As the Southern Charm crew prepared to head back to Charleston at the end of their trip to Colorado in the July 31 episode, Madison and Shep Rose discussed her relationship with Austen Kroll. When things began to get heated between the two of them, Madison said she heard from Austen that Shep gave Danni chlamydia when they dated years ago, before Season 1 of Southern Charm even aired.
Shep and Danni, who was also in the room at the time the accusation was made, were quick to shoot down Madison's claims as completely false during the episode. "What Madison said was very hurtful and untrue, and I feel as though it was clearly calculated, both directed at Shep and to me," Danni told The Daily Dish during an interview over the phone prior to the episode airing. "I don't think that Austen is innocent in the matter. They had both, unbeknownst to me, had been harboring some underlying resentment toward me particularly."
Danni said that she believes Madison made this statement as revenge for revealing that she had sent messages to Danni's boyfriend, Gentry, on Instagram while she was still dating Austen earlier this season of Southern Charm. "I think she had harbored that, and I had no idea. I mean, I had actually done everything I could possibly do to kind of protect her in that situation as it was unraveling and not have it escalate into something bigger, but I also had no idea that I had literally given Craig Conover ammunition. I didn’t know their relationship backstory, and quite honestly, I couldn’t have cared less," she said. "The last thing I ever wanted was for her and Austen's relationship to be exposed as unhealthy on my behalf."
Though Danni thought that they had resolved their issues after hashing things out at Patricia Altschul's dinner party, Austen and Madison had not let it go. This is what made the accusation in Colorado all the more shocking. "It just pops out of left field, and I think you can see from my reaction, I'm completely in shock. I almost can't believe she's even talking about me. It was probably 10 minutes later, I had a breakdown once I realized what she had said, because this is a national platform, you know? This is the first time I had ever even heard this. You can't put something like that out there, especially if you're addressing it as being a fact, if you have no idea if it's a fact or not," Danni explained. "Shep and I dated almost a decade ago, and we, or at least I, did not even know Madison and Austen back then. So what she said is completely untrue and unfair. It was hurtful. She was trying to target Shep, but I know good and well she threw me in there for a reason, subconsciously or not. And it's just been really hard for me to comprehend how you can do that to somebody else. It's not my nature."
Danni said that she also didn't realize how hurt Austen was by the original Instagram incident. As far as Danni knew, she had expressed to Austen and Madison that she was sorry for her role in how it was exposed. Danni said that she wasn’t mad that Madison initiated contact with Gentry, and she thought everything had been cleared up. However, it turned out that wasn't the case at all.
"Austen had this aggressive animosity towards me that I had no idea existed; I just kept hearing it from other people. And so that's why when the whole comment in Colorado came out, and she said she heard it from Austen, my mind was just spinning. I was like, 'This was absolutely calculated,'" Danni said. "And it was really hurtful because all the efforts I had done to try to protect their issues from coming to light completely just backfired. It completely backfired. I should have made absolutely no effort to protect either of them because all it did was embolden them to not take any accountability for the cause of their own breakup. Lesson learned."
When Danni returned to Charleston, she said she was able to distance herself from what happened with Madison in Colorado. But as it got closer to when the episode would air and she started hearing rumors that had snowballed from the Colorado accusation, it all felt "real again" for Danni, who added that she had been feeling "some anxiety" over the situation.
"I had so much other stuff on my mind and on my plate back then that I had compartmentalized and almost kind of forgot about it. Initially, I was obviously devastated and really hurt. The event was so outrageous that I almost felt like it was a mistake, and it was in my head, like it was something that didn't really happen," she shared. "It's hurtful. It makes me sad, I'm not gonna lie, it makes me sad that it is gonna be out there. It makes me sad that I was capable of provoking someone to that level of anger, without even knowing they were upset with me. And it doesn't just affect me; it affects other people that I've been involved with in my life. And I think that is the part that hurts the most. Having to know that family members and past relationships, people in future relationships, they're going to hear this, you know, it's kind of hard to explain crazy. I'm a very rational person, and I know this is something I'm gonna have to be addressing, and it's very unfair to me. I just feel very betrayed by it all, and I think this is the first time I've ever really felt truly betrayed."
Danni said that Madison crossed a line with her statement. "This is the first time something like this has ever really happened to me where I've been targeted like this, so I'm just having a hard time navigating and processing it. And I'm trying to do the best I can with the outcome of all of this by taking the high road and by, really, just trying to set an example for other people who feel unfairly targeted like this, especially now in this digital age with young people and bullying. I'm 35, I know who I am, but you've got a teenager in high school that somebody puts something out there like this on social media and it's around school, and they may want to end their lives," she explained. "I can stand here and say that I do not have chlamydia, I never have. But, I mean, I had to frickin' Google it and couldn't figure out how to spell it when all this happened. I’m sure as heck well-educated on the subject now, and 'news flash' for everyone out there… it’s apparently pretty common nowadays. Lesson learned here, folks? Just practice safe sex."
This is a moment that Danni said she anticipates will have an undeniable impact on her life for years to come, something she doesn't believe Madison understands the gravity of. "I have always been very careful and cautious with my words. I also didn’t have the capability to text or e-mail or name-call back in my teenage years, so now I feel like people need to be even more conscientious and aware. You just have to be really careful with your words, and she wasn’t. She was reckless in this case," Danni said. "Having prided myself on maintaining a clean and healthy sex life, it doesn't matter at this point because the statement has been put in the universe. It's out there. True or untrue, it's out there, and that word is forever tied to me, and it's not my fault, but it's just something that I have to deal with now. And it's unfortunate, but it's the way our world works now. And I just wish people had a little bit more compassion and were a little bit more careful before they spoke is the bottom line."
Danni said she has rarely seen Madison or Austen since this season of Southern Charm ended. "It's gonna be hard for me to even look at either of them," she shared. "I'm still very betrayed. I am very hurt. I feel as though I've seen their true colors, and no thanks. Honestly, there's nothing really an apology could do. Believe it or not, Austen has never apologized to me for his role in this. He has never even addressed it with me. Madison did apologize right after, but I was too upset at the time to even hear it. I mean, they could apologize, but honestly the best thing they could do is literally just change how they treat people. You can't do this stuff to other people and not expect for karma to hit you like a freight train later."
Just talking about this moment with Madison makes Danni emotional. She could be heard sniffling and getting choked up throughout her interview with The Daily Dish. "I know when I do see [Austen and Madison], I mean, all of these emotions just come, and it's not even anger; I just get emotional. Like, how could you do this to me type of thing," she said. "It's a learning experience, I suppose. But I just have to keep reminding myself that it's not about me, it's about them. And it says a lot more about them than it does about me."
After the events in Colorado, Madison confided in Kathryn Dennis, who has continued to be a confidante to her today. However, Danni doesn't foresee that having any impact on her own close friendship with Kathryn moving forward. "I have no problems with them hanging out. I really don't care. I've always been really protective of Kathryn, and I'm a little bit fearful that she's put herself in a really dangerous situation by befriending her on any further level than they are right now. Right now it's very surface, but time will tell. We'll see," she said. "Kathryn, she's my ride or die, so I'm not too concerned about that."
One of the most difficult parts of this whole situation for Danni is that she doesn't feel like she could have done anything differently to avoid what was to come in Colorado. "This was just one of those situations where I guess the lesson learned is, there is always a bird willing to s--t on you so have the napkin ready. I think I've done my best to deal with the situation with grace and integrity. I just hope they learn a lesson from this," she shared. "Madison knows I would never throw down dirt like she does. There is nothing she can say about me that I've ever done to her or about my character that I'm nervous about. There's just not. Unless she starts just making more stuff up. And in that case, she's already done it to me once, so I'm kind of used to it."
Danni said that this experience may affect how she approaches her friendships in the future. "I'm better equipped to identify that type of personality, maybe, and I'll be more careful in the future of associating myself with anybody like that. But, I mean, at the same time, she has great qualities, too. She is a mother. She loves her son," Danni said. "But, you know, we just don't vibe."
Even in the darkest of times, Danni is somehow still able to find the light. "Well, I mean, [Madison is] a human. She has to be good in some capacity. I just happen to see the worst parts, you know? And I don't like seeing the worst part of anybody. I'm the happy-go-lucky one," she said. "Obviously, I truly feel like god can only give you what you can handle. This is happening to me for a reason, so I'm just gonna go with it."