The Affair of the Lightning-Bolt Necklace

Photo: Araya Doheny/Getty Images

Hours before the Vanderpump Rules season-ten finale aired, the couple at the heart of #Scandoval had reportedly called it quits. “Raquel dipped out,” a source told “Page Six.”Sandoval is not the one for her.” This missive from an unnamed source is dripping with lore, which we will unpack in the timeline below. But even those untrained in the ways of VPR can understand this: someone wanted us to believe Tom and Raquel are no more. Mere months after the affair went public, and not quite a year since it began, Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss have broken up? Good-bye to the matching necklaces, the fan speculation, and dinner dates at Musso & Frank. Below, a full timeline of the relationship between Sandoval and Leviss.


November 7, 2016: Leviss makes her debut on Vanderpump Rules as James Kennedy’s new girlfriend. Introduced as a pageant girl, Leviss is coming to stay with Kennedy in his tiny apartment with a bedsheet wall. Lala Kent discusses Leviss’s move with Sandoval and Ariana Madix, who have been in a relationship for two years at this point.

May 2021: With funding from Sandoval, Kennedy puts on “Rachella,” a mini–music festival during which he proposes to Leviss. Rachella obviously alludes to Coachella — a festival beloved by Sandoval, Madix, Leviss, and Kennedy — but also sounds like Leviss’s birth name, Rachel.

December 5, 2021: Kennedy and Leviss issue a joint statement announcing their separation. “After these 5 wonderful years we had together, we decided we have two different goals and made the decision to call off the engagement,” it read. “We love each other very much, but we aren’t in love anymore.” Leviss keeps their shared dog, Graham.

Covert Ops

April 17, 2022: Leviss posts a pic of her and Sandoval at Coachella, captioning it “I’m on an island.” Later that spring, rumors will break out that Leviss was spotted making out with Tom Schwartz at Coachella. But Tom No. 2 wasn’t even at Coachella.

On her podcast, Sex, Love, and What Else Matters, Kristen Doute said she believes this was the true start of the affair.

August 2, 2022: Madix, Leviss, Kent, Katie Maloney, and Kristina Kelly go on a girls’ trip to Las Vegas and Lake Havasu. During the Vegas leg of the trip, Madix gets a call from Sandoval that her dog, Charlotte, is most likely dying. She leaves to put down her dog. The next day, the remaining women go to Lake Havasu, where Leviss feels bullied enough to cut the trip short. She crashes a “guys’ night,” and this is when Sandoval says the affair started.

During part two of the reunion, Leviss says that Sandoval made her feel “heard” after crashing guys’ night: “Those were feelings that I hadn’t really felt maybe ever.” During part three of the reunion, Madix says that she hopes Charlotte haunts Leviss for what she’s done.

August 26, 2022: Sandoval and Leviss hook up multiple times at Scheana Shay’s wedding to Brock Davies, Leviss confirms during part three of the reunion. Leviss also kisses Schwartz on-camera at the wedding. This is when Schwartz says he found out about the hookup after guys night, but that he thought it was a onetime mistake. In her final confessional, Leviss says this also is when she and Sandoval start regularly having sex.

Labor Day 2022: Sandoval stays at a Labor Day party rather than going to comfort Madix after her grandmother died. Sandoval claims he can’t get an Uber from Long Beach, but Shay’s vlogs later show he wasn’t trying. According to former Vanderpump Rules star Jax Taylor, Sandoval was at that party with Leviss.

September 2022: Cracks in the story begin to appear. Kennedy’s new girlfriend, Ally Lewber, spots Leviss and Sandoval dancing at the Abbey at one in the morning. When questioned about it, Sandoval, Leviss, and Madix all deny that anything fishy is going on. In the season-ten reunion, Sandoval says this is when they first had sex, when according to Leviss it had been going on for a while.

In episode 13, Leviss tells Lisa Vanderpump that she’s late to her SUR shift because she spent the night at Sandoval’s. Sandoval says she “dipped out” but then confirms that she was there. Madix was at her grandmother’s funeral at the time. Throughout the reunion, Sandoval denies that he and Leviss had sex this night, but Leviss confirms it in her final confessional.

In season ten’s would-be finale, Leviss buys a lightning-bolt necklace from L.A. boutique Polkadots & Moonbeams. Fans speculate that Sandoval and Leviss wear matching lightning-bolt necklaces as a secret token of their love, something Leviss confirms in the reunion. Sandoval also uses a lot of lightning-bolt imagery in general with bolts adorning the TomTom logo, his motorcycle and matching sidecar, and his stagewear for Tom Sandoval & the Most Extras.

September 20, 2022: Leviss is spotted riding on Sandoval’s shoulders to get a better view of the stage at Las Vegas’s Life Is Beautiful festival. In the VPR season-ten finale, he says this is when they began their affair in earnest.

October 16, 2022: Leviss shows up to BravoCon day three in a TomTom hoodie. She, Madix, and Andy Cohen adoringly watch a Tom Sandoval & the Most Extras performance — something that Cohen will later look back on with horror. “I was at that show, and I’m standing there and Raquel’s standing behind me and Ariana’s in front of me, and you can see how they’re both looking at Sandoval. It’s wild,” he said on “Radio Andy.”

October 2022: Sandoval dresses up as Leviss for Halloween. Psychosexually-loaded behavior! In part three of the reunion, Madix says she even helped Sandoval with the costume and calls his behavior “demented” in hindsight.

December 2022: Sandoval takes Leviss to his hometown of St. Louis to meet his family, per TMZ and later confirmed by Leviss in the final five minutes of part three of the reunion. According to the tabloid, his parents did not approve of his new secret relationship. But according to Ariana in the post-finale episode of Watch What Happens Live, Sandoval’s family has not reached out to her since the Scandoval broke.

January 2023: In Sandoval’s one-on-one interview with Cohen, this is when Sandoval says he told Schwartz about the affair. Schwartz says this is when Sandoval told him that he was in love with Leviss.

In that same reunion episode, Shay says that Madix and Sandoval had been working on their relationship at that time and were being “more intimate” that whole month.

Also this month: The Toms allegedly go on a vacation with Leviss and Jo Wenberg. “The four of you went to Big Bear together!” Maloney says in the first part of the season-ten reunion. Schwartz asserts that “it was not a double date,” but rather a platonic snowboarding trip. Not even Sandoval backs him up on that. “Raquel hates snowboarding!” Kennedy counters. In an interview on Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright’s podcast, Schwartz says that Sandoval sprung Leviss’s inclusion at the last minute, and that it made him feel very uncomfortable. He says this is when he tried to get Sandoval to come clean with Madix, but that he should have tried harder.

February 8, 2023: Schwartz and Sandoval are guests on WWHL, and fans notice that Schwartz is deferring to Sandoval on every question. On the Call Her Daddy podcast, Madix alleges that Sandoval had Leviss flown to New York. “She was in the hotel room,” she said. “I know for a fact.” Madix later claims that Sandoval had friends pay for hotel rooms and other incriminating things on their credit cards and that Sandoval would later pay them back on Venmo. “I feel like he put people in a position that they felt like they didn’t know what to do,” she said on the podcast. “I can only imagine how that weighed on them.” Madix also theorized that Tom Sandoval & the Most Extras were also a smoke screen for out-of-town rendezvous with Leviss.

March 1, 2023, 5-ish PT: On WWHL, Leviss says she thinks Sandoval is hotter than Schwartz because “he has abs.” This weirds out Cohen and her fellow guest, Shay.


March 1, 2023, 9-ish PT: At a Tom Sandoval & the Most Extras show at TomTom, Madix finds explicit recordings of Sandoval and Leviss on Sandoval’s phone. On Bethenny Frankel’s podcast, Leviss asserts that the FaceTime recordings were taken without her consent. (She claims that Sandoval later admitted on camera to doing so, but boycotted filming so that footage of the confession would be edited out.) Madix calls Leviss, who is out with Shay post-WWHL. The whole mess gets unpacked on two speakerphones with Sandoval and Madix on one end and Leviss and Shay on the other. Leviss confesses, and some sort of physical altercation happens between her and Shay. Leviss alleges on Frankel’s podcast that Shay pushed her against a wall and “socked” her in the eye. During her one-on-one interview with Cohen, Leviss says that Madix thanked her for telling her the truth “‘because Tom never would have told me the truth.’”


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March 3, 2023: Scandoval breaks to the public. The VPR cast unfollows Sandoval and Leviss on IG en masse. That night, former cast member Doute is seen at Sandoval and Madix’s house.

March 4, 2023: Sandoval issues an apology … to Schwartz and his partners in Schwartz & Sandy’s. That same day, Leviss’s alleged crisis PR strategy is leaked to DeuxMoi. The plan is to claim that Leviss was a victim and that the screen recording that started this whole thing was taken without her consent. Sandoval and Leviss are spotted filming at her building that night.

March 5, 2023: Leviss texts an apology to Madix. It doesn’t go over great!

Photo: Bravo

March 7, 2023: Leviss files an order of protection against Shay, which complicates the reunion filming on March 23. Her lawyer also sends out letters to other cast members, which Kent shares on her Instagram Stories. The narrative in the letter fits the PR strategy that was leaked to DeuxMoi but should have been sent to Kent’s lawyer, Darrell Miller. A letter, obtained by Entertainment Tonight, is sent to Sandoval, reminding him of California’s two-way filming consent and revenge-porn laws.

March 23, 2023: The season-ten reunion films, during which Sandoval and Leviss are attacked from all sides. After prodding, both Leviss and Sandoval say they are in love, which Madix calls “an abomination.” After the tense filming, Sandoval takes Leviss to dinner at Musso & Frank. Kent notes on her podcast that it’s the same place Sandoval had taken Madix for their ninth anniversary in January.

March 29, 2023: Raquel Leviss films her final confessionals for season 10, during which producers get her to break out of Tom Sandoval’s coached timeline. She cops to sleeping with Sandoval in Mexico, and at his and Madix’s house while she was away for a funeral. She resists admitting to traveling to St. Louis at Christmas, but eventually admits to that as well. Leviss says that Sandoval will be mad at her when this comes out and that she truly has “no one” now.

April 14, 2023: A rep for Leviss tells People that she has entered a “voluntary facility for mental health counseling.”


May 6, 2023: At a Tom Sandoval & the Most Extras show, Sandoval sings a cover of “Stacy’s Mom” with changed lyrics. It’s now about Schwartzy’s mom. “Schwartzy, can’t you see? / That Raquel is not for me” he sings while wearing an outfit covered in lightning bolts.

May 17, 2023: Shortly before the Vanderpump Rules season-ten finale, an unnamed source tells “Page Six” that Leviss has “dipped out on” Sandoval and that he’s “not the one for her.” But according to Madix on WWHL, Leviss is still sending Sandoval letters. “I don’t buy that at all. She was sending letters to my house like four days ago,” Madix told Cohen. “It was in her handwriting.”

May 28, 2023: TMZ obtains a photo of someone appearing to be Sandoval (peep the white nails) on a Southwest Airlines flight to Pittsburgh. During the trip, he has a more-than-ten-minute conversation with someone saved in his phone as Raquel Leviss.

July 2023: Filming begins on Vanderpump Rules season 11. Leviss is the only cast member from last season who has “dipped out” on the show. In the months following, Madix and Sandoval are spotted at the same events for filming. Also, Tom Schwartz bleaches his hair. Not related, but not not related, you know?

July 16, 2023: Leviss checks out of her mental health facility in Arizona and announces that she is going back to her birth name, Rachel.

August 16, 2023: Rachel Leviss goes on Bethenny Frankel’s podcast for a two-part discussion of Scandoval and its fallout. On the pod, she expresses remorse for the secrets and lies. However, she once again alleges that Sandoval and Madix were roommates/business partners and there was no real relationship to break up. Leviss also says that she and Madix were never friends, and that she only hung out with Madix in group settings to be close to Sandoval. Leviss says that her dalliance with Sandoval was a byproduct of her “love addiction,” which she described as “where you confuse intensity for intimacy.” In the end, she says she didn’t really love Sandoval, and suspects he never loved her either.

August 17, 2023: The second part of Bethenny Frankel’s interview with Rachel Leviss airs. Leviss reiterates her allegations that Shay physically assaulted her, claiming that she still has a scar. She also discusses feeling betrayed by Sandoval’s screen recording. Leviss said that Sandoval’s excuse was that he “wanted me to see it later on to see how beautiful I was.” She claims that he admitted on camera to recording her without permission, but later boycotted filming to get the footage removed. Stassi Schroeder said on her podcast that she had seen men on VPR get things cut by producers that would cast them in a poor light. “You guys have covered for people doing really dark things,” Schroeder said she told producers, clarifying she meant the men on the show. “I can’t even be in the same room as some of these men, and I’ve been getting less screen time as a result of this.” Schroeder said she didn’t want to go public with the things she’s seen because she did wan’t to rob crew of jobs if the show got cancelled from the fallout. “I can heal on my own, and I did,” she said.

According to Leviss, Sandoval was also offered a producer credit on season 11. “I think he was being rewarded for the Scandoval of it all,” she said. “To me, that’s just kinda gross, because it makes me skeptical. Like, was this really just something that was fabricated for this end result?” She adds that she felt like she was selling her soul on the past season of the reality show. But that came without the benefit of a monetary reward, it seems — Leviss said on the podcast that she is now in debt.

August 18, 2023: Part 3 of Leviss’ podcast with Bethenny Frankel drops. Leviss claims that Andy Cohen’s conjecture that she was “heavily medicated” at the reunion felt like a HIPAA violation. She also claims that she was originally going to have a mental health support professional in her trailer during the reunion, but that Bravo took that away when she was “caught” by the paparazzi.

Bravo also denied many of Leviss’ allegations, including that Tom Sandoval was offered a producing credit for season 11 or that he had any say in how season 10 was edited. “Tom Sandoval was never offered a producer credit on Season 11 and had absolutely no creative control over editing during any season of Vanderpump Rules,” the network said in a statement. Leviss said she was not interested in ever returning to reality television, but that she wants to start a podcast about being the other woman. “I feel like this is an area that’s untapped because nobody really wants to talk about being ‘the other woman,’” she said. “For as many people that are hurt by this affair, there is equally as many people that have been that.”

August 25, 2023: Ariana Madix appeared on Scheananigans to discuss Leviss’ statements on Just B. Madix supported Leviss on sending the cease and desist letters that spawned “Send it to Darrell,” but also made clear that she had never shared the video Tom Sandoval allegedly recorded without Leviss’ consent. “That video was gone gone gone gone gone before I ever even called her on the phone,” she said.

Bravo has also officially stated that stars are allowed to break their nondisclosure agreements when pertaining to “unlawful acts in the workplace.” The network said in a statement that “any current or former cast or crew is free to discuss and disclose any allegedly unlawful acts in the workplace, such as harassment or discrimination, or any other conduct they have reason to believe is inappropriate.”

This story is developing.

The Affair of the Lightning-Bolt Necklace