“Southern Hospitality”'s“ ”Maddi Reese Opens Up About Ex Trevor Stokes' Cheating Scandal: 'It's Complicated' (Exclusive)

"I was very confused," the reality star tells PEOPLE ahead of the Bravo show's season 2 premiere

<p>Rich Polk/Bravo via Getty</p> Maddi Reese at BravoCon 2023

Rich Polk/Bravo via Getty

Maddi Reese at BravoCon 2023

Maddi Reese isn't looking back on her relationship with ex Trevor Stokes with regret, even if she did question whether she made the right choice to stay with him when costar Joe Bradley confessed his feelings for her.

Ahead of Thursday's season 2 premiere of Southern Hospitality, the reality star opens up to PEOPLE about rekindling her relationship with Stokes last season after he cheated on her, saying that she's glad she followed her heart at the time.

"I'm someone who definitely feels my feelings, but I was willing to put everything out there and give this a chance because I cared about [Tervor] and the relationship," she says. "And you'll have to watch what happens, but I'm ultimately happy I gave it my all because that's the type of person I am."

The second season of the Southern Charm spinoff will follow Reese and Stokes in the aftermath of the explosive season 1 finale, which saw Bradley — her longtime friend and coworker — tell Reese he had romantic feelings for her while issuing a warning about Stokes' cheating.

<p>Mindy Small/Getty</p> Maddi Reese and Joe Bradley at BravoCon 2023

Mindy Small/Getty

Maddi Reese and Joe Bradley at BravoCon 2023

Reese ultimately chose to stand by Stokes' side. In season 2, "the pair moved in together and are planning for the future," according to a Bravo release. "But right when she thinks she’s moved past his cheating ways, a new allegation arises that rocks her world."

That can be seen in the season 2 trailer. "Did you do it?" Reese asks Stokes after rumors surfaced that he was unfaithful again.

"There was no physical touch going on!" he says in response.

"You told me she texted you and you told her to f--- off," Reese yells. "F---ing liar! F--- you!"

"Women aren't crazy," she says later. "Men make women crazy."

Looking back on it all, Reese admits that Bradley's confession did give her pause, especially when watching it back on television.

"A lot of the outside world was like, 'What the f---! There's this perfectly good guy who loves you! Why aren't you going with him?'" Reese recalls to PEOPLE. "And yeah, for sure I considered it and wondered whether I'd regret not going out with him. But I don't think it's that easy."

"I was very confused," she says. "I was never really sure. You could see me on the boat when he told me, I was crying. But I didn't know what to feel because behind my back, he would say he likes me but I never felt like he did, face-to-face. So there was definitely some curiosity, but I worried if Joe would practice what he preached."

<p>Heidi Gutman/BRAVO via Getty</p> Maddi Reese on 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'

Heidi Gutman/BRAVO via Getty

Maddi Reese on 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'

Reese and Stokes are, by all appearances, not together anymore. But when asked if she's still in communication with Stokes, Reese says that "it's complicated."

"Anyone who has been in a rocky relationship or a situationship or an on-and-off relationship, I feel like you know how it is," she says. "It's super complicated. And you'll see me navigating that on the show."

"I definitely see Trevor, even if it's not by choice," she adds. "Because you have to remember, Charleston is a really small town. It's not like you don’t have to run into your ex every day, you definitely do here! So you can't run away from your problems."

Related: Southern Hospitality Season 2 Trailer Teases Lies, Deceit and Betrayal: 'Things Went from 0 to 100'

<p>Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty</p> Maddi Reese, backstage at 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'

Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty

Maddi Reese, backstage at 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen'

Not that Reese is one to run away from her problems. Fans have praised the DJ from the beginning for her candidness on the reality series — something that's helped her through her tough times.

"The first season I was willing to put everything out there. I was like, ‘Yup, he cheated on me,'" she reflects. "But I heard from so many people who were like, 'Me too.' And that was the reassuring part. It was hard to relive watching it back, especially when you've moved on from a lot of it, but so many people have been through something similar, so that mattered a lot to me."

And she admits she's learning about herself, especially when it comes to trust.

"I've been cheated on before in the past, so I have a really hard time trusting people — I have trust issues — and I'm definitely trying to navigate that," she tells PEOPLE. "But at the end of the day, if you don't have trust, you have nothing. So I'm really trying to gauge that and figure that out, whether it be in my romantic life or with my friends."

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Season 2 of Southern Hospitality premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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