Speaking out. Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix broke her silence after her longtime boyfriend, Tom Sandoval, cheating on her with their costar Raquel Leviss.
“Where to begin? 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,” Ariana, 37, wrote via Instagram after reactivating her account during the early hours of Thursday, March 16. “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.”
She continued, “To say I have been devastated and broken is an understatement. However, I know that I am not in this alone. So many of my closest friends are also grieving this loss right now and reeling from this betrayal on so many levels. I am so f–king lucky to have the best support system in the world and I hope I can repay every single person for the love you have shown me. What doesn’t kill me better run.”
Tom, 39, and Raquel’s affair came as a major shock to Bravo fans amid his split from Ariana. Many of the former couple’s mutual friends, including Kristen Doute and Scheana Shay, have claimed that Tom and Raquel, 28, were hooking up for months behind Ariana’s back — with the affair starting as early as summer 2022.
As to whether or not Tom and Raquel are actually dating post-scandal, the model said she wasn’t ready to “label” their current status amid the backlash from fans.
“Besides the indefensible circumstances surrounding our relationship, my feelings for Tom have always been sincere and born out of a loving friendship,” Raquel wrote via Instagram on March 9. “Knowing how many people we hurt, I need to understand my choices and learn to make better ones. I need to take care of my health, work on self-growth and take time to be OK with being alone. I care for Tom and I don’t want to label anything or predict what lies ahead. Right now, I need to heal.”
For Tom’s part, he shared a statement on March 4, one day after Life & Style confirmed he and Ariana had broken up after she found out about his infidelity.
“I fully understand and deserve ur anger [and] disappointment towards me, but please leave [Tom] Schwartz, my friends and family out of this situation. Schwartz specifically only found out about this very recently, and most definitely did not condone my actions. This was a very personal thing [sic],” the Bravo star wrote. “Also, Schwartz & Sandy’s might have my name on it, but also there are 3 other partners and 20 employees, who especially rely on the restaurant for income for them and their families. Just like TomTom, I’m a small part of a much bigger thing. Please direct ur anger towards me and not them. They did nothing wrong.”
His initial statement received backlash for not mentioning Ariana, leading Tom to write another lengthy apology directed at his ex-girlfriend.
“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,” the Missouri native’s Instagram message on March 8 read. “My biggest regret is that I dishonored Ariana. I never meant to disappoint so many people, including our loving families and friends.”
The Behind Your Eyes actor added that his love for Ariana was “stronger than any camera could ever have captured,” but some of their “best times” and “biggest struggles” were never caught on film for Pump Rules viewers.
Raquel also issued a statement that was directed toward Ariana, writing that “there is no excuse” for her actions.
“I am reflecting on my choices, speaking to a counselor and I am learning things about myself such as my patterns of codependency and addiction to being and feeling loved,” her statement continued, in part. “I have sought emotional validation through intimate connections that are not healthy without regard for my own well-being, sometimes negatively affecting others and often prioritizing the intimate connection over my friendships. I am taking steps to understand my behavior and make healthier choices.”