Raquel says James "reacted in a way my sister says was not acceptable" to a "rude comment" from her father.
"Vanderpump Rules" stars James Kennedy and Raquel Leviss shocked their friends and fans when they confirmed they had split while filming the upcoming reunion. Now, Raquel is opening up about what led to the breakup and why she decided to pull the plug.
Appearing on Scheana Shay'sScheananigans podcast this week, Leviss was asked whether there was a "straw that broke the camel's back" when it came to the split. "There wasn't one thing, it was like a cumulation of things," she said, before detailing some recent family drama that went down during the holidays.
"At Thanksgiving ... James has always felt like my parents haven't embraced him into the family the way he wanted to be accepted. My dad said some rude comment to him about him not wearing the hiking shoes he bought him when James asked for my dad's blessing. He couldn't find them, he was looking all over," Leviss explained. "James was taken aback. He took it very personally. He took it as a knock to his ego and reacted in a way my sister says was not acceptable. And I agree, it wasn't. Just like very angry and defensive and it go to the point where I was like, 'Okay, we need to get out of here, go back to our hotel room and sort it all out.'"
It was then she realized that she had been "making excuses for him" and that "part of [her] soul" was being taken from her.
"It was getting to the point where my family and him were not meshing well and the future of Thanksgiving and Christmases and holidays was looking like it's either going to be either James or my family," she added. "Especially like if we had a baby, I feel like James would make my parents out as like the not good grandparents and kind of put that in their heads. Just foreseeing this future and what it was all coming down to and I was like, 'I don't want that.'"
After coming to the realization that "this relationship wasn't one" she wanted to be in anymore, Raquel still hesitated to share that with James himself, fearing his reaction.
"Because James does have a history of acting out and being angry, my mom and I were both concerned that he wasn't going to have a good reaction when I told him, so I wasn't planning on saying anything until he went out of town. He doesn't even know this," she continued, saying that her mother told her to "pretend like everything's fine" until the right moment came. The two even went on a trip to Disneyland with costars Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval, where Leviss felt like she was "[putting] on an act ... just to make sure that I was safe."
She finally opened up to James about what she was feeling when they started watching their show together to prepare for the reunion. As they watched it, Raquel said James wondered why he couldn't have had a "funny storyline" this season.
"And I was like, 'Seriously, you could have if you wanted to.' He's like, 'What the hell does that mean? Tell me what you mean by that,'" she explained, saying she told him she didn't feel he was "supporting me emotionally the way I needed to be supported."
"I explained that to him and he was like, 'Oh I didn't know that you felt that way.’ And the conversation just kept going and it was like word vomit. I was like, 'This is how I've been feeling and I can't keep it in any longer because I'm not being an honest person and I'm lying to you and I don't feel comfortable with this,'" said Raquel. "So I just told him, 'Truly, my heart isn't in it anymore. I don't appreciate the way that you treat other people; it's not how I treat other people. And a piece of me dies inside every time you mistreat somebody.'"
She added that he pleaded for her to give him another chance, but Raquel felt she already had, numerous times, in the past. "He was like, 'Okay, I see it in your eyes. It's over,'" she added, saying he was actually surprisingly calm throughout the conversation. "He respected my decision. He was like, 'If your heart isn't in it anymore then I understand, we need to go our separate ways,'" she added.
All that went down the night before the reunion and while they initially weren't sure whether they would reveal the breakup during filming, they decided to tell the show's producers what was going on. From there, Andy Cohen found out and he filled in Lisa Vanderpump and the rest is history.
As for where they stand now, Leviss said the two are "speaking occasionally" to each other, still follow each other on Instagram and even "like each other's posts." She hoped to maintain a friendship with him going forward -- calling him her "best friend for so long" and even expressed interest in letting James have playdates with her dog, Graham Cracker.