“It was a lot. That Vanderpump Rules cast is something,” Karamo, 43, exclusively told Us Weekly at BravoCon on Friday, November 3. “There is so much tension there and I don’t know if they’re ever going to be able to work through that.”
Karamo, who hosted the Pump Rules panel from Las Vegas on Friday, recalled feeling a shift once the Bravo cast took the stage as the stars continue to feud with Tom Sandoval. (News broke in March that Sandoval, 40, had an affair with Raquel Leviss while dating costar Ariana Madix.)
“Going on the stage everyone seemed calm. They all seemed like they were kind of friends — not kind of friends — but seemed like they’re going to be cordial,” Karamo recalled. “Once they got on stage, you saw a clear divide and a clear split. You saw that they really definitely hate one person on this cast.”
The crowd was also clear about their dislike for Sandoval after he hurt Ariana, 38, and didn’t apologize for his actions. Sandoval was booed multiple times during the panel, including after one fan asked him, “Why are you here?” and then told him to “go away.”
Karamo told Us that he had mixed feelings about how the fans reacted to Sandoval. “There’s a part of me as a fan of the show that says, ‘Yes boo.’ But there’s a part of me that’s also like, ‘We got to give this guy a chance to grow. Until we give him a chance to grow and show that he’s being better,’” he shared, adding that Sandoval has “been sober now, which is pretty amazing. I mean, he’s making better decisions.”
The Queer Eye star noted that Sandoval was clearly the black sheep of the group after the cheating scandal. “When they got off [the stage, Sandoval] sort of disappeared very fast,” Karamo added. However, Karamo did manage to get a minute with Sandoval after the panel wrapped. “I said, ‘Congrats for being man enough to come on here and face this,’” he recalled to Us.
When Karamo asked Sandoval whether he wanted to comment on not giving Ariana an apology, he said “No,” which the emcee admitted “sucks.” Despite Sandoval feeling the wrath of the crowd and most of his costars, Karamo said Tom Schwartz’s loyalty throughout the scandal was the “most shocking” panel moment for him.
“Tom Schwartz is really kind of still that ‘I stand stick beside him. That’s my man. I’ll stick beside him’ [guy for Sandoval],” Karamo said. “He’s ride or die for Tom. And that friendship is great. I was surprised that he wasn’t trying to himself a little bit more.”
Schwartz, 41, received a lot of heat from his costars for keeping Sandoval’s affair quiet. While the majority of the cast didn’t learn about the hookup between Sandoval and Raquel, 29, until March, Schwartz was aware of it in August 2022. (Sandoval and Raquel have since split and Raquel decided not to return for season 11 of Pump Rules, which premieres in January.)
“The one-night stand was in August and then it became, from my point of view, it became an emotional affair. Which is still inappropriate but I didn’t think it was linear,” Schwartz confessed during an April appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. “[Then] in January, he came to me and told me that he was in love with Raquel.”
The fact that Schwartz knew Sandoval was cheating didn’t sit well with a lot of the Pump Rules cast, including Schwartz’s ex-wife, Katie Maloney. Karamo, however, told Us on Friday that he’s OK with Schwartz having Sandoval’s back despite all the backlash.
“If you’re going to stick with him, stick with him all the way through. I don’t like wishy-washy friends,” Karamo concluded.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi