'Vanderpump Rules': Tom Schwartz had 'a legit, mini identity crisis' during Tom Sandoval drama

"My whole life became mired in someone else's drama," Schwartz said

'Vanderpump Rules': Tom Schwartz had 'a legit, mini identity crisis' during Tom Sandoval drama (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images)
'Vanderpump Rules': Tom Schwartz had 'a legit, mini identity crisis' during Tom Sandoval drama (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images)

While Tom Schwartz tried to bring the Vanderpump Rules (new episodes Tuesdays on Hayu in Canada) cast together with a trip to Tahoe, this week's episode involved Lala Kent and Tom Sandoval getting into a heated argument, leading to her calling him out for "grooming" Rachel Leviss.

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Even before Season 11 began, fans of the series were wondering if we were looking towards a season where the intention will be some sort of redemption arc for Sandoval, with situations created to lead the cast to communicate with him, after the cheating scandal that became a cultural phenomenon.

Seemingly, Schwartz has really been the only friend in the cast Sandoval has left, but as we saw earlier in the season, Schwartz also had to talk to his friend about leaving some space between them. Specifically, trying to distance himself from having to answer for his friend's actions, and questioned about his loyalty.

"It's like going through a breakup, or a break, we never broke up," Schwartz told Yahoo Canada in Toronto last month. "I love Tom, but it's like, I had a legit, mini identity crisis."

"My whole life became mired in someone else's drama, soap opera, or whatever you want to call it, unfortunate incident, and it sucked. There was serious collateral damage, not just for me, but our business too, that we just opened. So it was traumatizing. So I did take some much needed time away from Tom Sandoval because my life got consumed and sort of ... got contaminated."

In reflecting on how he responded to this drama, Schwartz admitted that maybe taking a strong stance against Sandoval and Leviss' actions could have curbed that pressure he faced.

"Maybe some of that's on me too, just for being so checked out on my own little world, and maybe not holding them more accountable, I guess," Schwartz said.

Tom Schwartz's 'ultimate red flag' on a date

But we still have plenty of episodes to go in Season 11 of Vanderpump Rules, including a love triangle between Schwartz, his ex Katie Maloney and Tori Keeth, who was initially introduced in the season as Scheana Shay's friend.

"That's my friend Tori. She's really cool. She's got a burgeoning music career work," Schwartz teased. "I think it's really fun, with a little healthy competition between me and the ex."

While relationship rumours keep swirling around Schwartz, most recently that he's dating 23-year-old Sophia Skoro after she posted a video of them together in Las Vegas, he revealed his "ultimate first date red flag" is when someone is rude to a bartender or server at a restaurant.

"If I'm on a date, or hanging out with someone, if they're rude to a bartender or server, they're pretty much dead to me," Schwartz said. "I'm taking a break from you for at least a week, if not permanently cutting you off."

"Don't be a d*ck to your servers, very important, or your any of your waitstaff, or the kitchen staff. ... It's a f**king grind that business, give them some grace, show them some love. I know tipping culture is a little controversial, but give them a nice 25, 30 per cent tip, if you can."

In terms of where Schwartz's relationship stands with Maloney these days, he said it's a "work in progress."

"It feels very peaceful and we're cool," Schwartz said.

"We're not talking on a daily basis, maybe not even a weekly basis, but we exchange the dogs. ... We'll still send each other TikToks or the occasional meme. Or when I have the dogs for longer than usual, I'll send her a video update on the boys, or if they're fresh from the groomer, she always loves that. ... I have nothing but love for Katie. I mean that from the bottom of my heart, so I'm always rooting for her."