Even though she won’t be part of the cast when Vanderpump Rules season 11 premieres on Tuesday, January 30, ​Rachel “Raquel” Leviss is wondering if Tom Sandoval “masterminded” their affair that rocked season 10 and resulted in the breakup of his relationship with Ariana Madix.

“The thought has crossed my mind, like did Tom mastermind this?” Raquel, 29, asked herself on the January 29 episode of her podcast “Rachel Goes Rogue.”

“He is known to self-produce and all he has is this show, and the success of this show equals longevity in his career. He’s over 40 now and this is his life, this is his main income,” she continued.

Raquel claimed Tom, 40, previously hinted that their romance storyline could carry over into season 11.

“When we did have conversations like, ‘How is this going to play out?’ He said, ‘We can be together next season,'” the Sonoma, California, native revealed.

“I think he had his motivation behind it that really escalated the situation. Whereas if it wasn’t a reality TV show and we weren’t all filming, I wonder if it would be like this,” she added.

Raquel’s speculation might not have been too far off, as the show’s producer, Alex Baskin, said in an August 2023 interview with Deadline that the affair known as “Scandoval” helped save the series.

“The timing of [Scandoval] happened to have been perfect,” Alex explained. “We were coming off a really tough ​ninth season and we had the cast firings before the season and there was a low energy season during the pandemic. To the network’s credit, they gave us another run at it and we had a resurgence anyway.”

Raquel went on to claim Tom was “acting” during the night of their first hookup, ​which happened when she and Charli Burnett crashed a guys’ night out in West Hollywood.

“Charli and I walk in, and who’s the brightest-eyed, bushy-tailed one to see me? Who is so thrilled that I just walked in? [None] other than Tom Sandoval,” she recalled. “And it’s such B.S., too, because I heard somebody say, like, ‘Oh yeah, Tom definitely knew. Producers definitely told Tom that Charli and Raquel were about the walk in.’”

“Like, he was ready for that scene,” Raquel continued. “And I’m like, ‘Goddamnit! He fooled me!’ Like, I thought he was actually genuinely happy to see me. I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is what it feels like to actually be appreciated,’ and feel like you’re welcomed in a room and feel like somebody wants you there. Like, the stark contrast. But then later on, finding out that he was acting and that wasn’t fully genuine? Ugh.”

News of Tom and Raquel’s seven-month affair broke amid his March 3, 2023, split from Ariana, as Vanderpump Rules season 10 was unfolding on Bravo. It resulted in record ratings for the reality series and easily helped secure the show’s 11th season.

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