Raquel Leviss Hints at “Vanderpump Rules” Exit, Accuses Bravo of “Exploitation”

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Raquel Leviss is speaking out for the first time since the explosive “Vanderpump Rules” season 10 reunion. On Aug. 16, part one of the 28-year-old reality TV star’s podcast interview with Bethenny Frankel dropped, and Leviss says she’s taken some time to herself to reflect and has finally “come to the place where it makes sense to me.”

Of taking a step back from the spotlight, Leviss said on the “Just B With Bethenny Frankel” podcast, “Part of the reason why I wanted to take some time away is just because it was so chaotic and loud and there was such vitriol online. But then the other part of the reason why I wanted to go to a treatment facility was to understand my behaviors and my goal was to really get down to the bottom of, ‘OK, why am I choosing men that are unavailable? Why do I keep finding myself in unhealthy relationships? What are the things that I need to change about my behavior?’ And in knowing that I needed to make a change, I first had to know what it was that leads to those behaviors.”

The Bravo world was stunned when news broke on March 3 that Leviss’s “Vanderpump Rules” costars Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix had split after nine years together. In the aftermath, it was revealed that Sandoval cheated on Madix with Leviss in a months-long affair. “I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the hurt that I brought to a lot of people. I was not careful with my actions and I was not thinking long-term. I was completely wrapped up in heartbreak and wanting to get certain needs met. Looking back now, I can see that I was still healing from a relationship from somebody who I thought I was going to marry, and in ending that, I still haven’t healed yet,” Leviss told Frankel, referencing her relationship with ex James Kennedy. “When I was filming, I was drinking a lot to ease that anxiety, and in a reality TV environment, I wasn’t getting that safe space for me to express my emotions in a healthy way.”

Leviss also said she still fully stands by her public apology to Madix. “It took me a while to accept, but I learned about love addiction and it’s a real thing. It’s where you confuse intensity for intimacy,” Leviss stated. “And those chemical changes in the brain are the same chemical changes that happen when you take drugs. So it is addictive, and it explains why I couldn’t stop seeing this person, but it also doesn’t excuse the fact that it happened. But now I know better.”

Leviss’s podcast interview marks the first time she’s spoken out since she completed mental health treatment in Arizona. Speaking to Frankel, Leviss said seeking treatment was a “very scary decision to make.” She said, “I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know what to expect going in. I had the option to go straight into the treatment facility before the reunion but I decided to commit to my work obligation and go back and film. But once I filmed the reunion and did that final interview, I took a flight to Phoenix and went straight to the treatment center.” When Frankel asked Leviss if she forgives herself, she said, “Yeah, I do.”

Leviss then accused Bravo of “exploitation,” saying the network was “laughing, running to the bank with this scandal.” Leviss claimed she hasn’t “seen a single penny.” She continued: “It’s not fair. And I feel like a toddler saying, ‘It’s not fair.’ But it really isn’t. And I feel like I’ve been portrayed as the ultimate villain. My mistakes that I’ve made on camera live on forever. And you mentioned something about the addiction of doing reality TV and the way that they always dangle that carrot in front of you, like, ‘Well, you need to tell your side of the story otherwise it’s gonna be written for you.’ And that’s terrifying. So I almost went back, I know just because of that.”

Related: Jax Taylor, Brittany Cartwright, and Kristen Doute to Appear in “Vanderpump Rules” Spinoff

Filming for season 11 of “Vanderpump Rules” is currently underway, and based on Leviss’s comments, it doesn’t sound like she’ll be returning. Entertainment Tonight also reported in June that Leviss still had not signed on for the show. Reps for both Bravo and Leviss did not immediately respond to POPSUGAR’s request for comment.

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