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Kathryn Dennis finally feels like a grown-up.
The mom of two has had to do a lot of growing up in the public eye on Southern Charm, but now, she hopes, people finally see how far she’s come since her first appearance on the Bravo hit.
"I’m just living my life," the 27-year-old tells ET. "I am not a product of a relationship. I’m not someone’s girlfriend. I’m not dealing with anyone else’s life, per se. I’m just able to live my own, show the people the real me, at the very root of it, you know? Return to my roots and that, in and of itself, feels liberating and makes me very proud. So, I’m not perfect by any means, I might still get a little crunk, but I definitely grew up a lot."
Kathryn invited ET inside her home for a look at her life, and a tour, which you can watch above. The reality star is currently renting a three-story, three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom historic house in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, valued at $1.5 million as she figures out where she’d like to really plant her roots. The star plans to build a "forever home" in the Charleston area for her and her children, 5-year-old Kensie and 2-year-old Saint.
"I am renting this house month-to-month, but it does give off a feeling that I’ve earned this space of my own," she admits. "I’m not living under someone else’s rules -- aka 'decorating' -- and it makes me feel really proud. I’ve worked hard to get where I am. You know, I see them happy in this space and it makes me... I don’t know, just feel complete. I know it sounds cliché."
Kathryn shares Kensie and Saint with former Southern Charm co-star Thomas Ravenel, who exited the series after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him surfaced, including an alleged rape in 2015. Thomas has denied any wrongdoing. A month after leaving the show, Thomas was arrested and charged with assault and battery in the second degree, stemming from the alleged rape. Thomas has yet to enter a plea and awaits trial.
Kathryn says she's "purged" her life of 70 percent of her belongings, including 100 percent of the clothes, jewelry and gifts Thomas gave her over the years as part of her "fresh start" in the new house.
"I just don't want that in my life now, you know what I mean?" she offers. "I'm in a new place and I just, I don't know ... it's actually made me a lot happier."
The fact that the former politician faces potential prison time is a key part of Kathryn’s story on season six of Southern Charm. The pair is also in the midst of figuring out a new custody agreement, with Kathryn reportedly seeking full custody of the children.
"The tough part of watching it back is that, when it did happen, it was such an emotional roller coaster that I feel like my brain could not handle it," Kathryn admits. "Like, it compartmentalized things, and I put a lot of it kind of in the back [of my mind], not thinking about it. So, it's gonna be a lot of reminders of just those feelings I went through... I didn't know how to feel. I mean, it's not an everyday situation, I suppose. But it is what it is, and I've learned to accept that way of thinking in all aspects of my life, I suppose. But yeah, it's very different this year."
One thing that’s consistent for Kathryn is her sobriety. She has been clean since going to rehab in 2016.
"I stay out of a lot of the things I used to do, obviously, which is the social events, the silly parties and what not," Kathryn says, of staying sober. "I spend a lot of time at home, and I try to make my home feel like my sanctuary."
"I am really so numb to all the craziness outside of me, that I live in the perfect little bubble," she continues. "I can’t ever really put my finger on how, I guess the easiest way to describe it is, my children, every time I look at them and when I’m not with them I just scroll through photos on my phone like a weirdo."
"I could talk in circles about it, but really it’s my children," she says.