Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Who Remained Tom Sandoval’s Friend After His Affair? Meet His Inner Circle

Tom Sandoval‘s friend group was in for a shakeup after his cheating scandal.

Sandoval and his now-ex-girlfriend Ariana Madix had many of the same friends before his affair with their Vanderpump Rules costar Rachel “Raquel” Leviss made headlines. After Sandoval and Madix split in March 2023 due to his infidelity, most of their close pals publicly took her side.

“Since the scandal broke, I’ve lost a lot of long-term friends,” Sandoval explained in a February 2024 episode of the Bravo hit series. “So I’ve leaned into the ones that have stuck around.”

Season 11 of Vanderpump Rules followed Sandoval’s attempt to rebuild his inner circle. Shortly after filming started, Sandoval threw himself a birthday party with a lot of new faces. Sandoval told cameras that he invited the people who remained loyal to him in the aftermath of his personal woes.

“I cannot begin to express how truly grateful I am for all the people that have stuck around. These people have put up with so much hate because of things that I did,” he emotionally said during season 11, admitting he felt “really bad” about the backlash his friends faced. “Just being my friend, it really means a lot to me. More than anything.”

His fellow Vanderpump Rules costars, however, had different opinions about Sandoval’s pals. Madix said her ex was surrounding himself with people on his payroll.

Meanwhile, James Kennedy poked fun at Sandoval’s newest friends. (Bravo also joined in on the joke by labeling each person at Sandoval’s birthday party to point out how many were associated with the reality star’s music career.)

“Tom’s party is like a who’s who? Like who the f—k are you people?” Kennedy quipped in a February 2024 episode. “Tom, you used to be the coolest guy on the block. Now look!”

Keep scrolling to get to know Sandoval’s inner circle:

Kyle Chan
Chan has been the go-to jewelry designer for the entire Vanderpump Rules crew. From engagement rings to wedding bands, Chan has been featured many times on the show over the years as various cast members search for that special sparkly piece of jewelry.
Over the years, however, Chan appeared to be on the best terms with Sandoval. He was one of few people who publicly stood by Sandoval in the wake of his drama. 
Courtesy of Tom Sandoval/Instagram
Tom Schwartz
Sandoval and Schwartz have been friends since before Vanderpump Rules started airing in 2013. Despite their ups and downs, the pair have remained by each other’s side and have even gone into business together for TomTom and Schwartz and Sandy’s.
Their close connection took a hit when Schwartz was blamed for helping Sandoval hide his affair with Leviss. (Schwartz and Leviss had a brief fling, which the model later confirmed was a setup since Schwartz knew about her romance with Sandoval.)
During season 11, Schwartz explained why he was still on good terms with Sandoval, telling cameras, “I know everyone hates him right now but you don’t come by friendships like that often in life. I don’t think I want to give up on it.” 
Courtesy of Tom Sandoval/Instagram
Billie Lee
Vanderpump Rules fans originally met Lee when she was a hostess at SUR. Lee was close friends with Madix and Sandoval before the scandal. Lee has since been one of the first people willing to be publicly seen spending time with Sandoval.
“Tom and Ariana are my family. They have been there for me over the years and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. It saddens me that people are so fixated on picking a side. Both are human and are both hurting in their own ways,” Lee wrote via Instagram in April 2023. “There is a world where you can support and be there for both parties and that’s the world I choose to live in. There is also no reason for this to continue to be so divisive. Ariana is happy and Tom is really working hard on himself. I’ll continue to love and support them unconditionally.”
Courtesy of Billie Lee/Instagram
Jason Bader
In addition to being the manager of Sandoval’s band, Bader is also the cohost on his “Everybody Loves Tom” podcast. Bader is also presumably the connection Sandoval had to his first post-Scandoval interview with Howie Mandel. 
“He’s been very supportive not only in L.A. but on the road. It has kept me from being in a really bad place,” Sandoval admitted about Bader during a February 2024 episode of Vanderpump Rules. 
Courtesy of Jason Bader/Instagram
Brett Kenyon
Kenyon formed a bond with Sandoval after being employed at TomTom. He was previously on good terms with Sandoval, Madix and Leviss. During a season 11 episode of Vanderpump Rules, Kenyon was seen telling Kennedy that there was a divide in the friend group, which he blamed on Katie Maloney.
 
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Jesse Montana
The SUR server was one of the people to take a step back from Sandoval in March 2023. 
Montana explained his decision on screen, telling Sandoval, “Obviously, I have been wondering how you’re doing. I have been worried for you. You f—ked up, obviously. It’s been the actual worst [for me]. I told you when this all went down that I had to unfollow you on Instagram. I didn’t want to be attached to the decisions and choices you made.”
Sandoval, meanwhile, said he understood where Montana was coming from. “I don’t want you to deal with extra stress because of me,” he said before getting emotional.
Before the episode aired in February 2024, Montana was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo surgery. Several former and current Vanderpump Rules stars including Madix, Maloney, Leviss, Schwartz, Scheana Shay and Stassi Schroeder publicly donated to his GoFundMe to help with medical bills from the health scare. 
Courtesy of Ariana Madix/Instagram
Ali Rafiq
Rafiq was friends with Sandoval before his rise to stardom on Vanderpump Rules. The duo were pals since their high school days and stayed in touch when Sandoval moved to California. 
In May 2023, Rafiq’s parents found him on the floor of their home in Missouri after he had a fall and hit his head on a table. His death certificate ultimately listed “organ failure” as the cause of death. 
Sandoval has been outspoken about how difficult it has been since Rafiq’s unexpected passing.
“The love I have for you is way beyond words I will carry u forever in my heart,” he wrote via Instagram in May 2023. “Always cherishing the beautiful memories, uncontrollable laughter, and epic experiences we had together. You were My best friend, my brother. I’ll catch u on the next sunrise…5min/5hour 5or500.”
Courtesy of Tom Sandoval/Instagram
The Most Extras
Sandoval originally formed his cover band, Tom Sandoval & The Most Extras, before filming kicked off on season 10 of Vanderpump Rules. He continued to tour with his bandmates following his split from Madix. 
“Obviously, I had to tour and stuff. My bank account was literally overdrawn. Like dude, Ariana hadn’t paid any of the bills for f—king eight months,” Sandoval claimed during season 11. “I am literally moving $1,000 around to this account and moving $500 to another to cover our mortgage.”
The Most Extras is made up of Sandoval, Bader, Colin Deas, Maddi Fraser, Kevin Stiphen, Mia Davitt and Macrae Eckelberry.  
YouTube
Ann Maddox
Before serving as the mediator between Sandoval and Madix, Maddox was on good terms with both of them. She remained Sandoval’s assistant in the months after his scandal but has since cut ties and started a podcast titled “We Signed an NDA.”
 
Courtesy of Ann Maddox/Instagram
Victoria Lee Robinson
Sandoval went public with Robinson when he shared an Instagram photo of her kissing him on the shoulder in February 2024. Robinson also uploaded her own snap of the pair cuddling while enjoying a night out together. 
“This week, my addiction of the week is definitely my friend Victoria that I have been hanging out with. She’s definitely super awesome and she’s one of the sweetest people,” Sandoval shared that same month on Lee’s “Billie and the Kid” podcast. “Obviously I have known her for a really long time, but we went on our first date last night.”
He continued: “It was awesome. It was very adventurous and a little crazy. She is a model, she works a lot and she is very successful. She does well for herself but she is also very humble and really cool. She is just a very sweet, thoughtful person.”
 
Courtesy of Victoria Lee Robinson/Instagram

By Michael

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