Ashley Jacobs crashed onto the shores of Charleston like a hurricane, making waves during her first season on Southern Charm as embattled politician Thomas Ravenel‘s girlfriend — and the instant enemy of Kathryn Dennis, the mother of his two children.
The cast rallied around Dennis as Jacobs insulted her parenting skills, labeling her “an egg donor” outside of socialite Patricia Altschul’s soirée. Then, Ravenel was accused of sexual assault (police charged him with assault and battery in the second degree, which he has denied) and left the series. But Jacobs was back for season 6, seeking a second chance. She popped up at group outings, begged to talk things over with Dennis and accused Altschul of orchestrating her feuds. Ultimately, Dennis heard out her apology, but during last week’s finale, Jacobs crashed Altschul’s cocktail party. Removed by security, Jacobs called Ravenel on the phone, crying, “They embarrassed me!”
Since then, she’s moved back to Santa Barbara, California, where she works as a nurse. PEOPLE caught up with Jacobs to clear the air about everything that went down this season.
How do you feel about your return to Southern Charm?
I mean, it keeps my life interesting. There’s never a dull moment, so I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself now that — it’s like, once it gets quiet, I’m like, “Where else can I stir some hearts and drama. What man can I annoy the hell out of now?” Well, compared to last season, it was really easy.
Even though it wasn’t great, compared to last season, I was like, “Ooh, this is nice. I can handle this.” I feel that there was some closure on my end. And that brought me some peace.
You were going back and forth with whether to return or not. Is that why you ultimately decided to come back, to clear your name or get closure?
Yeah, because I pretty much knew that they were never going to forgive me, any of these people. I mean, I never thought Kathryn was going to forgive me. I don’t see why everyone else needed to forgive me. But I know that these are people that hang on to everything and were going to stick to a certain way. I never really saw any mercy from them, or I don’t think I was going to receive any grace. But I thought, “What if?” if that makes sense. There was a small chance, and maybe I might be able to go in there and they’re welcoming, they’re warm, they give me a chance to speak, hear me out and not attack me … I mean, yes. I wasn’t optimistic. … I wasn’t optimistic, and I thought, “It can’t hurt to try. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no? They still don’t like me? At least I tried.”
How do you feel like your conversation with Kathryn went?
I felt good about it. I felt some relief. Now, it’s like they say, “Forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself.” If that makes sense. Because, and I’m saying, I got some relief. Now, is that selfish to say? Well, did she get some relief? Did it make her feel good? I don’t know. I figured the things that I said to her would be unforgivable, but I had to go in there at least try and see how she … I never thought she would take me very seriously at all, but I had to go in and try. And at least I felt leaving that conversation that I said what I needed to say, other than trying to say it on social media or try to send a text. This was an opportunity where she was at the same party, and I can approach her and she has the chance to say, “yes” or “no” to talk to me. … She was kind enough to give me that time, and I was actually surprised just by that, just the fact that she would hear me out. So, right there, it was almost like, “Whoa.” Applauding her. Now, how she took it? I don’t know. But the fact that she gave me a chance to speak was great. So, I was grateful for that opportunity.
The camera caught you saying some snarky remarks about her, though.
I’m so glad you brought that up. The remarks that I made is that when I called her Pippi Longstocking, and I mean, Pippi’s great! No, but those remarks were before my conversation with her. … After those remarks, after I said those things, and then I approached her, and she was open to talking with me, yeah I felt a little bad. I was like, “Whoa, that was actually really classy of her.” So, it made me feel like an idiot. Does that makes sense?
The reason I think I was feeling that, in the beginning, when I said that I was … a little annoyed. I think everyone was annoyed. I mean, we had to wait on her for awhile. … She showed up late to the party. Everyone saw that. I think she’s always running late, so she showed up late to the event. So she wasn’t on that ride with us, and so I’m not excusing my behavior, but I’m telling you that there was some anticipation of having to confront her. … I was anxious … and then she wasn’t there. And then, when we get off this hay ride or whatever the heck it is, and then she’s there and I’m going, “Oh God, Oh God.” Like, my nerves really got the best of me, and I see her and I just … I mean, it wasn’t a nice thing. I shouldn’t have said it. It was petty. I shouldn’t have said it. … If it had happened when I just arrived there and it was without all that time to think about it and stress over it, I might not have had the opportunity to say that, but it was never intended to say to her face.
What happened with Patricia, and why do you feel so strongly that she is behind everything?
Oh, because she told [Kathryn]. It came straight from her mouth. I mean, because there was a lot of conversations that we had in private of her instigating. … There was a lot of things that led to that. Whenever I would defend Kathryn, she’d say, “Oh no. Oh no. That’s not, no, no, no, you’re wrong. Oh no.” And so, I trusted her. Everything. I looked up to her, I respected her. Whatever Pat says, goes, type of thing. I believe her over what Kathryn said.
So then when you felt like she turned on you, did you feel betrayed?
I mean, I wouldn’t even say betrayed. I looked at her as, “What a phony.” That was very fake, to me. I was disappointed in her for doing that, because Kathryn’s a younger person. I heard the things that she said, so I was surprised that she could just, like I said, I said it to [my friend] Liza. I said, “It was almost like she just woke up one morning and was like, ‘I’m going to start liking Kathryn today.'” That was exactly it, and I thought, “How sad for Kathryn.” That this woman is willing to … yeah, I’m not going to say it. I did reach out to Kathryn a few times, and I wanted to tell her these things, but she never responded.
You go to the Patricia’s party at the end of the season, and you don’t really get to say what you went there to say because you got removed. What were you going to say to Patricia, to her face?
First of all, if Patricia showed me the same grace and kindness that Kathryn did when Kathryn agreed to allow me to speak … I think that just would’ve changed my whole feelings about Patricia. When Kathryn said, “Yes, we can talk.” I was like, “Wow.” Which made me feel bad about making the Pippi comments. … If Patricia allowed me that, I would’ve been like, “Wow, Patricia. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you sitting down to talk to me. That shows a lot of class on your part.” I was hoping it would have gone from there. And I would’ve just said, “You know, Patricia, what happened? Where did this come from? What could I have done differently? What can I say differently? How could we have acted different? What led us to this point to where we are enemies, to where you sided with Kathryn, or how can we make this all work to where we can, maybe, even all sit down together and figure this out? … We’re all talking about each other. A triangular effect. Where was I wrong? What could I have done differently?” I just needed some clarity.
Why is it so important to you to get that clarity from people who you don’t really have to be involved with anymore? You’ve got your own life in Santa Barbara.
I still lived there at the time. You have to understand that when I went to that party, I had no intention of moving back just yet. I moved back a few months after that. I was still in that town. I still see Patricia at the same restaurants. … It’s like what I said to Kathryn. I don’t want there to be any awkwardness, any weirdness. … It’s ridiculous. We’re grown women. Let’s put this s— aside and get over it and not dwell on it and move on.
Were you really surprised to be kicked out of the party given that you knew Patricia didn’t want you there? Eliza Limehouse had cautioned you about it not being the best idea.Were you still shocked that it ended up that way?
I wouldn’t say that I was shocked because I expect that of Patricia. Because of what she did, what she’s done to Kathryn, too. I expect that from her. So I wasn’t shocked, but I was more disappointed that there was the opportunity to absolutely [have everything] squashed. And we could have maybe talked, and we all maybe had some peace or some closure. So I was more disappointed, and I thought, “This woman is an older woman who can lead by example and show us younger girls how to be ladies and how to move forward.” And I was really hoping that I could learn something from this experience and she would lead by that example. And so I was disappointed, and that opportunity that I saw that I might have a chance to talk to her, to know I was getting kicked out, I was like, “Nope, never. It’s never going to happen. She’s never going to forget it.”
We saw you call Thomas immediately after. Were you still together at that point? What was going on with him, and where do you stand now?
No, we were not together. But you have to understand that I don’t have a lot of people — I didn’t have a lot of support in Charleston from anybody, at least, or support from someone who knows these people. Does that make sense? And I was so traumatized by that situation of being escorted out and missing that opportunity to talk to Patricia, that I felt, in that moment, by calling Thomas, might calm my nerves, and I can vent to him. I just needed a sounding board.
I can’t call my mom or my sister. They don’t know what the heck’s going on. And Thomas knew that I was going to this party. He thought there might be a chance, and he wanted to know. And I don’t know if you guys even saw that, but I was walked out by myself and my friend was still in there. So my friend wasn’t even there to talk to while I had to wait for her, for someone to find her and bring her down. So I didn’t want to just stand there by myself.
How did it feel watching the show and seeing what the cast members had said about you? In a podcast recently, Craig Conover said you “need to be medicated.”
To me, they all play it safe. They’re not authentic. They’re not real. If they had said it to my face, that would have been one thing, where I say it to people’s faces. To me, and I don’t care if this might be name-calling, but they’re not people that live in their own truth. They’re fine to go say it on podcast and behind my back. Never to my face. I never did anything wrong to these people. The only thing, when I had called them losers, that was a wrong word. I just thought that they were mean. And I called them losers because I just never felt that they have ever reached out to me to check on me when I went through so much, and I didn’t have a lot of support.
I only had Thomas. And so I was hurt by them. I was hurt, and I used the wrong choice of words. But I never did anything to those people. And I have a career, I have my own life. I’m actually happy in my own life, and I almost pity them. So, I really don’t care what they have to say. … I mean, they’ve got their own issues, and me, they all hated me because I spoke the truth and maybe they’re just threatened by it. That’s what it is. They’re threatened by it because they can’t say … they don’t have the courage.
I’m passionate about that, too, because I was villainized for it. And they all get to just sit back and ride my coattails while I speak everything that they know is the truth. They know it. They just don’t have the courage to actually say it. So I’m glad I’m not them. That’s all.
The Southern Charm reunion airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.