NEW YORK (AP) — On camera, the family on USA's "Chrisley Knows Best" has briefly addressed son Kyle's second-season absence, saying he's "going through a difficult time."
Off camera, the drama is much more intense.
Heading into next Tuesday's season finale, patriarch Todd Chrisley said his 24-year-old son is off his medication for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and is estranged from the family. Kyle confirms he's not taking his medication but said he has seen a new doctor who questions his diagnosis.
Kyle is living with his wife, Alexus, whom he married in April, and hasn't seen his father, siblings, stepmother Julie or 2-year-old daughter Chloe in months. The toddler lives with Todd and Julie, who share custody with Kyle.
In any case, Todd said in a recent interview his son will not return to the show, which was renewed for a third season. He needs structure, the father said, and filming a television show isn't conducive to that.
"This is my son who I love dearly," Todd said. "I don't want his personal business scattered across the world when he's got a daughter that we're raising that is going to have to read this years down the road."
"Chrisley Knows Best" follows the tight knit, boisterous family living in Georgia. Much of the series follows Todd's efforts to keep tabs on teenagers Chase and Savannah as they push for independence. Other family members are featured, including Julie, eldest daughter Lindsie and youngest son, Grayson.
Todd said he's backed into a corner about speaking about his son, because Kyle and Alexus have given recent interviews where they've made false claims about him, his sexuality, his marriage and his business.
"It's just so hurtful for your own child to say the kind of things that Kyle has said," said Todd, who has had guardianship over Kyle since 2009.
For his part, Kyle said Todd just wants to control him. Todd said Kyle thinking he doesn't need treatment is part of the problem.
"He gets to feeling great because everything is going great, he doesn't need the medicine anymore. Because he's feeling good, well he's cured. So why would he keep taking the medicine when he feels fine?"
Kyle said he doesn't want to be on the show. "I never even liked being on the show. I was uncomfortable," he said. "You can tell just looking at me the first season. ... Everything about it is fake."
He said he just wants his freedom and is happier on his own.
Alexus adds if a judge decides Kyle must still be under a guardianship, she would be ready to take over.
"If there must be somebody to step up, I would gladly take that position," she said.