Kathryn Calhoun Dennis is committed to a sober life.
“It feels good,” the Southern Charm star gushes to ET. “I'm very proud of myself for the fact that, you know, one I did it and two, I can show [my cast mates] that I'm not just, like, an actual psycho or something. I'm just a normal person, just had a rough period.”
“It’s just become part of life at this point,” the 25-year-old says of being drug and alcohol-free. Last season on the Bravo series, Kathryn confused her co-stars when she ordered a margarita, which she claims she didn’t drink, while on vacation in Key West. Now, she says the controversy surrounding that moment was a bit of a wake-up call.
“To be honest, it made me feel like, OK. Went to rehab, now I'm gonna be like labeled 'addict,'” Kathryn shares. “I don't want to be labeled like that forever, and constantly questioned if I'm doing anything, even if I'm [just] seen at a bar.”
“I’d rather just not [drink] and not even have to worry about possible rumors,” she adds.
Kathryn says sobriety helps her to be “mentally, spiritually and physically healthy,” which has made her an all-over happier person. She says she feels like herself, finally.
“Viewers will get to see more of who I am,” she teases of season five. “It’s not just like, Kathryn is Thomas’ girlfriend. Kathryn and the rehab stuff. You know what I mean? It’s finally me, on my own … I’m doing my own thing. I’ve got a job. You get to see me in my own element.”
Part of that element is co-parenting with Thomas. After a years-long custody struggle, Kathryn says she and Thomas are finally in a good place when it comes to their kids, 4-year-old Kensie and 2-year-old St. Julien. Kathryn expects to officially have joint custody of the children later this year.
“Things are actually going really well between Thomas and I,” she says. “I feel like we're actually becoming friends in a way. Like, he calls me for advice. He talks to me about things that, ugh, I don't know why he's talking to me about that, but clearly he finds me someone he can confide in now. And then the kids, I mean, they're happy. We're happy and things are moving forward.”
Kathryn says she’s at peace finally knowing that she and Thomas are not in a relationship anymore, though she’s not ruling out getting back together with the father of her children in the future. The pair have been known to occasionally hook up while broken up, but Kathryn says she’s “not planning on that” happening anymore.
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Kathryn Dennis on Returning to 'Southern Charm' After Rehab (Exclusive)
“I'm not saying, oh my god, you know, I'd be interested in getting back together,” she notes. “I'm just saying, not ruling it out … can’t predict the future.”
The fact that Thomas has a girlfriend now might also be a reason why Kathryn has mostly written off reconciling. The 55-year-old former politician’s new love, Ashley Jacobs, will be featured heavily on the new season of Southern Charm.
“I was very much open to getting to know her,” Kathryn admits. “However I will just say, I got to know a few different versions of her and, yeah, things aren't that great, I guess.”
In the season five trailer, Kathryn is seen screaming “f**k you” at Ashley.
“What leads to it? Really her just crossing boundaries, as far as my role as a mother,” Kathryn teases. “Attacking that role, and she just crossed a line in so many different ways, several times, and that's just, yeah, my breaking point.”
As for her own dating life, Kathryn confesses that she is finally getting back out there and trying to meet someone.
“I actually am finally at a place where I am open to dating, and I have been dating,” she says. “Not exclusively, I'm just, like, meeting people, trying to figure out what my type is, because, clearly, I don't know, I don't have one. Yeah, so, I am dating and it's nice to finally feel open to that. Because for a while I was jaded and cynical and not interested at all.”
So, Kathryn’s dating checklist doesn’t quite exist yet -- but she does have one very specific requirement.
“Under 55,” she jokes, a not-so-subtle jab at her ex.
Southern Charm returns to Bravo on April 5, airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.