“Tom Sandoval made a mistake that he’ll probably regret for the rest of his life. He is still a person,” Cohen, 54, said during the Tuesday, May 30, episode of the “Not Skinny But Not Fat” podcast. “It’s out of control. I hope it’s kind of dying down for his sake. He’s a real person.”
The Bravo exec added that while the Vanderpump Rules star, 40, did something “really stupid and hurtful and asinine” by cheating on Ariana Madix with Leviss, 28, the level of vitriol he’s received has been over the top. “He didn’t kill anyone. He did not commit a crime,” Cohen said, noting that the hatred likely stems from the Pump Rules cast being “so incestuous” already — and that Sandoval’s affair with the former beauty queen is not his first on the show.
Us Weekly confirmed in March 2023 that Sandoval and Madix, 37, called it quits after nearly a decade of dating due to his infidelity with Leviss. While season 10 of the reality series had finished filming by the time news broke, cameras picked back up to follow the aftermath — leading to an explosive and emotional finale and subsequent three-part reunion special hosted by Cohen, which kicked off on Wednesday, May 24.
Since news of their affair broke, Leviss and Sandoval — who have both issued apologies to Madix via social media — have been under constant fire. The California native, for her part, checked into a mental health facility earlier this month.
A rep for the former pageant queen later confirmed to Us that Leviss and her family have also “been on the receiving end of violent and graphic death threats both online and over the phone.” Some of these threats were sent via social media, with one sender allegedly writing that they wanted to leave Leviss “un-alive and dump the body.”
The FBI, meanwhile, declined to confirm whether the model or her family had been in contact with the agency. “FBI neither confirms nor denies investigations,” a spokesperson for the organization told TMZ at the time. “Obviously, we review all allegations reported to us and encourage anyone who believes their life is in imminent danger to call 911.”
Sandoval, meanwhile, opened up about dealing with the public fallout during an episode of the “Howie Mandell Does Stuff” podcast last month.
“I have never felt the fight-or-flight [like I did] with this situation,” Sandoval told host Mandel, 67, recalling the immediate time period after news of the affair was made public. “I was literally on the run like I was wanted for a triple homicide. I didn’t shower for days. I was in the same clothes for days. Didn’t have my medication. … It did at times turn me into a total a–hole.”
The Schwartz & Sandy’s co-owner also noted that his costars weighing in on the situation has only made things worse for him — and that he feels like they’ve used his issues for personal gain.
“There are really good friends of mine that have used this scenario … as content for their podcast. Fellow cast members,” he explained. “You don’t know want to know because you care about Ariana. You want to know so you have more content for your podcast. It’s f–king disgusting to me. It’s so gross. … So, when I have people like Scheana [Shay] and Lisa [Vanderpump] and even our producers asking questions [about the timeline], I don’t owe that s–t to them for content or to add salaciousness to our show.”
Parts 2 and 3 of the Vanderpump Rules reunion air on Bravo Wednesday, May 31, and Wednesday, June 7, at 9 p.m. ET.