Jax Taylor, 43, and his wife, Brittany Cartwright, 34, have shared their two cents on the breakup between Tom Sandoval, 39, and Ariana Madix, 37, after nine years together due to Tom’s affair with their Vanderpump Rules co-star, Raquel Leviss, 28. “I got a text message. It said, ‘You were right all along,'” Jax told PEOPLE on March 21, recalling the moment he found out about the affair. “It wasn’t shocking to me. I’ve known Tom Sandoval for 20 years, we grew up together. I just know his lifestyle. I know who he is, and I’ve said it many times. No one wanted to believe me.”
“There’s a reason why it’s Raquel. [It’s] because she can be controlled,” he continued. “Ariana’s a very strong, independent woman — that’s how Brittany is — but you can’t control her. And I think Raquel’s very easily influenced. I think he likes to be able to tell her what to do. I think she’s very codependent, and I think he preys on that. He can control her and she’ll do whatever he says.”
However, Brittany admitted she had a completely different reaction to the news. “It was with Raquel, right under their noses — that’s what’s so shocking,” she noted. She added that she never saw something like the “Scandoval”, as it’s become known, coming. “I feel terrible for Ariana having to go through this so publicly. I know that feeling. I feel for her big-time,” she said.
Jax said he believes Tom carried out the affair (reportedly for months) because his ego was too large. “When you get to a certain point, you think you have this diva mentality where you’re just not going to get in trouble and you’re not going to get caught,” he hypothesized. “He’s gotten to that point where he’s [thinking], ‘I can’t be touched. I can do whatever I want.’ And it caught up with him.”
Jax previously commented on the cheating scandal via a since-deleted tweet from March 7. In the tweet, he slammed Tom for reportedly refusing to film for Bravo cameras amid the scandal after he had already shot some scenes — including a reported kiss with Raquel. “Funny he’s now refusing to film as he did the exact same thing when the miami girl was in town..,” he wrote. “Miami Girl” refers to the woman Tom’s ex Kristen Doute accused him of cheating on Ariana with during the third season of Vanderpump Rules. Of course, Tom denied any wrongdoing and said there was no proof of him cheating.
— samantha bush (@takeyourzoloft) March 7, 2023
News that Tom was cheating on Ariana with Raquel broke on March 3, and on March 5, the TomTom co-owner admitted guilt by apologizing not to Ariana, but to his staff at the bar he co-owns with Vanderpump Rules co-star Tom Schwartz. “Hey, I fully understand and deserve ur anger and disappointment towards me, but please leave Schwartz my friends and family out of this situation…,” he began in a statement he shared to Instagram. “Schwartz specifically only found out about this very recently, and most definitely did not condone my actions. This was a very personal thing.”
He continued, “Also, Schwartz & Sandy’s might have my name on it, but also there are 3 other partners and 20 employees, who especially rely on the restaurant for income for them and their families. … Please direct ur anger towards me and not them. They did nothing wrong.” He concluded his message by stating that he would be “taking a hiatus out of respect” for the above-mentioned people and that he “needs time” before he speaks further about the issue.
He then followed up with an apology specifically addressed to Ariana, and Jax told PEOPLE he thought Tom’s way of going about his apologies was not right. “I’ve done my fair share of bad things, but where I have a problem is having your crisis PR team write you a message,” he explained. “You got to step down from your little pedestal for a minute. Stop making this about Tom Sandoval and making do better decisions. You should have called [Ariana] first. There’s just no empathy there.”
Tom shared his apology to Ariana a few days after his original statement on March 8. “I want to first and foremost apologize to everyone I’ve hurt through this process,” he wrote. “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 continued, “I can only imagine how devastating this has been for Ariana and everyone around us. I feel really horrible about that. My biggest regret is that I dishonored Ariana. I never meant to disappoint so many people, including our loving families and friends. My love for Ariana was stronger than any camera could have ever captured. Some of our best times together were never filmed. The same goes for some of our biggest struggles. I wish things happened in a different order and our relationship was not severely tarnished, and that it ended with the same respect with for her that it began with. I owed Ariana better.”
“I am beyond sad that it ended the way it did,” he added, wrapping up his post. “The choices I made hurt so many people. I acted in a way that clashes with who and how I want to be. I will continue to reflect and work on myself. I have work to do. I always have and I always will.”
Raquel issued a statement about the ordeal on March 8. “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 told Entertainment Tonight. “There is no excuse, I am not a victim and I must own my actions and I deeply regret hurting Ariana.” She went on to say that she has begun “counseling” to work through her “patterns of codependency and addiction to being and feeling loved” and that she will be prioritizing her mental health going forward.
Ariana was reportedly turning to her Vanderpump Rules family for comfort during the devastating tim, which includes Katie Maloney, Lala Kent, Scheana Shay, and Kristen. “Ariana has recapped what happened with her friends and castmates, the majority of whom are disappointed Tom seems unable to take accountability for his actions or express substantial remorse,” a source divulged to Page Six following the breakup news. They also said Ariana feels “gaslit” by her former boyfriend after they talked about the whole situation.
The reality star released a powerful message of her own on March 16. “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,” she began in her Instagram post, which featured a gorgeous photo of her smiling in a pink and green ombre dress. “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,” Ariana continued. “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 fucking 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.”
Jax teased on March 7 that he and Brittany would be making an appearance on Watch What Happens Live. The pair are scheduled to be on the show on Wednesday, March 21 and will presumably speak more about their feelings on the scandal.