Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix got straight to the point about former partner Tom Sandoval‘s cheating scandal with Raquel Leviss during her Tuesday, September 26 debut on Dancing With the Stars, saying being the victim of infidelity by her boyfriend of nine years won’t be the defining point in her life.

“My life has been a rollercoaster in the past year,” Ariana, 38, explained said during the show’s pre-taped segment ahead of her first dance with pro partner Pasha Pashkov, adding, “Everybody got to watch it all play out and my life blow up on television.”

The reality star said that Scandoval “does not define” her and that trying her hand at ballroom dancing was a great way to help reestablish her sense of self. “I just want to do something that is for me and positive,” she continued, adding, “It’s time for me to stand on my own two feet.”

Ariana addressed the amount of public humiliation she suffered after Tom’s affair with Raquel was exposed in March and the subsequent treatment she received from Tom during episodes of Vanderpump Rules, the show’s reunion and in interviews.

“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 Florida native proclaimed.

Ariana went on to express how competing on DWTS has helped in her healing process, saying, “This is going to be a more confident, fun and vibrant version of myself, because I don’t need anybody else. I love me.”

She went on to perform a scorching tango with Pasha that earned her a total score of 21 from the judges, just one point behind leader and former Bachelorette Charity Lawson.

Ariana wore a bright red dress with midriff cutouts that was nearly identical to the “revenge” gown she wore on the season 10 reunion of Vanderpump Rules. Over the course of the three episodes, Tom, 40, took numerous digs at the Buying Back My Daughter actress.

“Ariana and I kept our relationship pretty private for many years. We had issues. I felt like I was her gay BFF. We put on a front when we were filming … For us to be having these issues and keeping it from people, I just didn’t think it was fair to the rest of the cast,” Tom said during the May 24 reunion episode. During the final episodes of the season, Sandoval expressed to pal Tom Schwartz how he wanted to end things with Ariana but couldn’t muster up the courage.

Tom apologized to Ariana for cheating on her with her best friend, saying, “I understand what I did is very, very f–ked up, but understand that, like, I’m a human and I make mistakes,” while tearing up. “I make f–king terrible mistakes and I hurt somebody I’ve never loved ever more in my entire life. Ariana, I know that you hate me and it’s OK, I f–king understand. But I want you to know that I will always love you and I will always be cheering you on from afar. Always.”

“I will not forgive him and I will not be cheering him on from afar,” Ariana retorted. She added, “He has victim-blamed me 100 percent of the way, so I don’t believe anything that just came out of his mouth.”