For the past few weeks, one question has started to haunt me as I watch Vanderpump Rules. No, not “why am I still watching this drivel” (though that’s a close second). Instead, I’m increasingly concerned about Tom Schwartz and his drinking. Don’t get me wrong—I understand that this cast is pretty much contractually obligated to get shitfaced on camera. And I also know that drunken live footage is universally unflattering, and that’s why I don’t let my friends post Insta stories anymore. But even so, Schwartz has been toeing the line between occasionally sloppy party boy and straight-up hard to watch. I did a little digging to see how worried we should be about Schwartz’s drinking.
Part 1: A Brief History of Schwartz’s Drinking
TBH my memories of early Schwartz are as follows: dry spell, panic attack, afraid of commitment. So let’s skip ahead to last season, for which Schwartz was problematically drunk roughly 90% of the time. Notable drunk moments include Schwartz screaming at Katie and calling her a bitch on their pre-wedding Vegas trip, vowing not to go through with the wedding, and then waking up as though everything was completely fine. Also, let’s not forget how so many of these drunken pre-wedding fights began. Schwartz cheated on Katie with a girl in Vegas (a VPR rite of passage, I guess). You can take a guess as to whether alcohol was involved there too. Overall, Schwartz came into season 6 with a definite reputation as a heavy drinker. But for obvious reasons, the viewer’s focus was less on his drinking and more on why TF the wedding wasn’t cancelled.
Part 2: Tom “I Have No Recollection Of That” Schwartz
From episode 2 of this season, we were seeing a whole new side to drunk Schwartz. Namely, we see Schwartz doing what you do every Friday night and calling up his bestie Jax and sobbing about how he has no idea what he’s doing in life. Relatable? Yes. But also a conversation that makes you hope Schwartz is getting a redemption arc this season, starting by sobering up. We get the opposite.
Starting in episode 4, drunk Schwartz drama starts to really heat up. Lala shares with the group that (married) Schwartz made out with her friend a few weeks ago. Schwartz doesn’t remember this, but doesn’t really claim it didn’t happen, either. He seems to find this a sufficient explanation to his wife. Even more troublingly, when Katie responds to the incident with reasonable rules like “stop taking shots” and “this is the last time you’re using ‘I have no recollection’ as an excuse,” he acts like she’s putting him on house arrest. Uh, no. Even if you weren’t making out with random girls when you got blackout, that’s still a perfectly reasonable request. In true Schwartz form, FYI, he chases with conversation with a round of absinthe shots.
Part 3: Less Cheating, More Drinking
I’ll spare you the details of every time we see too-drunk Schwartz fucking up, but here are the highlights. Katie continues to plead with him about his drinking. Schwartz continues to tell her to fuck off and refer to their marriage as a prison sentence. Gradually, the marriage dynamic improves, but the drinking doesn’t. One night, he gets so wasted he can’t make it home. Another, he’s drinking straight from the bottle at 3am the night before an important TomTom meeting. (He of course shows up late and reeking of alcohol and possibly tweaked out on coke.) In Mexico, Schwartz reaches the height of sad-drunk aesthetic. He’s mainlining tequila, he wanders into a different resort, he nearly pukes in a golf cart, and he tries to get Kristen and James to ride bikes with him at 7am. If that isn’t the saddest lost-drunk-boy thing you’ve ever heard, IDK what is.
*rare footage of Scheana making a good point*
Part 4: Comments From The ‘VPR’ Cast
The couple spoke to US Weekly back in January, when Lala first aired the rumors of Schwartz’s post-marriage makeout. When asked directly whether he has a drinking problem, Schwartz vehemently denied it. (The direct quote here is “I don’t have a drinking problem, I’m not in denial or anything.” Which like…no one had asked whether you were in denial, but now that you mention it…)
He goes on to admit that he has “a tendency to push to the extreme” and that he’s “got to chill with the shots.” Katie, while standing 100% behind her husband in a way that’s somewhere between heartwarming and enabling, chimes in with her very real concerns here too. “I don’t want to have to worry about his safety,” she says, adding that it’s “really serious if you’re black-out drunk and know what has happened.”
Admittedly, most of my weekends could be classified as “really serious” by that measure. But Katie, in pointing out her genuine fear for his safety, is pointing to something a little darker. In Mexico, Schwartz slurs reassurance over and over that he’s fine. Katie no longer even tries to make him a presentable companion, or bothers getting annoyed. “You didn’t know where you were,” she tells him. “That’s not fine.” And when you’re speaking to your 35-year-old husband, that’s absolutely correct.
*Schwartz, nodding thoughtfully*
Before I wrap this up, I do want to mention that I think Katie’s been an absolute angel this season. And if Schwartz is struggling with his drinking as much as it appears, I’m truly sorry for them both. Ever since Schwartz was weeping in the corner of Jeremy’s birthday party, I’ve had a nagging fear that seems to keep coming true every episode. Even though Schwartz seems at the point with his drinking where he can tell that it’s making him unhappy, and even actively tries to stop (like in Vegas), he doesn’t seem to be able to. I hope he’s faring better in his off-camera time, and I hope that Lisa maybe stations him somewhere other than the bar for his work at TomTom.
Images: Giphy (4)
I’ll go ahead and agree with every recent Vanderpump Rules recap: the show is largely no longer fun. I fondly remember when 9pm was the tiny glimmer of light at the end of yet another hideous Monday. But I don’t seem to be alone in feeling like the show is on its last legs. The Vanderpump Rules cast is aging out of the debauchery they were cast for—and all the icky, real-life stuff we’re watching now is way too relatable (and dark) to be fun. So, because I suspect the show will be cancelled relatively soon, and I’ve always wanted to know if could make good money as a VPR star I selflessly hope the cast is financially stable enough to survive it, I looked into the Vanderpump Rules cast’s net worth. Here’s what I found out.
How Much Are They Really Being Paid?
According to TMZ, the Vanderpump Rules cast earned $5,000 each for the entire first season. Season 2, the cast earned $3,000 per episode, and season 3, they earned $5,000 per episode. By Season 4, they started earning what Slice refers to as “Housewives money”: roughly $15K per episode.
In other words, Scheana was only slightly exaggerating with her constant refrain of “dream wedding on a waitress budget.” She made around $63K for season 3, and we’ve discussed exactly how far that income range gets you in LA. (FYI, I can actually do math and recognize that $5K times 21 episodes doesn’t sound quite right. But I’m trusting Slice’s numbers and assuming varying pay rates depending on screen time, or taxes or whatever. You’re welcome to find better numbers and share below.) Now, however, the cast is netting a cool $360K per season. So I’m sure the Scheana and Rob wedding plans are were even more elaborate, and that Rob will slide into Scheana’s DMs once he reads this.
Who’s Worth The Least?
In a revelation that makes perfect sense, Tom Schwartz is worth the least. Celebrity Net Worth estimates his worth at $25K, which means the tears his shed when paying for his wedding were definitely real. Katie, on the other hand, has been around since day one—and seems like one of the few competent waitresses on top of it. Even so, she has the second lowest net worth: $30K. Even accounting for wedding costs and medical bills, Katie’s given this show six years of her life. I’m kind of shocked that she and Schwartz combined are still worth under $100K, and each are worth the equivalent of an entry level assistant’s salary. Dark.
Finally, Katie’s low net worth is even more insulting when you see who’s tied for third lowest. Brittany and Lala (who joined the show for season 6 and season 4, respectively) are each worth around $50K. I’ll begrudgingly admit that Lala seems like a hustler, and yes, Brittany got her own spin-off, but still. Katie can’t be feeling good about that.
In retrospect, probably one of the more financially responsible decisions Schwartz has made:
Who’s Worth The Most?
Lisa Vanderpump is worth an estimated $75 million, and is the highest valued cast member by far, but honestly, Lisa doesn’t really count as a Vanderpump Rules cast member as far as I’m concerned. I’ll give you .05 of a second to pretend to be surprised before moving on. Beyond this, the list of highest-valued Vanderpump stars makes me want to throw my laptop out the window. To preserve my sanity, I’ll rattle off the numbers quickly and then dig into analysis. Jax: $500K. Sandoval: $400K. Vail: $400K. Stassi: $300K. Kristen: $250K. Scheana: $150K. Everyone still with me? Still breathing? Great. Let’s do this.
First of all, I feel literally ill over the fact that Jax is the highest-valued non-Vanderpump member of this cast. Spin-off aside, he’s been on the show as long as Katie, and he is worth over 15 times more. Also, Jax pretty exclusively engages in criminally stupid, criminally cruel, or just straight-up criminal acts. (Seriously—doesn’t he have legal fees to pay off? Shouldn’t he be worth less from that alone?) And I don’t love the power dynamic of him being worth 10 times as much as girlfriend/hostage Brittany.
Similarly, I’m pretty fucking outraged by the value attached to Sandoval, resident assface of season 6. Slice, equally puzzled by this valuation, dubiously posits that maybe he’s “good at saving.” If you’ve watched the show and seen Sandoval’s makeup drawer, you will join me in thinking probs not. Vail’s value is not worth discussing (apparently it’s soap opera money), and I’m nostalgically, vindictively pleased that Stassi is worth twice as much as Scheana. Other than the fact that the women’s values are all so much ludicrously lower than the highest worth men, I have very little opinion on Stassi/Kristen/Scheana playing out as it did. I bet Katie has a few opinions though.
So: another Monday, another disappointing set of realities. We live in a world where Jax Taylor is worth half a million dollars. And where a spin-off called “Katie & Schwartz Navigate Bankruptcy” is probably being green-lit as we speak. At least The Handmaid’s Tale comes back this month, so we’ll have something relatively cheerful to look forward to.
Images: Giphy (4)