‘Southern Charm’ Star Craig Conover’s Girlfriend Natalie Hegnauer Defends Her ‘Love Connection’ Past: ‘Who Cares?’

Not afraid to clap back! Craig Conover‘s girlfriend, Natalie Hegnauer, defended her reality TV history after coming under fire during the Southern Charm reunion.

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“I would never usually post this but since I am unable to defend myself since I didn’t really film this season, and people continue to broadcast aspersions on my integrity (which I understand, as reality TV feeds on drama — and I understand, since I am dating a reality TV stars where their life is lived publicly and inadvertently mine is too), I’m just going to leave this here,” Hegnauer, 30, began in a lengthy Instagram Story post on Thursday, January 28, after the drama played out on the season 7 reunion. “Who cares what I did in my past?”

Craig Conover GF Natalie Defends Going Love Connection
Courtesy Natalie Hegnauer/Instagram

On Thursday’s episode, host Andy Cohen mentioned that Hegnauer appeared on season 1 of his short-lived dating show Love Connection back in 2017. Conover, 31, was already aware of his girlfriend’s brief stint on the reality series — but his costars were shocked. While defending herself against their criticism, Hegnauer said the appearance was just “a tiny segment” several years ago.

“My friend was one of the producers and offered me [money] and said it would be fun,” she wrote. “So I did it, as most kids would. It’s not that deep. I told Craig about it way back when we were friends, we watched clips on YouTube together, then we continued living our lives. In no way is this a connection to who I am. I have a full-time job that I enjoy and have worked hard to achieve.”

Craig Conover GF Natalie Defends Going Love Connection
Craig Conover and Natalie Hegnauer. MJ Photos/Shutterstock; Courtesy Natalie Hegnauer/Instagram

Conover’s relationship was slammed once more during the reunion when Cohen, 52, brought up Madison LeCroy‘s claims that Hegnauer hooked up with Austen Kroll before dating the Sewing Down South owner. LeCroy, 31, previously said she was “grossed out” by the alleged love triangle during a December 2020 episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen shortly after Conover confirmed his romance with Hegnauer.

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“Austen and I had a meaningless fling over a year and a half ago,” Conover’s girlfriend explained on Thursday. “We mutually decided we’re better as friends and he introduced me to Craig. Craig and I were just friends for months and organically developed feelings for each other. You can’t help or control who you fall for.”

Before Hegnauer made her Southern Charm debut last month, Conover said in an Instagram Live that she’d been “super supportive” of his career and that they’d “been together for a while now.” While her history with Kroll, 33, caused tension with other cast members, Hegnauer said the three of them were “all adults” and “do not care about” the drama.

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“What I do in my private life is my decision and I should not be shamed for it,” she concluded. “However, your opinion of me is none of my business and I respect that. I understood from the start that in the world of reality TV, this would naturally be brought up so I wanted to give you all my side. … Craig is my best friend and we are happy together. Nothing else really matters.”

Part two of the Southern Charm reunion airs on Bravo Thursday, February 4, at 9 p.m. ET.

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