Raquel Leviss downplayed her friendship with Ariana Madix when she went on Bethenny Frankel‘s podcast to talk about the “Scandoval” on August 16. Raquel, 28, insisted that she and Ariana, 38, were not as close as it seemed on Vanderpump Rules before their falling out over Raquel’s months-long affair with Ariana’s longtime boyfriend Tom Sandoval.
“Ariana and I were not best friends,” Raquel said on the podcast. “We were acquaintances who became friends through the show. She’s always been somebody who’s been very sweet to me. She would stand up for me and encourage me to pursue whatever I was pursuing and that was all great. But we never had like a deep conversation that I would have with a best friend.”
Raquel explained that it’s “painful” for her that she “hurt” Ariana by having an affair with Tom, 40. “I wasn’t trying to be a malicious person. I just got wrapped up in this and wasn’t thinking clearly,” Raquel said to Bethenny. “But, we were not best friends.” The Vanderpump Rules star admitted that she doesn’t expect Ariana to forgive her for what she did. “I think once trust is broken with somebody it’s hard to come back from that. The fact that I was able to keep those secrets from her, I don’t expect her to ever forgive me. But I am remorseful. I recognize that I caused her a lot of pain.”
“There was a lot of secrecy and deception,” Raquel continued, “because although I wasn’t hanging out with Ariana off-camera to begin with, I did start hanging out with her in a group setting, because Tom would always invite me out. So it did seem like we were close friends from the outside looking in, but in those situations I was hanging out with Tom more than I was hanging out with her.” Raquel also claimed to Bethenny that she never hung out one-on-one with Ariana off-camera before the scandal.
Later in the interview, Raquel said she didn’t think Tom and Ariana’s nine-year relationship was as solid as it appeared. “I would not be involved in this affair, secrecy type of situation if I thought there was longevity in this relationship between Tom and Ariana,” she said. “The people closest to them could see that their relationship hasn’t been what they portray on camera. Tom always told me, they’re a brand, they’re an image, they work together to make brand deals. And they are business partners.”
When Bethenny brought up that the exes are still living together, Raquel revealed that she gave Tom the keys to her apartment while she was away at a mental health facility, but he opted to stay in the house he shares with Ariana. “It’s not surprising they are living together in my eyes because it’s been this way,” Raquel said about the former couple. “They haven’t been an authentic couple.”
Raquel also weighed in on Ariana landing so many brand deals since the scandal. “Part of me says good for you. Take advantage of these opportunities while they come your way,” she said. “But it is hurtful to me just to think that — my nature is very kind and forgiving and understanding of other people. So the concept of me being the ultimate reality TV villain just blows my mind. And the way that she spoke to me at the reunion, I feel like it was uncalled for.”
Ariana cut Tom and Raquel out of her life after learning about their affair on March 1. At the season 10 reunion, Ariana called Raquel “diabolical”, “demented,” “disgusting,” and “subhuman,” after Raquel admitted to her “super selfish” actions. Raquel spent two months in a mental health facility in Arizona after taping the reunion, and it’s looking unlikely that she’ll be back for season 11 of the Bravo show.