A source tells PEOPLE Thomas Ravenel and Kathryn Dennis' children are perfectly healthy
Despite Thomas Ravenel‘s claim that his two children with Kathryn Dennis have “developmental and behavioral problems” because of her alleged drug and alcohol use, a source tells PEOPLE the children are happy and healthy.
The Southern Charm stars share daughter Kensington Calhoun, 4, and son St. Julien Rembert, 3, and are fighting over custody.
“A lot has been made about Saints’ development and behavioral problems, but the only issue Saint has are tubes in his ears,” the source tells PEOPLE explaining that his speech was delayed as a result. “His eustachian tubes weren’t draining, so he had his adenoids out and needed tubes in his ears — like lots of little kids his age who have that same problem.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, ear tubes are one of the most common surgeries performed on children in the United States and are often recommended for children who have persistent fluid buildup behind the eardrum.
“The hearing deficits can cause a speech delay. It’s not unusual at all, and he regularly sees an ear nose and throat doctor for it,” the source adds. “One can be developmentally delayed and not have a developmental problem. He’s just a little boy.”
And while things between Ravenel, 56, and Dennis, 26, remain contentious, the mom always makes her kids her first priority, a second source tells PEOPLE.
“She wants them to be happy; she wants them to be safe. She really does have their best interests,” the second says. “She was the one who wanted them to see a therapist — to get help, and get counseling.”
In a statement, the former politician’s attorney Kelley Dupre Andrews-Edwards tells PEOPLE, “Mr. Ravenel’s counterclaim against Ms. Dennis is a verified pleading, meaning he swore under oath as to the truthfulness of the allegations made therein. No attorney would counsel their client to verify a pleading unless evidence existed at the time of filing to substantiate his or her claims. Mr. Ravenel’ s sole concern is and always has been the safety and wellbeing of the parties’ children.”
In a new legal filing, Ravenel accuses Dennis of drinking and using drugs while pregnant with their son and alleges that their daughter has issues as well.
“The parties’ oldest child, K.C.R., has developmental and behavioral problems that have required intensive therapy. Father is informed and believes these problems are the result of [Dennis’] lack of bonding with K.C.R. during infancy. … The parties’ youngest child, S.J.R., has developmental and behavioral problems that have required intensive therapy. Father is informed and believes that these problems are the result of Mother’s drug and alcohol consumption while S.J.R. was in utero,” the documents stated.
Dennis’ attorney could not comment.
In a statement, Ravenel’s attorney told PEOPLE they “cannot comment as to the substantive matters of this litigation. However, in regards to the remarks that my client’s allegations are ‘defamatory,’ such allegations do not constitute defamation if they are, in fact, true. Such truth will reveal itself, properly, and in due time, before a court of law.”
Dennis, 26, previously lost custody of the kids and entered rehab in 2016 after she tested positive for marijuana and failed a drug test. (Years earlier, Ravenel went to a 30-day rehab program himself; he served 10 months in federal prison after being indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2007 on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine.)
In 2016, Ravenel was awarded full custody, but Dennis has since earned back 50/50 custody.
In October, Dennis filed documents in Charleston seeking to obtain primary custody of the two children, and on Nov. 6, Ravenel filed a counterclaim.
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“As [Dennis’] time with the children has increased under their visitation plan, Ravenel alleges that he “has observed marked regression in the minor children’s therapeutic progress,” the new documents stated.
“The minor children have developmentally regressed since [Dennis] has assumed 50/50 time with the children, as evidence by … [Dennis’] failure to help potty train the parties’ youngest child and continuing to feed the youngest by bottle instead of a cup,” he further claimed in the documents.
Meanwhile, Ravenel has his own legal issues. In September 2018, he was arrested and charged with assault and battery in the second degree after a woman who worked as his children’s nanny accused him of sexual assault. A judge found probable cause for a trial, though a date has yet to be set.
Ravenel denied the allegations through his lawyer at the time, as well as a separate sexual assault accusation from a woman he met on Tinder in 2015.
“My client enjoys a certain degree of fame, which has unfortunately made him a vulnerable target for such claims,” Ravenel’s late attorney, Richard P. Terbrusch, told PEOPLE in a statement after the allegations. “The person this woman describes is simply not the man that I know. My client is a loving father, successful businessman, and upright member of the community. He is appalled and hurt by these allegations — and is committed to defending his reputation in the appropriate legal forum.”
Ravenel is not returning for the next season of Southern Charm.