Tom Sandoval Says 1st Kiss With Raquel Was ‘Magnetic’ Amidst ‘Lack Of Intimacy’ With Ariana

In Tom Sandoval's first interview since news broke that he cheated on Ariana Madix with Raquel Leviss, the reality star opened up about how he first came to kiss Raquel amidst issues in his relationship with Ariana.

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Tom Sandoval is giving his side of the story. The 39-year-old star appeared on the April 11 episode Howie Mandel‘s The H3 Podcast to speak in his first interview following the news of his months-long affair with his Vanderpump Rules co-star  Raquel Leviss, 28, while he was dating Ariana Madix. In the interview, Tom opened up about how he and Raquel became intimate after developing a close friendship first. He confirmed that he first tried to get Tom Schwartz to hook up with Raquel because they were both single, but said Schwartz wasn’t interested.

“I’m like, ‘Whatever, you’re dumb’, because I thought very highly of her,” Tom explained. “And then we were hanging out and talking. We had hung out one night and then a couple nights later again. We talked until the sun came up during the guys’ night at the Mondrian. And then [a few days later] we were at my house, and I’m locked out of my house and we’re talking and we kissed. It was magnetic. We were moving closer and as we were talking, time went on, and we’re talking closer and closer and closer, and all of a sudden, we’re kissing. I felt something that I hadn’t felt in so long, like, emotionally.”

Tom Sandoval
Tom Sandoval shocked fans when he confirmed her cheated on Ariana Madix with their co-star, Raquel Leviss (Photo: JA/Everett Collection)

The Vanderpump Rules star admitted that the tryst began after his relationship with Ariana had turned stale. “For a while, we had been having our own lives,” he explained. “We had been together for nine years, and obviously we had built a house and business together and everything. We were a brand. And like many relationships, it became more of a best friend/family/sometimes roommates situation. There was a lot of ways where the relationship was just lacking intimacy, the connection.” He admitted that he and Ariana spent most of their time apart, but stayed together as a couple to “keep the optics up that [they] were solid” for brand purposes.

Tom also shared that his communication with Ariana wasn’t great at that point, which he said was a fault on both of their parts. Plus, the pair’s individual struggles with anxiety and depression began to take a toll, according to Tom. “I don’t know how to explain it, we just sort of kept growing apart,” Tom admitted. “I accepted it. This is just how it is — you get in to a relationship for a long time and you stop having sex, that’s just how it is. There were so many other perks [to dating her] — the building of the brand, the image of it all. We did have each other’s backs, for sure, and that was nice. There was a safety to it and a stability.”

However, Tom soon realized that that wasn’t enough for him. “I turned 40 and I started to look at my life and it looked very bleak,” he shared. “I started thinking that my best years were behind me and I started to lose my optimism in life and my drive. I felt like I needed to make a change to feel alive again, to feel motivated, to feel optimistic again.” Tom revealed that he was in a “very dark place” and “yearning for a connection” when his affair with Raquel began. “My confidence was zapped,” he continued. “A sexual experience with me would be like with a 19 year old for his second time. I had no game anymore. That’s hwat I felt reduced to. And I’m not saying it’s [Ariana’s] fault, we just didn’t have that intimacy.”

Although this was his first formal interview, the TomTom co-owner has spoken about his cheating scandal, also known as “Scandoval”, before. Nearly a month after Tom’s cover was blown, he admitted to TMZ cameras about the situation and admitted he “could’ve handled things way better”.

Plus, he shared two lengthy Instagram posts about the entire situation, the first of which he used to apologize to his Schwartz & Sandy’s bar and restaurant crew, which includes co-owner and 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…” Tom wrote, addressing his upset fans. “Schwartz specifically only found out about this very recently, and most definitely did not condone my actions. This was a very personal thing.”

“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,” he continued. “Please direct ur anger towards me and not them. They did nothing wrong.” He also said he would be taking a “hiatus” from the restaurant “out of respect” for his team.

He did not mention Raquel or Ariana in the March 5 post but did share a follow-up with apology to Ariana on Instagram on March 7. “I want to first and foremost apologize to everyone I’ve hurt through this process. 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 began. “I can only imagine how devastating this has been for Ariana and everyone around us. I feel really horrible about that.”

Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix
Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix were together for nine years before splitting in March 2023 (Photo: Everett Collection)

“My biggest regret is that I dishonored Ariana. I never meant to disappoint so many people, including our loving families and friends,” the reality star continued. “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.”

Tom concluded his lengthy note by saying he will continue to work on himself to evolve into a better person. “I will continue to reflect and work on myself. I have work to do. I always have, and I always will,” he said.

Ariana broke her silence on the heartbreaking situation with a March 16 Instagram that had a perseverant tone. “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 the caption, which accompanied a photo of her looking gorgeous 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,” she 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.”