Tequila Katie is MIA. Vanderpump Rules star Katie Maloney makes a conscious effort this season not to live up to the moniker that she’s so often branded.
The beauty aficionado, 30, talks to Us Weekly about how she feels “like a more chilled-out version” of herself this time around.
She also says married life with longtime love Tom Schwartz, with whom she tied the knot in August 2016, is going well, but that we will see some ups and downs during the sixth season.
The Utah native also dishes on her friendships with Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute, and why she had a falling out with Scheana Marie.
Here, Maloney speaks candidly with Us:
Us Weekly: What are some of your biggest hurdles this season?
Katie Maloney: I definitely went through a bit of a transformative period of time after I get married. You’ll see on the show, I talk about what I went through and sort of my process of getting back to the person who I knew I was and hadn’t been for a long time. Having to admit that I wasn’t the best version of myself. I was really hard on myself. I mean, I didn’t like myself for a very long time. I just wanted to make a concentrated effort and decision every day to be happier. That’s made my marriage, my personal life, my relationship with my friends obviously a lot better and stronger. I feel more like a more chilled-out version of myself. The person I feel most comfortable being. Not this angry person.
A lot of people don’t welcome that change, oddly enough. I’m either a crazy drunk person who rage-texts or I’m too nice or something, I don’t know. That was the struggle for some of the people with me. And there will be some stuff with Tom and me that happens. We’re doing amazingly, but you know, marriage is work.
Us: It must be tough when you make a big effort to change and if you slip up once, it’s “Oh, Tequila Katie is back. She’s rage-texting again.”
KM: Yeah, exactly. It’s not rage-texting if you do something to piss someone off and they are calling you out on it. It’s really not rage-texting.
Us: You and Scheana are on the outs this season. How did she go from being a bridesmaid to you not being friends anymore? And is it fixable?
KM: I kind of resolved it to — we don’t have to be best friends. I’m not going to hate you. I’m not going to ignore you or go out of my way to be rude. If I see you, I’m going to say, “Hello. How are you?” That’s what I thought was going on. But then I would hear from other people that she’s saying all kinds of stuff. I don’t understand. It’s like, “I haven’t seen in her a while. Why is she talking like that? Why is she saying these things?” I don’t really know why she can’t let it go with me or just be chill about it. You’ll see a little more of what went wrong with Scheana and I over the season.
Us: Scheana has a new boyfriend [Rob Valletta] after her divorce and I know some cast members, Kristen and Lisa [Vanderpump] in particular, are a little skeptical of the relationship this season. What do you make of that?
KM: I’m kind of on the same page as Lisa and Kristen that … I understand Scheana wanting to be happy. When she reconnected with Rob, she just ran with it. I think maybe she was running from dealing with stuff and her divorce. It’s kind of a big deal. I don’t want to say kind of — I don’t mean that facetiously — but that’s a big deal. To spend six years with someone, and marry them, and think you’re going to spend the rest of your life and have children with them. And then everything goes wrong and you end up divorcing. That’s a big deal. And I think she wanted to just focus on being happy at any cost, and maybe sort of never dealt with the divorce and having some sort of closure with him. She was full-steam ahead with Rob and already talking about wanting to marry him. We’re like, “Jesus Christ. This may be a little fast.” It was hard. We were happy to not see her upset and crying, and for her to move on and feel good about herself, but it was a little accelerated if you ask me.
Us: You were both at very different points in your life as well. You had just gotten married and her marriage was falling apart around that time. Did that have anything to do with you not being on the same page?
KM: I wonder that as well. But whenever I ask Scheana or I try to talk to her about those kinds of things, she sort of deflects a little bit and makes excuses on why she does what she does. And mostly ends up blaming me. Like I forced her to make every poor decision in her life. But who knows!
Us: You and Lala [Kent] never got along, but it seems like you guys have mended fences. What brought you two together?
KM: That was kind of in the middle of my whole “transformation.” I need to find a better word for that (laughs). My “makeover.” It was during that time where I was like, “I have to let go of that negativity. I don’t want to have beef.” I’m not the type of person to have enemies. I just wanted to just let it go with her. I knew we had things in common. We don’t have to be the best of friends, but we don’t have to hate each other. That’s not a positive thing or productive in any manner. So yeah, it started from there and she was very gracious and accepting. You saw at the reunion, she also apologized. We haven’t forced anything, but it’s nice getting to know her. We are similar in a lot of ways.
Us: How are you and Ariana [Madix] these days?
KM: There have been times when we’ve been closer and hanging out more and spending time together, and we always have a really great time when we’re with one another. And then it’s one of those things, when we’re not together, I feel like she has a different opinion of me. A lot of it has to do with me being friends with Kristen and Stassi, who she’s really struggled to get along with. It’s a bummer because I do like Ariana. We do have fun together. It just always seems like it’s just not quite there — there’s something holding her back or I feel like I’m being judged a little bit by her, which isn’t the most comforting feeling.
Us: Is she taking sides in this fight between you and Scheana? Are there sides?
KM: I would like there to be no sides. I don’t need to be best friends with everyone, but there’s no reason why we can’t all just can’t hang out and be cool. We all have mutual friends. It’s impossible to avoid one another, so let’s just enjoy each other’s company the most we can. I don’t know. Sometimes there feels like there are sides, sometimes not. People act differently around me than behind my back. It’s just some regular, junior high, awesome crap (laughs).
Us: Let’s talk about Stassi. Are you still at a good place with her?
KM: Ever since we reconciled, we got back together (laughs), we definitely had a different kind of friendship. None of the Princess Stassi bulls—t. We still sometimes let her be a little Princess Stassi, but joking and fun. I feel like in that time apart, we were both able to grow in some ways and move past our things and have better perspective. And having a new friendship and a different kind of friendship. That’s even to be said with Kristen as well. I like that we have an open friendship. We are tough love, always honest, support each other. It feels very nice to have that sisterhood thing.
Us: I know part of your issue with Stassi was you didn’t feel like she was listening to you and you felt kind of steam-rolled. Has that been resolved? Do you feel heard now?
KM: I think that was just a maturing thing. She realized she couldn’t treat people that way. And it wasn’t just me, she did that with a lot of people. She grew up a little bit and realized this is not how you do stuff.
Us: How are you and Kristen? Things are good?
KM: It’s been great.
Us: What about her and Carter? Are they good together?
KM: I know that they’re madly in love. I don’t know. I think they still need some time. They’ve been together a couple years, but I think the relationship is still growing and I don’t know. I can’t say that with confidence.
Us: Kristen also went through a “transformative” phase, if you will. Do we see old Kristen come back at all this season?
KM: Well … I feel like crazy Kristen is always just right under the surface. A few inches, maybe. She keeps it at bay for the most part. She definitely has some moments this year. Maybe not as loosely in the past, but you know … she sometimes just can’t stay out stuff or let things go sometimes.
Sign up for Us Weekly's free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
Vanderpump Rules premieres on Bravo Monday, December 4, at 9 p.m. ET.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!