Raquel Leviss is finally speaking out about her months-long affair with Vanderpump Rules star Tom Sandoval. The cheating scandal shook the cast of the Bravo reality show as Sandoval has been dating their co-star, Ariana Madix, for nine years. Madix and Leviss were close friends.
"I want to apologize for my actions and my choices foremost to Ariana, and to my friends and the fans so invested in our relationships. There is no excuse, I am not a victim and I must own my actions and I deeply regret hurting Ariana," she tells Entertainment Tonight.
"I am reflecting on my choices, speaking to a counselor and I am learning things about myself such as my patterns of codependency and addiction to being and feeling loved. I have sought emotional validation through intimate connections that are not healthy without regard for my own well-being, sometimes negatively affecting others and often prioritizing the intimate connection over my friendships. I am taking steps to understand my behavior and make healthier choices," the former beauty queen adds.
"Although I chose to be on a reality show accepting the good and bad that comes with it, beyond my own actions I have been physically assaulted, lost friendships, received death threats and hate emails in addition to having had my privacy violated," Leviss says.
"I have begun counseling to end my unhealthy behavioral cycle, learn to set stronger emotional boundaries and learn to protect my mental health," she concludes. "I don't expect sympathy, understanding or forgiveness. Right now I must focus on my own health and well-being and as I strive to be a better person moving forward, I will prioritize my mental health and learn from my mistakes."
It's Leviss's first public statement since news of her and Sandoval's relationship broke on Friday. Sandoval issued a statement over the weekend and was widely criticized for his words as he made no mention of Madix, and instead, was protective over his businesses and best friend, Tom Schwartz. Sandoval attempted to rectify that with a new statement on Tuesday night where he finally addressed Madix directly.
"I want to first and foremost apologize to everyone I've hurt through this process. Most of all, I want to apologize to Ariana," he began. "I made mistakes, I was selfish and made reckless decisions that hurt somebody I love. No one deserves to feel that pain so traumatically and publicly."
Sandoval said he feels "really horrible" about the "devastating" situation.
"My biggest regret is that I dishonored Ariana. I never meant to disappoint so many people, including our loving families and friends," he wrote.
"My love for Ariana was stronger than any camera could ever have captured. Some of our best times together were never filmed. The same goes for some of our biggest struggles. I wish things happened in different order and our relationship was not severely tarnished and that it ended with the same respect with for her that it began with. I owed Ariana better," he stated.
Sandoval said he's "beyond sad that it ended the way it did" and that he will work on himself.
Madix discovered Sandoval was cheating on her last Wednesday when she found a NSFW video of Leviss on his phone, Yahoo Entertainment can confirm. Leviss was in New York City with castmate Scheana Shay, as they were promoting the current season of VPR on Watch What Happens Live. After the show, when news of Sandoval and Leviss's relationship quickly spread within the friend group, there was allegedly a physical altercation between the women. On Tuesday, Leviss filed a restraining order against Shay, according to public records. (Although she used her legal name, Rachel Leviss.) The incident in New York is likely what she referred to in her statement when she claimed to be "physically assaulted."
Leviss also fired off a series of legal letters to her co-stars regarding the sexually explicit video. ET obtained a copy of the letter she sent to Sandoval, which read in part, "We understand that sometime recently you and Ms. Leviss engaged in an intimate exchange on FaceTime, which you recorded without the permission of Ms. Leviss. California is what is called a 'two party consent' state, and accordingly such recording is illegal in California and can potentially expose you to both civil and criminal penalties. Please be further advised that any distribution of this recording would constitute a violation of several California laws."
As for where Leviss and Sandoval's relationship stands, that part is unclear. Andy Cohen said on Monday's episode of SiriusXM's Andy Cohen Live he believes the two are still seeing each other. According to VPR star James Kennedy, to whom Leviss was previously engaged, she and Sandoval have been sleeping together since July.
The situation — dubbed Scandoval — is rapidly unfolding. Production cameras went back up on Friday and the reunion is set to be taped within the next two weeks. However, some reports on Tuesday claimed Sandoval threatened to stop after he didn't like how a scene went this week between himself and Leviss. A Bravo rep did not respond to Yahoo's request for comment.
"Tom wasn't happy with how the scene went with Raquel and felt like it was going to paint him in a negative light. He told producers he'd like to re-film the scene, but producers weren't having it," a source told ET. "Tom told production that he would no longer shoot Vanderpump Rules if they don't listen to him."