“I was actually planning on leaving him when he went to London to visit his dad,” the California native, who announced the split in December 2022, recalled. “No [I wasn’t going to tell him]. I was going to pack up all my stuff and leave the ring box with the ring in it with a note.”
Raquel said she struggled with the next chapter of her life after the breakup, adding, “I feel like in a relationship like that where I am so focused on James, I lost my identity and now being single is my new identity.”
As the beauty pageant contestant continued to discuss her personal life, she started to cry on screen.
“Literally people have been asking, ‘Raquel who are you?’ And my answer is ‘I don’t know.’” Raquel said before she started having trouble breathing. “I am just trying to figure out my life. I don’t feel good — I feel shaky.”
Raquel’s costars helped her work through her anxiety before they kept traveling on their girl’s trip. “I don’t know [how to let things go]. I beat myself up over everything,” she told Lala, 32, Katie, 36, and Kristina about addressing her issues.
James, 31, and Raquel surprised Vanderpump Rules viewers — and their costars — when they announced their decision to part ways at the season 9 reunion.
“We have decided to break off the engagement. It’s been something that I have been thinking about for a while, and I think that James has noticed that my heart hasn’t been fully in it,” Raquel shared during the January 2022 special. “I didn’t want to give up on him because he really has shown me how dedicated he is to me and the things that he is willing to do to better himself. But I feel like it is something deep within. I have been having nightmares about our wedding day, and I think that’s a telltale sign that something is wrong.”
After filming began on season 10, Us Weekly confirmed that Tom Schwartz hooked up with Raquel at Scheana Shay and Brock Davies‘ August 2022 wedding. As new episodes continued to be released, news broke off screen in March that Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix called it quits after nearly a decade because he cheated with Raquel.
In response to the drama, Raquel took to social media to issue a public apology to Ariana, 37. “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 Bravo star explained 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.”
That same day, Raquel opened up about where she and Sandoval, 40, stand now. “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 Instagram. “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.”
Sandoval, for his part, “liked” Raquel’s message about their relationship. He also requested that viewers not take out their anger on his restaurants before posting a second message which addressed his now-ex-girlfriend amid backlash.
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Scroll on for details on Raquel’s onscreen anxiety issues before the Scandoval drama: