“I needed a good dose of levity and adventure,” the Vanderpump Rules star, 40, exclusively told Us Weekly on Friday, June 23, while promoting the Fox series. “I guess from, like, the past few years, I floundered a little bit and I kind of feel like I fell apart, but coming up here, it gave me a fresh perspective on everything. It gave me the overview effect.”
Schwartz continued: “It’s like when astronauts go up [into space] and they look back down on Earth and all of a sudden they get this, like, cognitive shift. They look at the world differently. I needed to just reset my mind and I accomplished that up there. I really did. I was stuck in my own little sad story, kinda wallowing a little bit for the past year. And, [Stars on Mars] snapped me out of it, and I feel like I’m myself again.”
Schwartz — who found that he “thrives” with adventure and levity — had been with Maloney, 36, for more than a decade before they decided to go their separate ways. The now-exes, who wed in 2016, confirmed in March 2022 that they had split.
“I never thought I would have to make an announcement like this. But I feel it’s important that I’m open about my life with you,” the Something About Her restaurateur wrote via Instagram at the time. “After 12 years on an adventure through our life together, Tom and I are ending our marriage. This ending is not met with resentment or animosity, no sides to choose. We have deep admiration for one another that will always remain and cherish our friendship.”
Schwartz, for his part, echoed Maloney’s sentiments in his own social media message at the time. “Well this sucks,” he wrote. “I’m not the victim. Not gonna write too sad a song. Fully respect Katie’s decision and we’ve had healthy, productive conversations about it. It would be far sadder if she decided to stay with me whilst not happy.”
The pair also agreed that they wouldn’t hook up with anyone in their Vanderpump Rules friend group. Schwartz broke that arbitrary rule when he made out with Raquel Leviss in August 2022 at Scheana Shay and Brock Davies’ wedding. (Leviss, 28, began a months-long affair with Schwartz’s BFF, Tom Sandoval, that same weekend despite his nine-year relationship with now-ex Ariana Madix.) Schwartz’s liplock with the beauty queen soon sparked a rift with Maloney.
“When we are sharing custody of dogs and share mutual best friends, creating boundaries is necessary,” she wrote via Instagram in February. “I wasn’t telling him what to do. I was saying it would create a toxic environment and he agreed. We had seen it play out in our friend group a million times before.”
Schwartz and Maloney have remained at odds amid Scandoval and throughout the season 10 reunion, which aired on Bravo in May. The TomTom cofounder, for his part, is ready to bring his newfound Stars on Mars confidence to his daily life moving forward.
“I feel like Tom, what version of Tom is this? Maybe let’s say 5.0,” Schwartz quipped on Friday. “I feel like I am refined, maybe a little more stoic. I feel just a little bit more ready to take on whatever life throws at me, you know? I haven’t been necessarily proud of how I’ve responded to some adversity in the past year. … It was therapeutic, in a way, up there.”
New episodes of Stars on Mars air on Fox Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi