Ariana Madix Reflects on “Devastating” Tom Sandoval Scandal During DWTS Debut

Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix opened up about moving on from ex Tom Sandoval and the aftermath of his affair during her DWTS debut: "My scandal does not define me."

By Kisha Forde Sep 27, 2023 12:12 PMTags
Watch: Exes Tom Sandoval & Ariana Madix Reunite in New Photo

Ariana Madix is waltzing into a new chapter in her life.

The Vanderpump Rules star hit the ballroom floor for the first time during the season 32 premiere of Dancing With the Stars. And prior to completing her red-hot dance routine with partner Pasha Pashkov, the Bravo star reflected on the scandal surrounding her split from ex Tom Sandoval, who had a months-long affair with former costar Rachel "Raquel" Leviss.

"My life has been a rollercoaster in the past year," Ariana said during the show's pre-taped segment. "Everybody got to watch it all play out and my life blow up on television."

But as Ariana—who has since moved on with Daniel Wai—noted, Scandoval "does not define" her.

"I just want to do something that is for me and positive," she continued. "It's time for me to stand on my own two feet. Feeling like you were a joke to your partner of nine years is devastating, but I want to show other women that you don't have to let that hold you back."

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And now she's more than ready to quickstep past all the drama. 

"This is going to be a more confident, fun and vibrant version of myself," Ariana shared, "because I don't need anybody else. I love me."

As for her routine, the reality star and her ballroom pro partner fittingly performed their tango to Hailee Steinfeld's "Love Myself," with the Something About Her co-owner wearing a shimmering version of the revenge dress she wore for the Vanderpump Rules season 10 reunion.

ABC/Eric McCandless

And her performance wasn't just a hit with fans, as she and Pasha earned a total score of 21, which led them to tie for second place with Jason Mraz and Daniella Karagach. Bachelorette star Charity Lawson and her partner Artem Chigvintsev earned the top spot of the night with a total score of 22.

Dancing With the Stars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Keep reading to see every member of the season 32 cast.

Barry Williams

The Brady Bunch actor will be dancing with Peta Murgatroyd.

Matt Walsh

The Veep alum is paired with Koko Iwasaki.

Mauricio Umansky

The real estate broker—who recently separated from wife Kyle Richards—is partnered with Emma Slater.

Mira Sorvino

The Oscar winner will be dancing with Gleb Savchenko.

Lele Pons

The social media star will be dancing with Brandon Armstrong.

Adrian Peterson

The football player is partnered with Britt Stewart.

Jason Mraz

The Grammy winner is partnered with Daniella Karagach.

Harry Jowsey

The Too Hot to Handle star is paired with Rylee Arnold.

Alyson Hannigan

The How I Met Your Mother alum will be paired with Sasha Farber.

Xochitl Gomez

The Marvel star will be partnered with Val Chmerkovskiy.

Tyson Beckford

The supermodel is paired with Jenna Johnson.

Ariana Madix

The Vanderpump Rules star is partnered with Pasha Pashkov.

Charity Lawson

The Bachelorette star is paired with Artem Chigvintsev.

Jamie Lynn Spears

The Zoey 102 star is partnered with Alan Bersten.

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