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“Vanderpump Rules” Premiere: Rachel Gets a Lifeline in Exile from a Costar Who Once Deceived and Dismissed Her

Lisa Vanderpump admitted the 'VPR' costar who reached out to Rachel "Raquel" Leviss in the season 11 premiere is "the last person I would expect to have empathy" for her following the Scandoval

<p>Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images</p> Rachel “Raquel” Leviss at BravoCon 2022 on October 15, 2022

Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images

Rachel “Raquel” Leviss at BravoCon 2022 on October 15, 2022

Vanderpump Rules is moving on without Rachel “Raquel” Leviss, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t still at the center of the drama.

During the season 11 premiere of the hit Bravo series, Lala Kent revealed that she has surprisingly found empathy for Rachel, who decided not return to the show following her affair with Tom Sandoval, which ended his nine-year relationship with their costar Ariana Madix.

Lala’s feelings and decision to reach out to her former costar came as a shock to her castmates — especially Ariana — who still believed that Rachel was persona non grata in the friend group. In fact, Ariana called out Lala, who previously attacked Rachel’s choices on the VPR season 10 reunion, for extending her a lifeline after she demanded none of her friends be in contact with her own ex Randall Emmett.

Paul Archuleta/Getty; JC Olivera/Getty for iHeartRadio Lala Kent (left) and Rachel “Raquel” Leviss
Paul Archuleta/Getty; JC Olivera/Getty for iHeartRadio Lala Kent (left) and Rachel “Raquel” Leviss

Related: Vanderpump Rules' Season 11 Opener Makes It Clear Ariana Madix Is Ready to Spill the Tea (Exclusive)

Moving On but Not Out

Amid the fallout of the headline-making affair, Ariana was still navigating her living situation with her ex Sandoval but got a brief reprieve while he was away filming Special Forces when season 11 picked up.

“Three months ago, when Tom blew up our lives, I was not prepared to be kicked out of my house and start a whole new freakin’ life so even though we still live under the same roof, I’ve been able to maintain a no-contact policy,” she explained. “We communicate via his assistant Ann, which is great for me because I don’t have to look at his stupid face but bad for Ann because that’s literally her job.”

She then told friend and costar Katie Maloney that she thinks it’s “psychotic” that Sandoval wants to buy her out of the house and stay in the home as it would require her to move out. She also shared that she believes her ex is still in communication with Rachel.

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval

Related: Ariana Madix Can't Wait to Sell House She Shares with Ex Tom Sandoval and 'Fully Just Move On' (Exclusive)

“From what I can tell, Tom and Rachel are still very much together because they are sending mail and packages back and forth to each other,” she explained. “She even sent a postcard with lightning bolts all over it.”

Despite her living situation, Ariana shared that she has moved on with boyfriend Daniel Wai, saying, “I met Dan at one of my oldest friend’s weddings, literally 10 [or] 11 days after everything freakin’ blew up. He’s a personal trainer and bartender and he lives in New York so we’re doing [a] little long-distance thing.”

Friendships Betrayed

While moving into his new home with girlfriend Ally Lewber, James Kennedy admitted he was not over the betrayal of Sandoval and his ex-fiancée Rachel. He told Ally that he has yet to hear “one f—ing word from that man” after news of the affair broke in March.

James wasn’t the only one who hasn’t heard from Sandoval in the aftermath of the scandal. Scheana Shay and her husband Brock Davies also shared that he hasn't responded after they reached out about the death of his friend Ali Rafiq. Scheana was even more shocked to discover that Sandoval had blocked her, as well as her podcast Scheananigans and her daughter Summer Moon on social media.

Reflecting on the scandal, Scheana revealed that her health was also impacted, sharing, “My therapist diagnosed me with OCD about six months ago and I felt like I was doing really well until the affair broke. It took my OCD, mixed with my anxiety, and went to a whole other level… it’s been a f—ing rollercoaster.”

<p>River Callaway/Variety via Getty</p> Scheana Shay at the

River Callaway/Variety via Getty

Scheana Shay at the "Vanderpump Rules" Season 11 Premiere held at the Hollywood Palladium on January 17, 2024

Related: Rachel Leviss Has a 'List of Resentments' and Shares Her 'Hard Boundary' Against Speaking to 1 VPR Costar Again

Tom Schwartz also discussed how his and Sandoval’s bar Schwartz & Sandy became “the scene of the crime” with reservations downs and staff quitting after news of the affair became public. The fallout led him to have “a lot of resentment” for Sandoval.

“Last year almost just broke me,” he explained. “I got divorced. My brother Burr has been having some serious health issues. We had so many bar woes. You could almost say that Scandoval was like a radioactive cherry on top of my s— sundae of a year.”

Schwartz told James that he felt like a “pariah” of the group and thanked him for extending him “empathy” amid the scandal. He then did an impression of Bill Clinton to make clear he should not be the one receiving the backlash, joking, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

<p>Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty, Gabe Ginsberg/Getty </p> Ariana Madix and Tom Schwartz

Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty, Gabe Ginsberg/Getty

Ariana Madix and Tom Schwartz

However, Ariana was unwilling to forgive him following his appearance on Watch What Happens Live, on which he told fans to give Sandoval “a hug” in the aftermath of the affair. He added that she sent him a nasty text and then blocked him.

Schwartz read Ariana’s text message aloud, which stated, “F— you. Blocking your number. Go choke on Sandoval’s dirty ass d—...”

Schwartz then jokingly clarified, “For the record, I’ve never choked on Sandoval’s dirty ass d—.”

Let the Healing Begin

Lala was beginning her own healing journey as she was working on a resolution in her custody battle with ex Randall Emmett, explaining, “I had to put everything I had personally experienced on the back burner because I’ve been fixated on a custody battle, but now, I gotta deal with my own heartbreak.”

In October 2021, Lala and Randall called off their engagement after three years, with Lala later accusing Randall of cheating on her repeatedly. In July 2022, Randall was accused of offering a woman film roles in exchange for sexual favors in a piece published by the Los Angeles Times, which “staunchly” denied in a statement to PEOPLE.

Lala admitted to her mother that her own experience with Randall made her question everyone’s motives including Ariana’s new man Daniel.

Returning to TomTom

Ariana admitted she was “nervous” to return to TomTom — where she found an intimate video of Rachel on then-boyfriend Sandoval's phone in March 2023 before the affair was exposed — for James’ DJ set. She called Daniel to tell him, “I’m going to TomTom tonight. I haven’t been there since that night that all of that transpired.”

“I shouldn’t have to make my life smaller because Tom messed everything up and if I can go there and make new memories, maybe it won’t have power over me anymore and I’ll be able to look at it as just some bar,” she explained in a confessional.

When she arrived at the bar, she was greeted by the girls but admitted she was still feeling “a little shaky” about being back, especially after being sat in the same spot as last time. Despite being on the outs with Ariana, Schwartz wasted no time trying to greet her, but she ignored him completely.

Related: Katie Maloney Says Fans Will Be 'Surprised' by Her Reaction to Schwartz and Scheana's Kiss Revelation (Exclusive)

“Ariana’s got the wall up. She’s an ice queen,” Schwartz said in a confessional. “I understand she has exalted status… but until the ice melts with her, I have this feeling it’s going to be really hard to make any inroads with the rest of the girls.”

While the girls rallied around her, Ariana became overcome with emotion. She explained, “I didn’t expect to feel all of this coming up right now. You think it’s just a place or it’s just a chair or it’s a table, whatever and I’ve sat in this table so many times, but now that time is really taking over my memories of this place.”

Lala then privately confessed to Lisa Vanderpump that she could now understand how Rachel began to feel “isolated” during her affair with Sandoval because she had a similar experience with ex.

<p>Todd Williamson/Bravo</p> Ally Lewber, LaLa Kent, Katie Maloney, Lisa Vanderpump, Scheana Shay and Ariana Madix attend the

Todd Williamson/Bravo

Ally Lewber, LaLa Kent, Katie Maloney, Lisa Vanderpump, Scheana Shay and Ariana Madix attend the "Vanderpump Rules" Season 11 Premiere held at the Hollywood Palladium on January 17, 2024

“I know what it’s like to have a man in front of you, painting a beautiful picture, saying: ‘You’re the one for me, you’re my soulmate,’ and you see what your future could be with this person,” she explained. “And you’re willing to risk it all so much that I ignored everyone around me telling me, ‘Girl, you’re the other woman.’”

Lisa was surprised that Lala was the first to find compassion for Rachel after she attacked her former costar during the season 10 reunion — which Lala said she later regretted. Lisa admitted, “Out of all of them, Lala was the last person I would expect to have empathy for Raquel… so maybe if there’s room for forgiveness from Lala, the others will come around.”

“What Raquel did, what she said, how she went about things was so f—ing stupid,” Lala said in a confessional. “But as someone who knows what it’s like to walk through life and see comments about being a mistress, I don’t want her to wear that forever.”

After the conversation, Lala sent Rachel a supportive voice note and asked to have a conversation with her despite her decision to no longer film with the rest of the cast amid the backlash of the affair.

Girls’ Night Shocker

The night began with Katie telling Ariana that Schwartz misses her after their friendship became collateral damage of Sandoval’s affair.

While Ariana appeared unbothered by Schwartz’s feelings, Lala attempted to play “Devil’s advocate,” sharing, “I do think that Schwartz needs to make some moves and change the direction of his life, but you’re also having to think about the amount of mental abuse that Sandoval has inflicted upon him for many f—ing years.”

The conversation then turned to how Sandoval discouraged Ariana from having a friendship with Katie and Lala questioned if Ariana actually liked her.

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Lala Kent and Ariana Madix
Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Lala Kent and Ariana Madix

“Ariana has always been a tough one to crack,” Lala said in a confessional. “And feel like that’s been our biggest downfall. I don’t know how to have a real friendship when someone shuts me out.”

This led Ariana to apologize to Lala for not trusting her judgment and reassure her that she was part of her “inner circle.”

Related: VPR 'Outcast' Tom Sandoval Calls Filming Season 11 'One of the Hardest Things I've Ever Had to Face' (Exclusive)

However, Lala then dropped a bombshell. "With the moment we just had, I feel like I need to be very, very honest with you," she began.

“The last five minutes of the Raquel thing, there was one thing that she said... which was, 'If I don’t follow what Tom has told me, I don’t feel like I’m gonna have anybody,'” she said referring to Rachel’s admission during the finale part of the VPR reunion. “I was like, I don’t want her to wear this for the rest of her life.”

“I want you to know that I sent her a message last night,” she added, leaving the group shocked.

Ariana shared that Lala’s actions were a double standard after she encouraged all of her friends to cease communication with Randall after their split. “It is kinda wild if you think about it because maybe for a year [or] year and half, if anybody interacted with Lala’s ex, she was ready to murder him, cut his balls off, f— you. I just feel like if the shoe was on the other foot and I was reaching out to Randall’s mistress, I don’t think Lala would be very happy with me," she said.

<p>Tammie/AFF-USA/Shutterstock; Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images; Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images</p> Ariana Madix; Tom Sandoval; Rachel “Raquel” Leviss

Tammie/AFF-USA/Shutterstock; Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images; Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images

Ariana Madix; Tom Sandoval; Rachel “Raquel” Leviss

Ariana responded by telling Lala that Rachel remained in communication with Sandoval. Lala then tried to liken the situation to her and Randall, but Ariana insisted that Rachel “knew better” as it was clear she and Sandoval were still together.

Katie reminded Lala that “the players are different” in this situation and Scheana added that Raquel also hurt her when she filed a restraining order after an alleged violent incident between them last March.

“I feel like if the only thing Raquel did wrong was fall in love with her best friend Sandoval, that one day maybe we could have still been friends,” Scheana said. “But the bitch put a temporary restraining order on me that has changed everything.”

Ariana made her stance clear, saying, “For me, I worry that there are certain people in this world that look at those types of conversations as a foot in the door and there’s no foot to be had.”

Despite their differences, Lala insisted that she was in Ariana’s “corner” and then the pair hugged.

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Vanderpump Rules airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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