindsie says she doesn’t regret it.
“I take nothing negative from that experience because that’s where I was at the time,” she says. “I feel like I had been struggling with this decision for a long time, and I didn’t want to make an immature decision on the spur of the moment.”
Lindsie admits that Campbell’s relationship with her family “wasn’t where it needed to be,” though she says both she and her ex share the blame for that.
“I did have hope that with him being around my family and maybe being able to come to some kind of relationship, especially with my dad, that would maybe spark a little bit of interest or fire, and unfortunately that didn’t happen,” she says.
Now, Lindsie says Campbell and Todd are “in a much better place” and have reached “an understanding and both respect each other” – which is all in Jackson’s best interest.
“We are all going to be a part of Jackson’s life no matter what, so that’s the most important thing: to all be able to come together and wrap our hands around him and let him know that he is loved and that this is an unfortunate situation but that we’re going to get through it,” she says.
Indeed, Todd maintains the family bears no ill will towards Campbell and is focusing on Jackson.
“Going through a divorce myself, and Lindsie being a product of divorce, the conversations that she and I have had have been solely geared on how to protect Jackson and to let him know that his circle of love is just going to become larger,” Todd tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“I don’t have anything bad to say about Will. I think that Lindsie and Will got married very young, not with our approval, but with that being said, he has been a very good dad to my grandson,” adds Todd. “He has been a very good provider and there has been no kind of anything going on in their marriage that I would tolerate, that Lindsie would tolerate or that Will has done that anyone could twist. He is a decent young man, and our family will always stand with him for the betterment of our grandchild.”
Lindsie has been leaning on her family for support and says they have “all come together in different ways with this situation.”
Of her father, whom she considers her rock, Lindsie says: “He’s been there for me for 26 years. That’s my closest, longest, strongest relationship.”
“My grandmother has been a source of comfort, and my sister [Savannah] understands things from a young female perspective,” Lindsie adds. Her brother Chase, meanwhile, has been helping her “get in tune with my emotions,” and she’s also been in constant communication with mom Julie.
“I talk to her for hours every day, just about everything that goes along with going through a divorce,” says Lindsie. “She’s been there every step of the way and I’m so thankful for it.”
At the end of the day, Lindsie just wants to move forward with her life and close this difficult chapter.
“[Will and I] came to a mutual agreement and understanding that this wasn’t going to work for us – but what we can do is promise each other that we will make the best situation for our child, co-parent and move forward the best way we know how,” she says.
Chrisley Knows Best airs Tuesdays (10 p.m. ET) on USA Network.