Raquel Leviss Reveals Status of Tom Sandoval Relationship: 'I Care About Tom' but 'I Need Time to Heal'

The Vanderpump Rules star exclusively tells PEOPLE she doesn't "want to label anything" as she faces the fallout of the affair that led to Sandoval and Ariana Madix ending their nine-year relationship

Raquel Leviss is breaking her silence on where she currently stands with her Vanderpump Rules costar, Tom Sandoval.

One week after their alleged months-long affair was made public, the Bravo star, 28, is speaking out to PEOPLE about the status of their relationship — and why she's remaining focused on herself.

"Besides the indefensible circumstances surrounding our relationship, my feelings for Tom have always been sincere and born out of a loving friendship," she tells PEOPLE exclusively. "Knowing how many people we hurt, I need to understand my choices and learn to make better ones."

"I need to take care of my health, work on self growth and take time to be ok with being alone," she continues. "I care for Tom and I don't want to label anything or predict what lies ahead. Right now I need to heal."

Last week, Sandoval's ex-girlfriend Ariana Madix discovered that he had been cheating on her with Leviss after she found an intimate video and "inappropriate" messages between the two on his phone while he was performing with his band, Tom Sandoval & the Most Extras.

Raquel Leviss; Tom Sandoval
Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images; Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images

The video in question was "a FaceTime call between Tom and Raquel. It had been screen-recorded by Tom. When Ariana found it on Tom's phone, she recorded it and sent [it] to herself," a source told PEOPLE.

Leviss' attorneys later sent a legal notice to Sandoval, Madix and her VPR costars to stop the spread of the video. The attorneys claimed the video was recorded "illegally" and "without the permission" of Leviss. In the letter addressed to Sandoval, 40, it detailed him as the person who allegedly recorded it.

The reality star's lawyers ordered that anyone who has access to the recording delete it from their phones, the cloud or "any other manner or method in which the recording may exist." They also demanded to be informed of "all people to whom you have forwarded this recording or who you may have allowed to view this recording."

Ariana Madix attends the Friends and Family Opening at Schwartz & Sandy's with the cast of "Vanderpump Rules" at Schwartz & Sandy's Lounge on July 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images); Tom Sandoval arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of Universal Pictures' 'Jurassic World Dominion' on June 06, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/WireImage); Raquel Leviss -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images)
Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss. Amanda Edwards/Getty; Emma McIntyre/WireImage; Charles Sykes/Bravo/Getty

In the letter to Madix, lawyers noted that while they "appreciate the distress that this may have caused you," it is illegal to re-record the footage and could expose her to "criminal and civil penalties."

After Madix discovered the recording, a source told PEOPLE that she was "completely blindsided."

"This is someone she thought she knew; someone she planned to spend the rest of her life with. You can't even put into words that betrayal," the source shared.

By Friday afternoon, sources confirmed to PEOPLE that the two were done. They had been in a monogamous relationship for nine years.

RELATED VIDEO: Vanderpump Rules Stars Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix Split as Cameras Pick Back Up for Bravo Show

The secret romance between Sandoval and Leviss has been going on "for upwards of 6 months," an insider said — "all the while, Tom was sleeping next to Ariana in bed."

"Ariana had been there for Raquel when she went through her split with James [Kennedy]. She thought they were friends," a second source said. "This isn't something you do to a friend."

Most recently, Leviss has been granted a temporary restraining order against VPR costar Scheana Shay. In the filing, obtained by PEOPLE, Leviss claimed that she suffered injuries after an alleged altercation between her and Shay, 37, at around 1:30 a.m. last Thursday.

The Bravo star alleged that she was pushed against a brick wall, which caused an injury to the back of her head before Shay "punched me in the face causing injury to my left eye." She described having "[a] black eye and cut/scar to left eyebrow, blurred vision & swelling to left eye" following the attack.

Leviss also issued an apology to Madix earlier on Wednesday, telling Entertainment Tonight that she was not proud of her actions.

"There is no excuse, I am not a victim and I must own my actions and I deeply regret hurting Ariana. I am reflecting on my choices, speaking to a counselor and I am learning things about myself such as my patterns of codependency and addiction to being and feeling loved," she wrote in part. "I have sought emotional validation through intimate connections that are not healthy without regard for my own well-being, sometimes negatively affecting others and often prioritizing the intimate connection over my friendships."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Vanderpump Rules airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

Related Articles