The Shady Side Of Tom Sandoval From Vanderpump Rules

The cast of Bravo's "Vanderpump Rules" serves up drama like they do their drinks: stiff and with a splash of bitters. The past and present staff members of Lisa Vanderpump's SUR Restaurant & Lounge sure live by the "work hard, play hard" mantra, and thanks to a production crew following their every move, we get a front-row seat to all that ensues. Feuds, breakups, affairs, firings, weddings, and sugar daddies — suffice it to say, "Vanderpump Rules" has been bringing the mayhem since 2013.

While some "VPR" cast members have come and gone, a number of the series' stars have stood the test of time and the test of reality television. Bartender Tom Sandoval was once a struggling actor in Los Angeles before Bravo put him on the map. We've watched him go from overworked barman to co-opening bars TomTom and Schwartz & Sandy's. He's had his fair share of drama on the series, from a tense breakup with Kristen Doute to falling in love with Ariana Madix. But Sandoval's biggest shakeup arrived in 2023 when he split with Madix following a cheating scandal with his costar Raquel Leviss. Of course, this isn't the first time Sandoval's been accused of cheating (remember Miami Girl?), but this particular tryst sure seems to have torpedoed his longterm relationship for good.

Grab a drink and make yourself comfortable, because we're breaking down the shady side of Tom Sandoval. And yes, it's a real SUR-ney, er, journey. 

He began an affair with costar Raquel Leviss

On March 3, 2023, the Bravoverse learned Tom Sandoval had been cheating on his long-time partner Ariana Madix with their castmate Raquel Leviss. According to various reports, Madix was at a Tom Sandoval & the Most Extras show in Los Angeles supporting her boyfriend when she learned of the affair. The "Vanderpump Rules" star saw an explicit video involving Leviss pop up on her then-boyfriend's phone, which led her to find even more sexual text exchanges between Sandoval and Leviss. "This has been going on for upwards of 6 months — all the while, Tom was sleeping next to Ariana in bed," an inside source told People. "She was completely blindsided by this; devastated doesn't even scratch the surface of how she feels."

After the news broke, Andy Cohen said on his Sirius XM radio show that he believes the liaison has been going on since BravoCon 2022. Cohen also noted he sensed tension between Sandoval and Tom Schwartz during a recent taping of "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen." "Schwartz was looking at Sandoval the entire time, almost for guidance on answers," Cohen said. He also suspects Schwartz may have been privy to the affair.

As of this writing, Madix is still residing in the $2 million dollar home she bought with Sandoval in 2019. "All of the girls in their friend group are taking turns visiting her around the clock at her house. Everyone's rallying around her," an insider said to People.

He dressed as Raquel Leviss for Halloween

When Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss' affair came to light, internet sleuths wasted no time searching for clues. And wow, have there been some messy bread crumbs. When Sandoval dressed up like Leviss for Halloween in 2022, fans assumed it was just his way of poking fun at Katie Maloney's drama with Leviss. The two posted a number of videos together on Instagram Stories; in one of the clips, Sandoval wrote, "Raquel has got to stop showing up to TomTom it's embarrassing."

The drama between Maloney and Leviss all started when Leviss was caught canoodling with Maloney's ex-husband, Tom Schwartz, at Scheana Shay's wedding. Maloney wrote in an Instagram comment, "She a fan girl. Started as a fan of the show and now a fan of the tom's." The former pageant queen seemed to take it in stride. "I admit ... I am a fan of the Tom's," she wrote. "I'm definitely a fan of the restaurant ... best vibe, food and drinks in WeHo in my opinion." Leviss continued to up the ante by wearing a glittery TomTom hoodie to BravoCon in 2022. And then, just days before the cheating scandal broke, Leviss presented Andy Cohen with the now-infamous TomTom hoodie on "Watch What Happens Live."

As if this situation wasn't sticky enough, Ariana Madix had long been a friend to Leviss, especially throughout Leviss' tumultuous relationship with ex-fiancé DJ James Kennedy. So, when Sandoval dressed up like Leviss, it didn't seem the least bit suspect. 

His first apology didn't go over well

With all eyes on Tom Sandoval, his first statement regarding the affair had fans shaking their heads. "Hey, I fully understand and deserve ur anger & disappointment towards me, but please leave Schwartz my friends and family out of this situation," his Instagram post read. "Schwartz specifically only found out about this very recently, and most definitely did not condone my actions. This was a very personal thing," the bar owner continued, seemingly referring to Cohen's speculation on Schwartz's intel into the affair. He also noted that he would be taking time away from work, and urged his critics not to bother the employees at TomTom or Schwartz & Sandy's. As a number of "Vanderpump Rules" viewers pointed out online, Sandoval's initial apology made no mention of Ariana Madix. 

A few days later, Sandoval released a second apology on Instagram. This time around, he made sure to acknowledge the person whose life had been turned upside down. "Most of all, I want to apologize to Ariana. 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," he wrote. "My biggest regret is that I dishonored Ariana." Leviss also issued a mea culpa to Madix on Instagram. "There is no excuse, I am not a victim and must own my actions. I deeply regret hurting Ariana," she wrote. 

He took a low blow about Lala Kent

Tom Sandoval and Lala Kent were at odds before the cheating scandal was revealed. (Given Kent's loyalty to Ariana Madix, it should come as no surprise that their feud has reached fever pitch.) It started when Sandoval made a harsh remark about Kent and her ex-fiancé, Randall Emmett. Kent shares a daughter with Emmett, and after a number of allegations were made against the disgraced film producer, Sandoval said something in the "Vanderpump Rules" Season 10 premiere about his costar's former relationship that didn't sit well: "Maybe she should've known to not f***ing get knocked up by a f***ed dude like that." 

After the episode aired, Sandoval expressed some remorse. "Obviously I regret saying that because I feel like when I was talking like that, I was kind of just dropping down to Lala's level," he told Page Six. In a separate chat with E! News, he again acknowledged it was a poor choice of words, but went on to say that he believed Kent was making too big of a deal out of their beef. "Lala's a bully, so she needs something to focus all her anger on and I guess I'm that person," he said. 

Kent isn't quick to forgive and forget. She not only said that she will address this with him at the reunion, but was unimpressed with his jabs. "A bully who's bored? It's like, I wish it would've been more intense than that," she told ET.

He clashed with Katie Maloney again and again

Tom Sandoval's close friendship with Tom Schwartz began long before "Vanderpump Rules" premiered, and his fraught dynamic with Schwartz's ex-wife, Katie Maloney, seems like it's been around since the dawn of time. The two never seem to see eye to eye, and Maloney often felt like she was a third wheel in her own marriage due to the Toms' close friendship. Sandoval and Maloney's issues got even worse during Season 9 when Schwartz and Sandoval were still in the middle of getting Schwartz & Sandy's off the ground. When Maloney tried to offer her opinions about their business venture, it was met with constant criticism from Sandoval. "Katie and I have gotten pretty close, but Tom Sandoval and Katie have kind of always clashed, so I'm not really sure how much he's gonna love the idea of Katie being involved in the bar," Ariana Madix said in a confessional during Season 9. "I'm pretty sure he's gonna f***ing hate it."

Maloney has even more reason to dislike Sandoval now that the cat's out of the bag about his trysts with Raquel Leviss. Maloney was seen arriving at Madix's home following the split to pay her friend and castmate a visit amidst the chaos. She also took to social media to share her distaste for the affair and support Madix. Alluding to "Real Housewives of New York City" star Luann de Lesseps' own marital drama, Maloney wrote in an Instagram Story, "It's never going to be about tom again."

He had beef with Stassi Schroeder's mom

Tom Sandoval has not only clashed with former "Vanderpump Rules" castmate Stassi Schroeder a number of times over the years, but evidently had drama with her mother, Dayna Schroeder, following Jax Taylor's wedding to Brittany Cartwright. The issue began when a Bravo fan account posted a photo on Instagram of Sandoval, who was a groomsman at the ceremony, giving out umbrellas to guests, and wrote, "The world is in crisis. We need you now more than ever, Sandoval." In the comment section, Dayna offered some piping hot tea: "Not!!!!! He refused to give me an umbrella, even when my wonderful future son-in-law, Beau, asked Tom to give me one! He looked right at us and gave it to someone else over and over again, on purpose with that smirk little smile of his." She went on to suggest that Sandoval let his negative feelings about Stassi get the better of him in that moment. 

Sandoval defended himself when he appeared on an episode of "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen." The bartender explained that he was responsible for making sure every guest got an umbrella or a handheld fan, but insisted he didn't mean to disrespect Schroeder's mom. "I was trying to hand them out to people, like I'm not gonna hand an umbrella and a fan out to the same person. I was trying to space it out," Sandoval recalled. "But no, I was just walking around. No, if she took it that way, I didn't plan it that way."

He banned Stassi Schroeder from his restaurant

In Season 8 of "Vanderpump Rules," tensions between Tom Sandoval and Stassi Schroeder escalated in a major way when the "Next Level Basic" author's book party — which happened to take place at TomTom — went off rails. Evidently, Sandoval was upset that Schroeder communicated with Lisa Vanderpump (who is the majority owner) and Tom Schwartz about the event; the night before the party, Sandoval tore into Schroeder via text. 

At the book signing, Schroeder confronted a noticeably unhappy Sandoval. "Is there a freaking issue? What is not okay about having a bunch of customers in here buying drinks from your bar?" she asked. Sandoval insisted he was kept in the dark about how many people would be in attendance and therefore didn't know how many bartenders to have on staff; Schwartz reminded Sandoval that they had in fact spoken about the guest list. 

Schroeder's grievances were loud enough for all the guests to hear. "I didn't come to you and kiss your ring?" she exclaimed. "How dare you, you selfish, egotistical, piece of s***!" Sandoval responded by banning her from TomTom. "She's not gonna do that in my place. Nobody yells like that at anybody, especially me, dude," Sandoval said. As for Schroeder, she believes Sandoval has always had it out for her. As she said on a 2020 episode of "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen," "I just think Sandoval doesn't like me ... since Season 1."

He started a brawl with Jax Taylor

There's no rollercoaster of a relationship quite like the one between "Vanderpump Rules" stars Jax Taylor and Tom Sandoval. After all, these are the two dudes who got into an argument that inspired one of Taylor's many iconic quotes ("Stop acting like you're the number one guy in this group. I'm the number one guy in this group"). They have been the best of friends and the worst of friends.

Their problems began early on in the series when Sandoval discovered in Season 2 that Taylor had cheated on Stassi Schroeder with Sandoval's then-girlfriend, Kristen Doute. Their confrontation ended with Sandoval punching his frenemy at to the point where Taylor was bleeding. "I only meant to hit him one time and then I kept going," Sandoval told the Daily Mail. He insisted that he never intended to get physical, but he lost his temper when Taylor refused to apologize for his actions.

While they made up at some point, the rollercoaster didn't end there. Sandoval served as a groomsman at Taylor's 2019 wedding. However, Taylor told ET he regretted having Sandoval in the wedding party. The two continued to have more drama. In late 2022, Sandoval shared that he still sees Taylor, who is no longer on the series, from time to time. "We're not super, super tight, but we're cool," he told E! News. It looks like they aren't so cool anymore: After the cheating scandal dropped, Taylor was quick to take to social media to blast Sandoval. 

His ups and downs with DJ James Kennedy

Tom Sandoval and DJ James Kennedy's drama began following Sandoval's split with his ex-girlfriend and former SUR waitress Kristen Doute. Kennedy began dating Doute following the breakup, and his relationship with Sandoval was off to a rocky start. Tensions reached a serious high when Doute called out her ex-boyfriend for cheating on his then-girlfriend Ariana Madix. The bartender told the Daily Mail that he threw the first punch after Kennedy mocked his age: "James comes in and squares off to me — sticking his arms out — and talking s*** to me when all I'm trying to do is tell Kristen to move on with her life."

Though Sandoval and Kennedy went on to be friends in later seasons of "Vanderpump Rules," now the shoe is on the other foot. Kennedy dated Raquel Leviss from 2016 to 2021, even proposing to his then-girlfriend in 2021 before calling it quits a few months later. What's more, Sandoval even helped plan and pay for Kennedy's elaborate proposal event. 

When the Sandoval and Leviss situation was made public, Kennedy was quick to call out his former friend. The gossip account Deuxmoi shared an apparent DM from Kennedy that included salacious claims about the affair. In response to a photo of a TMZ story, Kennedy wrote, "Oh it gets darker...7 months..In the house.. Ariana sleeping." While we will have to take his word for it for now, one thing's for sure: nobody will want to miss the explosive Season 10 reunion.