Tom Sandoval Explains Why He Cheated on Ariana Madix With Rachel Leviss

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Tom Sandoval engages in an open discussion with one of his most outspoken critics, actor Jerry O’Connell. On the latest episode of the Vanderpump Rules star’s podcast, Everybody Loves Tom, 40-year-old Sandoval discusses the emotional transformation he experienced since cheating on Ariana Madix with Rachel Leviss earlier this year.

O’Connell, a devoted fan of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules, criticized Sandoval on a March episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, branding him as a “little boy.” O’Connell agreed to appear on Sandoval’s podcast to both extend an apology and seek insight into the reality star’s feelings regarding his past actions.

Sandoval, known for his candid and sometimes polarizing personality, did not hold back in addressing his past mistakes, and openly admitted to “f**king up.”

“I got way over my head. I know that, and I apologize for that,” Sandoval confessed, expressing deep remorse for the pain he caused. He went on to say that he never wants to be responsible for hurting people in that manner again.

Reflecting on his past actions, Sandoval admitted, “I fully f**king regret it. I feel bad about it. I hate that I hurt people. I, for the most part, have been pretty f**king miserable. I don’t ever, ever want to go through what I went through again. I don’t ever want to be responsible or the cause for ever hurting people like that.”

He pledged to do everything in his power to avoid similar situations in the future.

When pressed by O’Connell about what he would do differently if given the chance, Sandoval candidly stated that he wouldn’t have engaged in the affair with Leviss to begin with. He also expressed regret for delaying his breakup with Madix, explaining that he wanted to outdo the breakup his friend Tom Schwartz had with his now ex-wife, Katie Maloney.

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“I would have gotten out of my relationship [with Ariana], ripped the Band-Aid off, and not delayed that whole scenario,” Sandoval acknowledged.

He revealed that he had been caught up in trying to orchestrate the perfect breakup, comparing it to Schwartz and Maloney’s split. He expressed his wish to have handled the situation differently, acknowledging, “I could have done a 100,000 things different.”

Sandoval also spoke about the challenges of making public apologies, stating, “If I cry, it’s crocodile tears; if I don’t, it’s, ‘I’m not showing any emotion.’ If I’m on my knees, I’m overdoing it. If I’m standing up, I should be on my knees.” 

In a surprising turn, Sandoval brought up the fact that James Kennedy, Leviss’ former fiancé, had cheated on her “three times that we know about,” and yet, none of the other Vanderpump Rules cast members expected James to apologize to them as they did with Sandoval. Sandoval explained his perspective, saying, “I, for not a second, expected him to apologize. If James had apologized to me, I would have been like, ‘What are you apologizing to me for? You didn’t do anything to me. You hurt Rachel. Handle your business. I don’t know.'”

O’Connell countered by pointing out that fans had invested nearly a decade in Sandoval and Madix’s relationship, making the circumstances of Sandoval’s actions more intense than Kennedy’s actions with Leviss.

Despite the intense scrutiny and public backlash, Sandoval noted a few positive changes that came out of the affair and breakup, particularly his healthier lifestyle. “I was on a path that was not great. I was drinking all day, every day. I was chain-smoking cigarettes, going out constantly,” he recalled. “Chasing the dragon, running away from everything and hiding, hiding, hiding.”

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Sandoval, who has since quit drinking and smoking, credited this period as a turning point in his life.

The affair, commonly referred to as Scandoval, also helped him put into perspective on what was truly important in his life and who would stand by him. Sandoval said he became “more honest” but also “more guarded” in the process. He also dispelled the notion that he is a calculated schemer, emphasizing, “I’m not a schemer like that. I don’t do that.”

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