If you’re the kind of person who follows a lot of pop culture accounts on Instagram, you already know it was a busy weekend. Kourtney Kardashian is reportedly officially dating Travis Barker, Erika Jayne is apparently Armie Hammer’s neighbor, and the Gen-Z Disney Channel stars are still feuding. But all of that is just some light messiness compared to the pure chaos of whatever the f*ck is going on with Jay Cutler, Kristin Cavallari, and Southern Charm star Madison LeCroy. I realize that sounds like a 2021 pop culture Mad Lib, but this crossover is actually happening, and it’s kind of messy.
Before we really dive in, let’s set the scene and get our bearings. As you probably know, former Laguna Beach star Kristin Cavallari and former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler were married for several years before announcing their separation last spring. For the last few months, they both seemed to be living their best single lives, with rumored flings and new relationships. But then, Kristin and Jay flipped their entire relationship situation on its head on Friday night, when they posted identical photos together, which a cryptic caption that suggested they may be back together.
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With almost no context to go on, these posts obviously stirred up a million rumors, but unfortunately it looks like Kristin and Jay will be remaining tight-lipped about what’s really going on with them. So that’s where the drama ends, right? LOL, if it were, we would not be here. This is where Jesus takes the wheel and makes a complete left turn, because it’s where the Southern Charm cast comes into the picture. On the show this season, one of the main storylines has been Austen Kroll and Madison LeCroy’s struggle to fully pull the plug on their toxic relationship. They hate each other, but they love each other, and we all know how that goes.
Since Southern Charm finished filming over the summer, it seems like Austen and Madison’s breakup has become more final, but the toxic behavior between them has carried over onto social media. And somehow, aside from shady comments and #spon for Budweiser (a slight to Austen’s beer company), Kristin and Jay have become the main weapons in their Instagram war.
In December, Austen and his castmate Craig Conover went to Nashville to hang out with Kristin and her hairstylist BFF Justin Anderson (one of the thirstiest people alive), and the entire weekend was documented on Instagram. This included an instantly classic Instagram Live, where the obviously intoxicated crew danced to Taylor Swift’s “Mean” while Kristin was on Craig’s shoulders. On a subsequent appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Austen revealed that the friendship with Kristin started when she slid into Craig’s DMs, and they all got dinner together while she was visiting Charleston. He also clarified that while they enjoy each other’s company, nothing romantic was going on. But while things stayed platonic between Kristin and the Southern Charm boys, that was apparently not the case with their respective exes, Jay and Madison.
According to a People source, Jay “reached out to Madison” in early December, and “she flew out to see him after filming the Southern Charm reunion.” Yes, this is right around the time that Kristin was hanging out with Austen, adding another layer to this cake of confusion. Considering that Jay and Kristin are objectively more famous than Austen and Madison, this whole love-rectangle situation feels like some complex revenge equation, but it’s not clear exactly who was trying to get revenge on whom. Either way, it’s a damn mess. Though Madison was never splashing her time with Jay all over Instagram, she made comments suggesting they knew each other, and when asked about Jay in her own WWHL appearance, she coyly replied that she wasn’t “kissing and telling.”
So while there was some chatter about Madison’s possible relationship with Jay, it wasn’t until last week that she really threw her hat into the ring of messiness. In an Instagram Live on Thursday night, she and Southern Charm castmate Venita Aspen recreated Kristin and Austen’s infamous Taylor Swift IG Live, and in the same video she spoke vaguely about Austen, Kristin, and Jay. Kristin and Jay made their matching posts the next day, raising speculation that the posts were targeted at Madison. On Jay’s version of the post with Kristin this weekend, Madison commented, “I told you it would all workout ,” and later added that she couldn’t wait to “clear this up.”
After a day of eagerly awaiting further developments, Madison finally fired up her Instagram stories on Sunday afternoon, and she decided to drop some receipts regarding her relationship with Jay. There are two screenshots of their text conversation, one of which appears to show him trying to make arrangements to come visit her. In the other screenshot, Jay chastises Madison for bringing his name into the situation. There are no dates on the screenshots, but it seems likely that the second set of texts came after Madison spoke about Jay on Thursday’s IG Live. Madison pushes back, saying she respects him and his family, and says “if you weren’t interested in something real you shouldn’t have slept with me.” And I OOP. She followed that up with a selfie of her and Jay in hunting gear, so at the very least, we know they’ve spent some time together.
Kristin and Jay haven’t said anything about Madison’s involvement, but Kristin’s BFF Justin (the thirsty one) has had no problem speaking out. In a TikTok comment, he accused Madison of “making stuff up for attention,” and said that she’s “created all of this nonsense.” Justin posted many more similar comments, also confirming that nothing happened between Austen and Kristin, and again accusing Madison of wanting “fake TV drama.” Later on Sunday, Justin posted some more Instagram stories, where he said that posting private text messages is “f*cking low,” and that he’s only involved in this situation because he wants to stick up for his friend.
Honestly, I kind of love the fact that Kristin and Jay dropped a bomb with their photo together, then immediately disengaged from the situation. They knew they would get their headlines and reposts, and now the real thirsty people (Justin and Madison) are left to duke it out in the social media trenches. Austen, for his part, was posting about his golf outing over the weekend, seemingly ignoring the drama completely.
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It’s unclear what’s really going on with Kristin and Jay—I have my doubts that they’re really back together. But it’s even more unclear what Madison is trying to do here. Prove to the world that Jay Cutler knows she exists? Okay, sure, mission accomplished. Maybe the texts suggest that he was the one pursuing her, and maybe he was an asshole, but nothing here is rock-solid proof. And even if they did have some kind of relationship going, did she think this technically-still-married father of three was her soulmate? If so, then maybe there is hope for my crush on Timothée Chalamet. She’s already pivoted to posting vague, shady captions on Instagram, so she’s definitely going to be milking this for a while.
And as for Justin, I understand the urge to jump in when people are talking about your friend, but I’m not sure what Madison is doing even really affects her? If anyone is unbothered by this whole situation, it’s probably Kristin. At the end of the day, everyone in this story is going to go their separate ways, and the thirsty will stay thirsty.
Images: Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images; kristincavallari, madison.lecroy / Instagram
When it debuted in 2014, Southern Charm captivated Bravo viewers with its breezy Charleston backdrop and dynamic cast. But in recent years, the show has started to lose its luster, particularly with its continued indulgence of seriously toxic men. It seems that the powers that be at Bravo are also ambivalent about the show, as rumors swirl that production on season 7 has been delayed in an attempt to breathe new life into the stagnant franchise. But should they even bother? Unless some serious changes are made, my inclination is no, for several reasons.
TRav Continues To Dominate The Conversation
I’ll admit that when the show premiered, I enjoyed watching Thomas Ravenel. Despite being old enough to be the grandfather father of several of his castmates, there was something endearing about him, especially in his tearful breakup with Kathryn at the end of season 1. At the time they seemed like two star-crossed lovers, and it was genuinely heartwarming to learn that not only did they get back together, they had a baby after filming on season 1 wrapped. Of course, as the seasons went on it became very clear that Thomas was a veritable monster. We started to see firsthand his emotional abuse of Kathryn and his manipulation of both the press and the rest of the cast in a devious crusade to destroy Kathryn’s reputation and force her to lose custody of their two children. As if that weren’t disgusting enough, he was also arrested for sexual assault and battery.
Despite being removed from the cast, Thomas was implicated in virtually every major storyline in season 6 with the focus on his custody battle with Kathryn, the return of his whackjob on-again, off-again escort girlfriend Ashley, and even the casting of his family friend Eliza Limehouse, with that connection being touted several times throughout the season. This obsession with Thomas-adjacent plot points makes it seem like Bravo is afraid they can’t put together a successful show without Thomas somehow being involved. The rumors confirm this, with sources alleging that production approached Thomas’ cousin to join the cast for the upcoming season. Even Kathryn is seemingly buying into this idea, with a recent Instagram she put up with her estranged ex that suggests they might be back together. While I hope for her sake that it’s nothing more than a publicity stunt, if the show depends on a problematic and toxic cast member for its survival, this seems like a sign that Southern Charm may not be long for this world.
The Men Still Suck
Even putting TRav aside, my many qualms with the men on Southern Charm are well-documented. I won’t wax poetic on the varying degrees of their suckage here, but instead I’m most concerned with the lack of evolution we’ve seen with any of the men on this show. The most successful and compelling reality stars are the ones who evolve season after season and show us new sides of themselves. Sometimes this involves real growth, other times they regress, but the point is that there’s a general forward momentum that keeps viewers interested. The men on Southern Charm, if you can even call them that, have shown little to no growth over the course of six seasons. Shep, once an affable goofball, has transformed into a misogynistic emblem for white male privilege. Whitney continues to be creepy, and Craig, though adorable, seems content to push pillows and sleep ‘til noon for as long as he can ride this reality TV wave the foreseeable future. Austen’s never really been more than Shep Jr. until Madison came on the scene last season. Their dynamic added some spice, but not enough that I want to have my eyes and ears assaulted with more cries of “MAAAHDISEHHHN!” and a side of Austen’s half-mast boner next season.
The Rest Of The Cast Is Boring
So who does that leave us with? Cameran was fun the first few seasons as our resident narrator and f*ckboy-wrangler, but she hasn’t brought much else to the table throughout her tenure on the show. She’s always removed from the drama and seems to think palling around with Shep & co. while eating various fried foods passes for a legitimate storyline season after season. Her attempts to document her struggles as a new parent also fell flat last season. We watch reality TV to escape the more mundane aspects of our lives and to see something aspirational, not to watch someone whose challenges look much like our own. It’s great to be nice and normal, but like I’ve said before, well-adjusted people have no place on reality television. Chelsea, though sweet, is cut from a similar cloth as Cameran and has done little to hold my interest as a viewer. Eliza initially seemed like a potential new villain, but turned out to be a total non-entity last season. Naomie seems almost passive in her new relationship and did little to engage viewers either. Kathryn’s fascinating, but inconsistent, and if she’s really back with Thomas, the last thing any of us need to see is a vulnerable woman falling back into the arms of a sociopathic ex. You does it much better anyway.
Unless Bravo can shake its TRav obsession and add some fresh blood to the mix, I’m not sure how much longer Southern Charm can last. They took a step in the right direction with casting Madison, who was dynamic and unafraid to stand up to Shep last season, but she can’t carry the show on her own. Adding other new faces might be just what this franchise needs to stay afloat. It’s a strategy that seems to be working well on this season on Vanderpump Rules, despite some questionable new choices. Whether Bravo and the cast can get the show back on track this season remains to be seen, but here’s hoping these Southerners can once again turn on the charm.
Images: Heidi Gutman/Bravo; Giphy (1); kathryndennis / Instagram; Tenor (2)
As you’ve probably noticed, lately there have been more and more Instagram Photoshop fails that need to be called out. Holly does a great job with the Photoshop Fail of the Week, but I couldn’t resist doing my own little photo editing roast today. I may not be a trained graphic designer, but it doesn’t take an expert to realize that something is very wrong with the picture here.
Today’s culprit: Madison LeCroy of Bravo’s Southern Charm. Madison is new to the show this season, and she was brought on as Austen Kroll’s girlfriend. It’s unclear at the moment if they’re still together, but it is clear that Madison is in a serious relationship with Facetune. Here’s the photo in question:
I have many questions, but first I’d like to ask where her organs are?? Looking at this photo, I have to say I’m impressed, for a couple reasons. First of all, I’m impressed that she had the balls to post this photo, given that she looks like she has the actual body proportions of a Barbie doll. Most people wouldn’t even try to get away with this.
But I also have to give her credit for doing a pretty good job with the straight lines in the background. Everything on the right side of the photo looks pretty even and straight, but then I took a closer look at the wall behind her.
The lines between those top two stones are perfectly straight, but the next one down angles up toward Madison’s body. It would be one thing if the stones were irregularly shaped, but if you look at the area around her waist and butt, the stones actually seem to…disappear? Rather than a thin line of grout and then another stone, there’s just this weird black buffer area between her body and the rest of the wall.
I’m not a stone mason, but I feel like this isn’t how stone walls are built? Honestly, if I just saw this picture from the waist down, I might not have noticed anything was wrong, but the dead giveaway here is that her head and shoulders look twice as big as her hips. That’s not how bodies work!
I wasn’t the only person to notice the, um, irregularities in Madison’s photo, and people quickly started to troll her in the comment section. Sadly, she turned off the comments, so all of these wonderful bits of shade are gone, but she left up the photo because why not? She obviously thinks she looks hot, so whatever.
So have a good week, be careful with Facetune, and don’t hesitate to DM me with any egregious uses of photo editing you see on your timeline. It’s one of the causes I’m most passionate about. And Austen, if you’re single, please also don’t hesitate to slide into my DMs, just for research purposes.
Images: Madison.lecroy (3) / Instagram