We’re only four episodes into Season 8 of Vanderpump Rules, and we already get a booze-riddled cast trip. This time, the group heads to Miami for a joint bachelor-bachelorette party weekend for Brittany Cartwright and Jax Taylor. And, listen, we love ourselves a wild, raucous cross-country trip dripping with Bravo-lebrities — half of which were wearing “tacky” wedding dresses and had veils of varying lengths clipped on. But we still can’t help but continue to ask ourselves: What’s up with Tom Sandoval? And why are he and Stassi Schroeder still at odds?
Before we get into the Tom-versus-Stassi feud, though, let’s quickly recap the rest of the episode: Ariana Madix accuses Tom Schwartz of not pulling his weight at TomTom. Kristen Doute moves into her new home, and we are reminded of the fact that she and Ariana are actual friends. And, back in Los Angeles, Lisa Vanderpump looks into the dramatic events at TomTom, and Dayna Kathan asks Lisa for advice regarding the whole Scheana Shay-Max Boyens love triangle.
Phew! Now let’s get back to the tension between two of the Vanderpump Rules OGs.
Shorty after the gang lands in Miami, Sandoval “apologizes” to Stassi at the hotel lobby in Miami, but no one buys it. He even backtracks, telling Stassi that the whole ordeal — her planning the book signing through Lisa and Schwartz, and not letting Sandoval know — stressed him out because the event took place outside of normal business hours.
As a reminder, Sandoval rage-texted Stassi, threatening to ban her from TomTom — a text that even Ariana admitted was aggressive, but Sandoval, after all, is the owner of TomTom.
Then, at the book signing, Stassi yelled at Sandoval at TomTom in front of her fans and book signing guests. Fast-forward to this episode when we see Beau Clark, Stassi’s now-fiance, then confronts Sandoval about his behavior, punctuating the confrontation by calling him a “dick.”
But it isn’t just Beau and Stassi who are at odds with Sandoval. Ariana seems to also have beef with Stassi. While they were at the airport, Stassi moved her book, Next Level Basic, from the back of the store to the front, to which Ariana apparently said “twice” to Sandoval, “I was in that bookstore for 45 minutes, and I didn’t see [Stassi’s book] in there.”
“There is a spiky-ass stick up their butts,” Stassi later says of the couple.
Ariana told ET a different story, though, saying that she and Tom were excited for Stassi’s book to do well. “The conspiracy theory of the jealousy thing I just thought was so insane,” she says. “We had conversations with our publisher about how that is such a good thing for us. So, even if we didn’t love and care about her, even on the most selfish level, it’s just like, that’s insane. But, you know, it is what it is and I don’t think anything I said was gonna change anybody’s mind that day.”
So, what’s with this tension? We’ve known that Stassi and Sandoval haven’t seen eye-to-eye since Season 1; and in the Season 4 reunion, Sandoval insinuated that Stassi was calculated when she reached out to Schwartz to apologize and possibly get in good graces with Katie.
But, this season, their beef has undoubtedly intensified and reached an all-time high. And, according to ET, the drama will continue to play out for at least one more episode. “I think that there’s definitely some fallout that you’ll see,” Ariana says.
Some viewers have theories as to why we’re seeing this feud play out this season. For example, u/Amorphous_Goose on Reddit hypothesizes, in short, that Tom sent the text to Stassi because he doesn’t trust production, Schwartz, nor Stassi with his reputation. “Sandoval texts Stassi out of sheer desperation. He thinks the event is going to be portrayed as a disaster. He doesn’t trust Schwartz to handle it. I’d even go so far as to say production told him ‘leave it to Schwartz’ because his boy’s night was scheduled when Schwartz was touring TomTom. If it was SO IMPORTANT why wasn’t he preparing his restaurant with Schwartz?”
And u/danxingdasies explains on Reddit why the fight at TomTom couldn’t possibly be staged: Tom wouldn’t dare agree to script a scene that made him look bad “or like not the good guy.” “I don’t see him agreeing to let Stassi talk to him this way in his own restaurant or in any scene,” they wrote. One look at the comments, however, show that many are firmly of the belief that the TomTom fight was, in fact, staged.
Is this feud faked for the cameras? Is it just another storyline to keep fans entertained? And if not, who’s right and who’s in the wrong? Guess we’ll have to wait until next week’s episode to watch this Stassi-Sandoval storyline continue to unravel.