Thomas Ravenel and Ashley Jacobs are still together, despite rumors that their reality TV romance is on the rocks.
The Southern Charm couple, who have been dating for over a year since meeting in early May 2017, are going strong, Jacobs tells PEOPLE exclusively. They’re just not advertising their relationship as much as they did before.
“We’ve just been chilling out on the social media front,” says Jacobs, 33. “I think that’s why people are questioning things, because we are both very public. I like social media, but we have just sort of chilled out, so we get a lot of those questions because we are not putting pictures with each other.”
“But I can tell you, we’re doing great now,” Jacobs continues. “We’ve been doing less going out, less going downtown, less going to bars or restaurants We watch Netflix every night. We eat ice cream, we order food in. We’ve been homebodies, and that’s made us closer.”
It’s been a rough few months for both of them in the spotlight.
Ravenel, 55, is being investigated by South Carolina police over allegations of sexual assault brought against him by “nanny Dawn,” who was featured on the show while caring for Ravenel’s two children with ex Kathryn Dennis: daughter Kensie, 4, and son Saint, 2½. (Ravenel has denied the accusations through his attorney.)
Jacobs, meanwhile, has been battling accusations of being an escort and backlash from fans as they slammed her feud with Dennis on Southern Charm‘s fifth season, which wrapped Thursday. They’re tough words that have lead to the certified nurse experiencing some severe anxiety.
During the hard times, Jacobs and Ravenel have been each other’s support system.
“He’s been there for me through times after episodes, the hate I’ve received,” Jacobs says. “I’ve cried. I’ve been very sad. My world has really been shaken up a bit. And there are times where he’s just like, ‘I’m coming over because I think you need me right now.’ Or just, ‘I’m going to bring you lunch, I’m going to bring you dinner, I’m worried that the stress has gotten to you or you’re not eating.’ He’s just been a shoulder to cry on. And he’s really stepped up.”
“Sometimes Thomas gets flack for being a lot about Thomas, and I have not seen that,” she adds. “He’s going through his own crap right now, his are more serious than what I’m dealing with. And I’ve seen him really put me first through all of this. The fact that he has made me a priority? He’s made sure after an episode, if someone said something hurtful, he’ll be like, ‘It’s okay, babe. You’ll be alright, who cares, don’t read it.’ He’s been through this before so he’ll be like, ‘you just gotta laugh at it.’ ”
The experience of being in the line of fire, no matter how hard, has made them closer.
“He is the only person who can really relate with me and has gone through the same experience with me,” says Jacobs, who moved to South Carolina to be with Ravenel from Montecito, California. “I can’t really relate to anyone else, not even my family or friends. I get off of work and he’s always my first call. He’s my family. He’s all I have here. It’s made us stronger that way.”
Staying busy and focusing on work has also helped their bond.
“We get that time apart. And he’s not resenting me, thinking This is the only reason she’s with me, because I support her. And I’m not resenting him, thinking, I’m stuck with his way of living. It’s made our relationship better,” she says.
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Marriage isn’t on the horizon yet for the two yet. “I’m not bringing up marriage like I was last year, you know, kinda pumping the break a little on that,” Jacobs says, with a laugh.
But is she worried Ravenel won’t commit, considering that he has been married before and has children? “With any relationship, who knows where it’s going to go,” she says. “I’m certainly not going to waste my time with someone I don’t see a future with. If we aren’t in the same place in five years, I don’t get this time back. And I want those things that he’s had before, marriage, kids …”
“Here’s the way I look at it: I have all the time in the world to wait for the right person, but I don’t have all the time in the world to waste on the wrong one,” she says.
She teases: “If you can make it last over a year, that’s like golden. That’s worth even more time, I think, in Thomas years!”