In “Raise Your Glass,” “Vanderpump Rules” earwormy theme song, Memoir lead singer Dena Deadly hypnotically asserts, “These are the best days of our lives!” But I think the show’s stars would beg to differ, considering Ariana Madix’s recent discovery that her boyfriend of nine years, Tom Sandoval, has been carrying on an extended affair with her good friend and castmate Raquel (ahem, Rachel) Leviss. The three players at the center of “Scandoval” have certainly seen better days!
The long-running reality series, the tenth season of which is currently airing on both Bravo and Peacock, is no stranger to turmoil, though quite a lot has changed since its rather humble beginnings a decade ago. Initially chronicling the behind-the-scenes goings-on at SUR, the popular West Hollywood eatery run by married restauranteurs Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd, as well as the daily lives of the lounge’s young, gorgeous and drama-fueled staff, “VPR” has evolved along with its cast, most of whom are now married or divorced with children and successful business ventures of their own. Regardless of their seeming growth, though, the show’s histrionics are still very much intact, with the star’s sordid histories repeating themselves time and time again.
Indeed, Scandoval is hardly the series’ first scandal. Heck, it is not even the first involving inter-cast cheating, a sex tape or an (alleged) face punch! But it has definitely cut the deepest! While nearly a month has passed since the story broke, the dust has yet to settle, with gossip websites and social media accounts still regularly exploding with updates on the illicit affair, fans eating it all up faster than a plate of freshly served goat cheese balls! Who would have thought that two reality stars sitting on the pavement of a studio parking lot could draw so much attention and speculation?
With season 10 proving “Vanderpump Rules” most dramatic yet – and we are only eight episodes in! – DIRT is chronicling a handful of spots where the most notable moments have gone down thus far.
Sporting a brand new intro, each season 10 episode opens at Schwartz & Sandy’s Lounge, with cameras whizzing through the eclectic stylings of Sandoval and partner Tom Schwartz’s latest restaurant venture. Located in a Franklin Village strip mall (directly across from the “Swingers” apartment building), the thoroughly Instagrammable watering hole, or “funkadelic dive lounge where you check your worries at the door,” as not-so-succinctly described in the Toms’ mission statement, finally opened last November following a seemingly never-ending build-out. “Starry Night”-inspired ceiling and sound and light bath firmly in place, fans can now partake of specialties including Lobster Corndogs, Mushroom Gruyere Beignets and Salmon Tofu Tiki Masala alongside such cheekily named cocktails as Arugula Wakening, Midnight Madagascar and Wendy Peppercorn in the tropically funky hot spot.
The duo’s other bar, TomTom, located just around the corner from SUR in West Hollywood, is, quite fittingly, where the Scandoval affair broke wide open. It was there, on the evening of March 1, during a special performance by Sandoval and his band, Tom Sandoval & The Most Extras, that Ariana discovered an NSFW video of Raquel on her boyfriend’s phone, thereby ending their nearly decade-long relationship.
Per Page Six, which reported exclusively on the event but somehow missed the Scandoval drama, during the concert, Tom and his band sang “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers as well as Sandoval’s new original single, “Superstars,” to a packed crowd that included Lisa, Ken, Schwartz, former “VPR”-er Kristen Doute and SUR manager Peter Madrigal, but not Leviss, who was famously in New York for a taping of “What Watch Happens Live” with co-star Scheana Shay. Incredibly, just one week later, in the thick of the scandal, TomTom’s liquor license was suspended, as was that of Lisa’s neighboring eatery, Pump. When it rains, it certainly pours in the “Vanderpump” world! Both licenses have since been reinstated, according to People.
In season 10’s second episode, “Was It Worth It?”, Peter takes Raquel on a date at La Boheme, a farm-to-table eatery that has been called “one of the most romantic spots in West Hollywood . . . and Los Angeles entirely.” Alas, the dreamy setting isn’t enough to facilitate a love connection between the two, though Leviss does cry on Madrigal’s shoulder about having recently aged out of participating in beauty pageants, which, coupled with her break-up with DJ James Kennedy last season, has landed her in a “deep depression.”
Pop Music Studios, a “fully equipped hourly rehearsal recording” space in Northridge, is where Sandoval jams with his band in episode three, “Troll Mates.” The group, which mainly performs cover songs from the 1980s through the early aughts, features Tom as lead singer backed up by 10 musicians, including a drummer, trombonist and saxophonist, all funded by Sandoval. As he explains, “My band members get paid for their practices. I pay for practice space. I take care of transportation . . . food. It’s an expense.”
The rehearsal studio is also the site of Sandoval’s recent parking lot confessional, in which the reality star battles with a stubborn suitcase and explains what “hindsight” means to a confused photog.
Later in “Troll Mates,” Tom Sandoval & The Most Extras host a gig at Agoura Hills music venue The Canyon, aka The Canyon Club, regaling the audience with the inaugural live performance of “Superstars,” as well as a special rendition of “Jessie’s Girl,” rebranded as “Schwartz’s Mom.” It is during the show that Raquel tries to make out with Schwartz for the first time, to no avail.
As we also learn in the episode, The Canyon is a special place for James and his girlfriend, Ally Lewber, as it is where the DJ initially “laid eyes on my princess, my gorgeous beauty” on what was “probably the most magical night of my life.” Revered as it may be, the new couple ends the evening in a huge fight, with Kennedy eventually having to be escorted out by security.
In episode five, “Lovestruck at the Discopussy,” Katie Maloney, Lala Kent, Kristina Kelly (aka “lip balm girl”) and Raquel head east for a girls’ trip, first landing in Nevada, where they spend the night at Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, dine at Vanderpump à Paris and party at Discopussy, a nightclub in downtown Sin City. It is on the venue’s dance floor that Leviss famously makes out with Oliver Saunders, the son of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Garcelle Beauvais.
Of the place’s vibe that night, Kent later said on her podcast, “Give Them Lala,” “Them making out on the dance floor, it wasn’t like them making out with a bunch of people who were, like, dancing normal and canoodling and Rianna’s ‘Diamonds’ is playing the background. No, it was music that you cannot dance to, just like random beats, people who came by themselves and brought their own lights, and they were so f*cked up on whatever they were on, that they were literally like zombies banging their heads and glowsticks, like, really close to their eyes. It was not a romantic situation.”
Adding to the ambiance is a massive octopus that adorns the club’s ceiling. Exploring Las Vegas details, “Their crown jewel is a gigantic Disco-Octopus with sprawling tentacles that moves over the entire ceiling of the club. This one-of-a-kind, custom-built beast, with a disco ball for its head, is made up of 10,000+ laser cut components, illuminated by 5,000+ individually addressable light-emitting diodes, and controlled by LED drivers.” The high-tech piece honestly sounds like something the two Toms might have come up with during their brainstorming session for Schwartz & Sandy’s back in season nine!
Departing Sin City, the ladies venture on to Lake Havasu in Arizona, checking into a massive six-bedroom, five-bath, 4,500-square-foot vacation home known as Casa Havasu. You, too, can make like the “VPR” gang by booking a stay at the luxe digs. Available for groups of up to 14, rates average $679 a night, per VRBO, with plush amenities including two living rooms, Leesa mattresses, Brooklinen sheets, a pool with a tanning shelf, a hot tub, an outdoor fireplace, a misting system, a 63-foot deep RV garage and close proximity to both BJs Cabana Bar and Martini Bay, where Lala and the gang hung out while in town. (*Tom Schwartz pinata, sadly, not included.)
While the women are away, Scheana hosts a boys’ night – or a “divorce get together” – at WeHo’s fabled Skybar in the hopes of helping Schwartz “get his Schwartz back” following his separation from Katie. Situated adjacent to the pool at the Mondrian Hotel, the longtime Sunset Strip hot spot was labeled as “the inky inner sanctum of Hollywood’s pulsing center of cool” by The Washington Post back in 1998 and that descriptor still holds true today. Attracting a bevy of A-listers and well-dressed hangers-on ever since it first opened nearly three decades ago, the bar is also a frequent stomping ground of the “VPR” cast. It was there that James complimented the SUR ladies on their “summer bodies” in the season five premiere and where the guys hung out in season seven’s “The Return of Crazy Kristen.” And this season, in the episode titled “Divorce Party Crashers,” Raquel and SUR co-worker Charli Burnett head there to crash boys’ night, with Sandoval feigning surprise, not very convincingly uttering “What’s up? Oh my god!” as they make their grand arrival.
As chronicled by Shay’s close friend Jamie Lynne in the “#TeamScheana” episode of the “Jamie All Over” podcast, following the Skybar soiree, the group headed across the street to Saddle Ranch on the Sunset Strip sans cameras. While there, Raquel and Tom are said to have engaged in a series of deep conversations, one of which was recorded by Jamie as a joke in the parking lot out front after they closed the place down.
She explains, “I’m now in my car with [Schwartz & Sandy’s manager] Brett, and Raquel and Sandoval were sitting on the curb outside of Saddle Ranch just talking. I didn’t realize it at the time, like how close they were talking or how intimate it actually looked. So, Bret and I, we think we’re funny . . . so I start filming the two of them talking. We’re so clueless that we have no idea what’s actually transpiring and I’m doing the voice for Sandoval, Brett’s doing the voice for Raquel and it goes over a minute. So then I’m like ‘Oh my god.’ We’re dying, we’re laughing. Brett leaves the car, shows them, they both are laughing about it, you know, they’re not, like, thinking anything that we shouldn’t post it or whatever. So I watch it back and I had this thought. I go, ‘You know what, I’m not posting this because this looks way too intimate and I don’t want Ariana to feel a certain way about this and I don’t want her to feel disrespected.’ But it didn’t set off alarm bells to, like, wait is something inappropriate happening? It was just kind of like, she might get the wrong idea or something, you know, and I don’t want to put anyone in that position.”
Whether or not the video will ever see the light of day on the show remains to be seen.
In episode seven, “Galaxy Gaslighting,” Katie and Ariana tour the future home of their “unapologetically feminine and undeniably delicious” sandwich shop, Something About Her, a 750-square-foot space located just down the street from TomTom, SUR and Pump at 640 N. Robertson Blvd. that previously housed a colorful vegetarian/vegan eatery known as Flower Burger. Thanks to Scandoval, merch for the yet-to-be-opened delicatessen is selling like hotcakes, with Ariana supporters flocking to back her new endeavor, granting the two women some much-needed investment money and affording the opportunity for the highly-anticipated shop to come to fruition sooner rather than later.
What is a “Vanderpump” episode without a party? Tom and Ariana deliver in “Galaxy Gaslighting,” throwing a fairly tepid “pool culture” shindig at their five-bedroom, six-bath, 4,500-square-foot Valley Village pad, situated just two miles away from Schwartz and Katie’s former residence. The then-couple picked up the modern-style farmhouse in February 2019 for $2.075 million and thoroughly made it over in their unique style, outfitting the interior with a Timothy Oulton-designed mirror, snake curtains and a painting of James Earl Jones. The duo’s favorite amenity, though? The ability to run the air conditioning and microwave at the same time without shorting out the power, unlike was the case at their previous apartment (which looks quite a bit different today).
Currently the site of far less happy times thanks to Scandoval, a source recently told People, “Right now, Tom and Ariana are still living in the same home, but sleeping in separate rooms. There’s a lot to figure out with their living situation, but no plans have been made yet.” And while the cat’s away, Tom and Raquel apparently will play, as the latter was spotted on the premises earlier this week while Ariana was out of town filming a Lifetime movie. Though original reports claimed Leviss spent the night, Sandoval’s rep thoroughly denies a sleepover took place, telling Page Six that the pageant queen only popped by for a brief visit.
Also in Valley Village is Blush Nail Bar, where a bespectacled Raquel gave an impromptu four-minute curbside interview to Backgrid less than 24 hours before taping the season 10 reunion. “Singing like a canary,” as TMZ details, Leviss told an eager photog a slew of information, including the fact that her apology to Ariana was not well-received, news that came as a surprise to absolutely no one.
The Pumptinis and rosé flow generously at Villa Rosa, Lisa and Ken’s opulent 8,000-square-foot Beverly Hills estate, in the most recent episode, “By Invitation Only,” in which Ariana hosts a surprise bridal shower for Scheana. Shockingly little drama occurs at the backyard soiree. Instead, the gang engages in a friendly game of ping pong, Schwartz flirts briefly with Raquel and James discusses marrying Ally and putting “some babies in her one day,” much to Lisa and Lala’s chagrin.
Later in the episode, the gang heads to Mexico to attend the nuptials of Scheana and her fiancé, Brock Davies, at Dreams Natura Resort & Spa, a luxurious all-inclusive hotel perched overlooking the Caribbean Sea in Cancun. For the multi-day affair, the betrothed couple checks into the opulent Presidential Suite, while the wedding ceremony itself (which has yet to air) takes place atop the lodging’s infinity pool, with “the bride walking down a bridge built across the pool to a special rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ mixed by her co-star James,” per E! News.
As further chronicled on the “#TeamScheana” episode of the “Jamie All Over” podcast, Raquel disappeared for three hours on the morning of the wedding, while Shay’s other bridesmaids were getting ready for the big day together in the bridal suite. When Leviss did finally make an appearance, she claimed her tardiness was due to needing some “pool time” and “me time,” but Jamie notes that the strange episode has her thinking “she was probably up to no good.”
The remainder of the season is sure to be chock full of “no good,” which will undoubtedly make for excellent TV!