Stassi Schroeder may have stepped away from Vanderpump Rules after three seasons, but you can't keep a SURver — past or present — away from the drama for too long. Stassi is slated to make her grand return to the show next week, after reconnecting with former BFF Kristen Doute (as seen in the preview above). "I was really excited," Kristen told The Daily Dish. "I think I was the only one."
After an explosive friend breakup, Kristen explained that she and Stassi had been "working on [their] friendship for about a year" before the on-camera reunion took place. "I was really excited because I knew what it felt like to just be so quarantined," Kristen said, noting that her hangout with Stassi occurred when Kristen was left behind in L.A. while the rest of the crew partied in Hawaii. "Even though the reasons that she was and the reasons that I was were completely different."
While Kristen was more open to Stassi's return, the rest of the SURvers needed a little more convincing — which is something that Kristen warned Stassi about. "She messed up. She really burned some bridges. But I told her just keep on keeping on and really do this for [her] and prove to them that [she's] not the person that [she was] a year ago," Kristen said.
As for how far Stassi has come since fans last saw her at the Season 3 reunion, where she faced off with everyone from Scheana Shay to Lisa Vanderpump? Well, not everyone is convinced her changes have been permanent. "I felt like she changed and I felt like that was fake," Scheana explained to The Daily Dish. However, Kristen disagrees. "She tried really hard. Just when she decided to come back, I was like the only one that she had," she said. "A lot of people felt like it was a convenient timing, or [Stassi] was kind of preying on my weakness of feeling like I still needed her to forgive me for past mistakes, and it really wasn't like that at all... I just saw growth in her, like starting to really focus on herself, and not in a selfish way."
Meanwhile, the guys had a different take on Stassi's decision to try and win back the hearts of the friends she once hurt. Tom Schwartz described his reaction as a "mixed bag of emotions.” "I love Stass. I do have a soft spot for her — I always have," he told The Daily Dish. "Like I keep saying, we didn't welcome her back with open arms. We had to gauge her and see where she was coming from. I think we've come a long way. We're cool. It's amicable. We're kosher," he said. "[But] the knee-jerk reaction was, 'Oh hell no.'"
Despite also having "mixed feelings" about her return, and taking into account their tumultuous relationship and subsequent covering up of his "Stassi" tattoo, Stassi's ex Jax Taylor was ultimately OK with her re-entry into the squad. "Speaking for myself, I'm happy to have her back — even with everything that went on between us. She's Stassi; everybody's got a spot for her," Jax told The Daily Dish. "At first, everyone was furious. People had their ups and downs; there were people that were angry, there were people that were mad, some people were happy. It was a bunch of different emotions.”
-Additional reporting by Laura Rosenfeld
Check out Stassi's heated confrontation with her former boss Lisa Vanderpump, set to come later this season.