Tom Sandoval may have broken Ariana Madix’s heart, but she’s far from broke.
The longtime reality-show couple split last spring after the headline-making revelation that Sandoval, her boyfriend of nine years, had been having an affair with Madix’s good friend and “Vanderpump Rules” castmate Rachel (formerly known as Raquel) Leviss.
The infidelity shocked fans, led to an Emmy nomination for the delightfully lowbrow Bravo series which had been sinking into irrelevance after 10 seasons, and helped Madix score a slew of brand partnerships and big new roles — from Lay’s potato chips to “Dancing with the Stars.”
“She’s bringing something else to the table other than just, ‘Hey, hold a bag of chips.’ There’s a story she can tell,” said Amy Luca, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Social at Media.Monks.
“She’s probably highly involved in the creative of whatever those partnerships are, which is really wonderful for brands and agencies. We love when we get some creative partnership,” added Luca, who is also an Adjunct Professor of Digital Marketing at the USC Marshall School of Business Program. “And she’s an entrepreneur at heart.”
Madix, who grew up in Melbourne, Florida, has said publicly that she’s game to make lots of deals.
“We have no generational wealth in our family. I want to make enough money to be able to take care of my mom and my brother and any other family members who may or may not need it,” she told Glamour for a June cover story. “I never want to worry about it ever, ever, ever. So I will work as much as possible to not have to.”
Indeed, she has. The Scandoval, as its been dubbed, broke in early March 2023. By mid-June, Madix had already partnered with no less than 10 brands — among them major companies such as Uber One, Bic Razors, Lay’s, Glad and Duracell, along with Bellesa sex toys and Raising Cane’s chicken restaurants — on social media posts.
Many of the posts contained jokes at Sandoval’s expense and Easter eggs for “Pump Rules” fans.
“I buy my own batteries now, and I prefer Duracell,” she coolly declared in a video on Instagram and TikTok. The line referenced Sandoval whining on the show, while they were still together, that Madix didn’t buy household items or appreciate that he did.
“There’s pens in the drawer, there’s batteries in the drawer, because I do that,” he’d griped to his business partner bestie Tom Schwartz.
Some posts have been more oblique. “Sometimes you just gotta change your vibe,” she cheekily wrote in the captions for a post plugging a Bellesa vibrator giveaway.
In an ad for finance company SoFi, Madix clinks glasses with a financial advisor who declares, “We’re all on Team Ariana.”
Other were simply triumphant. “Bloomingdale’s treated me to a shopping spree! I’ve never felt hotter,” the reality star wrote in a post for the department store, beneath a photo of her looking fierce in a revealing, long-sleeved red dress that nodded to the iconic red dress she’d worn to the tear-filled “Vanderpump Rules” reunion in May.
“She’s got a good team behind her who’s looking for those opportunities and brand deals,” Luca told The Post.
While fees for social media posts have a large range, Luca estimated that some of the bigger brands would likely pay a reality star such as Madix, who has 2.2 million followers on Instagram, $50,000 to $70,000 per post.
While there’s a possibility that some deals could have go into the low six figures, such sums are typically reserved for A-Listers such as singer Dua Lipa, Luca noted.
At present, Madix’s team includes manager Kasra Ajir, whose clients include Danny Pudi from the sitcom “Community,” and publicist Susan Madore, who conveniently also reps “Dancing with the Stars” co-host Derek Hough. (Madix and her reps declined to comment for this article.)
Brand partnerships aren’t the only way Madix has profited from the split. Just after the breakup, she and business partner and castmate Katie Maloney came up with the idea to sell merchandise for their forthcoming, long-delayed, awkwardly named sandwich shop in West Hollywood — There’s Something About Her — to give fans a way to support Madix.
Within 36 hours of putting the merch — sweatshirts and hats with the shop logo, along with a “F**K Me in This Shirt” top that was a dig at a comment Sandoval made about Madix wearing a T-shirt during sex — online, sales reached $100,000. When the “Vanderpump” cast shot their reunion on March 23, Maloney announced that they’d hit $200,000.
In June, a Madix friend who helped launch the merch told Vanity Fair that sales remained steady. Around that time, Madix also put out her own line of “revenge merchandise” online, with slogans such as “It’s not me, it’s you” and “Ride or die” emblazoned on shirts and hats.
The following month, Madix partnered with Lip Lab on four limited-edition lipstick shades. The move into the cosmetics space, on top of everything else, conjures the Kardashians, Luca said.
“[Her team] is really working on fostering the model that Kris Jenner pioneered,” she said. “You take a public event that had created some fame and you parlay that into many, many business deals and different areas that are authentic to that talent.”
There was also a role in a Lifetime movie, “Buying Back My Daughter,” that debuted in early October. It received limited attention, but at least one critic praised her acting as “shockingly good,” potentially setting up Madix for bigger roles.
The reality star also managed to rush out a cocktail recipe book in the wake of the scandal.
“Single AF Cocktails,” which hit shelves on December 5, is a sequel of sorts to the the book, “Fancy AF Cocktails: Drink Recipes from a Couple of Professional Drinkers,” that she and Sandoval released in December 2019.
The new book was put out by Clarkson Potter, and an editor at a rival cookbook publisher estimates that Madix got an advance in the mid-to-high six figures, given that’s she’s in the zeitgeist and her first book sold well — 82,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan.
The editor also noted that the first book was put out by a different publisher, Harvest Publications, suggesting a potential bidding war or a move to earn more money.
But, it’s unlikely, the editor said, that Madix would have gotten seven-figure advance seems unlikely, given that cocktail books have less broad appeal than conventional cookbooks.
“But, it any cocktail book could go for seven figures, it would be this one due to her celebrity,” the editor said.
Madix’s twirl on “Dancing with the Stars” was another big payday.
She and her pro dancing partner Pasha Pashkov sashayed all the way to the December finale before coming in third place. (Actress Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy were the big winners.) According to Variety, contestants on the show are initially paid $125,000 for rehearsing and appearing on a couple early episodes. But, those, like Madix, who make it to the finale can reportedly rake in roughly $300,000 for the seaon.
Despite all the money she’s making, Madix has yet to disentangle herself from the property she owns with Sandoval. In 2019, the then-couple paid just over $2 million for a modern farmhouse with a pool in Los Angeles’s Valley Village. They’ve both continued to live in the house after the split, and Madix has insisted that the she’s not rolling in dough despite all her deals.
“I am not rich. I do not have millions of dollars,” she said on a podcast in August. “I have a lot of places that money has to go.”
Last Sunday on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” Madix told Andy Cohen that she wants to sell her portion of the home to Sandoval.
“I would love for that to be resolved quickly,” she told Cohen. “So if [Sandoval’s lawyer] Joe Weiner could really get back to my lawyer, that’d be great.”
She’ll also be moving to New York, at least for a while.
Just after her impressive run on “DWTS,” it was announced that Madix will be doing an eight-week run on Broadway starring as Roxie Hart in “Chicago.”
It conveniently starts on January 29 — just a day before the new season of “Vanderpump Rules” debuts on Bravo.
The musical move is more about reputation than raking it in, according to a Broadway insider, who noted that “Chicago” producers Fran and Barry Weissler don’t have a reputation for giving big paychecks.
“I can’t imagine Ariana Madix is making much money,” the insider told The Post. “Doing ‘Chicago’ on Broadway is an easy way for a reality star to try to stay relevant — they don’t do it for the paycheck.
In recent years, the role has been known for stunt casting. Fellow Bravolebrity Erika Jayne, of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” fame, did the cell-block tango in 2020. Pamela Anderson took a spin in the role last year, and it helped gain attention for her book, “Love Pamela,” and documentary, “Pamela, a Love Story.”
“At least [Madix] studied musical theater, so now it won’t be as unbearable to watch as some ‘celebrities’ before her,” quipped the insider.
An Emmy-nominated casting director who has worked on some of TV’s most acclaimed shows is also quick to note that Madix has more training than many reality brethren.
“Ariana is more talented than someone like an Erika Jayne,” the casting director said bluntly.
He noted that, early in her “Vanderpump Rules” arc, Madix was a bartender with acting aspirations.
It’s not hard to imagine her getting cast in a network scripted series as part of a large ensemble cast, like a “Friends” or “Grand Crew.” And the casting director doesn’t worry about Madix’s Scandoval past being distracting. “Vanderpump Rules” fan would love the connection — and the rest of the world wouldn’t likely recognize her.
“I could see her in a half hour sitcom, I feel like you wouldn’t cast her far from who she is,” he said. “She would basically play herself.”