Affairs are a common storyline on unscripted reality shows, but the infidelity scandal involving “Vanderpump Rules” cast members Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss takes things to the next level.
News broke March 3 that Sandoval was cheating on his longtime, live-in girlfriend Ariana Madix with Leviss. This came as a shock to viewers, as Sandoval and Madix were one of the show’s steadiest couples, and Leviss was slowly re-entering the dating pool and exploring a relationship with Sandoval’s best friend, Tom Schwartz. At least that’s what was captured on film for the show’s tenth season, which just debuted a month ago.
Even at the premiere party in February, which TheWrap attended, Sandoval and Madix appeared inseparable and Leviss seemed content with life as a single person.
To quote a meme that has been circulating since the scandal broke with a “Friends” reference: “Imagine if Chandler cheated on Monica with Rachel secretly for seven months and Joey knew all along.”
We break down the “Vanderpump Rules” cheating scandal that has left fans of the Bravo show shaken.
Who Is Directly Involved in the Cheating Scandal?
Here are the parties directly involved in the “Vanderpump Rules” cheating scandal:
- Tom Sandoval aka “Sandoval,” is an original “Vanderpump Rules” cast member and former bartender at SUR restaurant. He is also the partial owner of two LA restaurants: TomTom and Schwartz & Sandy’s.
- Ariana Madix joined “Vanderpump Rules” full-time in Season 3 as Tom’s girlfriend and SUR bartender. The couple bought a house together a few years ago and are partners in multiple business ventures.
- Rachel Leviss aka “Raquel” joined “Vanderpump Rules” in a recurring role in Season 6 and was upped to full-time status in Season 9. She is a server at SUR and was the longtime girlfriend of James Kennedy, who proposed to her in Season 9. During the Season 9 reunion, they revealed they had split. Season 10 opened with a seemingly single Leviss going on dates with different men, including SUR manager Peter Madrigal, Sandoval’s best friend and business partner Tom Schwartz, and Oliver Saunders, the son of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Garcelle Beauvais. The scandal broke when it was revealed she and Sandoval had been having a secret relationship dating back months to summer 2022.
Who Else Is Involved?
- Tom Schwartz aka “Schwartz.” He joined the cast in a recurring role in Season 1 as Sandoval’s best friend and Katie Maloney’s boyfriend. He, along with Sandoval, is the partial owner of two restaurants: TomTom and Schwartz & Sandy’s. In early episodes of Season 10, Leviss was shown expressing a romantic interest in Schwartz. Previews for upcoming episodes teased they will be in hot water with the rest of the cast after kissing at a party.
- Katie Maloney is an original “Vanderpump Rules” cast member. She and Schwartz married in August 2016. They divorced last year after 12 years together.
- Scheana Shay is an original “Vanderpump Rules” cast member and longtime friend of Madix. She was with Leviss taping an episode of “Watch What Happens Live” in New York City when the scandal broke.
- Kristen Doute is an original “Vanderpump Rules” cast member who was fired after Season 8. She was Sandoval’s longtime girlfriend before he started dating Madix. Despite that, Doute and Madix became close friends.
- James Kennedy joined the “Vanderpump Rules” cast in Season 4 after making his debut in Season 2. The SUR DJ initially dated Doute before meeting Leviss, whom he proposed to in Season 9. He’s currently dating Ally Lewber.
- Lala Kent joined “Vanderpump Rules” in Season 4 in a recurring role. She and Kennedy hooked up a few times before he got with Leviss (and once while they were together). Kent and Madix were supportive of Leviss dating again after she broke up with Kennedy.
- Lisa Vanderpump is the eponymous star of “Vanderpump Rules” and an executive producer on the show. The former “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star owns SUR and is a partial owner of TomTom, with Sandoval and Schwartz.
- Andy Cohen is a Bravo executive and host of “Watch What Happens Live! With Andy Cohen.”
Why Is It Called the ‘Scandoval’
“Scandoval” is an amalgamation of Tom Sandoval’s last name and the word “scandal.”
How Did the Cheating Scandal Break?
According to TMZ and confirmed by Doute in her podcast, Madix found out about Sandoval’s cheating on March 1 while attending a concert where his band was playing. Sandoval’s phone fell on the floor and Madix picked it up. She scrolled through his phone and found an intimate Facetime video between Sandoval and Leviss.
Madix texted Shay, who was in New York City filming “Watch What Happens Live” with Leviss that same night. Shay confronted Leviss after the taping and the two got into an argument that reportedly turned physical.
Back in California, Madix ended things with Sandoval. Producers learned of the breakup and decided to restart filming “Vanderpump Rules” to capture the fallout from the scandal as part of an extended run for Season 10.
What Has Happened Since?
In the days following, most of the female cast sided with Madix, as did the public. Kent, who herself was cheated on by Randall Emmett, was among the most vocal of critics, and even marked down the make-up line she launched alongside Leviss.
On March 3, Sandoval and his band performed in Anaheim. Sandoval was booed and attendees yelled out “Ariana,” to which he replied, “we love her.”
Schwartz & Sandy’s, the restaurant Sandoval co-owns with Schwartz and several others, was review-bombed and there were threats of vandalism.
In response, Sandoval posted on Instagram March 4 requesting that fans not direct their anger toward the staff or Schwartz. He neglected to apologize to Madix in the post, drawing further ire. Two days later, he posted again, this time personally apologizing to Madix. “I want to first and foremost apologize to everyone I’ve hurt in this process,” Sandoval wrote. “Most of all, I want to apologize to Ariana. I made mistakes, I was selfish, and I made decisions that hurt somebody I love.”
Madix deleted her Instagram account but it has since been reinstated. There’s also been an uptick in support for Something About Her, the West Hollywood sandwich shop that she and Maloney are hoping to open soon.
The official Facetune account even weighed in, editing out Sandoval from a cocktail book cover he and Madix authored with Danny Pellegrino a few years back.
On March 7, Leviss filed a restraining order against Shay, whom she alleges attacked her and gave her a black eye after their “Watch What Happens Live” appearance. Shay’s lawyers have dismissed Leviss’ claims. A temporary restraining order was granted until a hearing on March 29. Leviss also sent legal letters to her castmates to not post or distribute the intimate Facetime video between her and Sandoval, which she claimed was illegally recorded.
Leviss concurrently posted an apology on Instagram, writing, “I wanted to apologize for my actions and my choices to Ariana, my friends and my fans,” adding “there is no excuse, I am not a victim and must own my actions.”
On Wednesday, Lisa Vanderpump appeared on “Watch What Happens Live,” promising all will be addressed in the upcoming reunion, which is set to be taped in two weeks. She also urged fans to not resort to attacks or vigilantism against the parties involved.
Two weeks after the Scandoval broke, Madix finally broke her silence on the matter, posting a thank you message on her restored Instagram.
“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,” Madix wrote. “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.”
When Will Fans See the ‘Scandoval’ Fallout?
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 cheating scandal.
Sandoval and Madix reportedly filmed a one-on-one conversation on March 3.
Cameras have been seen filming various castmates in confessionals and out and about, including former cast member Doute. Vanderpump also says she filmed a one-on-one with Madix as well, which she said “involved a lot of tears.”
A source close to production confirmed to TheWrap that locked episodes of “Vanderpump Rules” will not be edited. All of the new footage will air later this year as an extension of the current season. The reunion is scheduled to be filmed later in March, but is complicated by the restraining order Leviss has against Shay, which prevents them from being in close proximity or speaking to one another.
“Vanderpump Rules” airs Wednesdays on Bravo.