Ever since Vanderpump Rules lightning rod Rachel Leviss, formerly known as Raquel, vanished from the public eye to seek mental health treatment amid the fallout from her affair with Tom Sandoval, fans and fellow cast members had been waiting with trepidation to see what she’d do next.
That apparently doesn’t include returning for Season 11 of Vanderpump, despite weeks of reported contract negotiations between Leviss and Bravo. But what Leviss did do, last week, was resurface after months of silence to appear as a guest on ex-RHONY star Bethenny Frankel’s podcast, in an interview that’s now inciting backlash from Leviss’ VPR co-stars.
In case you missed it, the podcast interview featured a couple big revelations from Leviss, including her telling Frankel that she hadn’t seen “a single penny” from her run on the show—a claim that’s since been disputed, as TMZ reported she made over $350,000. She also said that Sandoval recorded an explicit video of her without her consent.
Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval’s ex-partner of 10 years, is the jilted woman at the center of Scandoval: After his affair with Leviss was uncovered, Madix’s sorrow and rage became the central features of the last episode of Season 10, and of the blisteringly brutal finale episodes.
On Friday, Madix was the guest on Scheana Shay’s Scheananigans podcast, and she weighed in on the Leviss interview.
“Bethenny is who I feel like should have known better and who actually I think upset me more in the things that were said,” Madix told Shay. “Because even I guess as recently as whatever podcast she did after the fact she said, ‘Ariana’s forgiven him.’ I’m like, why are you speaking for me? First of all, I don’t know you. And you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, lady.”
“Some of the things that were said made me really sad, made me angry,” Madix added. “I understand that with Rachel, I feel like she’s still going along with some things that were told to her over the last year or so from the other party in said affair.”
“The fact that [Raquel] said you were no more than an acquaintance, an alliance, a coworker...” Shay said to Madix.
“That was very hurtful,” Madix responded, “because I wasn’t using her for shit. I just thought that we were friends.”
Leviss’ other costars are also responding to the viral interview. On her own podcast this week, Vanderpump star Lala Kent said of Leviss, “She should have come back [to the show]. I think she would have been very surprised. And instead she went and did this and she was manipulated yet again.”
Kent added that she believes Frankel “exploited” Leviss by inviting her to be a guest on the podcast amid Frankel’s ongoing mission to expose the abuses of reality TV cast members and to get her Bravo peers to unionize.
“I’m happy that she finally got to take advantage of a giant platform to tell her story,” Kent said of Leviss. “I only saw clips, and what I gathered from it is Bethenny completely exploited that girl yet again.”
Moreover, Kent took issue with Leviss telling Frankel that she and Madix were not close when the affair began.
“There were things that she was then saying that were not perspective,” Kent said. “It was a flat-out lie, and I can’t imagine you believe what you are saying.”
Meanwhile, ex-VPR star Stassi Schroeder also responded to the interview, telling Us Weekly, “It was almost like Bethenny was trying to make Ariana look bad. Ariana hasn’t done anything wrong. ... It is kind of annoying how [Frankel] speaks with so much authority when clearly she has not done her research about so many different things.”
Leviss has yet to counter-attack, but given her months-long silence on all things Scandoval, she very well might let this one lie.