‘Southern Charm’ Stars Craig and Austen Say Cast Bands Together to Fight for Kathryn (Exclusive)

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Kathryn Dennis is no longer Southern Charm enemy No. 1!

“Like, she’s not the ‘crazy one’ all of a sudden!” co-star Craig Conover tells ET. “It’s kind of cool.”

ET caught up with Craig and Austen Kroll to hear all about season five of the Bravo hit, which Craig says finally brings out the Kathryn he’s always known, not the one the rest of the group thought they knew.

“Patricia [Altschul], she doesn’t say mean stuff about Kathryn anymore,” Craig shares. It’s a big change for the Southern Charm matriarch, who hasn’t exactly been Kathryn’s biggest fan over the years.

“She was always normal to me, but she’s not, like, this polarizing, negative person anymore,” he continues. “She looks – not looks – she is the sane one.”

As for who steps in to take the place of the so-called “crazy one,” that would be Thomas Ravenel’s girlfriend, Ashley Jacobs, according to the guys. Ashley has already ruffled some feathers, notably Kathryn’s, in her first few weeks on the show, and Craig and Austen say there’s more where that came from. The pals say she definitely has the hardest season out of anybody, which is saying a lot, seeing as Craig went through a breakup on the show this season.

“Coming from someone who’s new to this friend group, you know, last year I had the approach of dipping my toe into the pond, not making, like, a cannonball,” Austen says. “Ashley just freaking cannonballs, and she’s splashing everybody.”

“She drove her car into the pool!” Craig counters, expanding the analogy. “She throws the car right into the pool.”

It’s Ashley’s “cannonball” antics that bring the cast to rally around Kathryn.

“I think there's some stuff that happens that bonds, like, bands us together for moments,” Craig teases. “Like, there's a lot of stuff that happens between Thomas' new girlfriend, Ashley, and Kathryn where you'll see, for the first time ever -- which is wild -- everyone actually comes to Kathryn's defense and, obviously, we're all on the same page for that.”

Kathryn previously opened up to ET about her rocky relationship with Ashley, saying she met a “few versions” of her ex’s new love interest and that Ashley “crossed boundaries” when it came to Kathryn’s role as a mother to her two children with Thomas.

“Ashley deflects a lot of the heat from us, Craig,” Austen adds. “The women stay a pretty tight-knit group this season, so once they found a new target that wasn't us, I kinda feel like... feels like we got off the hook a little bit!”

So far, season five has been very much about guys vs. girls, and Craig and Austen say they totally felt that battle while filming.

“One thousand percent,” Craig says. “It feels secretive, too. We'd be filming with one of the girls, I don't know, it was like having an affair at lunch. It was like, 'Don't tell them I'm here, basically...' I don't know. It was kind of bizarre.”

Southern Charm airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.