Todd Chrisley Opens Up About 'Emotional Battle' With Estranged Daughter Lindsie Amid Her Divorce (Exclusive)

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Todd Chrisley isn't holding anything back amid his family's legal troubles and strained relationship with daughter Lindsie.

ET exclusively spoke with the Chrisley Knows Best star in Nashville, where he and his wife, Julie, came ready to talk for the no-holds-barred interview. "We haven't sat down with anyone. You're the first interview we've given since all of this," Todd told ET's Rachel Smith. "We placed no parameters on this interview. We said, 'Ask us whatever you want to ask us.'"

As a family with a reality TV show, the Chrisleys' private lives are constantly making headlines, and Lindsie's announcement regarding her divorce from Will Campbell last month was no exception. Lindsie left the show in 2017, but has continued to give fans updates on her life via social media.

"I received a text message from Lindsie about two weeks ago," Todd said, when asked if he has heard from his estranged daughter since news of her divorce. "I turned that over to our attorneys because we don't feel that it's safe to communicate. Every time that I've done that it's been twisted and turned, and in the position we're in, we can't run that risk."

"I am sad about the situation. I'm sad that my daughter chose to make decisions that she's made in her life," he continued. "But when you get married, marriage is supposed to be forever and you're supposed to have a commitment to each other."

Todd and Julie -- who deny any wrongdoing -- also gave an update on legal matters surrounding their family. The couple was cleared on the state level in 2019, but are still facing a 12-count federal indictment including tax fraud claims. "We're still working through that process," Todd told ET.

Todd and Julie previously accused Lindsie of turning them into authorities over alleged tax evasion, which she denied. For her part, Lindsie claimed that her father tried to blackmail her with a sex tape, which Todd has vehemently denied. 

"She is my daughter and I love her. There was just some kind of emotional battle that Lindsie has had within herself, and jealousy amongst her siblings," Todd claimed. "It started out with Savannah having way more social media followers, and then [she] wasn't getting enough time on the show. ... Lindsie wasn't, at that time, willing to allow the cameras into her personal life. She wouldn't tell the world anything."

"There was never any extortion, that was all used for headlines. That was used to gain social media following," he further alleged. "She's our daughter, and I will tell you that the anger was there for a long time. Revenge and anger belongs to the devil. So I walked with the devil. I was dancing with the devil there for a minute. God allowed me to get back into my faith ... I had to remember that I am a father first. When you have children and you discipline your children, the world's not gonna see that. But when Todd Chrisley disciplines his children, it's a headline."

Todd and Julie admitted to ET that they don't think they'd be facing all of these legal and family issues if it weren't for their reality show and being in the public eye. "I wouldn't think so, because then nobody would care who we are," Todd explained.

"People ask me all the time, 'What's the best and worst part about having the show and TV and all this?'" added Julie. "And I said, 'Well, imagine every day of your life, going to work with your spouse, with your adult children, with your minor children, and with your mother in law. ... This is a job, but at the end of the day, all the B.S. has to do away and this is our family."

A rep for Lindsie told ET on Monday that the former reality star reached out to her father "a few weeks back" regarding "the false claims made on their podcast and not specifically about the divorce."

"She has tried to discuss these matters personally rather than through a back and forth in the media, but since that is not being reciprocated, she feels the need to speak up and defend herself from these and further false claims," the rep said in a statement. "In regards to the jealousy issue, there was never a jealousy issue, especially over followers or social media as far as Lindsie is concerned."

"Lindsie very much so has a life outside of the public eye and has worked over the years to preserve that," the statement continued. "She drove back and forth from Atlanta to Nashville for almost a year to keep filming going and ultimately decided to leave the show when it was no longer a healthy environment for her and her son."

Later in the interview, Todd and Julie were joined by their 23-year-old daughter, Savannah, and 25-year-old son, Chase. The family addressed whether they think there's any hope for reconciliation with 31-year-old Lindsie in the future.

"I pray to God every day. It has been the hardest thing because I don't know where you go from that," Todd explained. "When you've had a child that you have loved the way that Lindsie has been loved, and this happens. All I can do is pray that God blesses her, and God gives her peace of mind and that God restores what can be restored."

"I'm here for Lindsie if she ever needs anything," added Chase. "I haven't talked to her in I couldn't tell you how long, but if she ever needed anything, I'm a phone call away."

According to Savannah, the biggest misconception about her family is that they're often misunderstood. "I think people look at us and see this very put-together family," she said, "but view it as very superficial and fake, and we don't go through real things."

Chase added that it's also "a lot of hard work" doing what they do, and dealing with the highs and lows of fame.

"My dad said it best. Any time I'm going through an issue or I'm struggling with something, he's like, 'Son, you're not gonna get to where you want to be unless you do it with the Lord,'" Chase said.

"I think when you hear your adult children speak and they get it, those are your moments," Todd replied, choking up a bit. "It's just a blessing when you hear your adult children recognize that."

As for where the family sees themselves progressing after reality TV? Todd told ET they will probably move back to his home state of South Carolina, and go into "some form of politics."

"We've been together a long time and I'm not bailing now, so politics or no politics I'm gonna stick in there," Julie promised. "We're gonna do what we've always done, which is come together as a team and see what happens."

"I've had this conversation about our own kids, and just about this generation, of how easy it is to just throw in the towel and just start over. Everything is so disposable," she added. "Is our marriage perfect? No, it's not, but I do think we have this mutual respect and we both agreed that we're not throwing in the towel, no matter how tough things get."

Season 9 of Chrisley Knows Best returns Thursday, Aug. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network. Growing Up Chrisley season 3 also returns Aug. 12. Tune into Entertainment Tonight on Monday (check your local listings here) for more from the Chrisleys exclusive sit-down.

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