For those yet to experience Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” — “are you trying to get popped?!” The series barreled onto television screens in 2013 (via IMDb) following an episode of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and has been teaching us the value of a good goat cheeseball ever since. The iconic backdoor pilot seamlessly transitioned from documenting the lives of the rich and famous to following the wait staff behind the scenes of West Hollywood’s SUR Restaurant & Lounge. The hit reality show has inspired spin-offs and think pieces (via The New York Times), but the real reason for the show’s unprecedented success is its cast.
In a 2019 interview with People, creator and star Lisa Vanderpump stated that the recipe to a long-running reality show is finding a cast with history, i.e., built-in drama. “We didn’t just manufacture a reality show by pulling people from left field,” Vanderpump explained. “They really were friends before the show, and have struggled to grow up together, and sometimes that manifests in contentious situations.”
We’d say that’s an understatement. “Vanderpump Rules” has gifted us some of the most legendary GIFS and quotes in reality television history. Now that the series has finally started production for its ninth season, we’re taking a look back at memorable moments that have cemented “Vanderpump Rules'” place in the reality show lexicon.
Jax Taylor admitted to cheating on Stassi Schroeder
The Season 1 finale of “Vanderpump Rules” proved the series had longevity. Star Jax Taylor began the season dating HBIC Stassi Schroeder, but the power couple soon disintegrated after rumors of Taylor’s infidelity began circling SUR. Schroeder ended things with Taylor by drinking all of his champagne and kicking him out of their shared apartment. A bold move! Instead of apologizing, Taylor doubled down on the denial, telling anyone that would listen that the cheating rumors were just that — rumors. After Schroeder’s Las Vegas birthday trip gone awry, where Taylor crashed the festivities resulting in a shirtless parking lot fight (via YouTube), the entire cast turned on Schroeder in defense of Taylor.
Even Schroeder’s alleged two best friends — Katie Maloney and Kristen Doute — took Taylor’s word, leaving Schroeder confused and alone. The season ended with one final soiree in which Taylor finally admitted to having sexual relations in Vegas while dating Schroeder. The revelation left Schroeder (and the audience) reeling due to Taylor’s sociopathic-level lying abilities. The bombshell also secured the series another season.
Vanderpump Rules' Kristen Doute slept with Jax Taylor
Season 2 may have even surpassed Season 1 of “Vanderpump Rules” in the dramatic reveal department. Midway through the season, after a night of heavy drinking, Katie Maloney revealed a jaw-dropping rumor that seemed so ludicrous, viewers immediately dismissed it: Kristen Doute slept with Jax Taylor. The alleged affair happened when Taylor was staying with Doute and her boyfriend Tom Sandoval, following Taylor’s break-up with Schroeder. What makes the rumor even more sordid is that Sandoval and Taylor make up two parts of the show’s male tripod, the third being Tom Schwartz. Taylor and Doute shut down the rumor through their favorite form of defense: denial (via YouTube.) And it worked. Almost everyone in the cast chose to ignore this piece of juicy gossip, except Schroeder.
The timeline added up to her, and although she and Taylor were already broken up by the time of the alleged entanglement, best friends do NOT sleep with exes, so she dug deeper. With Doute’s loyalty in doubt, Schroeder turned to Taylor, seduced him into admitting the truth, and confronted Doute before an audience of other wait staff (or SUR-vers). When Doute continued to deny the scandal, Schroeder slapped her across the face so forcefully, it became part of GIF culture (via GIPHY). Doute ended the season eventually admitting to the affair with Taylor, her confession costing her a friendship with Schroeder and her relationship with Sandoval.
Tom Sandoval begged Kristen Doute to move on
Season 3 of “Vanderpump Rules” brought about new friendships and relationships. Kristen Doute was seen as a leper for her past infidelity, but following the show’s pattern of internalized misogyny (via Us Weekly), everyone was quick to forgive Taylor. By this point, Tom Sandoval had moved on from Doute to blonde newcomer Ariana Madix, and although Doute also had a new beau in DJ James Kennedy, she had a hard time hiding her jealousy. Doute made several threats to Madix (via Bravo TV,) resulting in a confrontation between Sandoval and Doute during a trip to Miami.
In one of the most uncomfortable conversations we’ve ever had the misfortune to watch (via YouTube), Sandoval begged Doute to move on and leave him and Madix alone. However, his pleas were lost in translation, and Doute responded by offering to break up with Kennedy. Sandoval broke down in frustration, Doute aped his tears, and both left the conversation with two very different takeaways. Sandoval believed Doute had moved on, whereas she was convinced he still had feelings for her. It would be another few seasons before Doute had truly moved on and accepted Madix as a friend. In fact, the old rivals have now morphed into friendship goals (via Instagram.)
James Kennedy and Kristen Doute broke up
While we met DJ James Kennedy a season prior, Season 4 of “Vanderpump Rules” is when his crazy really started to show. A perfect fit for this band of West Hollywood misfits! Season 3 concluded with a dramatic fight between Kennedy and Kristen Doute at cast mate Scheana Shay’s wedding. The brawl included Doute punching him in the face, but somehow, their love was stronger than physical abuse, and the two remained together until this volatile break-up scene in Season 4.
Kennedy accused Doute of cheating on him on a trip home to Michigan, and though Doute denied the allegation, she hasn’t always been truthful (see above.) After Kennedy called Doute “ratched,” the claws came out, and both began hurling insults like “you 23-year-old son of a b****!” In the moment, Doute did make some eerie predictions about Kennedy’s future storylines (via YouTube.) “You’re going to drink yourself into oblivion, you’re going to get f***ing fired, you’re going to lose all your friends,” Doute prophesied, all of which came true, resulting in Kennedy getting sober (via People.)
The argument ended with Kennedy hocking a loogie at Doute’s door. And, while it may seem like there’s no coming back from that, the two would continue a physical relationship for another few seasons.
Scheana Shay stood up to her Vanderpump Rules bullies
Scheana Shay began her “Vanderpump Rules” stint as “the other woman” due to her affair with Eddie Cibrian (via Bravo TV), but her legacy extends much further. Shay was the vessel that connected “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” to its spin-off, yet her past reputation made it difficult to make friends. From the pilot episode on, Shay was bullied by cast mates Schroeder, Maloney, and Doute. Even though their on-again, off-again friendships allowed Shay to be invited on cast trips, she could never fully penetrate the wall of the self-proclaimed three “Witches of WeHo” (via Us Magazine.)
Shay partook in a number of arguments with the women, resulting in iconic quotes like Schroeder’s “I’m not really sure what I’ve done to you, but I’ll take a Pinot Grigio.” Unfortunately, Shay could never one-up them in a fight. That is, until Season 5, when the women traded barbs at a pool party (via YouTube.) The three women ganged up on her for befriending newcomer Lala Kent, but Shay had logic on her side. “You guys all have the same opinion,” Shay stated to her bullies, calling out their hive mind mentality. And when Schroeder dared call Shay selfish, she finally let five seasons’ worth of pent-up aggression go, stating, “Then why are you friends with me?” before exiting and leaving the women (and viewers) in her dust. The power-move showed off Shay’s maturity by refusing to engage. Shout out to growth!
The Vanderpump Rules cast fought dressed as drag queens
Season 5’s “Vanderpump Rules” cast trip to New Orleans was presented as Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz’s shared bachelor/bachelorette party, but the two lovebirds were the show’s worst example of a healthy relationship. During a drunken night out, made all the more ridiculous by the groomsmen dressing as drag queens, the cast participated in their favorite pastime: fighting (via YouTube.) Doute had determined that Schwartz cheated on Maloney on a prior trip to Vegas. She urged Schwartz to admit to sleeping with another woman so that the relationship could return to a clean slate before the two walked down the aisle, but Schwartz refused to acknowledge his infidelity, claiming the furthest his affair went was “making-out.”
The argument traveled all the way from the hotel lobby up into the groom’s suite, ending with a final shot of Schwartz sitting on the toilet and Sandoval declaring, “Leave him … alone! He’s a f***ing battered wife!” (via YouTube.) The somberness of the allegations of adultery contrasted by the men in drag left viewers in stitches. Though this fight was one of the most dramatic moments on the series, it’s also gone down in history to be one of the most hilarious.
Jax Taylor cheated on Brittany Cartwright with Faith Stowers
Jax Taylor is no angel. But viewers and cast members were convinced that the former bad boy had reformed his cheating ways thanks to sweet, southern girlfriend Brittany Cartwright. Unfortunately, tigers don’t change their stripes that easily. Season 6 premiered to reveal that Taylor had put another notch in his bedpost via former cast member Faith Stowers. The rumor made waves during Shay’s birthday party after Stowers confided in Kennedy about the affair. Kennedy was quick to let fellow cast mates know about Taylor’s infidelity. Even though he denied the rumors, stating, “You’re going off of what she said over what I said?!” (via YouTube), Cartwright ignored the gaslighting and eventually got to the truth.
Taylor admitted to Cartwright that he slept with Stowers multiple times, and after Cartwright screamed for him to “ROT IN HELL!,” the two ended the season with a break-up. Luckily, that didn’t last long, and by Season 8, the lovebirds were saying their “I dos.” Cartwright and Taylor were the third couple to find everlasting love on “Vanderpump Rules,” having just welcomed a baby (via People) into their Los Angeles Valley Village home.
It’s hard to believe this show has given us eight seasons worth of drama. Now that multiple OG “Vanderpump Rules” cast members have been fired, we’re excited to see if the show can continue to bring the heat. “Hashtag: It’s all happening.”
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