Southern Charm returns for season 8 with more drama than ever. Familiar faces are coming into the fold in Charleston, including Craig Conover’s ex Naomie Olindo and new love Paige DeSorbo. One of the major reveals of season 8 is that Craig and Naomie hooked up in Las Vegas before the cameras started rolling. Given this hookup, HollywoodLife asked Craig whether or not this and Naomie’s return, in general, had an impact on his relationship with Paige.
“No. I mean, she doesn’t have an impact on it, but a lot of times people don’t have to hang out with their exes,” Craig told HollywoodLife. “That definitely added accelerant to the fire that is Southern Charm. She handled it well. She called me and asked if I was okay with her coming back. I think we’re really inclusive people and we’re like, come on back. I think it’d be good for the show and for viewers. Her being around so much this season definitely causes conflict, not between me and Paige, but you’ll see that she definitely adds to the recipe.
The “conflict” Craig is talking about likely has to do with the tension between Naomie and Kathryn Dennis. “When Naomie left, she left with middle fingers in the air when she moved to New York. She was like, screw Southern Charm. Screw those people. She was harsher on certain people, and I think Kathryn feels like she was attacked by Naomie during that time,” Craig revealed.
Craig admitted that the goal has always been to “be civil” with Naomie. “You’ll see that certain boundaries have to be established during the season, and you’ll see how we work through that. But yeah, we’re civil, which is great,” Craig said.
Craig’s girlfriend Paige is well aware of the highs and lows of reality TV after being on Summer House. Paige comes down to Charleston in season 8 and finds herself wrapped up in what’s going on with the Charmers. “She kind of wanted to see why we were so crazy and nutty and what Charleston was like, so we showed her. The dynamics are different in the South, and she got pulled into some things, but she had a lot of people watching to do,” Craig said. Shep added, “She tiptoed around a little bit as you should and observed.”
The season 8 trailer hints at serious hiccups for Shep and girlfriend Taylor Ann Green. Their relationship has more of a spotlight on it than ever before in the new season. “I went into it knowing full well we were going to be under the microscope because in season 7 we had just started dating and it was all new and fresh,” Shep said. “It was all daisies and daffodils, and that’s not going to happen again. I knew that. I kind of stupidly walked in or set traps for myself and walked right into them a couple of times. It’s a testament to Taylor’s patience and understanding, but it was a very rocky season or three months basically of our lives. But we made it through. We’re doing really, really well.”
In addition to relationship drama, Craig and Austen Kroll appear to get into a physical fight at some point in the season, and Shep gets into a screaming match with Austen. “I think bourbon was a common theme in both of those instances,” Shep admitted. “Austen’s skated by or tried to skate by this season and stay out of any trouble because God knows he’s been embroiled in a lot of trouble in the years past. Maybe Craig and I secretly resented that and sort of took it to him.”
Craig told HollywoodLife, “I get frustrated with Austen a lot. He does a lot of things that drive me absolutely bananas, and I just sweep it under the rug instead of addressing it appropriately. That’s kind of what happens when you do that. It all comes out at once. Austen’s dated some of my friends, and he’s been involved with them. He just frustrates me a lot, and he had betrayed my trust a couple of times last summer. So you’ll see all that come up.”
After a whirlwind relationship and breakup with Madison LeCroy, Austen has found a new love in Olivia Flowers. “She couldn’t be more different than Madison,” Shep said about Olivia. “She’s really kind and sweet. She’s very good friends with Taylor, and I’m thrilled at the prospect of them moving forward and being a great couple.”
While Madison appears in the season 8 trailer, Shep revealed that we won’t see as much of Madison as in seasons past. “Actually, Madison was not all that much into the fold this season,” Shep told HollywoodLife. “She had her own life that she was living and chose not to exhibit it on national television, so that means that like, honestly, we didn’t see that much of her.”
Craig revealed that he and Madison have actually “made up” in the year since the jaw-dropping season 7 reunion. “I like having her around. She always stirs the pot,” Craig said. Shep noted, “She’s a wild card. She’s unpredictable, and therefore she’s a little dangerous. Maybe that’s good for TV.” Southern Charm season 8 will air Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Bravo.