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VPR Recap: Season Ends With Cast Turning on Ariana Madix Over Sandoval

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VPR Recap: Season Ends With Cast Turning on Ariana Madix Over Sandoval


'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval

Vanderpump Rules Season 11 cast.
Gizelle Hernandez/Bravo

Ariana Madix‘s refusal to film with Tom Sandoval during the season 11 finale ultimately caused several of her Vanderpump Rules costars to turn on her.

The Tuesday, May 7, episode showed how the rest of a cast trip played out as Ariana, 38, remained firm about keeping her distance from Sandoval, 41. Ariana’s decision was already getting criticized throughout the season — and the finale didn’t make it better.

Later in the episode, one of Scheana Shay‘s many past conversations with Sandoval became the catalyst for Ariana breaking the fourth wall. After Scheana, 38, told Sandoval that Ariana wanted an apology for how he “weaponized her mental health” in the wake of his affair with Rachel “Raquel” Leviss, Sandoval became determined to do just that.

The only problem was that Ariana never actually wanted an apology — nor did she ask for one. As a result, Sandoval’s attempt to speak with her on screen turned into Ariana leaving the event altogether. Ariana’s cast members didn’t see her perspective this time around and instead blamed her for not being a better sport while filming a reality TV show.

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Production leaned into a similar narrative — based on how the scenes were edited — to back up the perspective that Ariana should have been more willing to hash out her issues with Sandoval. The shift came after Ariana previously said she wouldn’t be surprised if this season made her out to be the villain.

“I think something that is important and part of any reality show is they always want to have a conversation,” Ariana shared at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April. “They don’t want the audience to be on one side or the other so they will always try to even the playing field. They’ve always done that. They always will. I knew going into that they were going to do everything they could to even the playing field.”

One month prior, Ariana exclusively told Us Weekly about potentially getting an unfavorable fan reaction, saying, “I think that I was going through, again, what I said, the most difficult time of my life and I allowed all times and moments of my healing process to be shown and not just come out and say, ‘Hey, I’m healed everybody,’ and I think we don’t often get to see that.”

Ariana added: “I put on my makeup, showed up to all my call times, I put on an outfit and I put myself out there,” she says. “I’m proud of myself for doing it. I learned, honestly, that I am very brave and that I have a lot of really wonderful people in my life who have shown me what’s important and have shown me that I’m going to be OK no matter what, and we’re all in this together.”

Keep scrolling for a breakdown of Ariana’s uncomfortable run-in with Sandoval — and why the aftermath could hint at her exit from Vanderpump Rules:

Building the Tension

'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval
Casey Durkin/Bravo

In last week’s episode, Scheana attempted to bridge the gap between Sandoval and Ariana by asking him to apologize for “weaponizing her mental health.” Scheana’s words ultimately inspired Sandoval to cross a boundary by approaching Ariana — but more on that later.

The Vanderpump Rules group first wrapped up their time in San Francisco by going on a trolley ride and having lunch. Without Sandoval at the outing, the others felt comfortable bringing up Sandoval in front of Ariana and her boyfriend, Daniel Wai.

It didn’t take long for Katie Maloney to put everyone on blast for emphasizing with Sandoval.

“How many times are we going to keep believing this man’s genuine tears,” Katie, 37, asked after Scheana brought up her friendship with Sandoval to Ariana yet again. “I don’t believe a damn word, a damn tear, a damn nothing that comes out of him.”

In a confessional, Katie questioned Scheana and Lala Kent’s loyalty, adding, “Everyone is trying to make this Sandoval situation way more nuanced than it actually is. When a guy f—ks over your friend, f—k the guy.”

Scheana’s husband, Brock Davies, came to her defense by claiming that Katie and Ariana were “dismissing” the “genuine friendship” between Scheana and Sandoval. Tom Schwartz also jumped in to say Sandoval was a “good person” who did a “trash thing.”

The reasoning didn’t work for Ariana, who pointed out to Schwartz that Sandoval didn’t just do “one” thing to hurt her. Lala, 33, who didn’t join the conversation, shared her thoughts in a confessional instead.

“Ariana tries to put on this cool girl vibe but she cares a lot,” Lala noted. “When she gets out of this, ‘Sandoval is a monster and I’m a victim’ [thing] she’s going to have to go through a mourning process. And I don’t think she wants to deal with that.”

Back to the argument between Brock and Katie, the duo couldn’t come to an agreement. Brock, 33, made it clear he was “going to fight” for Scheana while Katie — and Ariana — reminded him how he wasn’t there for their lived experiences.

“Scheana really feels she needs to be the exception to the boundary Ariana created for herself of not having mutual friends with Tom,” Katie pointed out. “But Tom did not make a mistake. He made choices every day for months and has done nothing but double down on those choices he made over and over.”

Extending an Olive Branch

'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval
Casey Durkin/Bravo

The finale ended with one last event where several cast members interacted with Sandoval while Ariana kept her distance. Sandoval, however, got motivated to approach Ariana after a chat with Brock and Scheana. Brock specifically asked Sandoval to “step up” and make changes so that his inner circle could “slowly” grow again.

Scheana started crying — once again — while reflecting on her connection with Sandoval.

“I understand what he did to Ariana was absolutely terrible. I just wish when it came to me in this situation that it wasn’t so black and white and she could see how much I am struggling by just being loyal to her,” she said through tears. “And I don’t want to lose her but I feel like I am losing myself. I need to let this shit go. It is enough.”

Crossing a Boundary

The evening began to escalate when Sandoval approached Daniel. “I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Tom,” Sandoval told Daniel while Ariana looked down at her phone. “I heard you are a great guy. I just wanted to say what’s up and I wish you guys the best of luck.”

After Sandoval walked away, James Kennedy‘s girlfriend, Ally Lewber, admitted she was nervous about how the introduction would go.

“I feel like it had to happen,” Ally told Ariana, who fired back, “It doesn’t have to happen at all. He’s not in my life.”

Ariana elaborated in a confessional, saying, “I am not here as a cog in the machine of Tom Sandoval’s redemption arc. You guys can do that without me.”

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A Sweet Moment That Aged Badly

'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval
Casey Durkin/Bravo

Viewers and Ariana are both very familiar with Scheana’s attempts to validate her ongoing friendship with Sandoval. Scheana broached the topic again with Ariana when she mentioned how Sandoval supported her music.

“He flew out his sound operator to get all the equipment. Maybe fool me once or twice, I don’t know. But I am seeing that genuine side of him that I have loved for 15 years who has been a good friend to me. And I am hoping that he is changing and becoming better,” Scheana explained. “I just want to continue to see if he is on a path of growth.”

Ariana was not thrilled by Scheana’s comments, telling the cameras, “It is just the same thing over and over with Scheana. I don’t know why she thinks that somehow she knows this man better than I do. Alright girl. I am happy for you.”

During the awkward conversation, Ariana asked that Scheana not talk to her about having hope for Sandoval’s growth, noting, “He’s an ex-boyfriend of mine who does not deserve to be in my presence or breathe the same air as me. That will not change.”

Ariana also clarified to Scheana that she didn’t want anything from Sandoval. “I don’t want him to speak to me every again. I don’t want apologies,” Ariana explained. “I don’t mean that I want him to apologize. I mean that it seems very much beyond him. I don’t want any apology.”

While Scheana noted that she didn’t want to “compromise” her bond with Ariana, she also couldn’t “completely” write Sandoval off forever. Ariana reassured Scheana that their friendship wasn’t in danger.

“You aren’t losing me. You are my family. I love you. You will never lose me. Never,” Ariana reassured Scheana. “Me and you are warriors.”

In a confessional, Ariana opened up about navigating her friendship with Scheana, saying, “I will protect myself and keep myself out of situations I find hurtful or uncomfortable for me. But I have never once said I don’t love her or I will stop loving her or we won’t be connected anymore. I just don’t know why she isn’t understanding that.”

The editing department subsequently stepped in to seemingly contradict Ariana’s comments. They played clips of Ariana cutting Sandoval’s best friend Schwartz, 41, out of her life. There were also past moments of Ariana previously telling Katie and Lala separately that she needed to protect her peace if her friends started to befriend Sandoval.

Crossing a Line

'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval
Nicole Weingart/Bravo

Sandoval finally made his move when he approached Ariana as she was hugging Scheana. “Ariana, wait one second,” he said as his ex-girlfriend walked away. “I just wanted to tell her I am sorry.”

Scheana shut down Sandoval’s hopes, noting, “She doesn’t want to talk to you. I already tried. I told her about our conversation last night and she thinks you are performative [and that] I am an idiot.”

After asking whether Sandoval valued their friendship outside of filming, Scheana told him not to make her look like a “f—king idiot” with his future actions.

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Production Steps In

'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval
Casey Durkin/Bravo

Executive producer Jeremiah Smith made an onscreen appearance when he urged Ariana not to leave. “Ariana, don’t do this,” Jeremiah said as Ariana started to take off her mic. “Don’t end like this.”

Ariana made it clear that she wasn’t pleased about Sandoval nearly ambushing her.

“Him f—king walking up on me talking to Scheana. He doesn’t give a f—k if I died in a ditch or got a deadly STD the way he was f—king around behind my back,” she fired back. “That is non-informed consent and he doesn’t deserve to speak to me. He doesn’t get access to me. It’s about a performance for the audience. He wants 30 seconds with the audience.”

Ariana concluded: “Whatever it is that Tom is trying to get from me is not for me. It is for me. I am the final boss in his video game of redemption. And because he can’t get to the final boss, he is f—king pissed.”

Sandoval Unleashes His Anger Over Ariana at Everyone Else

'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval
Nicole Weingart/Bravo

Ariana shutting down his attempt at a conversation led to a complete 180 shift for Sandoval.

“This is f—king bullshit,” he told Billie Lee. “Ariana is going around saying I am not being honest and I am performative. Do you know what it is? Ariana is f—king performative. She doesn’t like any of these motherf—kers. So she can f—k off saying I am performative.”

Sandoval continued his unhinged rant by accusing Ariana of not working hard enough. “If you don’t want to film with your ex then don’t be on this show,” he added. “Don’t sit back on your f—king lazy ass and collect a f—king check for doing nothing.”

The tension got worse when Sandoval stormed over to Lala and Scheana.

“I’m f—king pissed. Not at you. I am pissed that she is f—king saying that s—t. Because Ariana? She doesn’t f—k with you guys,” Sandoval claimed. “On the real. She f—king talks s—t about all of you f—kers. She doesn’t show up for your s—t, she is not going to come for your f—king thing. I am going to come. When push comes to shove, I am f—king there.”

Vanderpump Rules fans probably lost count as Scheana got emotional once more over Sandoval’s behavior, saying, “I said this to her. I know. You have been there for me. That is why I am struggling with this. Because you have been a f—king good friend but then she convinces me that you are not.”

In response, Sandoval thanked Scheana for the backlash she was about to weather for him. “I am sorry that I made it hard for you. It kills me,” he noted. “Because I know you are gonna put up with a lot and it means a lot to me.”

The Editing of It All

'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval
Nicole Weingart/Bravo

“I know it is going to be really hard for the people who stick by me and stick up for me. People haven’t even forgiven me,” Sandoval said as the camera panned to James, 32, Schwartz, Lala and Scheana. “They are just recognizing me as a person and they are still going to get a relentless amount of hate for that.”

In a surprising turn of events, the episode proved Sandoval’s point by pulling up a handful of mean messages directed at those who publicly forgave him.

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Lala Gets Brutal — and Breaks the 4th Wall

'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval
Casey Durkin/Bravo

“I have my own point of view but I have been biting my tongue,” Lala told Scheana and Sandoval about Ariana’s decision to leave. “I am not afraid. It is a lot of breaking the fourth wall so I am going to do it now. S—t happened to her and the whole world rallied around her. She now thinks she is Beyoncé.”

Lala didn’t hold back about her issues with Ariana.

“It is bulls—t that she can’t film with someone that she stays under the same roof. It is a lot. It is a lot that she says, ‘Don’t f—k with Tom Sandoval. But I am going to sleep down the hall from Tom Sandoval,’” she continued. “I get it, he f—king cheated. He did a really f—king s—tty thing. It is weird how you looked us all in the eye and said a lot of s—t. But he didn’t kill anyone.”

While venting, Lala’s voice got significantly louder, with her screaming to the crowd, “She moved on eight days later. Eight days. I have never in my life experienced someone who gets cheated on and suddenly she becomes God.”

Scheana replied by promising to back Lala up, adding, “It is unfair. I agree with you. You are not alone in that.”

In December 2023, Lala claimed her “suddenly becomes God” dig was “taken out of context,” telling listeners during an Amazon Live, “I have always been a fan of hers. I think that that shows throughout the years. Have we had our ups and downs? Absolutely. But to see my friend thrive after such heartbreak? I am so happy for her, and I am so proud of her.”

She concluded: “That’s what the trailer is meant to do. It riled everyone up, everyone is talking about the trailer, everyone is giving their feedback, people are arguing in the comments section — that’s what we want.”

Ariana came to Lala’s defense at the time, writing via TikTok, “But she’s been honestly very kind and supportive even since filming and I love her a lot.” (Lala has since unfollowed Ariana and Katie on Instagram.)

Production Appears to Take Sides

'VPR' Season 11 Ends With Cast and Production Turning on Ariana Madix for Not Filming With Tom Sandoval
Kim White/Bravo

The episode concluded with Lala questioning Ariana’s decisions. “I love filming this show because it is real. I find it to be tremendously healing and for Ariana to walk out this way is just such a slap in the face,” Lala said. “This is what we do. We have been doing this for most of our adult lives.”

Confessional clips of the cast from the show’s early days played over Lala’s voiceover. On screen, fans watched pivotal moments such as Kristen Doute and Sandoval’s confrontation in Miami, Katie apologizing for spreading rumors about Kristen, 41, Jax Taylor‘s infamous hookup, Stassi Schroeder comforting Lala over her father’s death and more.

“We have all experienced high highs and low lows. There is a responsibility that comes with living your life on camera. You have to be truthful even when it is extremely uncomfortable,” Lala continued. “I watched James live his authentic life. Scheana has. And then Katie. I feel I have. There was a time when I wasn’t honest about what was going on in my life [when I was with ex Randall Emmett] and it was suffocating.”

The clips continued with James crying, Schwartz proposing to Katie, Scheana ending her marriage to Mike Shay and Ariana confronting Sandoval about his high-profile cheating scandal with Rachel.

“I don’t feel like Tom and Ariana are ever honest about their relationship until Tom was caught cheating,” Lala claimed. “And you think you get to be honest for one moment and pack it all away and all is good? F—k that.”

In a voiceover, Katie defended Ariana’s choice to pull back, saying, “Sometimes you have to stick to your boundaries if your peace is more important than that then stand your ground.”

Ariana also explained why she didn’t give Sandoval the time of day.

“We live these difficult parts of our lives on camera. But if it is something that actually mattered to you regardless you would do it anyways,” she noted in a confessional. “He has never tried to talk to me off camera. He could have written something like a f—king letter and left it on the kitchen counter and I could have read it at my leisure. But if he would only do it on camera then to me you showed your true colors.”

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Giving Tom Sandoval the Last Laugh

Scheana and Lala walked off together at the end of the episode while Ariana got in a car with Daniel and her other friends. A producer could be heard saying, “That’s the end.” Then Schwartz — in a voiceover — weighed in on the drama.

“That was a f—king plot twist,” he noted as Sandoval chimed in, “I love it. It’s good for me.”