“If we’re being honest that really does cross a lot of lines,” the 35-year-old reality star exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, October 12, while promoting season 2 of Winter House.
While many Southern Charm fans started to ship the North Carolina native and Taylor, 27, following the season 8 finale — part one of which aired on Thursday, October 6 — Austen wouldn’t want to step on pal Shep Rose’s toes. (Us confirmed in July that Shep, 42, and Taylor called it quits after two years of dating.)
“I mean, I love Taylor to pieces and I cherish her friendship and we’ve gotten very close,” Austen told Us, noting that he and the clinical assistant talk a lot about their recent breakups. “She’s an important person in my life and I wanna keep it that way.”
The “Pillows and Beer” podcast cohost, for his part, was first linked to season 8 newbie Olivia Flowers in late 2021. Austen exclusively told Us in May that they were dating and Olivia, 30, revealed to Us in August that they were exclusive after fans watched their ups and downs play out on screen.
However, during part one of the season 8 reunion, which filmed in September, Olivia revealed that she and Austen had since gone their separate ways.
While both the Kings Calling Brewing Co. founder and Taylor are single, Austen told Us on Wednesday that a romance between them would be too taboo.
“I just think that that would be crossing a whole bunch of lines. And a bunch of friendships would really be affected by that,” the Bravo personality confessed. “I’m telling you that that would be a fricking, yeah, a bomb to drop that is for sure.”
Although Austen doesn’t have any intention of making a move on Taylor, he told Us that he does have Shep’s blessing for their friendship. “I think Shep really appreciates it. He definitely knows that we became close, you know, because of him,” the reality star said. “And he sees how we act with each other … he’s never gotten jealous about it.”
The same goes for Olivia, who Austen revealed has told him, “I love that you two are close.”
When it comes to a possible rekindled romance with Olivia, however, Austen isn’t as confident — but he is open to getting back together in the future.
“I think the reunion kind of took us, like, a little bit of shock. I don’t know if I handled it in the best way. I was so concerned going into reunion,” Austen told Us. “The only thing that I wanted to come out on the other side with is, you know, [Olivia] and I being in a great place and I think that she was kind of taken aback at how, you know, Madison [LeCroy] and I were kind of bantering and she was like, ‘What is happening?’”
The entrepreneur explained that he and the photographer have since talked it out and are on good terms. “I would never say never with her. She’s such an important person in my life and, like, she was huge for me, you know, this year to kind of get back to, you know, who I think that I am,” he concluded. “So, I would never say never with that one.”
Season 2 of Winter House premieres on Bravo Thursday, October 13, at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi