“We’re really good friends,” Sandoval, 40, said of Leviss, 28, during the Tuesday, April 11, episode of the “Howie Mandel Does Stuff” podcast. “Were not putting any label on it.”
The TomTom cofounder revealed that the pair are “taking a break” amid all the drama. When asked by Howie Mandel whether the Vanderpump Rules costars are “friends with benefits,” the Missouri native insisted, “Not right now.”
Us Weekly confirmed last month that Sandoval and Ariana Madix called it quits after nine years together. Their split came in the wake of Madix, 37, learning that her longtime boyfriend had been intimately involved with their Bravo costar for months.
“There [are] two things that happened here. The ending of a relationship and the affair,” Sandoval told Mandel, 67, on Tuesday. “I can tell you right now, by far, the most painful thing for Ariana is the ending of the relationship.”
The Schwartz & Sandy’s cofounder explained that the breakup has also been “the most painful thing for our friends.”
He recalled the former couple being dubbed the “Mom and Dad” of their group during their romance. “We took care of our friends,” Sandoval said, adding that now people are “grouping the breakup and the affair together and they are taking it out on me.”
While the Tom Sandoval & The Most Extras singer told the podcast listeners that he “understands” his friends’ anger, he claimed “the breakup was an inevitable thing.”
“I made it pretty clear in therapy that I wanted to, like, take the steps to break up. And then actually Ariana kind of just started really started fighting for it and I felt so, so bad about it because she was being so unbelievably sweet and amazing,” he recalled on Tuesday.
The reality star claimed that his Fancy AF Cocktails coauthor was “completely in denial” about the breakup, which he insisted took place before the Florida native found out about his affair.
“She’s like, ‘I’m, like, not letting you leave me. You’re gonna have to force me out of this relationship. … If you break up with me, you will effectively be ending my life,’” he alleged. “We were broken up. She knew we were broken up. We didn’t tell anybody, but she knew.”
Sandoval later issued two publicly apologies for the scandal, one to Tom Schwartz, their fans and patrons of their restaurants, and a second to Madix. Leviss, for her part, penned a social media apology in March.
The twosome, however, raised eyebrows once again in late March when the former pageant queen was spotted outside of Sandoval and Madix’s shared home. Days later, the businessman was seen escorting Leviss to the airport on April 2 and helping her with her bags.
While Sandoval claimed on Tuesday that he and the former Miss Sonoma County are taking time apart, his BFF Schwartz showed concern over their bond.
“He’s not realizing the negative impact this has had on his other ventures,” Schwartz, 40, said during the Wednesday, April 5, episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. “Businesses, bars, the band. … He’s addicted. It’s an infatuation of all infatuations. … Raquel is Tom’s heroin.”