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‘Vanderpump Rules’ Alum Raquel Leviss Alleges She Was ‘Groomed’ by Tom Sandoval

Rachel “Raquel” Leviss is reassessing her relationship and affair with Tom Sandoval.

During the Wednesday, March 13, episode of the “Rachel Goes Rogue” podcast, Leviss, 29, was joined by therapist Melissa Reich as they discussed the newest episode of Vanderpump Rules. Leviss specifically addressed Lala Kent‘s remark that insinuated Sandoval, 41, was a groomer.

“I don’t want to label Tom anything either. I know I have called him a narcissist in the past and, maybe, I shouldn’t have done that. But you start seeing these patterns and this type of behavior,” Leviss explained. “There are terms that psychologists use to explain this behavior because once you are able to pick up on it, it becomes predictable. The terminology is used as a tool and not as an insult to somebody.”

As Leviss continued, however, she agreed with Kent.

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“If I am going to be completely honest, I do feel like I have been groomed because I was in a very vulnerable state of mind,” she noted. “I just got out of a relationship [with James Kennedy] that I feel like was very destructive to my wellbeing. He witnessed that whole thing play out. Things started shifting when we went to Coachella and he really went out of his way to cater to me.”

Raquel Leviss Thinks She Was Groomed by Tom Sandoval During Affair
Raquel Leviss, Tom Sandoval. Getty Images (2)

Leviss cited multiple interactions she had with Sandoval during their secret relationship.

“I am just thinking back to the situation with Tom and I and how that came to be. Because in the episode, Lala told Tom that he is a groomer. As I am thinking back to that, the first kiss [between] that happened in the pool at Tom and Ariana’s house, I know that wasn’t just a flip,” Leviss noted. “The thing that Lala was pointing out to Tom was when she heard me say that I am isolated and I don’t have anyone else and I need to fall in line with Tom or I won’t have anybody. From the point that we kissed to the point where I broke down on camera in my final interview, there was a lot of isolation along the way.”

She continued: “Because we were keeping this secret and I wasn’t allowed to tell my friends but he was allowed to tell his. … It made me feel closer to Tom because I thought we had a connection and some substance to talk about. Isolation is probably a key factor in the grooming process.”

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Leviss and Sandoval’s affair was exposed in March 2023 as news broke about his split from Ariana Madix. Leviss and Sandoval initially remained together but after her 90-day stint in a mental health facility, Leviss broke things off. She also decided not to return for season 11 of Vanderpump Rules.

During an episode of the Bravo show that aired earlier this month, Kent, 33, threw some surprise accusations in Sandoval’s direction.

Raquel Leviss Thinks She Was Groomed by Tom Sandoval During Affair
Raquel Leviss and Tom Sandoval attend White Fox After Hours At Delilah Los Angeles on October 18, 2022. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for CLD PR / White Fox

“You know what triggered me was when she said [during the final part of the season 10 reunion], ‘If I don’t fall in line with Sandoval then I have nobody.’ You isolate. You groom. You lie,” Kent told Sandoval. “I do not want to know you. You are scary.”

Sandoval shut down Kent’s claims, adding, “Lala, you don’t know me. Don’t sit there and accuse me of grooming. You do not know me.” Us Weekly has reached out about Leviss resurfacing the claims on her podcast.

Raquel Leviss and Tom Sandoval's Relationship Timeline

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Leviss further alleged on her podcast that Sandoval exhibited examples of “boundary stretching.”

“There were steps that were taken to get to that point. And as I look back, I am starting to recognize what those little things were that made me feel comfortable enough to go there,” she said, noting”desensitization to touch” played a part. “I just flash back and I think of the boundary stretching that was happening when all three of us were in the same environment.”

Leviss claimed Sandoval would “push” Madix’s boundaries, saying, “When he would touch me or massage my feet in front of her but then act like it was completely normal. Thinking back, I am sure she was uncomfortable with it but maybe didn’t want to say anything in front of him. I just feel like he was pushing both of our boundaries.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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