You either love or hate Vanderpump Rules star James Kennedy. That is, unless you’re one of his castmates. Most of the stars of the wildly popular Bravo TV series are willing to go toe-to-toe with the 27-year-old DJ, but they’re also the first ones to defend him when he really needs it. Costars and bros Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz spoke with Life & Style exclusively about how, sometimes, it can be hard to root for someone who is always getting in their own way — especially when they’re so vital to the group.

“I always have a soft spot for the underdog and that’s part of it,” Sandoval, 35, explained. “Also, I think James is great TV, so not having him around, I don’t know, I feel like he is important for the show.”

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Of course, the “sober” star does make for some seriously good on-screen drama, but his complicated story is deeper than that, and the guys know it. “I know James, like everybody, has a really good side to him and he has a really bad side to him too, but he’s extreme in that sense,” Tom continued. “Deep down, he’s got a good heart and I believe in him. I think he is his own worst enemy at times and he gets himself in trouble. I can do the best I can as a friend and I feel like I have to be sometimes because everybody else is against him.”

As far as Schwartz, 36, goes, well, he’s not quite as quick to come to the DJ’s defense. “I say the same thing when people ask me this every time with James. He just makes it so hard for me to be friends with him. He knows on some level I’m rooting for him,” he explained. But just because he isn’t James’ biggest fan all the time doesn’t recognize what he’s struggling with.

“I think he’s talented and Tom hit the nail on the head, he’s his own worst enemy,” Schwartz continued. “He creates so many problems for himself with his loose cannon of a mouth. His mouth is his biggest problem. Anyway, we’re OK, we’re fine. I don’t hold a grudge toward him but he just really buries himself on a regular basis.”

Considering the Pump Rules crew just had a blowout in Mexico — with James along for the ride, as always — he might just be burying himself right now.