“I think there’s a true love there,” Craig, 34, exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, September 20, while promoting season 9 of Southern Charm. “I’m not saying that they’re in love, but I think they love each other like brother [and] sister.”
The Sewing Down South founder explained that Austen, 36, and Taylor, 28, were “going through weird relationships” in 2022 that pushed them toward one another. Olivia Flowers confirmed during the October 2022 season 8 reunion that she and Austen split, while Us confirmed in July 2022 that Shep Rose and Taylor were over after two years of dating.
“Austen and Olivia [breaking up] was mostly Austen’s fault that it was weird,” Craig confessed, noting that Austen and Taylor “were still going through a weird time and they were really close.”
That closeness will become evident on season 9 of Southern Charm as Austen and Taylor’s alleged hook up comes to light.
News broke in March that Austen and Taylor were intimate after their respective breakups. While Austen teased in the season 9 trailer that “something happened” with them, Taylor denied it and swore to Olivia, 31, that they never had sex. She later admitted to a “kiss” with Austen, but the cast isn’t convinced that is all that transpired.
“In another world, if [Taylor] and Austen had started to date before her and Shep, I think it would’ve been a clean relationship,” Craig explained to Us on Wednesday.
Although he would potentially root for Austen and Taylor in an alternate universe, Craig said he told Austen to tread lightly after Taylor and Shep, 43, called it quits.
“I remember warning him, like, ‘Hey, this might not be the best idea to be spending this much time with Taylor.’ But they said that they were just friends,” Craig recalled, noting, Shep was initially OK with Austen and Taylor’s friendship. “Shep admitted [the Austen-Taylor connection] felt like a life raft to Taylor. It was his way of staying connected,” Craig added.
However, when the alleged hookup between Austen and Taylor made headlines, Craig confessed he was “shocked.” He told Us, “I was shocked to see how uncomfortable Austen gets in this moment. And you’re just hoping that it’s not true because I feel like our friendship [is] in a great place.”
Despite conflicting claims from Austen and Taylor, Craig acknowledged that “where there’s smoke, a lot of times there’s fire,”and teased that “this season’s just a wild ride.”
As the drama continues to play out on screen, Craig told Us that he’s not sure whether Taylor and Shep are fully over each other — even with the rumored Austen fling.
“I know that Shep will always have deep feelings for her, and she’ll probably always have deep feelings for him,” Craig said. “And hanging out with your ex probably isn’t the answer. So, Charleston doesn’t allow you space, so we’ll see.”
Southern Charm airs on Bravo Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi