Oliver Saunders Defends Raquel Over Tom Sandoval Affair: 'It's a Mistake'

On her side. Oliver Saunders is asking Vanderpump Rules fans to give Raquel Leviss a break for her involvement in Tom Sandoval‘s cheating scandal.

‘Vanderpump Rules’ Star Raquel Leviss’ Dating History: James Kennedy, More

Garcelle Beauvais‘ eldest child, 32, who hooked up with Leviss, 28, in August 2022, defended the beauty queen in the aftermath of the affair. “It rubs me the wrong way how many people I feel like are so quick to judge or say negative things about somebody without really, genuinely knowing the person. You gotta give her a break,” Saunders said on the Monday, April 3, episode of “The Sarah Fraser Show” podcast. “It’s a mistake, and we all make mistakes.”

The Vanderpump à Paris waiter noted that he previously crossed paths with Sandoval’s ex-girlfriend Ariana Madix. After referring to Madix, 37, as “a sweetheart,” Saunders argued that Bravo viewers shouldn’t take their anger out on Leviss.

“I guess it wasn’t the right thing to do to one of her friends, but she is living her life, and everybody makes mistakes,” he explained. “It’s crazy that so many people want to try to crucify her for this or say this about her as if they have never made a mistake or made the wrong choice before. It’s a human thing.”

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Saunders added: “Yes, she shouldn’t have been hooking up with our friend’s dude, but we all make mistakes. I don’t think you can really judge somebody’s whole character by just one action that’s happened.”

Following her November 2021 split from fiancé James Kennedy, Leviss had a steamy encounter with Saunders, which was documented during season 10 of Vanderpump Rules. That same month, Us Weekly confirmed that the California native got cozy with Tom Schwartz at Scheana Shay and Brock Davies‘ wedding.

During a March episode of the reality series, Leviss’ costars questioned her dating preferences after Lala Kent initially showed interest in Saunders during a girls trip to Las Vegas. (Her flirty relationship with Schwartz, 40, meanwhile, took off as he was was going through his divorce from Katie Maloney.)

“Raquel why are you like this?” Maloney, 36, who split from Schwartz in May 2022, asked Leviss in the episode. “I am starting to see a pattern in Raquel. It seems like she is only interested in men that her friends are either married to or interested in. That’s a big red flag for me.”

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The model, however, defended her decision to pursue Saunders after getting permission from Kent, 32, saying, “It is a little weird that Lala of all people is schooling me about respecting relationships when she is the one who slept with my boyfriend [James]. This is textbook definition of a hypocrite,” she said about Saunders, who was married to Samantha Saunders at the time. (Oliver reportedly filed for divorce in January.)

As drama continued to unfold on screen, news broke in March that Sandoval, 40, and Madix called it quits after nearly a decade of dating due to his infidelity. Leviss broke her silence about the drama with a public statement later that month.

“I want to apologize for my actions and my choices foremost to Ariana, and to my friends and the fans so invested in our relationships. There is no excuse, I am not a victim and I must own my actions and I deeply regret hurting Ariana,” she wrote via Instagram on March 8.

The reality star noted that she was going to speak to “a counselor” about her issues. “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,” she continued. “I am taking steps to understand my behavior and make healthier choices.”

Everything to Know About Tom Sandoval, Raquel Leviss’ Affair, Ariana Split

In a second statement, Leviss offered an update on where she stands with Sandoval after several of their costars publicly sided with Madix.

“Besides the indefensible circumstances surrounding our relationship, my feelings for Tom have always been sincere and born out of a loving friendship,” she wrote via her Instagram Story on March 9. “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. I care for Tom and I don’t want to label anything or predict what lies ahead. Right now I need to heal.”

Meanwhile, the TomTom co-owner admitted he had some regrets about how the situation played out. “Hindsight’s always 20/20. Like, if you look back at a situation, you think of all the things you should have, would have done better,” he told TMZ on March 27.

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With plenty more drama to come, viewers can expect to see more of Oliver later in the season. “We do have an episode that’s coming out in the next week or two, I believe. I went to Pump with my mother and Lisa [Vanderpump], and then me and Raquel went out to dinner in Beverly Hills,” he said on Monday. “We spoke a little after that, but you know she’s got a lot going on.”

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