“Vanderpump Rules” executive producer and star Lisa Vanderpump addressed the scandal surrounding longtime castmember Tom Sandoval, dubbed the “Scandoval,” during her first appearance on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live” in more than a year.
After taking time away from appearances on the late-night show due to an injury, Vanderpump returned to “WWHL” on Wednesday to speak with Cohen about castmate and business partner Tom Sandoval’s shocking breakup with longtime partner Ariana Madix, after news broke of his affair with fellow castmate Raquel Leviss on March 3.
“I didn’t see it coming, nobody saw it coming,” Vanderpump said, adding she was “gobsmacked” and “flabbergasted” when she learned of the secret relationship between Sandoval and Leviss that led to the end of his nine-year relationship with Madix.
Though “Vanderpump Rules” is currently airing its 10th season on Bravo, the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” alum shared that the show is back in production to document the fallout of the controversy. The footage will air later this year as an extension of the current season.
As part of filming, Vanderpump revealed she reunited with Madix to discuss the controversy and said the conversation involved “a lot of tears.”
“Ariana was always that ride-or-die girlfriend,” she told Cohen, “It seems like Raquel was the ‘ride’ girlfriend, she was the ‘die’ girlfriend.”
Vanderpump also teased that the show will address fan speculation about whether Sandoval’s longtime friend and castmate Tom Schwartz was aware of the affair, as the show documented his own romantic entanglement with Leviss. She speculated that he must have known something was going on, given their close friendship.
She also shared a message to castmates, hoping that the filming of the show’s upcoming reunion episodes will be a chance for them to come clean about what happened and when.
“I want to see true contrition,” she said, “It’s been going a long time. That’s what’s so shocking to me. It wasn’t just a shag … I think [the fault is] equal. It takes two to tango!
“I think they had a game plan,” Vanderpump added of Leviss and Sandoval. “I think it was to get through the reunion, then to let the bomb drop and if there was another season, then have a few weeks, a few months [for the audience] to get used to it. But just by the longevity, I mean … I thought he was in love with Ariana. This is breaking up a couple that’s been together for [nine] years. I mean, the deceit — [Raquel] is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Responding to the massive fan response to the scandal, Vanderpump urged viewers to practice compassion online as the cast navigates through its fallout.
“This kind of vigilante justice, I don’t agree with it all,” she told Cohen. “These are people living their lives in a public forum, which is very difficult … it’s a show but they’re all hurting. I’m not saying we should let them off the hook. Condemn their actions, but don’t condemn the people.”
“Vanderpump Rules” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. “What What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” airs weeknights on Bravo.
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