“This whole situation, obviously I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life,” the Schwartz & Sandy’s cofounder, 40, said during the Tuesday, April 11, episode of the “Howie Mandel Does Stuff” podcast. “It’s just crazy how big this story has gotten.”
During the bombshell interview — which was seemingly taped on Thursday, April 6 — Sandoval claimed that he and Madix, 37, had been headed for a breakup for months before his affair with Leviss, 28, came to light.
“Like many relationships, it felt like it became more of like a best friends, family [thing] — sometimes roommates,” the Missouri native told Mandel, 67. “There were a lot of ways where the relationship was just lacking the intimacy, the connection. We would travel more by ourselves than we would together. I would go to weddings by myself.”
Sandoval went on to claim that the duo’s sex life was not in good shape, adding that the pair started couples therapy in late 2022. The reality star said that he and Madix started their sessions after his first kiss with Leviss, which he claimed happened in early August 2022.
“I love Ariana. I still love Ariana and I care about her very much so, but we for a while had been sort of having our own lives,” the Bravo personality said. “We were together for nine years. We built a business and we had a house together, we were a brand.”
The Winter House alum claimed that he began to really think about where he stood with his then-girlfriend after his 40th birthday in July 2022. “As I turned 40, I started to look at my life and it looked very bleak,” he told the comedian. “I started to lose my optimism in life and my drive. I started to feel trapped. I started thinking like, ‘I don’t need this house, I don’t need this s–t, but I feel like I need to make a change to feel motivated, to feel optimistic again.'”
At that point, his connection with Leviss — who split from fiancé James Kennedy in December 2021 — began to deepen. “I was in such a place just yearning for a connection,” Sandoval said. “Raquel and I had become really, really good friends, confiding in each other, a source of strength.”
Us Weekly confirmed on March 3 that Sandoval and Madix split after the TomTom co-owner was caught having an affair with their Vanderpump Rules costar Leviss. The Fancy AF Cocktails coauthors had been dating since 2014.
After the affair was made public, Sandoval issued a public apology to his business partners and asked fans to stop bombarding his Los Angeles bar Schwartz & Sandy’s with negative online reviews. His Pump Rules costars, however, quickly called him out for failing to mention Madix in the statement.
“Where’s Ariana’s apology in this?” Lala Kent wrote via Instagram in March. “It’s called narcissism … & and it’s terrifying.”
Kennedy, 31, also slammed the bartender via social media. “Where’s Ariana Madix mentioned?” the DJ wrote in an Instagram Story post. “Make sure y’all unfollow this clown RIGHT NOW GO.”
Days later, Sandoval issued a second apology that focused on his ex-girlfriend. “I want to first and foremost apologize to everyone I’ve hurt through this process. Most of all, I want to apologize to Ariana,” he wrote in an Instagram statement on March 7. “I made mistakes, I was selfish and made reckless decisions that hurt somebody I love. No one deserves to feel that pain so traumatically and publicly.”
Last month, the former pageant queen said that she and Sandoval are taking it slow when asked about where their relationship stands now.
“We’re just trying to get through these next through steps and make amends and hear everybody out,” she explained to TMZ on March 22. “I know a lot of people are angry. So, [we’re] just getting through these next few steps and not putting a label on anything. We’re just kind of taking a break for now.”
One day later, Leviss and Sandoval joined their castmates for the taping of the season 10 Pump Rules reunion. “Well, that was really confrontational [and] it was really emotional,” Andy Cohen told his Instagram followers after filming wrapped. “Nothing was left unsaid.”
The Bravo exec, 54, later revealed that he filmed “separate one-on-ones” with Sandoval, Leviss and Madix. “I had my own things that I wanted to confront them about,” the Most Talkative author explained during an April 3 episode of SiriusXM’s Radio Andy. “Things I had noticed, so I got to do that. So, that’s how we started and then we brought them to the filming group.”
Keep scrolling for more revelations from Sandoval’s interview with Mandel: