Lisa Vanderpump Discusses Ariana’s Potential Exit, If They’re Feuding, and Lala Nearly Quitting Vanderpump Rules, Plus VPR Pause, Ann Maddox’s Future on Show, and Credits Stassi for Start of Series

by Lindsay Cronin Comments
Lisa Vanderpump on Ariana's Potential Exit, If They're Feuding, and Lala Nearly Quitting, Plus VPR Pause, Ann Maddox's Future on Show, and Credits Stassi for Start of Series

Credit: Bryan Steffy/Todd Williamson/Bravo

Lisa Vanderpump weighed in on Ariana Madix‘s potential exit from Vanderpump Rules on a podcast on Tuesday.

As the series remains on “pause” ahead of its 12th season, Lisa, 63, looked back on Ariana’s 11th season, sharing her thoughts on her refusal to speak with Tom Sandoval, 41, and the cast’s reaction to it while also reflecting on Lala Kent‘s near-exit from the show, crediting Stassi Schroeder, 35, for setting the groundwork needed to get the series off the ground, and more.

“I think it would be brave of her because she’s been a cast member a long time and your pay goes up exponentially the longer you stay on a show,” Lisa said on the June 18 episode of Not Skinny But Not Fat after being asked if Ariana, 38, would quit.

According to Lisa, she feels Ariana would do okay without Pump Rules — “if she could find a job in musical theater, which is hard to do.”

“She’s coming back [to Broadway]. I don’t know [if I’ll make it]. I’d like to see her, though,” Lisa continued.

While there have been reports suggesting Ariana is mad at Lisa for being Team Tom, Lisa denied any such thing, clarifying that she is not Team Tom.

“No, I’m definitely not on Team Tom. I’m on Team Vanderpump. I’m on Team Mediator. I was disgusted by the whole thing, I just, the whole thing felt very grubby. But when Tom was really struggling … I was like, ‘This is too much,’” Lisa said, giving a nod to the hatred Sandoval received after his affair with Rachel “Raquel” Leviss, 29, was made public.

Lisa also didn’t agree with Lala and Scheana Shay, 39, who were critical of Ariana for refusing to speak to Sandoval for the finale.

“Would you want to have the conversation?” she asked. “They felt, for the show, they put everything out there, and they felt if she can live in the same house, it felt like, ‘Come on, you can’t keep saying, I’m not talking to you.’ People want to know how you feel. [But] listen, it’s up to them to make decisions. This show isn’t produced.”

Although Scheana suggested that she and Lala felt pushed by Bravo into creating more drama than was natural, Lisa said she didn’t appreciate the network being attacked.

“This is what I don’t like, the claims against Bravo. ‘You’re made to drink.’ No, I’m not. You’ve seen me on reality television for 15 years. You drink if you wanna drink,” she noted, not mentioning her castmates by name.

As for Lala’s near-departure, Lisa said she talked her out of the idea.

“Lala, she was another one that was gonna walk away. I was like, ‘You get back here.’ A lot of potential. She was gonna walk away from it, I’m like, ‘No, I’m not letting you do that,’” Lala recalled.

During the 11th season of Pump Rules, Lala suffered falling outs with both Ariana and Katie Maloney, 37, who she accused of failing to express her true feelings about what Ariana was and wasn’t sharing on the show.

“These young people, their friendships changed like you change your socks. It moves so quickly. Before you know it they’ll be, but at the time, they had valid feelings and I think they should express them,” Lisa said in response to the drama.

For now, the cast is taking a cooling-off period.

“I’m very busy right now … I’m opening a new restaurant in Flamingo in Vegas in September. They want to bring it back later,” Lisa explained. “The whole thing has to breathe a bit. Let’s be honest, with this group, you could film them 52 weeks a year because it’s an authentic story where they’re in and out of each other’s vaginas and lives all day long.”

Amid season 11, fans were introduced to Ann Maddox, Sandoval’s ex-assistant who ultimately began working with Ariana and Katie at their newly-opened sandwich shop, Something About Her.

“[Ann]’s been stolen from Sandoval by Ariana. I said, ‘If she can be stolen from Tom, can I steal her from Ariana?’ Not that I want [an assistant] or need one. I am my people,” Lisa said of the unexpected fan-favorite.

“I have a housekeeper but not an assistant. I’m pretty self-sufficient,” she continued. “It’s kind of weird for me when they’re on Vanderpump Rules and I have to speak to their assistant when I don’t have one. I have a big company but I like to keep my hands on everything.”

As for Ann’s future on Pump Rules, Lisa suggested viewers would see more.

“[Ann] loves it. She’s gleeful for the camera time and if she loves it so much and she’s a good assistant, there’s room for her on the show,” she teased.

When Lisa was then asked whose restaurant she’d visit out of Something About Her, Schwartz & Sandy’s, and Jax’s Studio City, she chose Schwartz & Sandy’s.

“Well, I love Schwartz,” she explained. “I hope for Schwartz that he gets to a point where he can actually say what he’s thinking and do what he’s supposed to be doing without worrying about anybody else. That’s what I hope for him. He’s very smart and he’s articulate as well.”

Looking back on all the backlash Sandoval received for his affair, Lisa admitted to feeling compassion.

“How much can one person take? Sometimes people are a**holes. They are and they don’t get literally the headlines in CNN. It became a little too overreactive and I worry about people’s mental health. I think the pressure gets too much,” she reasoned.

According to Lisa, it was Stassi who set the stage for Pump Rules when it began in 2013.

“Stassi set the stage … she was very open. She didn’t give a sh*t. She’s like James Kennedy. ‘I’m gonna say what I’m gonna say and I don’t care if there’s cameras over there because I’m just gonna do it.’ That’s how she was,” Lisa stated. “And that kind of set the stage for a great reality show and then it was obviously the fractious relationship between her and [Jax Taylor].”

Years after Stassi was fired from Pump Rules for her racially charged behavior of the past, Lisa said the two of them are still in touch.

“I like Stassi a lot, I think Stassi has always had so much potential and it was very sad when she was let go,” she admitted. “It was a sign of the times of what was happening in the zeitgeist of people saying ‘no this isn’t right’ and I understood their decision. The decision was made. It was way up above, It was people, it was a knee-jerk reunion. Maybe it wasn’t. Bravo thought it through but I wasn’t part of that. But I couldn’t stop it. It was like a runaway train. She thought she was invincible. And for me, I would rather watch young people learn from their mistakes.”

Speaking of young people who learn from their mistakes, Lisa applauded James, 32, for his growth.

“I love James. Does he get it wrong? Yeah, but look at the growth,” she noted. “I thought he had potential and he’s probably the most interesting, along with Stassi, reality star that I’ve ever worked with. James is an open book. He’s very interesting, the fact that what he’s thinking, he says. He almost can’t stop himself so there’s been a lot of talking to him and drinking is his enemy. He should never drink again I’ve been very honest with him about that. He’s come a long way.”

Lisa is also a fan of James’ girlfriend, Ally Lewber, 28.

“Very much. It’s pretty quick and he’s a lot to handle but I know he truly loves her … I think he’s so in love with Ally now. He loves hard. He’s in it,” she described.

Also during the appearance, Lisa said that despite Sandoval’s missteps, he’s been a great friend to the cast.

“He’s been an extraordinary friend to many of them. Look at James’ engagement. Look at Scheana. I think she loved Tom as a friend and they worked together for years before they were on [Pump Rules],” she pointed out.

Lisa then said that Sandoval helped another one of her employees by giving him money during hard times — just as he did with Scheana.

“Nobody knew this but that is Tom Sandoval,” Lisa shared. “He can be a very good friend and very caring. I always saw that. James saw that. Scheana saw that. There’s a lot of good in Tom Sandoval, just not the part he put in Raquel.”