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‘Scandoval’: The Vanderpump Rules cheating scandal explained

A months-long affair between two ‘Vanderpump Rules’ stars rocked both the cast and fans of the Bravo series

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 24 May 2023 16:20 BST
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Vanderpump Rules is no stranger to drama, both on and off the show. Now, after 10 seasons on the Bravo network, nothing has shook the series more than a cheating scandal between co-stars Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss – nicknamed #Scandoval.

On Friday March 3, news broke that longtime cast member Tom Sandoval had engaged in a six-month long affair with his Vanderpump Rules co-star, Raquel Leviss. The TomTom Restaurant & Bar co-owner was in a relationship with fellow cast member Ariana Madix for nearly 10 years, but the two have since split in the wake of the scandal.

TMZ was the first to report that Sandoval, 39, and Madix, 37, had called it quits after she learned of his alleged affair with Leviss, 28. That same day, sources later confirmed to People that Madix had found “a selfie video that was sexual in nature from Leviss” on Sandoval’s phone Wednesday night.

Following the cheating scandal, fellow Vanderpump Rules cast members Katie Maloney, Lala Kent, and James Kennedy rallied around Madix as they shared their unfiltered reactions and choice words for both Sandoval and Leviss on social media.

Meanwhile, fans began boycotting Schwartz & Sandy’s Lounge – the restaurant and bar which Sandoval founded with his co-star and business partner, Tom Schwartz. As a result, Sandoval issued a statement about the cheating scandal to Instagram.

“Hey, I fully understand and deserve ur anger and disappointment towards me, but please leave Schwartz my friends and family out of this situation,” Sandoval wrote on Saturday 4 March. “Schwartz specifically only found out about this very recently, and most definitely did not condone my actions. This was a very personal thing.”

The reality star also urged fans to “direct ur anger towards me” and not the “3 other partners and 20 employees” who work at Schwartz & Sandy’s. Sandoval went on to say that he will be “taking a step back” from the business “out of respect for my employees and partners”.

“I need some time to address everything else,” he added. “Sorry for everything.”

How #Scandoval went down

Following the breakout of the scandal, multiple sources told Page Six that Sandoval and Leviss had been “communicating inappropriately for months” and that the pair now “want to be together.” Another source claimed that Madix was “blindsided by the cheating” and noted that she feels “betrayed” by Leviss, whom she considered a “friend.”

On 1 March, Madix reportedly discovered that Sandoval had been cheating on her with Leviss when she was in Los Angeles to see her then-boyfriend perform in his cover band, Tom Sandoval & the Most Extras. During the concert, a racy video sent from Leviss popped up on Sandoval’s phone, which prompted Madix to uncover their history of inappropriate texts, according to People.

Meanwhile in New York, Leviss and co-star Sheana Shay had just wrapped up an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that same day, when a source told People that Leviss admitted to Shay the truth about her and Sandoval after the taping.

Following their late-night appearance, Leviss took legal action against Shay amid rumours that she allegedly got physical with Leviss after learning of the cheating scandal. In documents obtained by People, Leviss reportedly filed a restraining order against Shay in Los Angeles Superior Court. Shay denied claims that she “punched” Leviss and the restraining order was soon dismissed.

Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss apologise to Ariana Madix

Days later, both Sandoval and Leviss issued apologies to Madix in the wake of their infidelity. In a statement posted to Instagram on 8 March, Leviss apologised “for my actions and choices” and explained that she will be using the fallout of the cheating scandal to reflect on her own actions, including seeking counselling for her “patterns of codependency and addiction to being and feeling loved.”

“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 prioritise my mental health and learn from my mistakes,” she said. Soon after, reports surfaced that the 28-year-old reality star had checked into a mental health facility.

Meanwhile, Sandoval shared a second social media statement about the scandal, this time apologising to his partner of nine years. “I want to first and foremost apologise to everyone I’ve hurt through this process,” he wrote on Instagram. “Most of all, I want to apologise 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.”

“I can only imagine how devastating this has been for Ariana and everyone around us. I feel really horrible about that,” he continued. “My biggest regret is that I dishonoured Ariana. I never meant to disappoint so many people, including our loving families and friends.”

Filming picks back up

As news broke, cameras quickly began filming to capture the fallout from the cheating scandal. Now, viewers have been able to watch #Scandoval unfold during the show’s tenth season, which is currently airing on Bravo. Last week, the season 10 finale captured the explosive final conversation between Madix and Sandoval, in which she confronted her ex-partner about his infidelity.

Sandoval, who blamed the affair on his lack of intimacy with Madix, revealed that he and Leviss had formed a deep and emotional bond, which Madix simply called “disgusting”.

“I regret every moment that I stood up for you, defended you, supported you,” she said during the episode. “You’re worth nothing and I want you to feel that deep in your soul. I want you to hear those words coming from the mouth of the woman who f***ing stood by you and loved you and was ready to build the rest of my life around you.”

Just hours before the finale episode aired, it was reported that Sandoval and Leviss had called it quits. A source told ET on 17 May that “Tom and Raquel broke up”, while Page Six reported: “Raquel dipped out. Sandoval is not the one for her.”

Following the episode, Madix appeared on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen where she reacted to news of Sandoval and Leviss’ rumoured break up. “I don’t buy that at all. She was sending letters to my house, like, four days ago,” Madix told Cohen, explaining that she didn’t open the letter that was addressed to Sandoval.

The Call Her Daddy podcast

On Wednesday 24 May, Madix appeared on the Call Her Daddy podcast with host Alex Cooper, where she shared even more bombshell revelations from the cheating scandal. Perhaps the most shocking moment was when Madix claimed that Sandoval and Leviss were intimate in her house, with Madix present. “I think they had sex in my guest room while I was sleeping in my own bed that he and I went to bed in together and then he left the bed and went to the guest room and f***** her,” she alleged.

When asked whether she “turned a blind eye” to some of Sandoval’s suspicious behavior, Madix ultimately admitted that she ignored the red flags. “But I think I was given a lot of assistance in doing that because I would bring things up and I would be shot down,” she claimed. “I was very much committed and I feel like I was doing my absolute best as a partner. But I don’t think I would do anything differently, just because I feel like all I can do is my best — and whether my best was good enough or not for anyone, that’s what it was.”

“To be very clear, I didn’t lose him,” she maintained. “He lost me. But I think that I trusted in him so much...that I trusted his perspective on things.”

The drama continues with a three-part Vanderpump Rules reunion

On Wednesday 24 May, viewers can watch as the entire cast of Vanderpump Rules is reunited for the first time since the aftermath of the cheating scandal. The first installment of the three-part reunion will air on Bravo at 9pm ET.

Vanderpump Rules, which premiered on Bravo in 2013, follows the lives of servers and bartenders working at Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant, SUR Restaurant and Lounge.

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