Katie Maloney opened up about her recent split from Tom Schwartz on Friday’s episode of her Dear Media podcast.
After making the breakup official on Instagram on Tuesday after spending “a little over a month” separated, the Vanderpump Rules cast member admitted that while the split is “still a tender topic,” she plans to continue to speak openly about her decision to end her marriage.
“I realized that I had to really start prioritizing myself and my happiness,” Katie said on the March 18 episode of You’re Going to Love Me, via Us Weekly. “It just needed to happen. That’s just what everything inside of me was saying… It got to a point where I just felt like I was going to burst.”
In the months leading up to her and Tom’s breakup, Katie felt she was becoming more and more “disconnected” and after suppressing the negative thoughts she was having about her marriage “for a long time,” she eventually couldn’t deny her emotions any longer.
“I wanted to push them out of my head because I love Tom. We have built a life together, he was my person and I wanted to be with him forever. But ultimately, I just wasn’t happy,” she admitted. “There wasn’t some crazy fight that resulted in this. It was my decision, which was probably the hardest and most painful decision I’ve ever had to make.”
“I had really prioritized Tom, our relationship, and our future and wanted to plan for that so badly. But I didn’t often prioritize myself or my happiness. That was really what was weighing on me,” she continued. “I love being with him. But ultimately, I was just not fulfilled.”
As she prepares to move forward, Katie said she and Tom are still living together as they continue to process their emotions. And, while she has felt a sense of embarrassment over her “failure” to make her marriage work, Katie said she’s grateful that she and Tom don’t have resentment or animosity for one another.
“The fact that we have so much love for one another still and can end the marriage on a positive note and transition into a beautiful friendship — that was the foundation of our relationship. That was the core of it. We’ve had an amazing friendship throughout these years. The romantic side is over but the friendship is still there,” Katie explained.
According to another report, Katie is “looking forward to what’s next.”
“Katie is handling the separation better than expected,” an insider told Hollywood Life on March 16. “She knows she’s young enough to completely start over and find someone who makes her happy. A piece of her will always love Tom, but they really had grown apart over the years.”
While divorce is never easy, Katie is thankful for her girlfriends and has been “leaning heavily” on Stassi Schroeder and Lala Kent.
“Katie loves that she has another single friend now in Lala so they can support each other and know what the other is going through,” the insider noted, giving a nod to Lala’s October 2021 split from Randall Emmett.
“As much as their friends would love to see them get back together, it really does feel final this time. Not only to their friends, but to Katie and Tom, as well. They’ve grown a lot as individuals while in their relationship and they’ve really discussed this thoroughly before making the decision to split,” the source added.
Amid Dear Media’s Women’s History Month celebration, Katie shared a Q&A on her Instagram Story in which she described her “most empowering moment.”
“I choose myself, in any form,” Katie wrote, via PEOPLE. “Accept and love myself and don’t back down.”
She also noted that Women’s History Month is “a reminder that women are powerful and have the ability to run the world” and said that the best advice she’s ever received is that “if you’re being true to yourself you will never have any regrets.”
And following a report claiming Tom had moved out of the $1.9 million home he shares with Katie, and was now staying at the home of Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval , Ariana took to her Instagram Stories on March 19 to deny the claims.
“Nobody is crashing at our house. Stop saying that,” wrote Ariana.
Bravo has not yet renewed Vanderpump Rules for a 10th season.