'Vanderpump Rules' drama explained for those who need a catch-up

There's a lot to untangle with the current 'Vanderpump Rules' drama, but we're here to help walk you through it

tom sandoval and ariana madix from vanderpump rules
(Image credit: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

For those who need the Vanderpump Rules drama explained, there's no need to feel embarrassed. The cast left us with quite a messy web to untangle.

When it comes to TV shows about gossip and drama, Bravo's long-running series needs no introduction. We've been interacting with restauranteur Lisa Vanderpump's current/former staff for 10 seasons, during which we've met a few of reality TV's favorite faces, parted ways with series regulars and endured many a heartbreak—but none like the Tom Sandoval cheating scandal that shook the internet on March 3. 

After nearly 10 years of dating, Vanderpump Rules cast regulars Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix parted ways after his alleged infidelity with co-star Raquel Leviss. Everyone's breakup coping mechanism has been showing their undying support for Ariana, but there's plenty more chaos to dive into, so let's raise our glasses high and jump in. (And just wait for the dramatic Pump Rules reunion.) 

That messy 'Vanderpump Rules' drama explained:

While many of us were busy wondering about a Perfect Match reunion, TMZ revealed on Friday, March 3 that Vanderpump Rules regular Tom Sandoval had been allegedly engaging in an affair with SUR waitress, Raquel Leviss, while living with his long-term girlfriend, Ariana Madix, who he's been tied to for nearly a decade. Supposedly, Ariana had discovered risqué photos of Raquel, who was previously engaged to another Vanderpump alum James Kennedy, on Sandoval's phone. 

This comes as a shock to, well, everyone, as the beginning of the season was rocked by Raquel's ties to Tom Schwartz, Sandoval's business partner who had just split from his wife, Katie Maloney. Additionally, Raquel was also linked to Vanderpump's SUR partner, Peter Madrigal. In an early February interview with US Weekly, the reality star coined herself a "makeout slut" but claimed to enjoy the single life. 

"I feel like I'm dating myself. I feel like I really only recently started figuring out who I am as a person and what I really, really like and what I don't like. So I don't think that I'm ready to settle down anytime soon," she told the outlet. 

Several weeks later, it appears the cover was blown by TMZ's breakout story. Although cameras supposedly haven't captured the infidelity between Tom and Raquel, there appears to be truth behind the rumors, as Tom has now spoken out about the issues on Instagram. At the time of publication, Raquel has yet to address the controversy.

For his part, Tom went on to say he was "sorry for everything" without publicly naming Ariana or Raquel, and that he "needs some time to address everything else." 

How does the 'Pump Rules' cast feel about the Tom and Raquel drama?

It didn't take long for the cast of Vanderpump Rules to address the issue and take Ariana's side. Needless to say, friendship breakups are in the works!

1. Scheana Shay

Scheana promptly unfollowed both Tom and Raquel on Instagram and posted videos of her and Ariana at a Tove Lo concert the night this all transpired. "We rally," she captioned it. She's also posted images showing that she's "Team Ariana."

But in the midst of it all, Scheana needed to defend herself, as people are suggesting that Tom's infidelity was similar to her affair with Eddie Cibrian, Brandi Glanville's husband, which played out in earlier seasons of Pump Rules

"I don’t recall having an affair with my best friends bf KNOWINGLY but go off," she wrote on Instagram in response to those questioning her.

2. Lala Kent

Though Lala and Ariana have had their differences, she's taking Ariana's side and actually publicly acknowledged earlier this month that Ariana should get out of her relationship, as she's been having an ongoing feud with Tom. 

"Oh Sandoval … Your problem with me is I’m a little too real for your comfort," she wrote. "I’ve seen you for who you are for a long time, and you don’t like that. But, I think now is the time for you to shut the f—k up. I’m eatin good the next time I see you."

Then Lala took to Instagram stories to defend her inner "troll" and took aim at Raquel. 

"For so long I've been saying she ain't got a lot upstairs. But now that all hell has broken loose and she's lit herself on fire, she wants to lean on 'I'm dumb, everyone else filled my head, I'm the victim.' It's not going to work," Lala said. 

However, fans of the show don't have a short memory: Lala is herself being called out for allegedly hooking up with James while he was in a relationship with Raquel.

3. James Kennedy

Speaking of SUR's unruly bad boy, he took to Instagram to share the TMZ story and wrote: "Hope you all feel as sick as I do. This explains everything."

For those who recall, Tom was an intricate part in planning James' proposal to Raquel at the Coachella campsite earlier in the series. Now he says he's Team Ariana, even promoting her cocktail brand on Instagram Stories.

4. Kristen Doute

Like her peers, Kristin has shown her support for Ariana—once her sworn enemy—on Instagram.

“I don't know why I feel like I need to make this clear, but there's so many people right now wondering if this is making me happy," Doute said on Instagram Stories. "And you guys, Ariana and I've been really good friends for many, many years now. So, I am team Ariana—all day, every day. That's what's up."

Ironically, Kristin's split with Tom Sandoval many moons ago was caused by his blossoming relationship with Ariana.

5. Katie Maloney

Well, it looks like Katie didn't have to be territorial about her Tom if all of this is true. Naturally, she's backing Ariana. 

"You are going to thrive like you were always meant to," Katie captioned on Instagram alongside a photo of her and Ariana. 

She also took to Instagram Stories to call out Tom Sandoval for not addressing Ariana in his apology.

6. Tom Schwartz

Tom Schwartz, who is not showing sides at the moment, took to Instagram Stories to address the issue.

"I asked my magic 8 ball if it was going to be a chill day 💀,” he wrote, “My reply is no."

Tom had been briefly involved with Raquel in 2022, while kissing at Scheana and Brock's wedding, but has been Sandaoval's righthand man for the entirety of the series. 

7. Andy Cohen and Lisa Vanderpump

"How many parts is too many parts for the #pumprules reunion???," Cohen tweeted on March 3. 

Lisa Vanderpump is only in favor of one, as evidenced below. 

The latest episode of Vanderpump Rules will air on March 8 on Bravo at 9pm ET, and will be available the next day on Peacock. Although this likely won't play into the new season just yet, we have a feeling that the reunion is going to be bananas.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.