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A Breakdown Of The Major Players & Events In The ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Drama

Can we talk about the most recent drama in the Vanderpump Rules universe? If you’re unfamiliar with the Vanderpump Rules controversy, let me fill you in: Cast members Tom Sandoval, Ariana Madix, and Raquel Leviss were embroiled in a media scandal when it was revealed that Leviss and Sandoval were having an affair while Sandoval and Madix were in a well-known and publicized relationship (for nearly a decade, might I add). I’m not sure about you, but my social media feed has been buzzing with constant updates about this story and Bravo fans mourning the breakup of one of reality television’s most dynamic couples. 

If you need a refresher on the show’s rundown or all the information leading up to this point, I’ve got you covered on everything you need to know before you possibly decide to tune in for Vanderpump Rules new episodes in case they bring up this news in the show (fingers crossed).

What is Vanderpump Rules?

If you’re unfamiliar with the show and have only tuned in because your Instagram and TikTok feeds are now overflowing with constant coverage of the scandal, don’t worry, bestie — I’m well-versed in the Vanderpump Rules universe. To explain Vanderpump Rules, we must first return to the original show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and more specifically to former cast member Lisa Vanderpump. An English TV personality, Vanderpump was a fan-favorite in The Real Housewives world — so much so that she was offered her own spin-off series by Bravo in 2013. 

Vanderpump Rules follows Vanderpump and her staff at her restaurant and bar named SUR Restaurant & Lounge in West Hollywood, California. The cast size has evolved and changed throughout the show’s nine seasons, with most of the returning cast members no longer working for the SUR Restaurant and instead pursuing life and career endeavors outside the restaurant. Vanderpump Rules, in true reality show fashion, has its fair share of drama, gossip, fights, and — of course — love affairs.

Who are Tom Sandoval, Ariana Madix, and Raquel Leviss?

Sandoval has been a main cast member of Vanderpump Rules since Season 1 and continues to be one in Season 10 (which is airing now, if you want to pick up on the series). Sandoval was introduced to the Vanderpump world as a bartender and rising actor, eventually becoming an entrepreneur alongside his best friend and longtime co-star, Tom Schwartz, by successfully co-owning a West Hollywood bar and restaurant called TomTom. The two business partners eventually expanded their partnership and, with the help of their mentor Vanderpump, opened Schwartz & Sandy’s

Unlike Sandoval, his now-former girlfriend (yikes!) Madix only appeared briefly on Vanderpump Rules Season 1 in 2013. She was working at SUR at the time, as well as Villa Blanca in L.A. She eventually became a series regular during the show’s third season in 2014, which was also the year she officially confirmed her relationship with Sandoval. On Feb. 10, 2014, the two confirmed their relationship during the second season’s reunion special.

Leviss did not appear in the series until 2016, when she was introduced as the girlfriend of James Kennedy, a main cast member, and eventually became a series regular in 2017 and a main cast member in 2021. Leviss and Kennedy stayed together for five years before mutually agreeing to break up in December 2021. 

How did the cheating drama unfold?

The drama began when TMZ reported that Sandoval and Madix had officially broken up after nearly a decade of dating, implying that it could be due to a love affair with co-star Leviss. According to the article, show sources informed TMZ that Madix discovered the cheating a few days prior and immediately ended things with him. The show also mentions filming and documenting the aftermath of the drama, which it hopes to air during the show’s 10th season.

As one of television’s favorite couples was involved in such a scandal, social media went into a frenzy. As the days passed with no word from any of the parties involved, Sandoval finally issued a statement on Instagram on March 5 apologizing for “everything” he’d done and urging people to respect his family and friends and leave them out of the situation.

On March 8, Leviss issued her own statement via an Entertainment Tonight exclusive, saying, “I want to apologize for my actions and my choices foremost to Ariana, and to my friends and the fans so invested in our relationships,” she continues, “There is no excuse, I am not a victim and I must own my actions and I deeply regret hurting Ariana.” 

Madix is the only person who has not commented on the situation, with the exception of Madix’s friend and co-star Katie Maloney, who stated that Madix has been feeling “overwhelmed” recently due to fans’ support of her during the situation, and Maloney thanked fans on her behalf. Her Campus reached out to Madix’s team for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publication. 

Siobhan Robinson is a member of the Her Campus national writing program. She works on the Entertainment and Culture team, covering the most recent pop culture events, trends, and entertainment releases. Previously, she worked as an Entertainment and Culture intern during the Spring 2023 semester, where she was supervised in writing breaking news verticals, live coverage of events such as the Grammys and Met Gala, and interviewing emerging Gen Z talent for Her Campus's "Next Questions" segment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in Spring 2024 with a B.A. in Communication Studies from San Jose State University and received communication honors for completing a graduate-level course during her undergraduate studies. While in college, she was an active member of the SJSU chapter of Her Campus, serving on the executive board as Editor-In-Chief. In this role, she supervised a team of writers, senior editors, and copy editors, and assessed their articles for the site. Previously, she served as a senior editor, supervising a team of 4-5 writers, and also worked as a campus correspondent for the entire chapter. Additionally, she contributed to the school's publication magazine, Access, and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In her free time, Siobhan enjoys scrapbooking, hanging out with friends, going to concerts, and, of course, writing for fun! A die-hard fangirl, she loves sharing everything she knows about her favorite boy bands, even if you don't ask. If you need her, you'll likely find her binge-watching the latest K-drama or catching up on pop-culture social commentaries on YouTube.