The 31-year-old DJ exclusively opened up to Us Weekly about the emotional final episode while attending the 5th annual Vanderpump Dogs Gala in Beverly Hills on Thursday, May 18. One day prior, viewers watched James break down in tears as he and his castmates learned about Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss‘ months-long affair.
“It’s just a classic story of betrayal,” the U.K. native told Us of why he had such a strong reaction to the cheating scandal. “You know, you got two brothers that really, like, grew up on a show together and … it’s just, like, a kind of a backstabbing kind of move.”
He added: “It was something that I don’t feel like [we] will ever come back from. So, it was kind of a farewell almost.”
James previously dated Raquel, 28, for five years before he popped the question in an elaborate Coachella-themed celebration. The romantic milestone aired on season 9 of the Bravo hit — and the TomTom cofounder, 40, helped plan and fund his pal’s proposal. In December 2021, however, James and the beauty queen announced their split.
Season 10 premiered in February and introduced James’ new flame, Ally Lewber, to the friend group. While production initially wrapped last fall, cameras were picked up again in March after news broke of Tom and Raquel’s affair. The duo’s illicit relationship prompted the former SUR bartender’s split from Ariana Madix after nearly a decade together.
“I regret every moment that I stood up for you, defended you, supported you,” the Florida native, 37, told Tom in the Wednesday, May 17, finale. “You’re worth nothing and I want you to feel that deep in your soul. I want you to hear those words coming from the mouth of the woman who f–king stood by you and loved you and was ready to build the rest of my life around you.”
James tearfully called Tom a “backstabber” and a “piece of s–t” in a confessional interview, telling the camera, “It’s just a wasted friendship. He threw that away.”
He later invited costars Lala Kent and Katie Maloney over to discuss the drama — and called Raquel on speakerphone. “You lied to everyone’s face,” he told his ex. “All the people you were building friendships with, you’ve literally just trashed it for Sandoval’s little cocky c–k. … Seriously, Raquel? You’re not the brightest chick.”
The British Bravo star told Us on Thursday that he hasn’t spoken to Tom or Raquel since the bombshell finale aired. “The whole episode was, like … crazy,” he added. “But watching everyone’s different points of view and how it affected everybody individually, it was a heartbreaking episode, honestly.”
The drama will continue with a three-part reunion special, which taped in March. At the time, a source exclusively told Us that James and Lala, 32, “went crazy” on their costars.
“James took on Tom Sandoval while Lala took on Raquel Leviss and they both just lit them on fire and burned them alive with their shade,” the insider teased. “Lala and James literally screamed at Raquel and Tom for hours.”
Fans got their first look at the heated reunion — and James’ memorable one-liners — earlier this month. “Poo-poo heads! Both of you [are] poo-poo heads,” he said of Tom and Raquel in the trailer.
At another point, James is seen out of his seat and shouting at the Schwartz & Sandy’s co-owner, who he called “a worm with a mustache.”
Last month, James hinted on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that he got everything “off [his] chest” at the taping. “I had to get it out. I had to let [Tom] know,” he teased.
Part 1 of the Vanderpump Rules reunion airs on Bravo Wednesday, May 24, at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Sarah Jones