Southern Charm's Kathryn Dennis Says She's Excited to Step Out from Thomas Ravenel's 'Shadow'

Southern Charm fans are getting to see a whole new side of star Kathryn Dennis now that her ex Thomas Ravenel is no longer on the show.

“To be honest with you, it’s nice to have an area where I can just be me,” Dennis, 26, tells PEOPLE Now. “I’ve been in the shadow of someone, and really a product of what they want and need for so long. This year, I’m finally able to show who I am.”

“Well, [I’m] trying to figure that out too, who I am,” she adds with a laugh. “It’s been a while.”

While Dennis is excited that “people will see me for me, not just reacting to people, but interacting with people,” she’s still a “little nervous” about what people will think of her.

“I’m really weird,” she adds.

As for her relationship with Ravenel, with whom she’s still engaged in a custody battle off-screen, Dennis shares that the thought of him potentially facing jail time for his sexual assault arrest last year upsets her. She cried over the situation during the trailer for the new season of Southern Charm, which premiered Wednesday.

“Truly in that moment, what I was really crying about was the simple fact that they wouldn’t have their father in their lives, potentially, and that broke my heart,” she says. “We tried for years to have a nuclear family, and I know that that’s not in the cards for us currently, but just the realization that when that happened it could possibly be real life. Just a lot of feelings, a lot of feelings.”

Three years ago, Dennis lost custody of daughter Kensie, 5, and son Saint, 3, and entered rehab in 2016 after she failed a drug test, testing positive for marijuana.

In 2016, Ravenel was awarded full custody, but Dennis has since earned back 50/50 custody. In October, she filed documents in Charleston seeking to obtain primary custody of the two children after Ravenel was arrested and charged with assault and battery in the second degree.

Ravenel has denied all the allegations through his lawyer.

“My client enjoys a certain degree of fame, which has unfortunately made him a vulnerable target for such claims,” Ravenel’s late attorney, Richard P. Terbrusch, told PEOPLE in a statement. “The person this woman describes is simply not the man that I know. My client is a loving father, successful businessman, and upright member of the community. He is appalled and hurt by these allegations — and is committed to defending his reputation in the appropriate legal forum.”

Catch PEOPLE Now every weekday at 12:00 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT on People.com or on the PeopleTV app on your favorite streaming device. Want even more? Check out clips from previous episodes of PEOPLE Now.

Southern Charm airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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