An emergency deep dive into Raquel-Tom-Ariana.
If you have a Vanderpump Rules fan in your life right now, please check in on them. As of 4PM EST yesterday, all hell has broken loose in the Bravo community after news broke that Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix have broken up after she discovered he was fucking Raquel, who was rumored to have been fucking Tom Schwartz (ex-husband of fellow cast member Katie Maloney, but we’ll get into that in a second). Andy has spoken. Our friends at Sexy Unique Podcast went live for a Sexy Unique Broadcast. As a shameful scholar of this world — I’ve never felt more like a 32-year-old wine-o white woman than I do right now, even though I’m really more of a fun soda girl these days — I feel it is my duty to do a quick explainer on this slutty, messy rat king of a drama we have on our hands. Also, I’ve had like five people text me asking to unpack it, so this makes life easier in the longterm.
Who are these people?
Feel free to skip this section if you already know, or you like, just want to know who fucked who. Ok? Ok. Also, imagine me saying everything that follows this sentence out loud, in one single breath, as every single one of my brain cells perish and I ultimately choke to death on my own spit.
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Vanderpump Rules began as a show about wannabe actor/models in Los Angeles who worked for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills matriarch Lisa Vanderpump at her West Hollywood establishment SUR Restaurant — which confusingly stands for Sexy Unique Restaurant, making the entire name Sexy Unique Restaurant Restaurant. The show began as a backdoor pilot of RHOBH when Vanderpump was hosting a dinner at her restaurant with guest Brandi Glanville. Glanville’s husband Eddie Cibrian had cheated on her with Scheana Shay, a waitress at SUR. This show’s backbone has always been built of two key components: infidelity and the desperation of people who live in Los Angeles.
Scheana was browbeaten that first season for being a home-wrecker, chiefly by fellow SUR-vers (and self-described ‘witches of WeHo’) Stassi Schroeder, Katie Maloney, and Kristen Doute. Stassi was, at the time, dating Jax Taylor, a SUR bartender and (you guessed it) model-actor who served as the cover model for the video game Assasin’s Creed. Katie was dating Tom Schwartz, a model-actor so incompetent that he couldn’t even handle waiting or bartending. And Kristen was dating and Tom Sandoval, a model-actor who poorly played acoustic guitar, flat-ironed his hair, lived in a carpeted apartment and religiously shaved his own forehead. Jax, Sandoval, and Schwartz were also best friends. The group described themselves as ‘being just like the cast of Friends’, another clear indication of their collective toxicity and corniness.
Jax was the second cheater to be exposed on the shows first season, having been unfaithful to Stassi after her slept with another woman in Vegas. Come season two, the cast would find out that he had also slept with Kristen — his best friend Sandoval’s girlfriend — not once, but twice. As Stassi described the first scene so poetically, “you were watching Drive while Sandoval was sleeping in the other room…You starting sucking his cock, he returned the favor and you banged!” As a result of this, Stassi backhanded the shit out of Kristen in public and Sandoval cried on the beach. Sandoval then dumped Kristen to date Ariana Madix, another bartender (and friend of Scheana) who said he kissed once when he and Kristen were having a rough patch. They’d later all become friends again, of course, as all this made the show a runaway hit.
Kristen always maintained that Tom Sandoval was just as much a cheater as Jax, even going as far as to fly a woman out from Miami to Los Angeles as evidence he’d cheated on Ariana early on in their relationship. Sandoval has been particularly sanctimonious about all Jax’s cheating through the years (on several other girlfriends after Stassi). Stassi went on to get kicked off the show for being racist (along with Kristen, long story) and got married, had a kid, and became a podcaster — through all these years, Stassi has maintained that Sandoval is a self-obsessed asshole. Sandoval and Schwartz became part owners (along with Lisa Vanderpump herself) of a WeHo bar called TomTom, later going on to open their own place in Hollywood called ‘Schwartz and Sandy’s’ (aka Katie Maloney’s Bar & Grill). And Schwartz married Katie, even though he sloppily cheated on her several times by making out with anyone around him who had a pulse. Last summer, Katie finally got her wits about her and divorced Schwartz.
And all that brings us up to the current season (10) of Vanderpump Rules. The main drama centers around Raquel Leviss — a model and pageant queen who’s been described as having the personality of a smiley face drawn on a balloon — having hooked up with Schwartz after his divorce with Katie, which was a no-no, since Katie and Raquel are friends. Schwartz was also friends with Raquel’s ex-fiance, DJ James Kennedy, a British imp who’s known for his unhinged behavior and cutting one-liners. James was also very good friends with Tom Sandoval. Throughout all the drama, one constant of the show was Tom and Ariana’s 10-year-ish relationship, which seemed, in comparison to those of their cast mates, pretty healthy and supportive: they released a book of cocktail recipes together, bought a house in Valley Village, and Ariana supported Tom while he went through the motions of opening bars, starting several terrible and annoying bands, and wearing several sequined suits to public events.
What we (basically) know for a fact
Tom Sandoval has apparently, actually been the Tom who was fucking Raquel. In fact, Raquel’s ex James has gone on the record to say that this affair between Raquel and Sandoval has been going on for seven (7!!!) months, even in the house he shared with Ariana, even while she was sleeping!
TMZ reported that Ariana dumped Tom after finding out about the affair this past Wednesday: she was supporting Tom at the release party for his new single (lol) when a TomTom manager handed her Tom’s phone that he’d dropped. I guess he’s a real fucking idiot, because she seemingly has his passcode and, as TMZ also reported, she unlocked it to discover Raquel had sent Tom nude photos and/or videos — ultimately, Ariana found months of texts between the two, meaning that they’d carried on an ‘inappropriate’ relationship for many months.
Ariana’s little brother was in James comment calling Sandoval a middle-life-crisis-having-ass loser, confirming that the cheating and breaking up definitely happened the way TMZ said it did. Ariana has deleted her entire Instagram, while Tom has taken the cowards way out by turning off the comments on his. He’s also apparently leaning into his new identity, having opened his Anaheim show last night by going on stage and calling himself ‘the most hated man in America.’ He also said “we love Ariana!” when the crowd was heckling him. Fucking yikes!
Although Ariana has claimed to ‘take sketch comedy really seriously’ and is, indeed, a person who is on Vanderpump Rules, she’s pretty much thee fan favorite across the board. She seems to be the only one with a healthy sense of humor about the show and is usually in the right with her critiques about fellow cast members, and is pretty much the only one who ever has anything funny to say in her talking heads. So that’s why Sandoval is pretty fucked for all of this: he’s about to make Ariana very beloved on Bravo, probably skyrocketing her to a sort of Princess Diana martyr status.
People were saying that Sandoval’s already moved out of the couple’s Valley Village home, but according to tweets from Ariana’s best friend Meredith, that is *not* the case. The photos of Tom leaving the house with suitcases weren’t him moving out: he was packing up merch he wanted to sell at his show last night. Bone chilling!!!
What’s rumored to be true
Raquel has not been seen since she went on Watch What Happens Live on Wednesday with Scheana Shay, who’s been pretty much her only supporter (aside from Ariana and Sandoval!!) on the current season of Vanderpump Rules. During her WWHL appearance, Raquel deadpanned that Sandoval was ‘the hotter of the Toms’ which shocked and confused everyone in the building, including Scheana herself. It’s rumored that, after Tom’s spot was blown up in L.A., he told Raquel their secret was out, who then drunkenly told Scheana what was up. Our girl Sheeshu allegedly went Asuza on her ass and the two had a ‘physical altercation’ that resulted in Raquel having a black eye. If this is true, I have nothing but applause for Scheana — a woman who once gave an 8-minute on-camera interview to a blog about fucking John Mayer, god bless her!
What it all means/what remains to be seen
We have yet to discover *all* the details of this sordid little affair. Did Sandoval really fuck Raquel with Ariana in the house? Did it go on for seven months? Did they watch Drive? Ultimately, though, if even some of this is true, this makes Tom Sandoval worse than almost all of reality TVs Most Hated Men: worse than Jax, worse than Schwartz, worse than every Love Island contestant who’s head has been turned in Casa Amor, worse than even, dare I say, Bartise and SK of Love Is Blind. This is why you can never trust a straight man who wears nail polish, sorry!!!
In the long run, I think this will be a huge W for Ariana. Tom Sandoval is in debt. Tom Sandoval is pushing 40 and performing with a cover band that he has to Venmo money to in order for them to keep working with him. Tom Sandoval has decided to have an affair with the most bland, Bambi-eyed bitch to ever be on Bravo: this is far and away the most interesting thing she’s ever done. Thoughts and prayers to Ariana as she moves on from this, I know she’s surrounded by girls and gays (especially Sandoval’s ex Kristen who was kissing Ariana for Instagram last night, beautiful stuff).
According to TMZ et al, cameras are rolling and the reunion hasn’t been filmed yet. Raise your glasses high and cheers to season 10 of this godforsaken show. This cast got off their asses and fucking worked. A pay raise to all, and to all a good night.
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