James Kennedy and Raquel Leviss certainly looked like they were going to make it down the aisle together, but love can be a fickle friend sometimes, especially for reality show couples. The Vanderpump Rules stars shocked fans went they announced their romance back in 2016, as James had been previously linked with his co-stars Kristen Doute and Lala Kent. After fending off numerous cheating rumors and beginning a sober journey, James eventually popped the question to Raquel with a Coachella-themed proposal in May 2021. Six months later, the couple called it quits.
“After these 5 wonderful years we had together, we decided we have two different goals and made the decision to call off the engagement,” the exes each shared on their respective Instagram accounts in December 2021. “We love each other very much, but we aren’t in love anymore. We want nothing but the best for each other so please keep any thoughts positive. Sending Love.”
Nearly two years after their split, Raquel was involved in a major scandal, when it was revealed that she had been having an affair with friend and co-star Ariana Maddix’s long-term boyfriend Tom Sandoval. The cheating scandal was dubbed “Scandoval” by the media, but shortly after Tom and Raquel also split up.
Keep reading to find out more about what went down between the gorgeous pair and where they stand now, below.
What the Couple Has Said
After the couple met at a New Year’s Eve party in 2015, they were hot and heavy right off the bat, going Instagram official by Valentine’s Day. Their relationship was soon put to the test as a few employees at the Vanderpump Rules restaurant Sur came forward accusing James of cheating on Raquel with them. The couple’s love, however, did not waver. “We’ve stuck through everything and we love each other,” James told Bravo in 2017, per US Weekly. “But that’s what makes relationships stronger is going through hard times and good times.”
The couple were still going from strength to strength while James struggled with his substance use disorder, eventually celebrating one year sober in July 2020 and giving Raquel credit for her support. “I’m so grateful for everything now and life has become more beautiful in many ways,” he wrote on Instagram at the time. “Thank you to my rock @raquelleviss for getting me here I couldn’t of done this without you my love.”
But something had to have changed between them to call the whole thing off six months after getting engaged. On the Vanderpump Rules reunion in January, the former couple slipped some tea.
“I didn’t want to give up on him because he really has shown me how dedicated he is to me and the things that he is willing to do to better himself. But I feel like it is something deep within,” Raquel explained. “I have been having nightmares about our wedding day, and I think that’s a telltale sign that something is wrong.”
James added, “We had a conversation a couple of months ago. I asked her if I am your soulmate and she said, ‘Do you think I am your soulmate?’ It was almost like the first time that I felt like we weren’t destined in the galaxy.”
It Was Brewing for a While
While Lala had made discouraging comments about the relationship after the cheating scandals, the writing did seem to be on the wall for the couple. “There wasn’t one thing, it was like a cumulation of things,” Raquel explained on VPR co-star Scheana Shay‘s Scheananigans podcast in January. The reality star went on to share that she realized she had been “making excuses for him” and that “part of [her] soul” was being taken from her.
As for James, he dished on the breakup more during the reunion episode. “She has made her decision. Her parents have always hated me. It has never been easy. Even becoming the man that quit drinking and changed his whole f–king lifestyle for this relationship. It wasn’t enough. I still have these anger issues, and I am never doing this again.”
Despite the troubles and the eventual demise of the relationship, the pair had a big supporter in Vanderpump Rules captain Lisa Vanderpump. “[Raquel] is the best thing that ever happened to him,” the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum shared in 2021. “You really do see Raquel kind of blossoming, blooming.”
Shortly after the split, Raquel shared that they still like each others’ posts on Instagram and speak “occasionally.” She also said she was cool with James having playdates with her dog. James, meanwhile, moved on rather quickly and is dating Ally Lewber. The British DJ confirmed the romance on Instagram March 15.
James opened up about his cheating scandal with LaLa Kent in a February 2023 interview with HollywoodLife. “[It] obviously [was] not my proudest moment,” he said. “That was kind of a dark skeleton that was tucked away forever, and brought back to life, but honestly, it’s not my place to be mad at Lala [for revealing it]. But it was a reflecting moment for me to see how far I’ve come.”
James also spoke about the split in an episode of VPR, which aired on March 1, 2023. He got emotional while looking back on their relationship. “Just thinking about it makes me feel like I want to faint. It’s a lot. It’s a lot, but it’s in the past,” he said.