Austen Kroll has definitely lived his life like an open book since joining Southern Charm back in Season 4. And in addition to sharing career highs and lows, as well as romantic ups and downs, the beer connoisseur also let fans into his family life, including the passing of his sister, Kyle, who fell off a cliff during a hike when they were kids. Austen first opened up about the family tragedy during his debut season, discussing the accident with Chelsea Meissner, and, later during this past season, he shared how the Krolls picked up the pieces and welcomed his younger sister, Katie.
"Well, I definitely was reluctant," he said about opening up about Kyle, at first. "What you saw last year was me fall for somebody on camera and I felt like a next step when we're talking about our lives and our families was to open up to Chelsea about it. And I think the second that I opened up to her, and we left our date, I called my mom and I told her that I talked about Kyle on camera."
He added that sharing about his family's past in that moment "just felt right," and he got his mom's OK to talk about it if it felt right for him. He noted that, until then, no one in the group had any idea about it. "Shep didn't know about it. Craig didn't know about it. Nobody knew about it. And I was like, 'Well, why would you? I don't just walk around talking about this.' Though people do wonder why my little sister [Katie] is so young. So all that I wanted was to make sure that I had the opportunity to talk about it and to have it portrayed in the right light. And now [this past season], we get to meet my little sister. And it's like I could talk a little bit about how our family was kind of broken there for a little bit. And then enter Katie and we finally became the whole family again. It's just an interesting look at my family and I wanted to make sure it was told in the right way and to the right person and I think that it was."
The topic came up again this past season while Austen was discussing his family when we got to meet his younger sister. "It wasn't easy [to share about my sister]," he noted about even broaching the subject to begin with on the show.
Cut to 2018 and Katie is now a college-aged young lady. And while Austen says she didn't tune into the show much before her big brother signed on, she approves of his life on TV. "Does she think that it's cool? Yeah, she thinks it's so cool," Austen shared. "I think that she thinks that it's cool. She's in college and she has girlfriends that reach out to her and they're like 'Your brother is on this thing. Do you know Patricia?' She thinks it's cool ... She thinks it's interesting."
And you can bet that Austen really does love bringing his family along for the ride. "Yeah, I think that it's kind of like when I get to film with my family, it's kind of pressure [is] taken off, like I can just sit back. I mean sometimes, because we've obviously seen them jump down my throat about my professional life, but being with them I just get to cut loose and be myself," he said.
And after some adjusting and after Austen gave them advice, the Krolls have definitely gotten used to life in front of the cameras. He explained, "This year, when I asked them, they're like, 'So when do you need me?' And that makes me happy that they're so willing to be a part of the process with me."
Check out throwback photos of Austen and his family, below.