Image Source: Getty / Todd Williamson / Bravo
The Bravo world was rocked on March 3 when “Vanderpump Rules” stars Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix split after nine years together. In the aftermath, numerous outlets reported that their split was prompted by the revelation that Sandoval cheated on Madix with their costar Raquel Leviss in a months-long affair. Dozens of Bravo stars seemed to confirm the news on social media, including producer Andy Cohen, who tweeted out a siren emoji and then asked, “How many parts is too many parts for the #pumprules reunion???” POPSUGAR reached out to reps for Sandoval, Madix, and Leviss for comment on the allegations but did not receive responses.
The internet has since been ablaze with Bravo fans trying to figure out what exactly happened between the three stars. On March 8, Sandoval and Leviss both released statements apologizing to Madix for their roles in the situation. Then, over a week later, Madix released a statement about her breakup and the aftermath. If you’re not a Bravo head, or are muddy on the details, here’s a full timeline of the drama, including the latest statements on the issue.
Who Are Tom Sandoval, Ariana Madix, and Raquel Leviss?
Sandoval, Madix, and Leviss are all cast members of “Vanderpump Rules.” Sandoval and Madix met and became friends when they worked as bartenders at restaurants owned by former “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Lisa Vanderpump before the show began filming. Sandoval was a cast member when the first season premiered in 2013, while Madix joined for season two the following year. Sandoval’s best friend is fellow cast member Tom Schwartz, with whom he’s started two restaurants: TomTom With Vanderpump, and Schwartz and Sandy’s primarily on their own. Schwartz split from his wife, castmate Katie Maloney, in early 2022.
Leviss, meanwhile, was first introduced in season five as the girlfriend of cast member James Kennedy. The pair got engaged in May 2021 after five years together. (Sandoval even helped Kennedy plan and pay for the over-the-top proposal.) However, the couple eventually split that December.
During the summer of 2022 (and as filmed for the show, which is currently airing on Bravo), there were rumors that Leviss was hooking up with Schwartz and that their attraction came to a head at the wedding of cast member Scheana Shay in late August. Since the show premiered, Leviss has said that it was OK for her to be involved with Schwartz despite Maloney’s wishes because she and Maloney weren’t friends. Shay and Leviss appeared together on the March 3 episode of the “Chicks in the Office” podcast (which was released before news broke), and Leviss said, “Ariana [and Scheana] were the ones that really embraced me into this group and have been there for me since day one, so I know who my true friends are.”
How Long Were Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix Together?
Sandoval and Madix began dating in 2014. They bought a house together in Valley Village, in Los Angeles, in 2019.
Did Tom Sandoval Cheat on Ariana Madix With Raquel Leviss?
On March 3, TMZ broke the news that Sandoval and Madix had split amid allegations of cheating involving Leviss and that “Vanderpump Rules” was filming the fallout. Other outlets quickly confirmed the news, as did some of their “Pump Rules” costars on Instagram, including Kennedy and Lala Kent. Madix reportedly found out about the affair that Wednesday when she saw Sandoval’s phone and his texts with Leviss.
Sources told People that the affair had been going on for six months. On April 11, TMZ posted a photo of Sandoval and Leviss together in Sandoval’s hometown of St. Louis, which was reportedly taken on December 29, 2022 — which is within the timeframe that the affair reportedly took place in.
In the months before Sandoval and Madix split, Leviss continued to play up rumors that she was involved with Schwartz. She wore a TomTom sweatshirt to BravoCon in October, and when Maloney accused her of being a “fangirl,” she wrote on Instagram that she mostly wore it to be comfy and added, “I also wore it to support BOTH of the Toms.” She included #NumberOneTomStan.
Weeks later, Sandoval dressed as Leviss in the sweatshirt for Halloween, as Leviss memorialized in her Halloween Instagram highlight.
What Has Tom Sandoval Said About the Affair?
Back on March 4, Sandoval posted a statement on his Instagram asking that people not direct their anger toward Schwartz, who he says knew nothing about his actions until recently. He also asked that people not take their frustration out on their restaurant Schwartz and Sandy’s. “Hey, I fully understand and deserve ur anger and disappointment towards me, but please leave Schwartz my friends and family out of this situation,” he wrote. “Schwartz specifically only found out about this very recently, and most definitely did not condone my actions.”
“This was a very personal thing,” Sandoval continued. “Schwartz & Sandy’s might have my name on it, but also there are 3 other partners and 20 employees, who especially rely on the restaurant for income for them and their families. Just like TomTom, I’m a small part of a much bigger thing. Please direct ur anger towards me and not them. They did nothing wrong.”
Sandoval went on to apologize to his partners who “have to suffer for my actions.” He added that he would be stepping away from the restaurants for now “out of respect for my employees & partners.” He concluded his post, “I need some time to address everything else. Sorry for everything.” Sandoval did not mention Madix in that statement.
Hours earlier, Schwartz and Sandy’s also posted a statement on Instagram asking people to be kind to the workers there who had “nothing to do with this unfortunate situation.” The statement also called Madix “a good friend and a great supporter of the restaurant.” Schwartz has not commented, but that Saturday, fans posted photos of him at the restaurant greeting guests.
On March 8, Sandoval posted a new statement to his Instagram page, writing, “I want to first and foremost apologize to everyone I’ve hurt through this process. Most of all, I want to apologize to Ariana. I made mistakes, I was selfish, and made reckless decisions that hurt somebody I love. No one deserves to feel that pain so traumatically and publicly.”
He continued, “I can only imagine how devastating this has been for Ariana and everyone around us. I feel really horrible about that. My biggest regret is that I dishonored Ariana. I never meant to disappoint so many people, including out loving family and friends.”
Sandoval then seemed to address “Vanderpump Rules” viewers, writing, “My love for Ariana was strong than any camera ever could have captured. Some of our best time together were never filmed. The same goes for some of our biggest struggles. I wish things happened in a different order and our relationship was not severely tarnished, and that it ended with the same respect for her that it began with. I owed Ariana better.”
He concluded, “I am beyond sad that it ended the way it did. The choices I made hurt so many people. I acted in a way that clashes with who and how I want to be. I will reflect and work on myself. I have work to do. I always have, and I always will.”
On March 28, following the filming of the “Vanderpump Rules” reunion special, Sandoval spoke to a TMZ cameraman about the affair. He mostly dodged questions about Madix and Leviss, but did say he “of course” regrets the circumstances of his relationship with the latter. “I could have handled things way better,” he admitted, also saying, “Hindsight’s always 20/20, man.”
Image Source: Getty / Charles Sykes / Bravo
On April 11, Sandoval sat down for an interview with Howie Mandel and elaborated on his side of the story, telling the host that he broke up with Madix on Valentine’s Day — before she discovered the affair. He also said that he had been trying to break up with Madix for a while.
“I made it pretty clear in therapy that I wanted to, like, take the steps to break up. And then actually Ariana kind of just really started fighting for it and I felt so, so bad about it because she was being so unbelievably sweet and amazing,” he said, adding that Madix was “completely in denial” about the end of their relationship. “She’s like, ‘I’m not letting you leave me. You’re gonna have to force me out of this relationship,” Sandoval claimed, alleging that Madix told him, “. . . if you break up with me, you will effectively be ending my life.'”
What Has Raquel Leviss Said About the Affair?
Leviss released a statement to “Entertainment Tonight” on March 8, which began with her writing, “I want to apologize for my actions and my choices foremost to Ariana, and to my friends and the fans so invested in our relationships. There is no excuse, I am not a victim and I must own my actions and I deeply regret hurting Ariana.”
She continued, “I am reflecting on my choices, speaking to a counselor and I am learning things about myself such as my patterns of codependency and addiction to being and feeling loved. I have sought emotional validation through intimate connections that are not healthy without regard for my own well-being, sometimes negatively affecting others and often prioritizing the intimate connection over my friendships. I am taking steps to understand my behavior and make healthier choices.”
The statement went on, “Although I chose to be on a reality show accepting the good and bad that comes with it, beyond my own actions I have been physically assaulted, lost friendships, received death threats and hate emails in addition to having had my privacy violated.”
Leviss concluded, “I have begun counseling to end my unhealthy behavioral cycle, learn to set stronger emotional boundaries and learn to protect my mental health. I don’t expect sympathy, understanding or forgiveness. Right now I must focus on my own health and well-being and as I strive to be a better person moving forward, I will prioritize my mental health and learn from my mistakes.”
Leviss’s statement came a day after it was reported by TMZ that her lawyers had sent letters to the “Vanderpump Rules” cast saying that the video on Sandoval’s phone that Madix found was recorded without her permission and that everyone who had the video should delete it. That same day, Leviss also served Shay with a restraining order, as confirmed by People, though the reason for the order is unknown (though Leviss claims in her statement that she was physically assaulted and does not name the person).
In a March 9 statement to POPSUGAR, Shay’s lawyer, Neama Rahmani, responded to the filing saying, “This case is a fabrication by a known liar and a cheat who has betrayed everyone close to her. Scheana never punched Rachel, period. The supposed dark markings around her left eye have been there for months. Neither Scheana nor other cast members want anything to do with Rachel going forward. The judge has only heard a one-sided account of what happened, and we look forward to presenting the full and true story at the March 29 hearing.”
Meanwhile on March 9, Leviss addressed speculation about the status of her relationship with Sandoval in an Instagram post amid rumors that the pair planned to continue their scandalous romance. Wrote Leviss, “Besides the indefensible circumstances surrounding our relationship, my feelings for Tom have always been sincere and born out of a loving friendship. Knowing how many people we hurt, I need to understand my choices and learn to make better ones. I need to take care of my health, work on self growth and take time to be ok with being alone.”
Concluded Leviss, “I care for Tom and I don’t want to label anything or predict what lies ahead. Right now I need to heal.”
On April 14, Entertainment Tonight reported that Leviss had checked into a mental health treatment facility, a decision she apparently made prior to the affair going public. “Raquel and her family decided before the relationship was discovered that she would enter a voluntary facility for mental health counseling,” the source said. “She was scheduled to go in pre-reunion but decided she wanted to finish her filming commitment. Bravo and production were aware and in support of her journey towards better mental health.” The source also clarified that Leviss is not going to rehab for substance-related issues. Reps for Leviss did not immediately respond to POPSUGAR’s request for comment.
What Has Ariana Madix Said About Raquel Leviss and Tom Sandoval’s Affair?
In the early hours of March 16, Madix took to Instagram and shared a photo of herself in a long pink and green gown. She began the caption, “hi. where to begin?”
She continued, “i want to express my most sincere gratitude for the outpouring of love and support i have received from friends, family, and people i’ve never even met in the last two weeks. when i have felt like i couldn’t even stand, you all have given me the strength to continue and seen me through my darkest hours. to say i have been devastated and broken is an understatement. however, i know that i am not in this alone. so many of my closest friends are also grieving this loss right now and reeling from this betrayal on so many levels. i am so f*cking lucky to have the best support system in the world and i hope i can repay every single person for the love you have shown me.”
She concluded, “what doesn’t kill me better run,” and signed off, “love, ariana.”
Before Madix spoke out, her friend (and Sandoval’s ex-girlfriend) Kristen Doute posted a video on Instagram on March 3 of the pair hugging. Doute assured fans that Madix was not alone, and her friends were there supporting her.
Her brother, Jeremy Madix, also commented on Kennedy’s since-deleted Instagram post about the news at the time, writing, “It’s funny to watch people social climb and be soooooooo fake that they’re willing to sh*t on people that are supposed to be their ‘best friend’ (a term that gets thrown around very often around here) all just to come up or have some sort of story line,” according to Us Weekly.
On May 3, Doute appeared on “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” and shared her thoughts on the whole scandal. “Since the Raquel news broke, I’ve heard multiple things that are now coming out of the woodwork,” she told Cohen. While Doute said it isn’t anyone she knows personally, she claimed a “friend of a friend” allegedly hooked up with Sandoval while he was doing appearances with Schwartz.
What Has Sandoval’s Best Friend, Tom Schwartz, Said About the Affair?
On March 11, Schwartz — Sandoval’s best friend and business partner — broke his silence about the affair. TMZ caught up with the restaurateur at the LAX airport where he gave an update on how his partner is doing. “[Sandoval’s] OK, I think. Relatively speaking, I mean, he has a sense of profound sadness, rightfully so, that he’s a piece of sh*t. And to some extent, maybe he is,” Schwartz said. “But he knows he f*cked up, and the whole thing is just really sad.”
He went on to express his hope that Madix is surrounded by friends and is moving forward. “Luckily, Ariana has a really good support system, and she’s with her friends,” he continued. “I hope she’s living a good life, just indulging. Hope she goes on a living spree. I’m just hoping this whole thing blows over.”
Schwartz went on to say he hasn’t been in contact with Leviss since news of the scandal broke, and he denied publicly kissing her to cover up the affair for his friend. “It’s f*cking complicated. That’s the understatement of the year. I think Tom’s OK,” he said. “Really, I’m just sad about the negative impact it’s having on our business, but I think cooler heads will prevail, and I’m just gonna keep on keeping on.”
“Vanderpump Rules” Season 10 Midseason Trailer
The “Vanderpump Rules” cameras turned back on to film the fallout of the cheating allegations, and that footage will be included at the end of the season, which is currently airing. On March 20, Bravo released the season 10 midseason trailer, which begins with Shay’s wedding and Maloney and Madix looking for a space for their new sandwich spot before things really get ugly. “I was the OG homewrecking whore of this group,” Shay tells Leviss in the clip. “And then came Lala. And now here you are.” We also see Madix seemingly confront Sandoval about the affair when she tells him, “You don’t deserve one f*cking tear of mine.” Meanwhile, Leviss is heard in a voiceover, saying, “I don’t f*cking regret our relationship.”
Multiple cast members have also posted photos of themselves filming talking heads for new episodes, and there are numerous rumors about scenes filmed between Madix and Sandoval and Leviss and Sandoval. On March 10, Bravo confirmed Madix’s friend Doute would be returning to the series after she was fired in 2020 for a racist prank she pulled on her then-costar Faith Stowers. Her return comes after the reality TV star posted her supportive Instagram for Madix, which suggests she’ll be wading into the controversy that Bravo fans have dubbed “Scandoval.”
Additionally, Schwartz confirmed to TMZ that the messy situation would unfold in front of the cameras. When asked when he found out about the affair, he said, “You’ll see it play out on the show.”
Will Raquel Leviss Attend the “Vanderpump Rules” Season 10 Reunion?
The show filmed the season’s reunion last week, and Leviss officially confirmed her attendance to E!. “Yes, I will be attending the reunion in person,” she told the outlet.
Some viewers have questioned how the restraining order against Shay would affect filming, which typically involves the entire cast together in one room. However, in a March 23 statement shared with POPSUGAR, Shay’s attorney, Neama Rahmani, said, “Scheana will be present at today’s filming in person. Scheana intends to follow the law, but she wants to be part of the reunion. If Rachel attends, Scheana and ‘Vanderpump Rules’ will make sure that Scheana remains 100 yards away to comply with the restraining order.”
Rahmani added, “There is no real way for the temporary restraining order to be dropped, so it will remain in effect until the permanent hearing on March 29 and then it will just lapse if Rachel doesn’t pursue it. And if Rachel does pursue it, Scheana intends to call witnesses and present evidence to disprove her false accusations.”
Former cast member Jax Taylor told Extra on March 27 that he had heard the reunion filming was “crazy.” He added, “There was security there. There was almost brawls.” Leviss and Sandoval were also photographed dining together after the reunion taped, according to Us Weekly.
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