Shortly after posing for a cute snap with Raquel, 28, Tom admitted he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings.
“It was not meant to be a jab. It was not deliberate. It was not premeditated. I never want to do anything to hurt Katie. I still love her and it wasn’t malicious,” the Vanderpump Rules star, 40, exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, February 22. “It’s not like we coordinated here. Like, ‘Yeah let’s stir the pot a little bit.’ I think we we were having a really good night and we were celebrating a milestone. [Raquel] wanted to show some love.”
The Minnesota native noted that he wasn’t “naive” about the timing of the social media upload. Raquel shared the Instagram snap on Saturday, February 18, with the caption, “Just cause 😝✌🏼.” The post came days before the beauty pageant queen’s connection with Tom was discussed on an episode of their hit Bravo series.
“I understand that with the story line this season — inherently it could be interpreted as a little rude. But I never do anything maliciously,” he continued. “Maybe from time to time I can be careless or slightly inconsiderate, But in regard to Katie, I never want to hurt her. It was never my intention. Given everything that we’ve been through, I feel like we’re on pretty good terms.”
The TomTom cofounder, who announced his split from Katie, 36, in March 2022, also addressed his ex-wife’s response to the photo. Katie replied in the comments section, writing, “You really thought you did something here but these comments ATE LOLOL 💀💀💀.”
She added: “Nobody sad. … The amount of times the picture landed in my inbox, I couldn’t leave it alone. Desperado.”
Tom, for his part, said he was “wary” about checking what others had to say.
“I’m not too self-righteous to appreciate some good tea. I like some gossip,” he shared with Us. “But also, I’m just very wary of thriving off of comments or diving into the comments section. I saw a few comments [about VPR episodes] and it hurts when you see something that was so special to you — which was my marriage and my relationship to Katie. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a rich and complicated relationship. To see it just be, like, reduced or belittled into, like, 240 characters — sometimes it does hurt a little bit.”
Before filming started on season 10, Tom and Katie announced their decision to part ways. As cameras started rolling, Us confirmed that the businessman got cozy with Raquel at Scheana Shay and Brock Davies‘ wedding.
“Apparently there was some heavy drinking involved. They made out,” a source exclusively told Us in August 2022. The insider noted that they heard “through the grapevine” that “more happened” between the duo.
Since filming wrapped, viewers have seen the “You’re Gonna Love Me” podcast host shut down the idea of Tom sparking romance rumors with someone in their friend group.
“F—king each other just because is a little weird. I will say right now, I don’t think I am ready to see that or be there just yet,” the Utah native, whose divorce from Tom was finalized in October 2022, said in Wednesday’s episode.
At the time, Raquel admitted she was interested in the Schwartz and Sandy’s owner. Tom, for his part, addressed his chemistry with James Kennedy‘s ex-fiancée.
“We need to stop our little … by the way, I love when we hang out and flirt. We don’t have to stop hanging out and I feel like we bonded so much. We should probably stop doing our little schtick though. There is a double standard,” he explained to Leviss in Wednesday’s episode, to which she added, “It is so innocent, and your ex-wife is overreacting quite a lot.”
Vanderpump Rules airs on Bravo Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET. Schwartz & Sandy’s is open Wednesdays through Saturdays, starting at 5 p.m. local time.
With reporting by Hannah Kahn