(Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images)

Tom Schwartz Almost Moved Away From L.A. After Scandoval

Tom Schwartz took a lot of heat once all the details of Scandoval came to light. That was very clear at the Vanderpump Rules reunion. He was either viewed as Tom Sandoval’s scapegoat or an accomplice. It was rough for the reality TV star that famously avoids conflict at all costs.

Schwartz was massively uncomfortable with the backlash he received on social media as a result of his friendship with Sandoval. But what to do at that point? Schwartz lost all his VPR friends and the respect of the public. As if taking a cue from Raquel Leviss’ book, Schwartz considered leaving L.A. Meanwhile, the former beauty pageant contestant is still at the voluntary mental health facility she checked into after filming the reunion.

Schwartz credits staying “present” as the key to better mental health

After 12 years in L.A., the Scandoval backlash was so bad, that Schwartz considered leaving it all. But that VPR paycheck is too good, evidenced by the “lighting in a bottle” experience. So for now, Schwartz exclusively told People that he will be staying after all.

“I had this sort of mounting urge to just pack up my stuff and move, I don’t know where — not run away, but just move,” he told the publication.

Scandoval overwhelmed Schwartz. As well as his divorce from Katie Maloney, and very serious family health issues. It’s understandable that he would want to “just disconnect, to take a break from the internet, my phone, social media.”

But a stint on a spaceship simulator reality TV series gave Schwartz the disconnect he needed. He told People that Stars on Mars, “couldn’t have come at a better time.”

“I had romanticized this idea,” he said of the requirements for the new reality TV show, “but once it came time to sort of part ways with my phone, it was scary. … I’m scared of how dependent I am on my cell phone in every facet of life. So it was nice to take a little break from that. And yeah, it felt rejuvenating and restorative.”

“I got a massive infusion of levity and an adventure, and it was kind of just what the doctor ordered,” Schwartz said of the competition-based reality TV show.

Meanwhile, Vanderpump Rules Season 11 started filming this week. And surprisingly, Schwartz is up for it. Perhaps Raquel being MIA still does help.

“I feel more optimistic. I feel myself again, and I just feel better equipped to handle whatever life throws at me,” Schwartz admitted.

Filming Star on Mars forced Schwartz out of his regular routine and comfort. It was a challenge, but worth it in the end. He described how his mental health was regulated after returning to L.A.

“I feel more me. I feel like myself again.” He added, “[I have] a fresh perspective, I guess. Yeah, I guess the word is, I feel like I recalibrated.” Tom continued, “I feel like I just lost my way. I lost my way a little bit. I really did, lost my way and now I’m found,” Schwartz explained.

But Schwartz is far from functioning at 100. And he is well aware that the public has not forgiven him yet for hiding Sandoval’s secret.

“It’s not like I have it all together. I’m a constant work in progress, let’s be honest. I’m clearly a flawed dude. I feel more optimistic heading into this next year and excited. I’m excited. I feel giddy again, a little lighter on my feet,” Schwartz continued.

Good mental health practices are a daily ambition. And Schwartz is ready for the challenge. Wow, this guy is a whole new level of ambitious.

“I’m just taking it day by day right now. I’m not letting myself spend too much time in the future,” he shares. “That’s probably one of my biggest problems in life. I don’t dwell in the past much, but I spend a lot of time in the future — and usually not in a good way. And I just plan on being more present,” Tom said.

He signed off, “I need to take every day and be grateful for it, every moment, stop living in the future — Tom. Right now. Be present.”