"You almost black out in a sense of, like, you don't remember what you said, you don't know how you react to a situation, and you probably could have acted differently," Madison tells ET over video chat. "The fact that I used the word 'p***y' was so... I cannot. I'm so disappointed in myself for saying that, but I definitely meant the beta b***h comment, and I stand by that, thousand percent."
Yes, after calling Austen the p-word, she then told him he was a "beta b***h," as he walked away, refusing to speak to Madison. It's a moment teased in the season trailer; it all goes down at a party viewers will see in coming weeks.
"I was mad that he acted so differently than he does when the cameras weren't around," Madison teases of the heated exchange. "So, you know, he would be calling me or, you know, checking in and all these things, but then, as I'm at the party, I find out that he slept with this girl at this pool party, you know, days before that. So then I was just, like, what? This is bulls**t. Like, pretty much be honest. If you want to go do your thing, then don’t call me."
The tense day came after Madison officially called it quits with Austen, after three years of on-and-off dating and plenty of "I can't quit you" moments for the two. Their major breakup talk plays out on this Thursday's episode, which they filmed in late summer.
"He is not my boyfriend," she declares. "He still is a friend of mine. I have my thoughts on him. I think eventually it will all die down. I sometimes tend to look at my exes and think, what were you thinking? But hopefully that [day] comes, because I'm ready to go. I'm ready to close this chapter with him. I'm sick of the gray area."
In the episodes leading up to their big talk, Madison and Austen's friends and family peppered them with questions about whether they could actually last as a couple. Madison says hindsight is 20/20. Everyone seemed to know the relationship was done before Madison realized it.
The pair is still tethered to each other, even after their breakup. They run in the same social circle (and, of course, co-star on Southern Charm), and are still each other's "person," in a sense, as neither one has started dating anyone new since their split.
"I think that having that person that you call and you kind of download on your day, and just having that friend who you go out and have a good time, like, that's something that I'm going to miss, that we built together," Madison admits. "I'll miss being able to call him and, you know, he's always available."
Madison says having to quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic took the relationship to a "make it or break it" point and, ultimately, it broke. She realized Austen wasn't adult enough for her, or even for her 8-year-old son, Hudson.
"I was able to see what he did in a day and then I quickly realized it was, you know, bean bag chairs and Call of Duty," she quips. "I decided that was probably how it would be the [remainder] of the year and it just wasn't going to be something [I could put up with]."
"He doesn't have any responsibilities, but he should at 33 years old," she adds. "I just felt like we grew apart during that time."
In November, Austen told ET he still considered Madison to be his "soulmate." Madison does not feel the same way about her now-ex.
"I think that calling someone your 'soulmate' is like, you would do anything and compromise with that person to make it work," she explains. "I just think he doesn't know what that is yet. I do think he will always love me, and you know what? If I'm the one that got away, then I'm OK with living rent-free in his mind for the rest of his life."
Madison says she feels like she's done everything she possibly could to make the relationship work and won't give it another shot.
"One thing about me is, once I'm out, I'm out," she says. "I'll fight for anything that I care about until I’m not capable of doing it anymore. So, I do think that we tried all the tricks. Nothing seems to be sticking right now. I don't know what more you could do at this point. It would almost just probably be annoying, because I think I need to, just my space."
Madison says she's looking for a "grow-up" who can be her "hype man" in her next relationship, someone who can stand his own against the 30-year-old. That man is likely not co-star John Pringle, even though Madison's mentor, Patricia Altschul, has been trying to play matchmaker (without Madison’s knowledge) this season.
"I think that she just wanted me out of the toxic relationship that I've been in for so long," Madison surmises. "I think she's probably sick of hearing me b***h all the time."
"I definitely put him in the 'friend zone,' considering Austen and I had to figure things out," she notes. "I wasn't over him at that time. I don't know what's gonna happen, but as of now, John Pringle stays as a friend of mine. Just because we hang out does not mean that there was a relationship going on."
Austen teased to ET that he'll confront Pat about meddling in his relationship later this season. It's a cringe-worthy exchange according to Madison.
"I mean, if he wants to dig his own grave, then go ahead. Knock yourself out," she jokes. "I have to say this: Patricia has never done anything wrong to me, back towards me, made me feel anything other than welcomed in her house, or as a friend and I can't say the same for Austen. So unfortunately, you know, I'm siding with her on that."
"I can't rely on him," she adds. "I will rely on her, thousand percent."
Madison hopes the cast's reunion (which they film soon) will be the last time she has to talk about Austen, giving closure to the fans. But then, there’s always social media, where followers can ask more questions, like, why is Austen hanging out with Kristin Cavallari and commenting on all her posts?
"If he was actually dating her, I don't think he would be sending me song lyrics at midnight," Madison says. "She's a bombshell, like, I don't you know -- I know that they are friends. I think he's trying to get under my skin, which is fine. And, like, honestly? If he can pull her, go for it. Knock yourself out. I'd be shocked."
Kristin and her friend/Very Cavallari co-star, celebrity hairstylist Justin Anderson, visited Charleston, South Carolina, earlier this year and met up with Austen and Craig Conover. Madison says she was supposed to be there, too, but was undergoing breast enhancement surgery during their trip. From that, an Instagram friendship between Austen and the former Laguna Beach star was born.
"I just think it was just trying to get [a rise], get a comment out of me -- and he did," Madison notes, seeing as she commented back on Comments by Bravo's post of Austen's comment. The celeb comment-collecting account also noticed that Madison commented on a post by Kristin's soon-to-be ex-husband, Jay Cutler, tagging Shannon Ford, Kristin's one-time on-screen foe from Very Cavallari.
"I don't know Shannon in a sense of personal, like, we don't hang out or anything like that -- especially during this -- but there was a point where I was calling to invite her to Austen's party and things like that," Madison explains. "So, we talked via Instagram and, you know, she's an influencer and we would chat here and there, and I actually, I really do like her. I think I like her personality. I think she's great. So, I don't know. I wasn't trying to start any drama or anything like that."
There will be more drama to come for the Southern Charm crew, both on the show and off. While on a recent episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Madison revealed that Austen had sex with Craig's new girlfriend, Natalie, before she started dating Craig.
"The thing was, I did not drop that [bomb]," she says in her own defense. "Like, everybody already knew this going into it, when they started dating. Austen is the one who told me. So when I said that, I wasn't trying to throw Craig or his girlfriend under the bus."
"That was going to come out," she continues. "If you sleep with two of the castmates on the show and you think you're going to slide by without that, you're an idiot. … And if you can get past that, then by all means, knock yourself out."
Madison says she brought the information to the public because she finds the guys on her show to be a bit hypocritical, constantly talking about her relationship and not wanting any comments about their own.
"I'm definitely always going to stay true," she says of her "speak before you think" style. "I should probably just filter it, in a sense. I need to rein it in, but listen: When people try to attack me or anything like that, I'm ready for that. I can stand my own."
"I'm not trying to burn the house down or anything like that," she offers of how the season ends. "I just hope that everything is resolved and we can all move forward as adults and I doubt that's going to happen, but I'll keep my fingers crossed."