“I think with the timing and everything that was going on, it just made sense to kind of pull back and make sure we could stay friends,” Rod, 40, exclusively told Us Weekly of Olivia, 31, at BravoCon on Friday, November 3. “So, when I kind of sensed her pulling back emotionally, it was easier [to do the same].”
Rod was in the early days of his relationship with Olivia when her brother, Conner, died in January. Earlier this month, Olivia revealed that the coroner concluded that Conner died from an accidental fentanyl overdose after battling with addiction following a years-long struggle with Lyme disease. He was 32 when he died.
“We went through a lot on the show together. We went through a lot off the show. We spent a lot of time together not filming,” Rod told Us, adding that he and Olivia are still “good friends” despite parting ways romantically.
He insisted he has “all the love for Olivia” and just wants her “to be happy.” Rod went on to confirm that he’s “single these days” but noted he’s “not sure” of Olivia’s relationship status.
In addition to Olivia mourning the loss of her brother, she was coming off a breakup with costar Austen Kroll when Rod entered her life. Olivia confirmed in October 2022 that she split from Austen, 36, but Southern Charm fans learned during season 9 that their drama didn’t end there.
Rumors surfaced earlier this year that Austen hooked up with Olivia’s BFF Taylor Ann Green shortly after Austen and Olivia called it quits. While Austen and Taylor, 28, initially denied the allegations, Austen confessed during an October episode that he did kiss Taylor at the end of 2022.
The scandal shook the Southern Charm cast — Taylor is also the ex-girlfriend of Bravo star Shep Rose — and Olivia’s budding romance with Rod also took a hit in the aftermath. During the Thursday, November 2, episode of the show, viewers learned that Olivia left her bra at Austen’s place shortly after the death of her brother, which didn’t sit well with Rod.
“Nothing happened. We cuddled a little bit. She gave me a big ol’ hug, she kissed me on the chest and she left,” Austen claimed during the episode, noting they just watched a movie. “I’m not trying to get her back because I would just hurt her again.”
Looking back, Rod told Us on Friday that Bra-gate was “a tough one for [him] to wrestle with” since he was trying to build a relationship with Olivia when it happened.
“It was natural to have a feeling towards it. And whether or not I was in the right or wrong, I don’t know. But that’s how I felt,” he recalled. “I think it was so tough with everything going on. … [Austen] he was a great support system for her, as was I, as was everybody. And you kind of have to let her grieve in her best way possible.”
Rod quipped: “I prefer that not to be on his couch, but I get it.”
Olivia, for her part, exclusively told Us that taking off her bra at Austen’s was an innocent act. “Oh, my goodness. I was just getting comfortable, and [it was] the wrong place to get comfortable because the whole next day, the entire town of Charleston knew about it,” she said at BravoCon on Friday. “So, [I] won’t be doing that anymore.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi