Months after the Vanderpump Rules star, 38, caught Sandoval cheating on her with her close friend and co-star, Rachel “Raquel” Leviss, 29, in what became known as “Scandoval,” Ariana spoke of their nine-year relationship, gushed over boyfriend Daniel Wai, discussed her experience on Dancing With the Stars, and more.
“This situation made me realize that I can do hard things,” Ariana said of Sandoval and Raquel’s affair during an October 18 interview with Us Weekly. “The worst-case scenario literally did happen, and I was OK. Like, look — you can handle what’s thrown at you.”
Following the news in March, Ariana took time off social media as she attempted to process the end of her near-decade-long relationship with Sandoval, as well as her years-long friendship with Raquel.
“I was off social media initially, so friends filled me in here and there. I was like, ‘This is crazy,’ but it was also happening in the midst of not eating and not sleeping. It was a weird juxtaposition of emotions and feelings,” she said of the massive amount of attention the scandal received.
As Ariana was embraced by Pump Rules viewers and even people who hadn’t seen the show, the Bravo series saw a huge ratings boost, which Ariana had mixed feelings about.
“I’m happy about that, but it’s also my real life. Sometimes that line is blurred, but of course, I want the show to do well,” she noted.
In addition to “Scandoval” driving tons of people to tune into the 10th season of Pump Rules, it also landed Ariana partnerships with major companies, including BIC, T-Mobile, and Bloomingdales, and a role on DWTS.
“I’m having the best time. If I could do rehearsals and performances every day for the rest of my life, I’d be happy. I find it so rewarding and fun,” Ariana said.
“I’ve really connected with [Lele Pons]. We’re very similar, and she’s just so fun. [Barry Williams] is so lovely. I’ve made friends with some of the pros, too. There isn’t anyone I don’t love,” she continued after being asked which of her co-stars she’s closest with.
But that’s not to say that the series isn’t challenging. In fact, Ariana said the hardest part is “the wear and tear on the body.”
“Regardless of being in shape or not, you’re not dancing in heels every day. That starts to affect you in ways you didn’t expect,” she explained. “[It’s] intense — I spend a lot of time icing my feet at home.”
With a lot on her plate, Ariana admitted to struggling with balance and revealed she has “no social life” at the moment. She credited the therapy she underwent after “Scandoval” for helping her through her current schedule.
“Therapy helped 100 percent. Some of the work I was doing in therapy right before all of this set me up to be in a much better position. It could’ve been so much worse,” she stated.
Following the completion of filming on Pump Rules season 11, Ariana reacted to the idea of a spinoff, saying, “Sure. Why not?”
“[I’d bring] all the girls. And [James Kennedy],” she noted.
As Pump Rules fans have seen, Ariana’s co-stars, including Lala Kent, 33, Scheana Shay, 38, and Katie Maloney, 36, rallied around her in support after Sandoval’s cheating scandal and remained close by as she moved forward from it.
“They’ve been there for me, physically in the sense of coming over or giving me a place to go, and giving me advice and being there to cheer me up,” she revealed.
Also supportive in recent months has been her boyfriend Daniel, who Ariana confirmed she’s “exclusive” with.
“It’s awesome. He’s incredibly supportive. He sacrifices his sleep and time to help me with anything I need, and then he takes a red-eye back and goes straight to work. He’ll clean up things that are left out and [does] little things you don’t really think about. When I come home from the show and everything’s clean and there’s food in the fridge that he made, it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s so nice,'” she gushed.
While Ariana began dating Daniel in April, just one month after Sandoval’s affair with Raquel was made public, she confessed to being nervous about the new relationship.
“I’m nervous about everything all the time. [Laughs.] It’s just part of my personality,” she explained.
“They’re still on ice, so that’s good,” she clarified.
Looking back on the outbreak of drama that followed the exposing of Sandoval and Raquel’s secret romance, Ariana said one thing in particular stood out.
“I can’t believe there was a mention made during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The president heard it. I was like, ‘That’s awesome,'” she recalled.
Then, after confirming her feelings towards Sandoval and Raquel have not changed, Ariana shaded Sandoval as she offered some advice for her younger self.
“Don’t date abusive men who won’t let you shine and be on a TV show — because that’s what was going on and why I didn’t want to be on camera,” she stated.
Also during the interview, Ariana looked to her future, saying that in addition to doing more acting, she’d love to appear as a judge on Top Chef, purchase her own place, and appear on Broadway.
“I dreamed about that when I was a little kid and still do. I’d [also] love to host my own dating show — specifically a queer dating show. There needs to be more of that,” she noted, adding, “I’d love to be living in Ojai [California] and have goats and a small but successful goat cheese business.”
Vandeprump Rules season 11 is expected to begin airing on Bravo later this year or in early 2024.