"I just listened and did whatever I was told," Kathryn Dennis says

By Jodi Guglielmi and Dave Quinn
May 30, 2019 01:15 PM

When Kathryn Dennis entered rehab in 2016, she got a fresh start — in more ways than one.

Shortly after giving birth to her second child with Thomas Ravenel, Dennis lost custody of the kids and entered rehab after she failed a drug test, testing positive for marijuana.

The Southern Charm star says during her time in treatment, she realized the toll her often volatile relationship with Ravenel had taken on her.

“I didn’t really realize what all had gone on or not gone on until after the relationship was over and truly,” she says in this week’s issue, on stands Friday. (The interview took place April 30.). “I had time to reflect and I actually feel the emotions.”

“I felt like I had been under control,” she adds. “I just listened and did whatever I was told.”

Credit: Kathryn Dennis/ Instagram

Dennis and Ravenel share daughter Kensie, 5, and son Saint, 3. And when she left rehab, she says her only focus was on getting her kids back.

“When we met and came up with the [custody] agreement, I literally agreed to every single thing he wanted because that was the quickest route to seeing my children,” she says. “I didn’t care what I had to do.”

  • For more on Kathryn, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday
6/10/2019 cover featuring Alex Trebek
Credit: Ramona Rosales

Dennis has since earned back 50/50 custody. In October, she filed documents in Charleston seeking to obtain primary custody of the two children after Ravenel was arrested and charged with assault and battery in the second degree. Ravenel has denied all the allegations.

Kathryn Dennis with kids Saint and Kensie
Credit: Allison Michael Orenstein

“Staying sober, putting 100 percent into being the best mom, and learning the court system got me to an even playing field,” she says. “No matter what your struggle is, you really will do anything to protect your children.”

Southern Charm airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.