“It’s such a tragedy. No one knows how to handle this,” Austen, 36, told a group of reporters at BravoCon on Saturday, November 4. “Olivia and I were not in a good place when this all happened. Fortunately, it brought us closer together, but then we kind of flash forward to when the episodes begin to air, and it’s very tough to compartmentalize like, ‘OK, this happened six months ago.’”
“We’re trying to work through it, and I can’t help but want to continue to be her friend,” Austen continued of his ex, whom he dated for a few months in 2022. “Even if she yells at me and says things. I want to be in her life.”
Olivia’s brother, Conner, died from an accidental fentanyl overdose on January 30, per a coroner’s report obtained by Page Six, one week before his 33rd birthday. He had struggled with substance abuse for years and had gotten out of rehab just two days before overdosing.
Austen has been very open with his desire to be by Olivia’s side following Conner’s death.
“It was very tough for me because I felt like … I should be the one who’s there for her, but I’ve obviously chosen not to be that person,” the reality star told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live on November 2.
Despite the awkwardness between them, he still “flew out the door” the minute he was able to see Olivia after Conner’s death.
“I ran down to see her, and we just had this rom-com movie moment of just like meeting in the driveway and collapsing into each other and it was just a moment you can’t really describe,” he recalled.
While Austen is leaning in to support Olivia, he admitted that he wants to stay single at the moment while the drama settles down amid the Charleston group, telling BravoTV in September, “I’ve made a conscious decision to not date anybody at the moment.”