The Bravoverse was rocked in early March 2023 — less than a month after season 10 of "Vanderpump Rules" debuted — when the news broke that one of reality TV's longest-running couples had called it quits in the wake of a cheating scandal involving a co-star.
On March 23, those exes — Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix — came face to face with each other and with his mistress, Raquel Leviss, as well as the rest of the cast, for the season 10 reunion hosted by Andy Cohen, which is set to air at a later date.
Keep reading to learn what went down at the reunion taping and for a look back at how everything went so horribly wrong…
Raquel and James call off engagement
In December 2021, "Vanderpump Rules" co-stars Raquel Leviss and James Kennedy took to Instagram to share identical statements announcing that they were going their separate ways following five years of coupledom. (They got engaged seven months earlier in May 2021.)
Schwartz and Katie end their marriage
In March 2022, "Vanderpump Rules" co-stars Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz took to Instagram to confirm rumors that they were going their separate ways following several years of marriage and more than a decade of coupledom.
Raquel and Schwartz spark romance rumors
In April 2022, Tom Schwartz took to Twitter to shoot down rumors that he was "boldly holding hands and making out" with "Vanderpump Rules" co-star Raquel Leviss during Coachella. "Guys, hate to break it to you, but I wasn't at Coachella," he tweeted. (Nearly a year later, former "Vanderpump Rules" star Kristen Doute alleged on her podcast that "it was Tom Sandoval making out with Raquel at Coachella.") Just four months later, however, Schwartz and Raquel made headlines again when they were seen making out at Scheana Shay's wedding in Mexico. When season 10 of "Vanderpump Rules" debuted on Bravo in February 2023, it focused heavily on the apparent flirtation between Tom and Raquel, which led to tensions with Tom's then-estranged wife, Katie Maloney. (They finalized their divorce in October 2022 — two months after Scheana's wedding.)
Ariana catches Sandoval cheating with Raquel
On March 3, 2023, TMZ broke the news that Ariana Madix dumped her boyfriend of nearly a decade, Tom Sandoval, after she caught him cheating with Raquel Leviss. In the days that followed, current and former "Vanderpump Rules" stars shed light on what allegedly happened: While performing with his band, Tom Sandoval & The Most Extras, at TomTom in West Hollywood on March 1, the reality star dropped his cellphone, which Ariana reportedly recovered. For whatever reason, she started scrolling through his camera roll and found a screen-recorded video of a FaceTime chat between Tom and Raquel during which they each engaged in some particularly naughty behavior. Multiple media outlets later reported that Tom and Raquel took their relationship to the next level in mid-2022 while Raquel was living with Tom and Ariana in the wake of her breakup from James. (Tom and Raquel reportedly hooked up in the home he shared with Ariana — who'd taken Raquel under her wing — while she was sleeping.)
Scheana allegedly attacks Raquel over Sandoval affair
Ariana Madix promptly confronted both Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss about their relationship. Tom allegedly told Ariana he couldn't find the right time to come clean about the affair — he didn't want to hurt her more after her grandmother and dog died within weeks of each other in the summer of 2022, he claimed. After Ariana spoke with Tom on March 1, 2023, she contacted Raquel, who was in New York City shooting "Watch What Happens Live" with Ariana's best friend, Scheana Shay, at the time. There are conflicting reports about what happened next. According to former "Vanderpump Rules" star Kristen Doute, after Raquel got off the phone with Ariana, she told Scheana, "Sandoval and I had a seven-month affair." Scheana then "threw Raquel's phone in the gutter." Raquel, however, alleged that Scheana "punched" her in the face, "causing injury" to her eye. (More on that later!)
Sandoval publicly apologizes to Schwartz — but not to Ariana
As the drama made headlines, several "Vanderpump Rules" stars made it clear on social media that they were standing with Ariana Madix — who deactivated her own Instagram account — amid her shocking split from Tom Sandoval. Bravo fans also made it clear they were "Team Ariana" by bombarding Tom's businesses — TomTom and Schwartz & Sandy's — with negative reviews, prompting Tom to release a statement on March 4, 2023, asking fans to refrain from taking out their anger on his friend and business partner, Tom Schwartz, and their businesses. "I fully understand and deserve your anger and disappointment towards me, but please leave Schwartz, my friends and family out of the situation. Schwartz specifically only found out about this very recently, and most definitely did not condone my actions," he wrote. (At the time, it was unclear how much Schwartz knew about Sandoval's affair with Raquel Leviss, and there were questions about whether or not Schwartz and Raquel manufactured their previous flirtation as a cover for her affair with Sandoval.) Sandoval went on to point out that he's only "a small part of a much bigger thing" where his businesses are concerned. "I'm sorry that my partners … and our employees have to suffer for my actions. I will be taking a step back and taking a hiatus out of respect for my employees and partners," he concluded, enraging fans for his failure to acknowledge Ariana or apologize to her.
Sandoval visits Raquel amid reports they're in love
On March 4, 2023, Tom Sandoval was photographed visiting Raquel Leviss at her home in Los Angeles. Although production on season 10 of "Vanderpump Rules" had already wrapped, a Bravo camera crew shot the duo reuniting amid the scandal — they even reportedly kissed on camera. Us Weekly later reported that, according to a source, Tom and Raquel are "the real deal" and "see a long-term future together." They reportedly "confided to pals that it's love" and that they'd "fallen hard for each other."
Raquel files paperwork to block dissemination of scandalous video
On March 6, 2023, Raquel Leviss sent a legal notice to several of her "Vanderpump Rules" co-stars warning them against sharing the screen-recorded video of her naughty FaceTime chat with Tom Sandoval. (Ariana reportedly sent the video to herself from Tom's phone, but it's unclear who else has access to it.) According to TMZ, Raquel's lawyers claimed that Tom recorded the call "without [her] knowledge or consent" and warned that distribution of the "nonconsensual pornography" could result in further legal action.
Raquel gets a restraining order against Scheana over alleged attack
On March 7, 2023, Raquel Leviss filed for a restraining order against Scheana Shay alleging that her "Vanderpump Rules" co-star shoved her against a brick wall and "punched" her in the face in New York City after learning about her affair with Tom Sandoval six days earlier. Raquel even shared photos of a cut under her eyebrow and bruising around her eye as evidence. She alleged that Scheana "doesn't regret the physical attack" and "would do it again if she found that further emotional distress was caused to our mutual friend" — Ariana Madix. A judge granted the restraining order, calling into question whether or not Raquel and Scheana — who must stay at least 100 yards away from Raquel, her home and her workplace — would be able to shoot the upcoming "Vanderpump Rules" season 10 reunion special, which is scheduled to enter production in late March. (The two women are due in court on March 29.)
Kristen returns to "Vanderpump Rules" to support Ariana
On March 7, 2023, former "Vanderpump Rules" star Kristen Doute was photographed arriving at Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval's home in Los Angeles, indicating she will appear on the reality show for the first time since Bravo fired her in mid-2020 amid a racism scandal. Kristen later said on her podcast that when Tom arrived at the home, he admitted, "I know everyone hates me." Kristen also claimed that she asked Tom to give Ariana a "couple of hours heads up before you need to come home so she can leave." He allegedly replied, "She can leave if she's not comfortable." (It's unclear what will become of the home amid Tom and Ariana's breakup — neither has moved out yet.) Kristen dated Tom from 2006 to 2013, though they both cheated on each other — he actually kissed Ariana before he and Kristen called it quits for good.
Sandoval and Raquel publicly apologize to Ariana
On March 8, 2023, Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss took to Instagram to release individual statements taking accountability for their bad behavior and apologizing to Ariana Madix. (Read Tom's — which alluded to problems in his relationship with Ariana — here and Raquel's – in which she admitted that she "sought emotional validation through intimate connections that are not healthy" while "negatively affecting others and often prioritizing the intimate connection over friendships" — here.)
Raquel says she's taking a break from Sandoval
Later on March 8, 2023, Raquel Leviss released a second statement alleging that she and Tom Sandoval are taking some time apart in the wake of the scandal: "Besides the indefensible circumstances surrounding our relationship, my feelings for Tom have always been sincere and born out of a loving friendship. 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," she wrote. (Tom reportedly liked Raquel's post.) Earlier that day, Page Six reported that, according to a source, Raquel "has been completely ignoring Tom" amid the scandal. Said a second insider, "Tom has been unable to track Raquel down for several days. He's been asking mutual acquaintances if they've heard from her at all, but has had no luck. He can't get in touch with her."
Kristen says Schwartz only found out about the affair a month earlier
On the March 8, 2023, episode of her "Straight Up With Stassi" podcast, former "Vanderpump Rules" star Stassi Schroeder shared her suspicions that Tom Schwartz and Raquel Leviss faked their flirtation in the summer of 2022 at Tom Sandoval's behest: "This sounds like something Sandoval would come up with," she said. "Schwartz wasn't into Raquel and I even remember in real time Katie [Maloney] telling me, 'What hurts the most is that Schwartz isn't interested in Raquel and Raquel isn't interested in him. They are doing this for a story. This doesn't feel real.'" Meanwhile, on the March 8, 2023, episode of her "Sex, Love and What Else Matters" podcast, former "Vanderpump Rules" star Kristen Doute alleged that Schwartz found out about the affair "a month" earlier. "[Schwartz] said that he told [Sandoval] he needed to tell Ariana before it blew up in his face and humiliated the hell out of her," she said, adding that Schwartz's attempts at damage control were "too little too late." She also noted that Schwartz "isn't happy" about the situation because it's having a negative impact on the businesses he shares with Sandoval.
Ariana returns to social media after unfollowing "Team Sandoval"
On March 8, 2023, Ariana Madix returned to Instagram. She reportedly unfollowed Tom Sandoval, Tom Schwartz and Raquel Leviss on the social media platform.
Scheana denies assaulting "known liar and cheat" Raquel
On March 9, 2023, Scheana Shay's lawyer released a statement shooting down Raquel Leviss' claims that she assaulted her: "This case is a fabrication by a known liar and a cheat who has betrayed everyone close to her. Scheana never punched Raquel, period. The supposed dark markings around her left eye have been there for months," the lawyer said, adding that "neither Scheana nor other cast members want anything to do with Raquel going forward." As for Raquel's restraining order against Scheana, "The judge has only heard a one-sided account of what happened, and we look forward to presenting the full and true story at the March 29 hearing," Scheana's attorney said.
Ariana finally speaks
On March 15, 2023, Ariana Madix took to Instagram to address Tom Sandoval's affair with Raquel Leviss: "Hi. 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. 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. 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****** 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," she captioned a stunning photo of herself.
An explosive season 10 reunion taping
After filming the explosive "Vanderpump Rules" season 10 reunion special on March 23, 2023, host Andy Cohen teased what went down. "Well, that was really confrontational," the Bravo exec said on his Instagram Story. "It was really emotional. Nothing was left unsaid." Said star Lala Kent on her Instagram Story after the taping looking place, "That was the most exhausting reunion I've ever done in my life. I'm drained. I feel like I want to crawl into a hole and sob and scream, but I'm happy to be home now with my little one, crawl in bed, watch 'Seinfeld' and just, like, regroup." Lala promised fans they'll really enjoy the confrontational reunion special when it airs — Bravo has yet to announce an air date — calling that "the silver lining to it all."
TMZ reported more details, citing sources close to production who said no one sided with Tom Sandoval or Raquel Leviss (seen here arriving for the reunion) and that there was constant tension during the entire five-hour taping, with things getting so heated so quickly that Andy had to separate two cast members "to prevent an assault and battery," the webloid wrote. "It was like a nuclear bomb went off in the studio," a source told TMZ. Andy asked Tom and Raquel if they were still together and it was clear they were, TMZ reported, but according to a source close to production, "That relationship is, like, on an egg timer. It's not gonna last."
Restraining order affects reunion taping
Seating charts released by Bravo before the season 10 "Vanderpump Rules" reunion taping on March 23, 2023, revealed that Tom Sandoval and mistress Raquel Leviss sat next to each other on set. Co-star Scheana Shay had to film at a separate time because of the temporary restraining order Raquel had taken out against her, claiming Scheana assaulted her after learning about the affair because she was so upset about what Tom and Raquel did to his now-ex Ariana Madix. (A claim Scheana denied.) Scheana's attorney told Page Six that at the reunion taping, Raquel had Andy "serve" Scheana papers with "no legal meaning," implying it was a stunt. The morning after the taping, "Entertainment Tonight" broke the news that Raquel filed to drop the restraining order. "We let the court know I will not be moving forward with a permanent restraining order," she told the outlet.