“In the moment, there was momentary passion in the air. I kind of disappeared into that kiss, I’ll be honest. It was kind of a transformative moment,” Tom, 40, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, February 7, at SUR Restaurant & Lounge. “In terms of any long-term romance with me and Raquel, I don’t know how much chemistry is there.”
The TomTom cofounder praised the bond he was able to form with Raquel, 28, amid his divorce from Katie Maloney, adding, “I’m glad to know her closer as a friend and I really appreciate her now and I see her in a whole different light. Not because of the kiss, but just getting to know her on a deeper level as a human being. She’s so cool and I never really got to that point with her.”
Tom recalled having preconceived notions about the California native before they grew closer while filming season 10. “I kind of had Raquel in a box, to be honest,” he concluded. “I never put people in boxes but, maybe, I passed a little bit of judgment on her. It’s so cool to know the full Raquel now.”
The restaurant owner’s connection with Raquel became a major topic of conversation after Us confirmed that the costars got cozy 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.
Tom’s steamy moment with the former beauty pageant contestant came after he announced his split from Katie, 36. The former SUR waitress, for her part, threw shade at Raquel when she referred to her as a “fan girl” for wearing a TomTom hoodie.
“Started as a fan of the show and now a fan of the tom’s,” Katie wrote in the comments section of a Bravo fan page in October 2022, referring to a photo of Raquel at BravoCon.
At the time, the Minnesota native noted that he didn’t find Katie’s comments to be “a fair assessment” of Raquel. “She just supports us and is a champion for both Sandoval and myself. I wouldn’t say she was a fan girl, I never felt that way. I felt it was authentic and sincere,” he shared with Us one month later.
Tom added: “I stay out of it. I care for Raquel a lot and Katie’s my girl. I love her. We spent more than a quarter of my life together, so I have a lot of respect and love for her. But she can be very reactive and I haven’t had a lot of time to process that yet.”
After filming on season 10 wrapped, a second insider revealed that Katie and Raquel were “on the outs” amid the drama. According to an insider, the podcast host’s divorce from Tom put “a wedge between the cast” of Vanderpump Rules.
Tom hinted that viewers will see “a rough patch” play out between him and his now ex-wife in the upcoming season.
“We’re in a good place again. There’s no tension and I care so much about her. I’ll always love her and I’m always rooting for her. That friendship means a lot to me,” he added on Tuesday. “I think I was coming on a little thick after the divorce wanting too close of a friendship. In hindsight, I don’t think it was healthy post-divorce. You got to give each other some space.”
Vanderpump Rules returns to Bravo Wednesday, February 8, at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Hannah Kahn