Craig Conover Relives EMBARRASSING Fan Meet & Greet
The Bravo Cinematic Universe is no doubt bountiful, having blessed us mere mortals with countless
Real Housewives memes, Top Chef meltdowns and Below Deck disasters. But what if we also have the network—more specifically, Southern Charm—to thank for Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck‘s long-awaited reunion?
Hear us out. While the series—which centers on a group of friends living the high life in Charleston, South Carolina—may not be directly responsible for the couple getting back together after calling off their engagement in 2004, it almost certainly acted as a catalyst. Cast members
Madison LeCroy and Craig Conover played the biggest part, first bringing up the rumors that would spiral into a full-blown scandal during the season seven Southern Charm reunion.
From there, a complicated web involving Madison, Craig, J.Lo,
Alex Rodriguez, Shep Rose and Austen Kroll was spun. Now, in anticipation of Southern Charm‘s upcoming eighth season, we’re attempting to untangle it.
Do all roads really lead back to Bravo? Keep reading to find out.
Southern Charm season seven premieres Thursday, June 23 at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
Heidi Gutman/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
January 2021: Craig Drops a Bombshell
Craig Conover came out swinging at the Southern Charm season seven reunion, blatantly accusing co-star Madison LeCroy—who was still in a rocky on-again, off-again relationship with Austen Kroll at the time—of being a “f–king home-wrecker.”
“You were flying around the country sleeping with men, married men!” Craig claimed. “Ex-MLB players. That’s what you were doing during quarantine. You know why Austen was at my house? Cause you weren’t talking to him! You flew to Miami to f–k an ex-MLB player.”
Madison denied this, but admitted to DMing with said ex-MLB player, whose name was ultimately bleeped out.
January 2021: A-Rod’s Name Gets Thrown in the Mix
Alex Rodriguez was the first to come to mind for many fans when they heard Craig specifically mention “ex-MLB player” and “Miami.” Then, shortly after the reunion, a few eagle-eyed viewers discovered A-Rod had, in the past, liked a few of Madison’s Instagram photos. Southern Charm‘s Danni Baird further drove speculation in early February2021 “Months before I had heard, [Madison] had even told me that they were FaceTiming or something,” Danni said of Rodriguez on the Reality Life With Kate Casey podcast. “I had just assumed. I never asked more about it or anything like that. I just kind of forgot about it. It just didn’t tie in that he was a Major League Baseball player.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
February 2021: Madison Goes Public
Madison confirmed during an interview with
Page Six that the former baseball player in question was, indeed, Alex Rodriguez. According to the hair stylist, she and Alex had never met in person, but they had “spoken on the phone.”
“He’s never physically cheated on his fiancée with me,” Madison said, officially bringing
Jennifer Lopez into the mix. She remained tight-lipped about her and Alex’s actual correspondences, but described their calls as “innocent.”
February 2021: A Source Dispute Madison’s Claims
A source close to Alex told E! News in February, “Alex doesn’t know her and has never met her.”
March 2021: Shep Speaks Up
Southern Charm‘s Shep Rose claimed Alex’s name was bleeped at the reunion because Madison had signed an NDA. As he explained in an interview with Andy Cohen, “She said on camera, there’s camera’s buzzing around, we’re on a boat and she’s like, ‘Well, I’m DMing with A-Rod, but we can’t talk about that’ or ‘they can’t air this because I signed an NDA’ and that’s the first I heard of it.”
He continued, “I think from what I understand, he approached her. But, you know, NDA is a weird little document, isn’t it? I’m not sure how effective they are.”
Steve Granitz/WireImage; John Valkos/Bravo
March 2021: A-Rod and J.Lo Split
Alex and Jennifer called off their engagement after four years of dating in early March. Naturally, this only fed into the speculation surrounding Alex and Madison; however, an insider told E! News at the time that the split was “definitely” not because of the reality star.
March 2021: Missed Signs
As it turns out, J.Lo and A-Rod’s relationship was on the rocks as early as February. After the couple split, a source told E! News that they’d frequently “fight and then go days without communicating as they began traveling and living separately.”
Not to mention, “Alex has had a problem texting girls for years,” the insider added at the time. “There is no proof that he has moved past the texting flirtation stage, but the evidence had continued piling up and became too much to ignore.”
May 2021: The Rumors Pick Back Up
Rumors surfaced that Alex had reached out to Madison following his split from Jennifer, but his rep shut them down in a statement shared to E! News: “I’m not sure who’s looking to benefit from these types of rumors and false stories. They are factually incorrect. Alex is busy concentrating on his businesses and his family.”
May 2021 – Now: Bennifer Is Back
Shortly after Jennifer’s split from Alex, she was back with her ex,
Ben Affleck. They were engaged within a year, and as of June 2022, are still going strong. Whether or not you credit Madison and that ill-fated Southern Charm reunion with the eventual resurrection of Bennifer is your prerogative, but there’s no denying there’s at least a small connection.
As Madison—who is now engaged herself—joked upon hearing J.Lo’s engagement news, “I say, ‘You’re welcome.'”
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)
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Is Southern Charm Responsible for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s Reunion? You Decide