Jeff Charleston had been handling his ex-wife, Reagan Charleston, moving on from their divorce pretty well this season of Southern Charm New Orleans, all things considered. Following the finalization of their split last year, Jeff still seemed to maintain a close friendship with Reagan. He was even happy for her new relationship and subsequent engagement to Reece Thomas.
But when Jeff was seemingly the last to find out that Reagan was expecting during his Friendsgiving party in Sunday night's episode of Southern Charm New Orleans (clip above), it appeared that was just too much news to handle too soon. The episode ended with Jeff throwing his plate before leaving the dinner table.
While speaking with The Daily Dish over the phone prior to the episode airing, Jeff said he anticipated the episode was going to be a difficult one to relive. "It's hard to talk about," Jeff said while opening up about the explosive moment. "Having to relive it and go through all of it, it's definitely going to be a hard one to watch."
Jeff explained that he actually wasn't upset at anyone that night; he was just angry about the situation. "Really, I think it was just the moment of when I found out. I didn't see that [coming]. At the time, I was mad like, 'Man, I'm just trying to enjoy my party.' You know, that was the biggest, like, 'Why now? Why do I need to know now?' And it wasn't, you know, I wasn't mad at my friends, I wasn't mad at Reagan, it was just like, man, now's not the time. Let me enjoy one night. That's why I was mad. And then it was just the push," he shared. "I tried to suppress it. I was like, 'Look, the party goes on.' And I just can't hold it in."
The former NFL player said that his and Reagan's friend Doug, who broke the news of her pregnancy at the event, is also not to blame. "He didn't want to keep having to hide anything," Jeff said. "He's a good buddy of mine. I'm not mad at anyone. I'm not mad at anyone from it. It was just a lot to deal with at the wrong time."
Jeff has learned to find the positive in these difficult moments playing out on TV this season of Southern Charm New Orleans, sharing that several fans have already showed him gratitude for opening up about issues they are also going through. "Yeah, you know, I think that's the thing that's happening about this season is I'm getting a lot of feedback from fans on Instagram, on social media that they relate. They're going through similar things, similar stories. They're glad that somebody's actually opened up and talked about it because they're going through the same exact thing or similar situations," he said. "And it's kind of one of those things where I'm glad, at least, some of the pain that I've suffered, it's helping other people."
One of the things Jeff has been most open about is how he is navigating his post-divorce relationship with Reagan this season. "There's two sides of every story, and there's two sides of every breakup, and you kind of get to see it," Jeff told The Daily Dish. "Someone's always gonna move on faster, and someone's always gonna move on slower, and you see both sides of it this season. You get to see it from a female's perspective and a guy's perspective."
Jeff said that it ultimately felt good to finally share what had been going on in his marriage to Reagan, especially when he experiences "emotional breakdowns" like the one at Friendsgiving. "It's nice to be able to rely on my friends and talk about it. It's been a relief because most of the stuff I bottled up all along, and it's one of those things where I was able to, if I didn't have my friends around me, I wasn't able to talk about it. I probably would have just, I don't know what I would have done. It would have been a lot harder," he shared. "They kind of have my back the whole time, and I didn't realize that."
Reagan and Reece welcomed their first child, daughter Reece Ellis Thomas, on June 12. Jeff told The Daily Dish that he has not yet met his ex's little one. "Look, I'm happy for her. We've both moved on in different directions. I think we're both a lot happier right now. That's one of the biggest things for me was re-finding myself so I know what drives me and what pushes me forward on a daily basis, because I had a lot of energy and fire when I was young, and it got me into the NFL. I had this drive that couldn't be stopped. I kind of lost that during marriage. I felt trapped, and I felt just kind of bored. So going through all that having to be alone, you kind of rediscover yourself again," Jeff explained. "So I'm in a much better place than I have been, and I think, you know, with her starting a family and where she's at, we don't communicate a whole lot, but we talk from time to time, not really that often. But, you know, I think she's happy. Motherhood is probably going to do her well. I think it's what she needed."
When asked if he talks to Reagan's new husband, Reece, at all today, Jeff told The Daily Dish, "You know, I obviously saw him at the [Southern Charm New Orleans Season 2] premiere party and all of that. He's not a bad guy. He's quite entertaining, to say the least. He's her new baby daddy, so we're not gonna have any, really, conflict or anything like that. But, you know, all I can say is he's entertaining."
As painful as it can be to watch this season back, Jeff said that he is actually learning a lot about himself from experiencing it all again. "Some of it's challenging, some of it's tough. You know, I don't ever live in regrets. I always try to be positive about everything. I think the hardest part is reliving some of it. It's hard in the moment, and then obviously I try to just always be myself and be real wherever I'm at. I also kind of put on a mask and just deal with things and suppress it," he said. "I think there's growth with having to relive and watch that. Knowing where I am now, I just kind of see the progress I've made already."
Jeff and Reagan open up more about finding friendship after divorce, below.