A week ago, Tom Sandoval, Ariana Madix, Raquel Leviss, and the rest of the cast of Vanderpump Rules were typical Bravo stars: Beloved by a devoted group of fans, largely unknown to the rest of an otherwise apathetic public. Since then, the breakup of Tom and Ariana’s nine-year relationship, triggered by his affair with Raquel, has been deemed news fit to print by The New York Times.
Last Wednesday, Ariana reportedly found out about the affair via an explicit video Raquel had sent to Tom’s phone. Raquel was in New York at the time with fellow Pump Rules star Scheana Shay, who then got in a heated, potentially physical confrontation with Raquel when she found out. (Scheana has long touted herself as Ariana’s best friend.) Both of these details are now the subject of legal issues for various members of the cast.
Yesterday, TMZ reported that Raquel’s lawyers sent letters to several VPR stars over Ariana’s smoking gun: the alleged intimate FaceTime Raquel sent to Tom. Her lawyers argue that the recording and distribution of the video among the cast violates California’s revenge porn law. Co-star Lala Kent briefly responded to the legal action on her Instagram story yesterday, berating Raquel and telling her to speak to her lawyers, not her personally (the post was quickly deleted).
TMZ also reported that following their dust-up after Watch What Happens Live last Wednesday, Raquel filed a restraining order against Scheana. The tabloid notes that it’s unclear whether the judge granted the order, or what Raquel alleged Scheana did to her. (As an aside, if you’re like this writer and have TMZ notifications on because you want to know when someone dies, you know that they have been treating this like election night with near-hourly updates.)
As the scandal rags have been dishing out the behind-the-scenes legal proceedings, Tom and Raquel have been presenting their own public apologies for the crime of falling in love (and publicly humiliating Ariana). Tom has posted not one but two text apologies on Instagram. The first, bizarrely, focuses on defending his long-time bestie Tom Schwartz, the newly divorced barkeep who faced his own rumors of smooching Raquel. The second, posted last night, addresses his failures toward Ariana, who Sandoval says he “owed better.”
Raquel, the easy villain in this situation, posted an instant-classic Instagram apology of her own. Captioning the post “I’m sorry [pouting emoji] [broken-heart emoji],” Raquel apologizes to Ariana specifically and goes on to explain her own “addiction to being and feeling loved.” She also says she has been “physically assaulted,” potentially referencing the dispute with Scheana, and has “received death threats,” which really could refer to anyone.
So where do we go from here? Well, filming has picked back up, reportedly with Sandoval, Ariana, and Raquel having already filmed a scene duking it out. Sandoval has reportedly threatened to stop filming, per ET, while the idea of bringing back the last disgraced cast member he cheated on, Kristen Doute, has been floated. Regardless, interest in the show is at potentially an all-time high, and Bravo clearly knows and is taking advantage of this. Whether any of Scandoval makes it into the currently-airing season 10 or if the bulk of it is saved for the next, that old Vanderpump Rules refrain sounds sweeter than ever: the truth always comes out.