From workers to friends. Tom Sandoval and Billie Lee first grew to become associates after the then-SUR hostess joined the forged of Vanderpump Guidelines.
Whereas Sandoval has been a mainstay on the Bravo hit since its first season in 2013, Lee joined in 2018. Throughout her debut 12 months at SUR, Lee — who was the present’s first transgender forged member — shortly hit it off with the TomTom founder and then-girlfriend Ariana Madix. The comic even went on an on-camera date with Ariana’s brother, Jeremy Madix.
“I really like Ariana, so it simply actually type of scared me and I did get a little bit nervous earlier than my date [with her brother],” Lee exclusively advised Us Weekly in March 2018. “However on the similar time, I talked to Scheana [Shay] and she or he’s like, ‘You already know who he’s; he’s an incredible particular person. Don’t let [Stassi Schroeder and Katie Maloney’s] adverse notion of him have an effect on you and this date tonight.’ Lala [Kent] and Scheana actually helped me that day, simply placing me again right into a constructive state of affairs as a result of generally I feel Stassi and them is usually a little bit on the adverse facet.”
The fact TV alum additional gushed to Us that her date with Ariana’s brother was “wonderful” they usually nonetheless “kick it on a regular basis.” She added on the time: “I’ve stated this from the beginning, I didn’t wanna get right into a critical relationship. And I’m a little bit older than him and I do know he has some issues to expertise, so I didn’t wanna soar into something critical with him, however I do take pleasure in him.”
Lee finally left Vanderpump Guidelines after season 7 over claims that she had been bullied throughout her actuality TV stint. Regardless of strolling away from the present, she remained shut with each Sandoval and Ariana.
Nonetheless, issues reached a turning level in March 2023 after information broke of Sandoval and the Lifetime actress’ breakup. (Their cut up got here shortly after it was revealed that the Missouri native had a months-long secret affair with costar Raquel Leviss.) Lee, for her half, needed to be there for each associates — a lot to her former costars’ dismay.
“Tom and Ariana are my household. They have been there for me over time and I wouldn’t be the place I’m right this moment with out them. It saddens me that individuals are so fixated on selecting a facet. Each are human and are each hurting in their very own methods,” she wrote by way of Instagram in April 2023. “There’s a world the place you may help and be there for each events and that’s the world I select to stay in.”
Lee added on the time: “There’s additionally no cause for this to proceed to be so divisive. Ariana is pleased and Tom is actually working exhausting on himself. I’ll proceed to like and help them unconditionally.”
That month, Lee was noticed hanging out with Sandoval one-on-one as Ariana unfollowed her on Instagram. Shay — as a present of solidarity for the Florida native — additionally tapped the unfollow button on Lee’s profile. The “Good as Gold” songstress even advised Andy Cohen throughout an April 2023 look on Watch What Occurs Stay With Andy Cohen that she thought Lee was “shady” for her hangouts with Sandoval.
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Scroll beneath to revisit Sandoval and Lee’s friendship timeline: