Naomie Olindo on Hooking Up with Ex Craig Conover: 'Neither of Us Thought We'd Get Back Together'
The former couple shocked fans in the trailer for the new season when they revealed that they had a recent rendezvous after Olindo returned to Charleston in the wake of her split from Metul Shah. But speaking to PEOPLE ahead of Thursday's premiere, Olindo makes it clear that reviving her relationship with Conover was never on the table.
"Neither one of us ever thought we would get back together," says Olindo, 29. "This happened a year ago now and it was sort of a one or two-off situation where you just know each other and you're comfortable around each other and you have some fun."
"It was almost like, a bit of closure at the same time, because we had been together for so long and now we finally had a friendship again now that so much time had passed," she says. "But really, it was nothing more than that."
Olindo and Conover dated for nearly three years before splitting up in September 2017. And while their surprise hookup became a hot topic on Southern Charm, Olindo says she never expected anyone would care.
"I didn't realize it was going to be such a big deal," she explains. "I'd been gone for the show in a year and I kind of thought at first I was going to be able to come back and it would fly under the radar and nobody would know. But, it turns out with our group of friends, nothing really works like that. So yeah... what happens in Vegas was discussed a lot."
Conover, 33, is currently dating fellow Bravo star Paige DeSorbo, 29.
The pair got closer while filming Winter House, when Conover was in another relationship that ended shortly after filming for the 2021 Summer House spin-off, and the Giggly Squad host's uncertainly about her developing relationship with Conover was documented on the latest season of Summer House.
That said, since Conover and DeSorbo hadn't defined their relationship at the time he hooked up with Olindo, was it awkward once they officially became a couple?
"Yeah!" Olindo says with a laugh. "You'll see us navigate that a good bit because it was kind of hard to figure out, 'Okay, what are the boundaries? How can I remain respectful to them, but still be in the same friend group?' It was kind of hard to figure out what everyone's comfortable with."
That doesn't mean Olindo isn't all for Conover and DeSorbo's pairing. "They're great together," Olindo says. "I'm super-supportive of him, super-supportive of her. They're really happy and it's nice to see."
Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.
Her support carries over to the success Conover has achieved with his sewing, which she memorably criticized while they were dating. (Conover has since found success both online and with a brick-and-mortar store in Charleston by starting Sewing Down South, which features many of his homeware designs.)
"Anytime anyone finds something they're truly passionate about and it can bring them success and a sense of purpose and a good sense of self, I think it's wonderful," says Olindo, who has her own clothing business L'ABEYE. "I'm really happy for him. I love to see. We've talked about our businesses together, which helped us bond in a new way. It's great to see him thriving in that way."
Olindo is dating now, though she tells PEOPLE nothing is serious. And though her breakup with Shah was hard, she says she's glad the split brought her back to Charleston and back to Southern Charm.
"It's really the best thing that could have happened, I just didn't know it at the time," Olindo says. "In hindsight I'm like, 'Oh, thank goodness,' because I didn't realize that it wasn't a good relationship. I just thought everything was fine. But I'm really thankful because it really was the best thing that could have happened."
"I just learned so much from the experience, the biggest lesson being the importance of not losing myself by trying to please someone else," she continues. "That's definitely something in hindsight I think happened, but I wasn't even aware of it. So it's in the forefront of my mind now. It's helped me figure out what I did want and what I didn't want."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.
Season 8 of Southern Charm premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
- Tiffany Haddish Reacts to Roe v. Wade Decision, Reveals Adoption Plan: 'I Want to Be Present'
- Meet the Adorably Odd Contestants of the 2022 Ugliest Dog Contest — Including Winner Mr. Happy Face
- Inside Edition's Deborah Norville Says She Once Suffered a Miscarriage: 'I've Never Talked About That'
- Mötley Crüe's Vince Neil Sets the Record Straight in New Documentary: People 'Think They Know Me'