The 'Vanderpump Rules' costars reunited at Schwartz & Sandy's in Los Angeles eight months after Taylor made harsh remarks about Sandoval's affair with castmate Rachel 'Raquel' Leviss
Last week, Tom Schwartz reunited frenemies Tom Sandoval and Jax Taylor, pulling off a Vanderpump Rules feat that seemed incredibly unlikely — if not impossible — given the tumultuous year the reality stars have gone through.
The unexpected get-together at Schwartz & Sandy's took place eight and a half months after the Bravoverse erupted into Scandoval, when Sandoval's now-ex Ariana Madix discovered he'd been having a months-long affair with VPR castmate Rachel "Raquel" Leviss. The betrayal triggered the end of the couple's nine-year relationship and immediately divided the show's cast both past and present.
Taylor, 44, was among the former Vanderpump stars who spoke out against Sandoval, 41 — though longtime viewers will know it wasn't the first time (and surely won't be the last) that the "No. 1 Guy in the Group" decided to take the Most Extras singer down a notch.
Sandoval and Taylor "have been on the outs for a long time," Schwartz, 40, admits to PEOPLE, "but I think people forget that Tom and Jax have been friends longer than I've been friends with both of them. I'm talking almost 20 years."
Schwartz continues, "It's like sometimes I feel like we're a trio. We're like brothers. Those are my Los Angeles brothers. They're first two people I met along with Kristen Doute. We all lived together and we were slightly dysfunctional, but we loved each other and we came up together and I have a deep bond with both those guys."
He acknowledges, "Sometimes their dynamic, it's love-hate — maybe more emphasis on the latter lately, butI feel like they had a little breakthrough recently. They've been communicating more often."
While admitting that the relationship has "been touch-and-go," Schwartz says that "it was really nice for me because I kind of feel like a child of divorce sometimes with those two because Jax and Tom are two of my best friends on the planet and I love them dearly."
He notes, "They're also very different people. And anyways, they're both doing really well right now, and it was really nice to see them together. ... It was just a really, really great night. It felt cozy and happy, and the holiday spirit was alive and well. "
Back in March, Taylor had little grace for Sandoval when he talked to PEOPLE.
"I've done my fair share of bad things," he admitted to PEOPLE when asked about Sandoval's infidelity. As for the Special Forces star's initial apology statement on March 4, one day after the news of his affair became public knowledge, Taylor said bluntly that he wanted Sandoval to "step down from [his] little pedestal for a minute. Stop making this about Tom Sandoval and making do better decisions. You should have called [Ariana] first. There's just no empathy there."
Taylor's wife Brittany Cartwright also called Sandoval's Instagram post — which failed to mention Madix — "not a good look." (Four days later, the TomTom bar co-owner specifically apologized to Madix, 38, by writing, in part: "I made mistakes, I was selfish, and made reckless decisions that hurt somebody I love. No one deserves to feel that pain so traumatically and publicly.")
For their part, Taylor and Schwartz have maintained close contact throughout the scandal, despite the House of Villains star calling out Schwartz for harboring knowledge of the affair for "at least a couple months" before it was exposed. That said, he thought, Sandoval "shouldn't have put Tom in that position."
He said of Sandoval, "When you get to a certain point, you think you have this diva mentality where you're just not going to get in trouble and you're not going to get caught. He's gotten to that point where he's [thinking], 'I can't be touched. I can do whatever I want.' And it caught up with him."
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Vanderpump Rules can be streamed in full on Peacock.
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