“I now look back on it and see that I was not in love with him,” Leviss, 28, sharing during part 1 of her appearance on iHeartRadio’s “ReWives” podcast , released on Wednesday, August 16. “I also don’t believe that he truly was in love with me either.”
During the podcast episode, Leviss spoke candidly to Bethenny Frankel for the first time since completing mental health treatment at a center in Arizona. Discussing her relationship with Sandoval, 41, she reflected on the “connection” that they had.
“I felt seen and heard by him. I haven’t really had that connection with other people in the cast, nor people in my real life,” she explained. “I was filming in a tumultuous environment. I was needing some validation and somebody to hear what I was going through. Here comes along Tom who really gave me that time of day to share my side of the story in a non-judgment zone. That’s exactly what I needed in that moment.”
When discussing Madix, 38, and Sandoval’s romance, Leviss claimed that they were more like “business partners” and hadn’t acted like a couple in years.
“I would not be involved in this affair, secrecy type of situation if I thought that there was longevity in this relationship between Tom and Ariana,” she said. “The people closest to them could see that their relationship hasn’t been what they portray on camera.”
Leviss claimed that Sandoval referred to his relationship as “a brand” and “an image.”
“They work together to make brand deals,” Leviss said. “They’re a duo on the show. And they utilize that for the success of their brand or image.”(Madix previously slammed Sandoval’s similar suggestion about their relationship being rocky at the season 10 reunion.)
While Leviss explained that she decided to speak with Frankel, 52, who is using “her case as an example of exploitation” on reality TV, she also wanted to discuss what went down during the Vanderpump Rules season 10 reunion.
“My nature is very kind and forgiving and understanding of other people,” Leviss shared. “So, the concept of me being the ultimate reality TV villain just blows my mind. The way that [Madix] spoke to me at the reunion, I feel like it was uncalled for.”
By appearing on reality TV and starting a relationship with Sandoval, Leviss said she “got caught up in something that is way too big for me to handle,” and now, is “just trying to survive.” As for her return Vanderpump Rules, Leviss made a throwaway comment about how she “almost went back,” but did not acknowledge it any further. Season 11 of the show is currently in production and Us Weekly previously reported that she has not yet signed a contract to return.
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While her reality TV departure is still up in the air, Leviss did speak with Frankel about what she learned during her stay in the mental health treatment center. Leviss noted that she was able to “come to the place” where her actions, like deciding to have an affair with Sandoval, make “sense” to her.
“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,” she shared. “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.”