“Every single thing we spoke of in that conversation [on the show] felt so important,” Shay, 37, exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, May 3, while promoting her partnership with Smirnoff for its Locura Tour in celebration of the new Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind. “It was one of the harder conversations and scenes I’ve ever filmed, to be honest.”
The Bravo star wiped away tears as she spoke about Sandoval, 40, and their on-camera heart-to-heart over his affair, which fans will see during the season 10 finale on Wednesday, May 17. (Part of the discussion was teased in the finale preview, which dropped on Tuesday, May 2.)
“That’ll be definitely hard to watch back because this was a 13-year friendship that ended not because of anything he did to me, but because of what he did to someone else and because of his actions,” Shay explained to Us. “And that doesn’t align with how I live my life. It was a really challenging scene to get through. It was really, really tough.”
Us confirmed in March that Madix, 37, and Sandoval called it quits after nine years together in the wake of his months-long affair with Leviss, 28. The aftermath of Madix and Sandoval’s split — and the cheating scandal — has been documented on season 10 of the reality show, which resumed filming after the news broke.
During the preview for the finale, Shay confronted Sandoval about his indiscretions and the timeline of his relationship with Leviss. Looking back, the “Good as Gold” singer told Us that she’s confident “there was a game plan” on the Tom Sandoval and the Most Extras singer’s part, but she couldn’t spill the exact details.
“I know in our conversation [that] you see in the trailer, [when] he’s like, ‘I was gonna break up with Ariana regardless.’ The game plan was given to me then,” Shay revealed. “I just don’t know how much of that you’ll see. He had a game plan. Her, I don’t know.”
While the drama has been hard on Madix — who has since started seeing Daniel Wai following a Coachella makeout session in April — Sandoval and Leviss’ actions have also hurt several of their Pump Rules costars.
“These were two of my absolute best friends, so to lose both of them at the same time [was hard],” Shay told Us on Wednesday of the Missouri native and the former pageant queen.
The “Scheananigans” podcast host explained that unlike past cast problems, the cheating scandal made her completely shut out both guilty parties. “It was I immediate disconnect, like, we were done that night in New York. I was done with both of them,” she said. “I could never see continuing a friendship after what I found out.”
Shay continued: “This is just on such a different level. I mean, this was someone who was in their home … the three of them would do stuff together all of the time. Ariana was the only one not clued into what was actually going on.”
Despite all the stress surrounding the Pump Rules friends, the California native has remained focused on her own ventures, including teaming up with Smirnoff for Cinco de Mayo. The TV personality will be in Chicago on Thursday, May 4, to host a pop-up for the festive holiday — and treat guests to Smirnoff Spicy Tamarind cocktails.
“It tastes really good. I’m [also] a sucker for any cute branding. And I loved the decor of this,” Shay told Us of the alcohol brand’s new flavor of vodka. “But then I made a little spicy tamarind [margarita], a skinny version last night, and it was so good. I didn’t even need to add that much to it because the vodka has all of the flavor.”
She teased: “I am not always the tequila girl, so I can always be a vodka girl. I’m really excited for this. I love a spicy drink.”
The reality star noted that with the new Smirnoff flavor, Cinco de Mayo celebrants can “take [their] celebrations from basic to bold.” For more details on Shay’s partnership with Smirnoff — and the Chicago Locura Tour event — click here.
Vanderpump Rules airs on Bravo Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET. The season finale is set to air on Wednesday, May 17.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi