Raquel Leviss and Tom Sandoval had a friendship for years before their affair blew up the Vanderpump Rules universe and there are plenty of receipts to prove it — and cringe at — looking back.
Fans met Leviss during season 5 of the Bravo show, which premiered in 2016, during her relationship with James Kennedy. Despite any ups and downs in the past between Sandoval and Kennedy (the two men were at odds when the DJ started dating the TomTom co-owner’s ex Kristen Doute during season 3,) Sandoval and Ariana Madix welcomed Leviss into the group.
Sandoval and Kennedy’s friendship continued to blossom, and the Schwartz & Sandy’s cofounder even helped the England native plan — and finance — his proposal to Leviss in 2021.
“I’m so honored and glad you brought me in the know,” Sandoval said during a season 9 episode. “It’s so fun for me.”
The two musicians created an over-the-top Coachella-themed proposal in Palm Springs.
“I’ll never forget what Tom Sandoval did for me to make this happen. He’s a best friend to me,” Kennedy said in a confessional. “I know he’s got [Tom] Schwartz and everything, but come on, Tom’s my best friend.”
Sandoval noted at the time that he “hoped to recreate something amazing” for Madix — whom he started dating in 2014 — one day. “Tom, you do all the time,” she replied. “And I know this has you written all over it.”
“Seeing Ariana so happy, it just really inspires me to want to do something so special for her,” he added. “If and when we do decide to get engaged.”
While Madix has previously said she didn’t feel the need to walk down the aisle, she noted in an interview on the same episode that she would struggle to say no if Sandoval planned something so special for her — and kept it intimate. “If it was like this, but it’s just us, yeah, then maybe,” she said of getting engaged down the line.
Kennedy and Leviss’ post-engagement happiness was short-lived as the pair split in November 2021. Months after making out with Schwartz at Scheana Shay’s wedding in August 2022, news broke that Sandoval and Leviss had been quietly having an affair behind Madix’s back.
The bartenders subsequently called it quits and fans began dissecting all of Leviss and Sandoval’s past interactions. The summer before their affair was exposed, the SURver even compared their relationship to siblings.
“I feel like he looks at me like a little sister and he’s supporting me,” Leviss told E! News in July 2022. “And you know, [in] just a very kind way that I really, yeah, he’s a really great guy.”
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