Jax Taylor Calls Tom Sandoval 'Very Selfish' for Raquel Leviss Affair: 'There's Just No Empathy There'
"When you get to a certain point, you think you have this diva mentality where you're just not going to get in trouble," the former Vanderpump Rules star tells PEOPLE of Sandoval cheating on Ariana Madix
Jax Taylor might have been one of the only people who wasn't surprised that Tom Sandoval cheated on his girlfriend of nine years, Ariana Madix, with costar Raquel Leviss.
"I got a text message. It said, 'You were right all along,'" Taylor, 43, tells PEOPLE of how he first heard the news. "It wasn't shocking to me. I've known Tom Sandoval for 20 years, we grew up together. I just know his lifestyle. I know who he is, and I've said it many times. No one wanted to believe me."
Taylor's wife and VPR alum Brittany Cartwright, however, didn't see it coming. "It was with Raquel, right under their noses — that's what's so shocking," Cartwright, who's launching the When Reality Hits podcast with Taylor on PodcastOne March 28, says.
Related: Vanderpump Rules: Ariana Madix Confronts 'Stranger' Tom Sandoval After Split and Says She Wants Him 'to Die'
Taylor acknowledges he doesn't "have a leg to stand on" when it comes to infidelity, but he has a theory about why Sandoval, 40, pursued a relationship with Leviss, 28.
"There's a reason why it's Raquel. [It's] because she can be controlled," he explains. "Ariana's a very strong, independent woman — that's how Brittany is — but you can't control her. And I think Raquel's very easily influenced. I think he likes to be able to tell her what to do. I think she's very codependent, and I think he preys on that. He can control her and she'll do whatever he says. And she's a fangirl a little bit. That wasn't happening with Ariana."
Related:Vanderpump Rules Women Slam Raquel as a 'Liability' Who's 'Only Interested in Men Her Friends Are Married to'
Cartwright, 34, says she "did not see" Leviss "doing that to Ariana."
"It's just all bad," acknowledges the mom of 23-month-old son Cruz. "I feel terrible for Ariana having to go through this so publicly. I know that feeling. I feel for her big-time."
Related:All About the Vanderpump Rules Cheating Drama Involving Tom Sandoval, Ariana Madix and Raquel Leviss
Taylor takes issue with the initial apology Sandoval issued on March 4, in which the musician wrote that he understands fans' "disappointment towards me" and asks them to leave friend and business partner Tom Schwartz, as well as "my friends and family out of this situation."
Says Taylor, "I've done my fair share of bad things, but where I have a problem is having your crisis PR team write you a message. You got to step down from your 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."
Days later, Sandoval posted an apology to Madix, calling himself "selfish" and expressing regret for the "reckless decisions that hurt somebody I love."
"Because he didn't say 'I'm sorry' to Ariana first, I think that's what was not a good look," Cartwright says.
RELATED VIDEO: Ariana Madix Breaks Silence on Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss's Affair: 'What Doesn't Kill Me Better Run'
Fans and cast members alike have wondered if Sandoval's best friend and business partner knew about the affair with Leviss before the news broke. Taylor thinks he did.
"Schwartz has known," Taylor insists. "I talk to Schwartz all the time. He told me. I don't know how long, but it's been at least a couple months. Again, this is a controlling thing. He controls Schwartz. One can't be without the other. They're not good separate, they're only good together."
Cartwright also heard Schwartz, 40, "found out recently, before it dropped."
Related:Tom Schwartz Comments on Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss Cheating Scandal
Taylor puts the blame on Sandoval, not Schwartz.
"I think Schwartz is a good guy," Taylor says. "He's not going to rat on his friends. Sandoval's being very selfish. He shouldn't have put Tom in that position."
Cartwright calls the Scandoval "a really hard situation."
"Sandoval should have just broke up with Ariana if he was going to do that," the Kentucky native says, adding that that she heard Sandoval wants to stay with Leviss moving forward.
Related:Raquel Leviss Reveals Status of Tom Sandoval Relationship: 'I Care About Tom' but 'I Need Time to Heal'
Taylor thinks Sandoval carried on the affair because he felt invincible.
"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," Taylor says. "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."
Despite no longer appearing on Vanderpump Rules, the couple has stayed close with a lot of the cast and hangs out them often, including Sandoval and Leviss. "There's times and events where I saw them together and it just didn't even click until now," Taylor says. "We saw them Labor Day at our friend's house. They were together. But I wouldn't have thought anything until this came up."
Taylor questioned Sandoval's character for years, but now, "I don't want to say I told you so," he says. "I've been down this road. It's a scary, dark place where he is right now, but he put himself there. He's got to be man enough to own it and give Ariana her space."
Cartwright adds, "Hopefully Tom will learn from all this."
Bravo approached former castmate Kristen Doute, who dated Sandoval before Madix, about filming for the current season after news of her ex's affair broke. Cartwright says she and Taylor "would definitely" be open to making an appearance, too.
"Whether it's that show or another show," she says, "we're ready for some reality TV back in our lives."
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Vanderpump Rules airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
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