Nearly seven months after her ex’s shocking cheating scandal with her former friend Raquel Leviss thrust them all into the headlines, the “Vanderpump Rules” star made her debut on the 32nd season of “Dancing With the Stars” — and she wore a version of her famous “reunion” dress.
Madix also addressed Sandoval in her opening package and made it clear that her life is not defined by his actions.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ariana Madix Made a Confident Debut on ‘Dancing with the Stars’
In July 2023, after months of speculation, Madix, 38, was confirmed as the first cast member for the 32nd season of “Dancing with the Stars.” Fans later found out she would be partnered with pro dancer Pasha Pashkov.
Just ahead of the live DWTS premiere on September 26, 2023, Madix shared an Instagram video that teased her opening night dress. The red dress was similar to the red “revenge” dress Madix wore to the “Vanderpump Rules” taping in March just two weeks after she found out about Sandoval’s affair. The sparkly DWTS dress featured cutouts and high slits.
In a pre-taped opening package, Madix addressed her “rollercoaster” of a year after discovering that her partner of nearly 10 years had been having an affair with her close friend.
“Everybody got to watch it all play out and my life blow up on television,” Madix said. “But my scandal does not define me. It’s time for me to stand on my own two feet.”
“Feeling like you were a joke to your partner of nine years is devastating, but I want to show other women that you don’t have to let that hold you back,” the Bravo star added. “This is going to be a more confident, fun, and vibrant version of myself because I don’t need anybody else. I love me.”
For their premiere night dance, Madix and Pashkov performed a tango, which scored them an impressive 21 points and a tie for second place on the judges’ leaderboard.
Veteran DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba addressed Scandoval in her comments about the dance. “Can I just say, as a woman, cheaters suck! They suck! But you just showed everyone watching how to handle a cheater,” the DWTS judge told Madix.
Madix was supported in the audience by her brother Jeremy as well as pals Scheana Shay and Brock Davies. Madix’s new boyfriend, Daniel Wai, was also front and center in the audience.
In an interview with Extra ahead of the premiere, Sandoval said he would be rooting for his ex on the celebrity ballroom show despite the fact that they re no longer on speaking terms. “I will be voting for her,” Sandoval said of Madix. “I think she’s going to do really well. She’s got a lot of actual ability when it comes to dancing. She’s been wanting to be on the show for a long time. I’m super stoked for her. I hope she does really well. I think she will.”
Ariana Madix Made Headlines for Her Revenge Dress in March 2023
Hot off of the cheating scandal in March, Madix turned up for the “Vanderpump Rules” taping with platinum blonde hair and a red hot cutout Mônot two-piece dress, per Glamour. During the reunion, she told Sandoval he didn’t get to look at her.
Madix spoke about her outfit choice during an appearance on the “Today” show in May.
“My revenge dress that I wore on the reunion, I had options that I was working with my friend Emily Men, who is an incredible stylist, and then when all of this happened, it was like, ‘Nope, scrap all of those. We’re going back to the drawing board. We need something absolutely incredible,’” the “Vanderpump Rules” star revealed. “And she found that dress, and she’s great at what she does.”