Raquel Leviss believes Lisa Vanderpump, 62, used her dog Graham as “bait” to lure her back to Vanderpump Rules for season 11.
While appearing on Bethenny Frankel‘s podcast, Raquel, 28, recalled how she learned her dog had been reunited with her ex-fiancé, James Kennedy, 31, confirmed her plans to start a podcast of her own, discussed her future family, and looked back on the death threats she received after the reveal of her affair with Tom Sandoval, 40.
“I’m really, really happy that I took the time to go to get treatment at the Meadows,” Raquel said on the August 18 episode of Just B With Bethenny. “Because they did teach a lot about shame, and carried shame, toxic shame, and what healthy shame is. And with all the vitriol online and hate that’s been thrown at me, if I were to take that on as my own, I don’t even know how I would survive.”
Following the news that Sandoval cheated on longtime girlfriend Ariana Madix, 38, with her, Raquel and her family received death threats.
“My parents received them more than I did. I shut off social media pretty early on and thank God I didn’t have my phone while I was in treatment. We got the FBI involved because these things aren’t okay,” she shared. “I think people were seeing red and they were just, like, overcome with these emotions, but not thinking that this is a situation that isn’t so black and white.”
Over five months after the scandal broke, Raquel is living in Arizona and planning to steer clear of her former home in Los Angeles.
“I’m going to be traveling around. I’m not heading back to L.A. anytime soon. So I have some plans to check out different states and different areas. It’s unwritten at this point,” she explained.
As for her future family, Raquel looks forward to meeting someone at some point. But for now, she’s staying single and continuing to focus on her mental health.
“I would love to have a healthy relationship but right now, I am nurturing my house plants and still healing myself so I can break these patterns,” she noted.
Raquel is even planning her own podcast.
“I really am impassioned by learning about myself and the psychology behind all of this and I am taking the steps to start my own podcast,” she confirmed. “I feel like it would be a great way to share my side of the story and bring on experts that really understand the psychology behind it. And I feel like this is an area that’s untapped because nobody really wants to talk about being the other woman as for as many people that are hurt by this affair, there’s equally as many people that have been that [other person].”
When Bethenny, 52, then signaled to the drama surrounding her dog, who was returned to James after being taken to an animal rescue, Raquel detailed the animal’s bad behavior.
“He has a history of aggression and he’s bitten me really hard. He’s bitten other people. I already was considering getting a foster family while going into The Meadows and trying it out. But, my dog Graham bit my mom’s hand down to the bone, and it was so bad she couldn’t even get stitches. And I had the decision to either leave The Meadows and go back and take care of my dog, or try to get him re-homed and finish out my treatment,” she explained.
Because Raquel knew she had more work to do, she chose to stay in treatment and find a breed-specific dog rescue for Graham in hopes of getting him rehomed. But after the rescue center failed to find a home for Graham, they scanned his microchip, realized he was Raquel’s dog, and reached out to Lisa for a donation — even though it was supposed to be a “confidential, anonymous [situation].”
According to Raquel, she had good reason for not wanting the dog with James.
“He doesn’t have dog experience and he’s part of the reason why Graham is a biter. James would encourage Graham to bite his hands hard, and he liked that sensation, so of course that trained Graham to be a biter,” she explained.
Looking back on the moment in which she learned Graham was back with James, Raquel admitted to thinking it was a joke.
“My heart dropped to my stomach. There was a picture of James walking Graham, and I was like, ‘No.’ Immediately, my mom called the foster who was working with Graham, and she said, ‘Oh it’s so lovely, Lisa adopted him,’ and we were like, ‘What?’” she recounted. “It’s just so sick that they’re using Graham as a part of this storyline and to further this villain narrative of mine.”
“So now the narrative is, I dumped my dog at a shelter and he was hours away of being euthanized, and that’s not true,” she added.
Raquel also said she reached out to Lisa with concerns about Graham being in James’ care, only to have Lisa pitch scenes for season 11.
“[I] explained that James isn’t a fit dog parent, and she just was talking about the potential scenes we could film together. She was like, ‘Just come back for one final interview. You can come to Villa Rosa. You can apologize for leaving and disappearing,’” Raquel noted. “She didn’t ask me how I was. She didn’t ask me what I’ve been dealing with since the last time she saw me at the reunion.”
“She almost got me back, because I did wanna share my side of the story… And there was this fire lit beneath me because I was angry that Graham was being used as a pawn in all of this, [but] I really do feel like he was bait, to get me back,” she added.
Vanderpump Rules season 11 is expected to premiere on Bravo sometime later this year or in early 2024.
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