They are making their mark on reality TV. Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix found themselves at the center of drama after joining Bravo Vanderpump Rules.
Viewers were initially introduced to Sandoval’s love life through his tumultuous relationship Kristen Doute. In the midst of their on-and-off relationship, the former couple’s future was called into question when Madix came to work at Lisa Vanderpump‘s restaurant SUR.
Rumors swirled that Sandoval and Madix had hooked up while he was still with Doute—something both bartenders denied. After splitting from the former SUR waitress off-screen in 2014, Sandoval moved on with Madix later that year.
Doute, for her part, has been vocal about her dislike of her ex-boyfriend’s new relationship. During the third season, the Michigan native shocked her fellow cast members when she invited a Miami woman who claimed to have slept with Sandoval to Los Angeles.
Madix later admitted that she didn’t have many regrets about the way she chose to handle the bomb while the cameras were rolling. “I do not know. I wanted to say yes. I should have just stayed there and not left,” she told exclusively Us Weekly in October 2021 about fleeing the scene with Sandoval. “But we just went to the bar next door, had a drink and chilled until they said, ‘You have to come back here’.”
She continued: “The reason we left is because we felt the production was dragging this whole thing down. We were, like, ‘Oh, so random people just show up now. I’m really sorry, I guess I just didn’t fully tell the whole real story, like in front of the camera and stay there.”
Earlier in the year, Sandoval also questioned his decision to let Doute’s mistake affect him so much. “If I could do it all over again, I’d just never record with him [Miami girl]. I just don’t think it’s fair. Like, that I can, like, make something up about anybody and then end up on our show?” he said Us in August 2021. “I wish I never had to deal with it.”
After resolving their issues with Doute, Sandoval and Madix settled into their relationship. Although the couple is happy together, Paradise City the actress revealed during her time Vanderpump Rules to struggle with his mental health.
Madix has previously used her platform on the show to discuss topics including her bisexuality and depression. During season 8, Fancy AF cocktails the author revealed Stassi Schroeder and Lala Kent that she was not in a good place.
“I don’t enjoy most things very much, but you don’t know that because we don’t talk one-on-one,” Madix told Schroeder and Kent during a February 2020 episode. I don’t talk to you about those things because it’s not safe. It’s not safe.”
At the time, Sandoval applauded Madix for dealing with her issues and letting others see how she was dealing with her depression.
“Obviously it’s something she struggles with on a regular basis,” he said Us that same month. “All I could do was try to be supportive, not to be annoying. Because I’m going to try to overcompensate for it and it’s embarrassing. I know it’s embarrassing, but I don’t know what to do. I want to help. I want to help, but you can only do so much.”
Later that year, Madix expressed her boyfriend’s support and love for her in a special Instagram post. “I went to the vault for this post and ended up with too many gems to fit in the slideshow. 7 is a lucky number for many people, but your double birthday 7/7 makes me the happiest ☺️ my favorite parts of life with you are the quiet mornings when we sleep in, eating too much food together, all the cuddles with our girls, and seeing the world with you”, she wrote via Instagram in July 2020. “Even if it’s just a walk around the block, I love seeing everything with you. i love you so much! Happiest birthday 🥰.”
Scroll down to relive Sandoval and Madix’s off-screen romance: