How Southern Charm's Kathryn Dennis Will Explain Her Drug-Riddled Past to Her Young Daughter
"It's really interesting to navigate having those conversations with children. It really is odd," Kathryn Dennis tells PEOPLE
Kathryn Dennis is loving her life as a mother of two.
“Things are great. I’m at a place where I’m feeling so fulfilled,” Dennis tells PEOPLE.
“I’m not quite sure what other word really captures what I’m trying to say. 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. I’m detached from all of the negative things that have happened in the past and I can be objective about everything now and that’s super liberating. I’m doing well,” she shares.
Throughout the past four years, Southern Charm audiences have watched Dennis battle a roller-coaster of highs and lows — including a lengthy custody battle with her ex Thomas Ravenel, with whom she shares daughter Kensie, 3, and son Saint, almost 18 months. In 2016, Dennis lost custody and entered rehab after she tested positive in a drug test.
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Since completing rehab, Dennis is sober and has reached a custody agreement with her ex, who was recently accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met on Tinder in 2015. (Although the reality star can’t go into details about the custody arrangement, Dennis says she has “a lot more time” with her kids now.)
Though Dennis and Ravenel’s children are still young, she realizes that the drama of her past will one day need to be explained to her offspring.
“It’s difficult because [Kensie’s] so young and I can’t explain it. I don’t know the right way to explain things … and I’m thinking in my head Oh my God I don’t want her to think ever that I don’t want her.”
As for sharing custody, “I say ‘Kensie, I love you so much, but your daddy loves you so much too, and that’s why he wants to spend time with you, and I do, too. You’re loved so much. You’re lucky you have two houses, because most kids only have one.’ I spin it that way for now,” she says.
“I don’t know well she understands it necessarily but I try and just keep it simple, vague and let her know that she has two parents that love her and we both want to spend time with her. It’s really interesting to navigate having those conversations with children. It really is odd,” Dennis continues.
While Kensie is still too young to understand her mom’s addiction, Dennis assures that she “absolutely” will have a discussion with her daughter when she’s at an appropriate age.
“Maybe when she’s 8 or a lot older she’ll definitely pick up on things, because like Thomas and I are on the Internet talking about things. I’ll explain it to her as best as possible, but in a way where it’s preparing her for the world because I wasn’t prepared,” she says.
WATCH: Southern Charm’s Thomas Ravenel Accused of Sexual Assault, Allegedly Paid Accuser $200,000
Despite Dennis and Ravenel’s contentious history, she wants to leave the past behind her and hopes that her children will only have positive relationships with both of their parents.
“My ideal scenario is for my children to have both their parents in their lives and for the relationship with Thomas to be based on simply that we are indeed mother and father to these two children and that’s the only important thing. Therefore, we should just communicate on the basis on ‘Hey, I don’t have any feelings toward you, whether good, bad, whatever, it’s strictly about the kids at the end of the day,” she says. “It’s the only thing that’s binding us in life, and that’s why it’s most important.”
“I want to get to a place where that’s the only focus. Who am I to say a child doesn’t deserve to have their mother and father in their lives? That’s not up to me, that’s up to God,” Dennis adds. “I’m just going to stay on my path because I’m doing really well and hope the same for everyone else in my family.”
Southern Charm airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.