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Tom Schwartz Calls Scandoval 'a Terrifying Monster That's Taken on a Life of Its Own'

After a "dark hole" of scandal enveloped his friend group on 'Vanderpump Rules', the Bravo star was "fired up" to be "soaking up wisdom" during his time on Fox's 'Stars on Mars'

Nicole Weingart/Bravo
Nicole Weingart/Bravo

Tom Schwartz was in need of a reset when he arrived on the Red Planet.

On Monday’s episode of the Fox competition series Star on Mars, the 40-year-old Vanderpump Rules star opened up about the fallout of #Scandoval.

"I came up here to get a fresh mindset because this thing with my friend back home on Earth, it's incredibly messed up,” he said referring to his business partner and best friend Tom Sandoval’s months-long secret affair with costar Raquel Leviss. “The Sandoval stuff, it's a terrifying monster that's taken on a life of its own now, and it's having a negative impact on my focus, on my morale.”


He asserted, “I did not have an affair, I'm not him. And it's just so strange that I've been absolutely mired in this."

JC Olivera/Getty (2) Tom Schwartz, Raquel Leviss and Tom Sandoval
JC Olivera/Getty (2) Tom Schwartz, Raquel Leviss and Tom Sandoval

Related: Tom Schwartz Says He's 'Stepping Away' from Tom Sandoval 'Permanently' After 'Incredibly Messed Up' Affair

Despite heading to another planet, the reality star admitted to his fellow competitor Adam Rippon that the scandal was still on his mind.

"You'll see me staring off into a corner. That means I'm back on Earth, dealing with Earth problems,” he explained. “I don't want to go back. … I feel like I'm rewiring my brain a little bit. No, no, no, I'm not ready to go home. But I have moments of weakness."

"Every morning I wake up here, I'm surrounded by greatness,” he added. “I'm like a sponge soaking up wisdom."

With #Scandoval still playing out back at home, Schwartz was grateful for the new perspective, sharing, "No matter how bad you think you have it back on Earth, you're living like a king compared to what life is like here on Mars."

Related: Tom Schwartz Needed 'Transformative' Time Away from 'VPR' Scandoval: 'I Lost Control of My Life' (Exclusive)

<p>Brook Rushton/FOX</p> Tom Schwartz on Stars on Mars

Brook Rushton/FOX

Tom Schwartz on Stars on Mars

Unfortunately, his time on the planet came to an end after competing in this week’s challenge in which they were told a hostile life form had invaded their camp on Mars. Two teams traveled through caves to find the "Mother Fungus" and exterminate it using a flamethrower.

Schwartz, Rippon and Natasha Leggero were under the threat of “extraction,” a.k.a. elimination, when they were placed in the bottom three for failing their mission. Schwartz and Leggero were ousted from the competition while Rippon was saved by Base Commander Ronda Rousey.

Following his elimination, Schwartz reflected on his experience, sharing that he felt rejuvenated after his time on the show,

"I feel a little lighter on my feet now. It really did kind of reset my mind coming up here because it’s just been such a dark hole back in L.A.” he shared. “All of a sudden, I hear birds chirping up there, and the sun's shining. Bring it on, Earth. I'm ready."

He added, "I feel reinvigorated. I feel like a fuse is lit again. I'm fired up."

<p> Brook Rushton/FOX</p> Tom Schwartz with a flame thrower on 'Stars on Mars'

Brook Rushton/FOX

Tom Schwartz with a flame thrower on 'Stars on Mars'

Related: Tom Schwartz Blasted Off for &#39;Stars on Mars&#39; in the Thick of the Scandoval: &#39;I Needed a Break from Reality&#39;

Schwartz recently told PEOPLE that his time on Stars on Mars was “transformative.”

“When I came back, I did have this fresh perspective," he said. "I keep talking about the overview effect — for astronauts, they go up and then they look down at Earth, and it gives them this fresh perspective, this almost like spiritual enlightenment. And I feel like I got at least a version of that. I really did."

In hindsight, he realized he "retreated into my own little bubble for the past few years, and [Stars on Mars] just kind of snapped me out of it. It gave me a newfound appreciation for my life in Los Angeles."

The perspective shift comes as Schwartz recently admitted that he was “stepping away” from his friendship with Sandoval and denied his involvement in the affair following his pal’s ex Ariana Madix saying he “actively participated in [her] downfall” by hiding the relationship.

"I didn't cover for him, but I had his back,” he explained. “He came to me, confided in me that he was in love with someone else.”

"My friend had an affair that just happened to swipe the nation and it’s incredibly messed up but the thing is I've become mired in it," he added. "That's been a huge source of just angst in my life. I've been in this extended funk."

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Stars on Mars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox, and Vanderpump Rules can be streamed in full on Peacock.

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