UPDATE: Following Wednesday's episode, Joseph Abruzzo provided an additional statement to PopCulture.com: "I stand by my service to our nation as a military veteran, a former State Senator who sponsored 50 bills into law, of which many have saved lives, protected women and children and the community I served. Most importantly, a single father raising a young son. While briefly dating Kathryn, I never met the cast of Southern Charm. They surely do not know me, the manner of which I retired from public office with awards and accolades, nor my character and values. Therefore, the false comparisons and misrepresentations made by some of the cast and production about me is simply an attempt to add more drama to their show. I only wish the best for Kathryn and her future, and respectfully ask the cast to refrain from carrying out the will of producers and focus on stories of their own lives."
In Wednesday's episode of the Bravo show, Dennis dished on her new flame Joseph Abruzzo to friend Naomi Olindo, telling her, "Apparently, I have a type. He's a senator — a Democrat thought."
Dennis revealed she had run into the Florida senator at a football game a month ago and hit it off right away, a fact she revealed would make ex Ravenel "flip his s—" in the middle of a contentious custody battle.
"I really like him a lot," she gushed. "He's kind, he's got a 3 1⁄2-year-old son, and he wears sunless tanner like me. ... Not only that, but he told me he has a psycho ex. She has a mugshot just like Thomas."
While her friend had her head in the clouds, Olindo wasn't so sure, telling the camera, "I want to be happy for Kathryn, but this kind of sounds like exactly what Thomas would say to a new girlfriend about Kathryn."
"That's a red flag waving this big in front of Kathryn's face," she added, waving her arms.
Olindo's instincts appeared to be right, with Craig Conover revealing to Chelsea Meissner later that Abruzzo's time in the Florida legislature wasn't exactly spotless before he decided not to run for re-election in February 2018, saying he wanted to spend more time with his son.
"Well, he's a disgraced politician in Florida who's not running for re-election because of this divorce," Conover explained, as headlines from the messy split, including a nude photo leak, flashed on the screen. "His wife is accusing him of being physically abusive."
Abruzzo has denied allegations against him in the past to the Tampa Bay Times, with a spokesman saying in 2017, "It's all being used for public intimidation, if you will. It's baseless and it's not based on fact."
"Everything we know about Kathryn and Thomas' relationship is everything this guy's ex-wife is saying about him," he added.
Meissner was more than upset to hear the latest on Dennis' dating life, telling Conover, "I would just hate for her to fall back into anything like that after she's come so far. But at the end of the day, it's going to be her life lesson."
"But she already had her life lesson!" Conover said of her messy split with Ravenel.
"For the first time in my life, it feels super natural," she gushed. "And I feel really, really safe with him, being vulnerable. I could go on and on, but he's great."
Following the episode airing, Abruzzo opened up about his relationship with Dennis to PopCulture.com, saying they had dated from Oct. 3 2018 to Nov. 17, 2018.
"We communicated multiple times a day, almost everyday," he said. "Our text and call log, which is archived, is thick as an encyclopedia."
He added, "The last time Kathryn and I conversed by phone was Nov. 13. Kathryn told me she loved me while inviting me to a family wedding explaining it was important and a very big deal because she has not brought a date around her family in years."
Addressing claims of him not answering his phone, Abruzzo added, "To my knowledge there was only one time Kathryn questioned why I didn't answer my phone, which was the day after she invited me to the wedding. I gave Katherine a detailed verifiable explanation of the circumstance that created my unavailability. This lead to Katherine going silent for over a day. Kathryn never took the time to verify, discuss or understand the circumstance. After reflection about the escalating irrational behavior, I sent a message outlining the issues I had about continuing our relationship."
He also claimed Dennis had changed from the time they met until the time filming began, writing, "The Kathryn I met at a football game was much different from the Kathryn when production started. Similarly my friends advised me to stay away from dating Kathryn and unlike her scripted television friends, many of my friends actually met Kathryn."
"Although untrue, hoped Kathryn would have understood painting a picture that someone is not responsive and unavailable and then saying you ghosted them is not the way that works. Maybe Urban Dictionary can add that in the explanation," he snarked.
As for the things being said about him by Conover, he responded, "I have never been in trouble with the law or even questioned about the things that are being said. The initial report years ago by the Tampa Bay Times is not accurate and false. That report has lead to severe damage and a substantial law suit will be filed in the coming days against the Tampa Bay Times. A request for retraction about comparisons, statements and a photo doctored with a blur out to make it sensationalized and something that wasn't has already been made to Southern Charm production and Craig Conover."0comments
Southern Charm airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.
Photo credit: Bravo