Shep Rose and Taylor Ann Green are navigating post-breakup territory when Southern Charm returns for season 9 on Sept. 14. The explosive season 9 trailer, which focuses on the rumors surrounding Taylor and Austen Kroll, only complicates things further for Shep, 43, and his ex. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Shep about where he stands with Taylor, 28, today.
“It’s good. I choose to take the high road as much as I can in this life, and I care about her a lot. I always will. And I think that’s mutual,” Shep told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “Now, we haven’t really gotten into each other’s private lives as far as other companions or whatnot or dating scene. That’s probably good for now. I hope one day we could. I’m still close with her parents. I text with her mom every now and then, and I text with Taylor, too. She’s a big reason of the mosaic of who I am. She’s a major piece of that quilt, you know, and I respect that and love that. I would never turn my back on her. I would give her the zebra shirt off my back.”
Given the drama that inevitably unfolds this season, what about his friendship with Austen, 36? “It’s obviously different, but there’s some similarities there, too,” Shep said. “I don’t want to throw that away. I mean, Lord knows I’ve made some mistakes in the past when it comes to the opposite sex… It’s sort of live and learn and adjust but don’t burn down the village. That’s how I feel about it.”
While Taylor is seeing someone new, Shep is very much still single. “I’ve been on some good dates and met some really interesting people from different places. Not within Charleston, that’s for sure.” The bestselling author added that he wants to be “as respectful” as he can toward Taylor. Shep noted that a “serious relationship” isn’t on the “immediate horizon,” but he’s not ruling it out forever.
Season 9 will also feature new additions: Rodrigo Reyes, Rod Razavi, and J.T. Thomas. From the footage shown in the trailer, things get very heated between J.T. and Austen.
“He and Austen really butt heads this season, and he calls Austen out on his bulls**t,” Shep revealed about J.T. “He comes in guns blazing. It’s kind of fun to watch because I wasn’t in his crosshairs that I know of. He adds something, and I think you’re going to be interested in what he has to say in a lot of different situations.”
These new cast members were added after the departure of Southern Charm vet Kathryn Dennis. Shep admitted that it was “right” for Kathryn, 32, to step away from the show.
“I felt like we were kind of running in circles with Kathryn, and that’s not a knock on her,” he told HollywoodLife. “Maybe it’s an affirmation that she needed to step away because it was like Groundhog Day. Same old issues, and we had to tiptoe around some of them, too, because a lot of them are legal. I care for her greatly, and I want the best for her. But stepping away, it felt a little like the right thing to do even on our side.” Southern Charm will air Thursdays on Bravo.