Leviss, 29, returned to Instagram on Saturday, September 9, with a video taken at a flower farm. “I’ve been dreaming of a place like this,” she wrote in the caption.
Sandoval, 41, commented on the post days later with a heartfelt message. “Happy birthday Rachel, I really hope ur finding peace and happiness,” he wrote on Tuesday, September 12. “Miss u friend.”
Leviss’ video marked her first official post on the platform in the wake of her affair with Sandoval, which rocked Vanderpump Rules season 10. She briefly used Instagram last month to promote her appearance on Bethenny Frankel‘s “ReWives” podcast.
Us Weekly confirmed in March that Sandoval split from his girlfriend of nine years, Ariana Madix, due to his infidelity. He and Leviss both apologized after news of their relationship went public — and they both faced the heat from their costars during the season 10 reunion special, which filmed weeks after the scandal broke. Leviss later went off the grid, cut off contact with her costars and spent 90 days in an Arizona treatment center for her mental health.
“Part of the reason why I wanted to take some time away is just because it was so chaotic and loud and there was such vitriol online,” Leviss shared on Frankel’s podcast in August. “But then the other part of the reason why I wanted to go to a treatment facility was to understand my behaviors.”
Leviss noted that she wanted to understand why she has been “choosing men that are unavailable.” She also walked back past comments about her feelings for Sandoval, asserting that she was “not in love” with him. “I also don’t believe that he truly was in love with me either,” she said.
Her relationship with Sandoval was “what I needed in that moment,” Leviss explained. She told Frankel that they did have a “connection” while filming Pump Rules as she navigated her broken engagement to James Kennedy.
“I felt seen and heard by him. I haven’t really had that connection with other people in the cast, nor people in my real life,” Leviss said on the podcast. “I was filming in a tumultuous environment. I was needing some validation and somebody to hear what I was going through. Here comes along Tom who really gave me that time of day to share my side of the story in a non-judgment zone.”
Sandoval and Leviss faced waves of backlash from Bravo fans about their affair — and Leviss started to join the conversation after leaving her treatment program.
When “Bravo Tea With Jared B” podcast host Jared Barnes questioned why Leviss pursued a relationship with Sandoval before he and Madix broke up, she responded.
“You’re not wrong!” Leviss wrote in an Instagram comment last month. “I should have had more self respect than that and should have respected the relationship that Ariana had with Tom. No excuses.”
Sandoval, for his part, has asserted that he and Madix were on the verge of a split when he began seeing Leviss, which Madix has denied.