Raquel Leviss is speaking out for the first time since the Vanderpump Rules season 10 reunion, telling Bethenny Frankel that she has finally “come to the place” where her actions — having an affair with costar Tom Sandoval — make “sense” to her.
“Part of the reason why I wanted to take some time away is just because it was so chaotic and loud and there was such vitriol online. But then the other part of the reason why I wanted to go to a treatment facility was to understand my behaviors,” Leviss began on iHeartRadio’s “ReWives” podcast on Wednesday, August 16. “And my goal was to really get down to the bottom of, ‘OK, why am I choosing men that are unavailable? Why do I keep finding myself in unhealthy relationships? What are the things that I need to change about my behavior?’ And in knowing that I needed to make a change, I first had to know what it was that leads to those behaviors.”
“It took me a while to accept, but I learned about love addiction and it’s a real thing. It’s where you confuse intensity for intimacy,” Leviss told Frankel. “And those chemical changes in the brain are the same chemical changes that happen when you take drugs. So it is addictive, and it explains why I couldn’t stop seeing this person, but it also doesn’t excuse the fact that it happened. But now I know better.”
Leviss’ appearance on the podcast marks her first time speaking out since she completed mental health treatment in Arizona. Leviss told Frankel that she opted to speak with her because she’s using “her case as an example of exploitation” in the world of reality TV. (In light of the SAG-AFTRA strike, Frankel has also been outspoken about how reality TV stars also don’t get royalties.)
“[The backlash] seemed disproportionate to me,” Frankel told Leviss. “I was watching clips on social media and hearing about this Scandoval — that had a name, was being marketed and it was being pumped through the PR machine. And I did say … ‘Everybody’s gonna be more well known than they were before because of this.’ And my mind was, ‘They’re on a reality show. It’s set in a bar, is what I think. It’s fueled by alcohol and partying and multiple affairs. So what respectfully, what the hell is the big deal that everyone’s talking about?’ … And I said your name just as an example of what I imagined to be somebody who had been exploited. And for the rest of your life, that content will be out there without compensation.”
Leviss agreed with Frankel, calling herself a “punching bag.”
“Reality TV — it’s edited. It is contrived to create a certain story line. And so it’s not all factual,” she claimed. “So as a viewer tuning in, it’s easy to get wrapped up in that. And then the concept of an affair hits home, hits really hard to a lot of people. So I think there was a lot of projection happening.”
Leviss went on to say that the network has been “laughing” and “running to the bank” to profit off of the success of Vanderpump Rules in light of the scandal. (The long-running show received its first two Emmy nominations earlier this summer.)
“I haven’t seen a single penny. … It’s not fair. And I feel like a toddler saying, ‘It’s not fair.’ But it really isn’t,” she said. “And I feel like I’ve been portrayed as the ultimate villain. My mistakes that I’ve made on camera live on forever. And you mentioned something about the addiction of doing reality TV and the way that they always dangle that carrot in front of you, like, ‘Well, you need to tell your side of the story otherwise it’s gonna be written for you.’ And that’s terrifying. So I almost went back, I know just because of that.”
While Leviss didn’t expand on her “almost went back” remark, she’s seemingly confirming that she won’t appear on season 11 of Vanderpump Rules, which is currently in production. Us Weekly previously reported that she hadn’t signed a contract, but the network wasn’t giving up hope about her making an appearance.