Tom Sandoval has a lot to say about this season’s Vanderpump Rules. Between Kristen Doute’s “Apology Tour” in full swing and the group’s fallout over the Hawaii trip, lines of friendship among the VPR cast have been a bit blurred as of late. But Tom maintains that what we see isn’t always the whole truth. This week I got a chance to chat with Tom about his reaction to recent episodes that largely paint girlfriend Ariana Madix and him as grudge-holding-Stassis (well, at least according to Katie Maloney!). Read on to hear about how Tom feels betrayed by Scheana Marie, and how he expected more from the group of people he still considers friends.
So, after these last few episodes, do you have anything you’d like to clear up?
Tom: “It’s been really strange, really weird with the group. It’s been a lot of propaganda, for lack of a better term. This whole thing with Jax [Taylor] and me and this birthday trip, you know, we got together like 3 weeks prior – maybe a month – and talked about who was going to go.”
“Jax even brought it up himself; he was like, ‘Obviously, Kristen’s not going to go. That doesn’t make much sense.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, that would be really weird.’ It was so nonchalant. Just an obvious answer.”
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Yeah, it seemed like a non-issue, until it was an issue.
Tom: “Exactly! Exactly. And then it just became this weird, crazy thing that I didn’t understand. It was just baffling. Even before that, me and Katie and [Tom] Schwartz went to dinner earlier in the summer, and Katie was like, ‘You know, I’ve been hanging out with Kristen.’ Of course, Kristen just conveniently hung out with Carmen, Rachel, James – whoever – until 2 weeks before we started filming. Then she just starts hitting up Katie, Scheana – everybody.”
“Nobody had really been talking to her [until then] because if you remember the reunion, Kristen was accusing Katie of cheating on Schwartz multiple times and him cheating on Katie – basically trying to knock their integrity down. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this year it’s the ‘Apology Tour,’ while last year it was the ‘Everyone’s Just As Bad As Me Tour.’”
“It’s interesting because I know who I’ve been to my friends. I’ve treated my friends very well. It’s so weird how everyone’s gotten on this fixation, or bandwagon, of just hating on us.”
So, how did that happen? Was that Katie’s doing, or Jax’s doing?
Tom: “Well, it started off initially in the summer with Katie kind of getting on our case because she was talking to Kristen again. We were all surprised, like ‘Okay…a week ago you were sending me screenshots of Kristen’s ludicrous tweets and laughing at them, but now you guys are friends?’ We’re just like, alright: if you go to lunch with Kristen, we’ll have lunch with you another day. But if there’s a big gathering for something important and you want to invite Kristen, yeah we’ll be there. But we’re not going to grab mimosas with you and Kristen. (laughs) Which is so obvious! It seems like such an obvious thing. But Katie started throwing a stink about it. Weird. That’s what Ariana meant by ‘You do you, we’ll do us.’ No big deal. You can be friends with whoever you want to be friends with, but we don’t have to be friends with them just because you want us to.”
“As the trip got closer, I think it had a lot to do with Jax not having the balls to tell Kristen that she wasn’t going to go. Over at my house after the comedy show, it became a thing where Katie was like, ‘I think Kristen should go. It’s Jax’s birthday too!’ And I’m like, well it’s my birthday and I don’t want her to be there. That’s really weird. It makes NO sense for her to be there. And she just kept attacking us about it. I was like, the way you’re acting right now, I have to question your judgment. Which meant I had to question her manners. It’s so out of line to question why someone doesn’t want to bring their ex on a birthday trip! It was this whole thing of trying to push my buttons. Her saying, ‘Why don’t you just get over it? Why are you hanging on to it?’ And I’m like, I’m not hanging on to it. I just don’t want my ex-grilfriend on a birthday trip. (laughs) Then she’s like, ‘Look at you, you’re getting upset! Just let it go! Okay Stassi.’
“And when somebody refers to me as ‘Stassi’ – especially Katie, who I spent countless nights on the balcony consoling her through [Stassi’s] abandonment of her – it strikes a chord in me. And she kind of knew that. There was this poking and prodding, then ‘Oh, we got Tom to lose his sh*t!’ Yes. It was like this totally weird quenching of a thirst – them making me finally get upset.”
“The funny thing was, the day after that (which was the day before Katie and Schwartz got engaged), we did this ‘Room Escape’ thing for a pre-birthday adventure where everyone has to work together to solve clues and escape this room. Really cool. Everybody was there. And after we were done – this is what you see on the super teaser where I’m yelling ‘Leave me the f*ck alone!’ (laughs) – they ganged up on me AGAIN about not bringing Kristen to Hawaii. It just became this f*cking thing.”
“Then Scheana, of course, just starts lying about what Ariana says. Ariana never gave anyone an ultimatum, and that’s why you never see it on the show. But Scheana runs around and tells everybody that Ariana said ‘It’s either Kristen or me!’”
So, that never even happened?
It seems like Scheana is becoming the resident sh*t-stirrer…no?
Tom: “Yeah. You can kinda tell when she’s bullsh*tting too. Her eyes get really big and she blinks a lot. It’s kind of a dead giveaway. I mean, I’ve dealt with it before.”
What were Scheana’s motivations, then? Because it seemed like she and Ariana were really good friends.
Tom: “That’s the thing – I don’t understand what happened. I don’t know if it’s because me and Ariana had been busy doing our own thing. Or maybe it’s because we don’t day drink. I mean, I don’t go get margaritas during the day. And Scheana does that sometimes and, you know, I don’t know. I was just sitting there watching the show [these past weeks] and I’m like ‘Where the f*ck is this coming from?’ Ariana would never give an ultimatum. Neither one of us would.”
What’s Ariana’s reaction to seeing the show, given the fact that she didn’t know what Scheana was saying about her?
Tom: “Obviously it’s annoying. We just shake our heads like, wow. It’s funny because you can see Ariana is being super chill in [last week’s] episode when she and Scheana are having the conversation at the bar about Jax’s birthday lunch. Scheana was saying ‘You can either spazz out about who’s coming to Jax’s lunch, or you can be cool. But you can’t be both.’ The funny thing is that Ariana is being really cool about it – she doesn’t care. Of course we’re going to show up. (laughs) And then Scheana acts like Ariana is being a certain way, and tells Katie that Ariana is questioning if they’re real friends. That was not what she said. It’s just one thing after another. I can’t even count how many times Scheana just puts her hand up and says, ‘I can’t even talk to you about this anymore!’ and just walks away. It’s an ongoing thing throughout the season.”
“We don’t have this ‘thing’ about Kristen. We don’t care. We just don’t want to be around her, for obvious reasons. She spent about a year trying to ruin our relationship, our lives. Plus, she’s an ex-girlfriend. It’s weird.”
“Then when Scheana tells Ariana that her mom was worried about her, and questioning whether I was a good boyfriend? Yeah, that’s another lie. (laughs) Ariana’s mom obviously worries about her daughter sometimes. But it wasn’t anything to do with me or our relationship. But Scheana just kind of let loose about me!”
Ariana did look pretty shocked hearing that from Scheana.
Tom: “Because Ariana thought: there’s absolutely NO way. No way. And she was right.”
“It’s just, everybody is making this trip an issue. We get ganged up on three times about Kristen not going by Jax, Scheana, and Katie, with all of them just looking for a response. Even Schwartz saw it.”
“By the way, Kristen apologizing to Ariana at the bar was AFTER she found out about [not going on] the trip to Hawaii.”
Then, that scene was obviously shown out of sequence?
Tom: “Yeah! It was all about her trying to get on the trip. We predicted it! I thought, Kristen’s going to try to apologize to Ariana to make us look like a$$holes for excluding her from this trip. And she did. We called it. Sure enough, it happened a week later.”
Does it feel like a “spin” on the show’s part to portray Kristen as contrite?
Tom: (laughs) “Um, well. If something like that is left out, what do you think?”
What were you thinking when Kristen ambushed you outside of Jax’s birthday lunch?
Tom: “The funny thing was how she did it. I mean, I saw it coming. I figured it might happen at gay pride, but I had an idea it was gonna happen. I felt like her true motives came out in that conversation – her tactics of getting in everybody’s life. ‘I’m gonna be around,’ she said, I don’t even know how many times. She wanted to know when the tension would be gone, but she created this tension. And I don’t know when that’s going to go away. I’ve been trained to feel that way around her. My human instincts to preserve myself, with good reason, come from my experience with her.”
What were Jax’s real feelings about James going to Hawaii?
Tom: “It was really weird how he threw a little fit about James [Kennedy]. About a month before Hawaii, we’d planned a list. And he was okay with James going. So I’d asked James if he’d like to go, and he was like ‘yeah!’ But after the fact, Jax said ‘If Kristen can’t go, then I get a veto too. And James isn’t going.’ I was like, okay – that sounds like you’re being a little brat. It’s not like James is your ex-girlfriend or anything. (laughs) I was like, Jax, are you sure this doesn’t have anything to do with Lala [Kent]…? But if Jax didn’t want him to go, then I was like, YOU have to tell him. So, I guess Jax didn’t want to deal with that. (laughs).”
Why did Jax make it his mission to get Kristen on the trip when, according to you, he didn’t initially think it was that big of a deal?
Tom: “At Tom and Katie’s engagement dinner, I didn’t want to bring it up, but I was pretty much at my wit’s end. I was ready to tell them to invite Kristen on the trip, not go myself, then take another trip by ourselves later. I was just like, literally, ‘F*ck you guys!’ (laughs) I was so disgusted, but I didn’t want to ruin the night because I knew Schwartz was proposing to Katie. Then they all acted like they had to ‘break the news’ to Kristen about not going, like it was this big deal.”
“Then when we get to Hawaii, Jax has this whole moment of silence attitude at dinner, like, ‘Yeah, I really wish SOME PEOPLE could have made it here.’ And I’m like, dude! You’re being such an a$$hole right now. Then he’s like, ‘And SOME PEOPLE maybe shouldn’t have been on this trip. Then Lala’s like, ‘Well who do you mean by that?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, why the hell are you even here?’ It’s like, Jax: you invited her. (laughs) Whatever.”
Any comments about The Return of Stassi Schroeder?
Tom: “When she sent Katie that text about her engagement, she said something about, ‘I’m sorry our paths went different ways,’ and I’m like: Stassi, you cut Katie out of your life! (laughs) What do you mean our paths have brought us to different places? You just stopped returning phone calls and messages. It’s just so ridiculous.”
“As for Stassi, I don’t know. To me it doesn’t matter so much what my opinion is [about her]. All you have to do is do the math with her. Stassi cut Katie off for a very long time, then Stassi’s relationship went through a rough patch. Suddenly she’s on Kristen’s couch, then she starts hitting up Katie – then everyone. To me, if you only hit someone up when you’re in at a low point in your life, it pretty much explains who you are.”
“A person’s credit it the only thing you have to look at – with both Stassi and Kristen. Just look at their credit.”
Do you feel betrayed by Scheana?
Tom: “Yeah! Of course. I mean, you’ll see. You’ll see more. (laughs) It doesn’t get better.”
“My biggest thing with Scheana is that I’ve bent over backwards for her as a friend. I’ve gone above and beyond this season behind the scenes with things that I can’t really talk about, and it was just really heartbreaking to see her on this constant attack. For reasons that I still can’t understand. We just had a big target painted on our backs. And I don’t know if we’ll ever know why.”
Tom: “The thing is, I’ve been getting tweets about how ‘It takes so much energy to hold on to hate.’ But I’m not holding on to anything. My actions tell you that. The opposite of love is not hate – it’s indifference. And I don’t care about Kristen. Everybody was making it out like it was about me having this huge contempt or vindictive feeling toward Kristen. I don’t. It has less to do with her than it does with my friends just being rude. It could be Kristen or it could be an ex-girlfriend before Kristen. It’s about my friends not caring about my feelings at all. It’s a 3-day trip to Hawaii. Who cares! As Kristen stated, she’ll be here when we get back. You know, ‘She’ll Be Around.’ (laughs)”
“I do want to say, I love all my friends. I love all of them. The thing that bothers me is seeing them doing things that I feel they’re better than.”
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