Pump Rules’ Raquel Leviss Claims She and Ariana Madix ‘Were Not Best Friends’ Before Scandoval

Mic drop! Vanderpump Rules star Rachel “Raquel” Leviss claimed that she and costar Ariana Madix “were not best friends” before Scandoval was unearthed. 

“We were acquaintances who became friends through the show,” Raquel, 28, said during part 1 of her appearance on Bethenny Frankel’s “Just B With Bethenny” podcast, which was released on Wednesday, August 16. “She’s always been somebody who’s been very sweet to me. She would stand up for me and encourage me to pursue whatever I was, I don’t know … pursuing. And that was all great. But we never had, like, a deep conversation that I would have with a best friend.”

Raquel went on to claim that her and Ariana’s so-called former friendship is “the narrative that is being written for [her],” adding that “it is more salacious that way.” And while the former Miss Sonoma County admitted that it’s “painful to think” that she “hurt” Ariana, 38, because of her affair with Tom Sandoval, Raquel noted that she didn’t intend to be “a malicious person.”

“I just got wrapped up in this and wasn’t thinking clearly,” Raquel explained. “But we were not best friends. The alliances — I called these people my friends because I really did believe that they were my friends.”

Pump Rules' Ariana: Tom and Raquel 'F--ked' in Guest Room

When Bethenny, 52, asked Raquel how she felt about the way the VPR cast and fans have rallied around Ariana, the former pageant queen noted that her mindset is divided.  

“Part of me says, ‘Good for you because take advantage of these opportunities while they come your way.’ But it is hurtful to me just to think that — my nature is very kind and forgiving and understanding of other people,” Raquel explained. “So, the concept of me being the ultimate reality TV villain just blows my mind. And the way that she spoke to me at the reunion, I feel like it was uncalled for.”

Raquel made headlines earlier this year after her affair with Ariana’s ex-boyfriend Tom, 41, was revealed in March. That month, Life & Style confirmed that Ariana and Tom split after nine years together because he cheated on her with Raquel. Ariana and Tom’s breakup played out during the season 10 finale of VPR, which aired on May 17. 

However, the cast saved the actual drama for the three-part reunion special with host Andy Cohen, which aired in late May through early June. Once Ariana came face to face with Raquel, the Something About Her co-owner blasted her. In spite of Raquel’s apology, Ariana told her castmate to “go f—k [herself] with a cheese grater.” 

“You’re disgusting,” Ariana exploded at Raquel during part 3 of the reunion. “And I wish nothing but the worst f—king s—t that could ever happen to a person on you.”

After Raquel appeared on camera for the reunion, she checked herself into a mental health rehabilitation facility. By the middle of the summer, though, it appeared that she had completed rehab. On July 13, a source told In Touch that the California native was “in negotiations” to return to VPR for season 11, but only if Bravo offered her a higher paycheck. 

“Raquel thinks she should be paid a lot more than what she was getting,” the insider explained. “After all, she made Vanderpump Rules a hot topic and ratings went up because of Scandoval.”

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