“It’s absolutely not something I thought I’d ever face. It all happened so fast. Losing my kids, I just remember falling on my knees and breaking down like every single day,” the Southern Charm star tells PEOPLE.
Dennis has two children — Kensie, 4, and Saint, 2½ — with ex and costar Thomas Ravenel, who was recently accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met on Tinder in 2015. Police in South Carolina are also looking into a similar claim made against the reality star.
In 2016, Dennis lost custody and entered rehab after she tested positive in a drug test.
Explaining what it felt like to no longer be with her children all the time, Dennis tells PEOPLE, “when you don’t have your children with you and they’re at such fragile, young ages, it just feels like part of you is not there.”
“Your heart is walking around outside of you and you can’t see them or talk to them. It’s out of your control but these are two humans who you gave life to. It’s just so unnatural and I can’t describe it in any other way. It’s probably one of the hardest things you can go through in life in general. It’s hard spiritually, mentally, and physically; you can just become drained by the guilt and shame,” she continued.
Luckily, Dennis has since “detached from all the negative things that have happened in the past” and is currently “at a place where I’m feeling so fulfilled.”
“I’ve got my kids in my life a lot more than in the past and I don’t know, that’s really all I need. I’m just in a good place,” she adds.
Although the reality star can’t go into details about the custody arrangement, she says the time she does spend with her children has taken on an increased significance.
“Time is very cherished, and I try and fill it with things that are meaningful and bond with them,” she explains. “You look at it differently when you realize it can be taken away.”
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Elaborating on what she and her children do together, Dennis says she enjoys dancing with her 4-year-old daughter, who loves putting on shows on their living room.
“She will start dancing and singing,” the mother of two says, adding that Kensie also loves country duo Florida Georgia Line.
“She’s very much a performer; she likes to be on display,” Dennis continues, adding that while she does join in on the fun, “it would probably be really embarrassing” if anybody actually saw her do it.
Meanwhile, her son Saint is “starting to get at an age where he can actually play with Kensie.”
“He was so small, and Kensie is very aggressive or rough, she has a lot of energy,” the reality star explains. “He’s at an age now where he can hold his own and they play off each other.”
Southern Charm airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.