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May 28, 2023

Lisa Vanderpump, Bravo personality, restauranteur and branding mogul, labeled the “Vanderpump Rules” infidelity scandal, “a producer’s dream, but talent’s nightmare.” 

When speaking with editor at large Kate Aurthur at Variety’s 2023 Entertainment Marketing Summit, Vanderpump revealed just how “gobsmacked” and “shattered” she was when the cheating scandal — aka the Scandoval — broke out between her cast members on the reality show, which she executively produces.

“I was basically having a bloody heart attack,” Vanderpump told Aurthur.

TMZ first reported that “Vanderpump” stars, and real-life couple, Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix’s nine-year relationship came to an end after Sandoval’s affair with fellow co-star Raquel Leviss. Since then, all eyes have been on the reality TV show centered around Vanderpump’s restaurants in West Hollywood. 

Vanderpump painted the picture of the magnitude of the affair for the uninitiated, “It was almost akin to ‘Friends,’ like [if] Chandler and Phoebe suddenly [started] shagging.”

While filming for Season 10 of “Vanderpump Rules” had wrapped prior to the Scandoval leaking, production quickly picked up once the news broke to capture the fallout on-camera. “This group moves so quickly and they talk 10 times a day — we had to pick up the cameras straightaway.”

Tensions between cast members ignited to the highest degree when the full cast came together for the first time after learning of the infidelity to film the show’s reunion episode. Vanderpump recalls how during the “first minute [of the reunion], it looked like it was gonna end there,” hinting at a conflict that will play out on-screen later in the season. “It was so intense and there were a lot of tears, a lot of heartbreak,” she said.

An added layer of tension arose when filming the reunion after Leviss filed a restraining order against fellow castmate Scheana Shay for an alleged conflict that ensued after the scandal was revealed. 

“I think everybody is so intrinsically entwined, emotionally, that everybody felt so much,” said Vanderpump. Leviss and Shay filmed their reunion segments at separate times as they were to be kept at least 100 yards apart from each other. “I think she kind of slapped [her] around the face,” revealed Vanderpump. “Which I, again, don’t condone,” she added. 

Vanderpump hopes that the drama surrounding the show will die down soon — and that fans will be able to forgive Sandoval. “He didn’t kill anybody, you know,” said Vanderpump. “It was an infidelity, and I’m not condoning it in any shape or form. But at some point, let’s hear both sides and try to move on.” 

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