Vanderpump Rules stars James Kennedy and Raquel Leviss dated from 2017 through the end of 2021 and became a fan-favorite from the reality series after they announced their engagement in May 2021. Unfortunately, everything changed when they shocked fans with their sudden split through a joint announcement that they posted to their respective Instagram accounts.
“After these 5 wonderful years we had together, we decided we have two different goals and made the decision to call off the engagement,” the former couple wrote in December 2021. “We love each other very much, but we aren’t in love anymore. We want nothing but the best for each other so please keep any thoughts positive. Sending Love.”
The two made their formal announcement only a few days before filming season 9 of Vanderpump Rules.
Keep reading to find out why James and Raquel broke up after five years together.
The pair divulged details about their uncoupling during the Pump Rules reunion, which aired on Wednesday, January 25. Raquel admitted ending their relationship was something she had been “thinking about” for some time, adding they had “not been having sex for a while.”
“I didn’t want to give up on him because he really has shown me how dedicated he is to me and the things that he is willing to do to better himself. But I feel like it is something deep within,” she explained. “I have been having nightmares about our wedding day, and I think that’s a telltale sign that something is wrong.”
James acknowledged they had “worked on” their relationship for years, and he “stopped drinking” in hopes of repairing their rocky past.
“It didn’t fix it at all,” he revealed. “We had a conversation a couple of months ago. I asked her if I am your soulmate and she said, ‘Do you think I am your soulmate?’ It was almost like the first time that I felt like we weren’t destined in the galaxy.”
Ultimately, James said Raquel didn’t give “a clear answer” about him being her soulmate, which was a big driver behind them calling it quits for good.
While the U.K. native kept his composure on stage during the reunion, he opened up more backstage about their ups and downs.
“She has made her decision. Her parents have always hated me. It has never been easy,” he said about his romance with Raquel. “Even becoming the man that quit drinking and changed his whole f–king lifestyle for this relationship. It wasn’t enough. I still have these anger issues, and I am never doing this again.”
Prior to that, Raquel first broke her silence on the breakup, emphasizing she didn’t “want to hurt anybody’s feelings” by speaking out during a guest appearance on Pump Rules costar Scheana Shay’s podcast, “Scheananigans,” in early January 2022.
“My intentions with this podcast are not to bash James in any way,” the Bravo reality star began, before revealing that she made the decision to leave James.
“It was kind of at Thanksgiving where I realized that I didn’t want to be in this relationship anymore,” Raquel said. “Because James does have a history of acting out and being angry, my mom and I were both concerned that he wasn’t going to have a good reaction when I told him. So, I wasn’t planning on saying anything until he went out of town.”
Throughout the course of their romance, James spoke candidly on his journey to sobriety a few times on social media, even thanking his then-fiancée for helping him through it on Instagram in July 2020.
While speaking with Scheana for her podcast, the SUR employee then revealed her mother “advised” her to “pretend like everything is fine” and not inform James of her feelings.
“The future of Thanksgivings and Christmases and holidays was looking like it was going to be either James or my family,” Raquel added, before explaining what she feared would have happened if they had children in their future.
“Especially like if we had a baby, James would make my parents out as like the not good grandparents and kind of put that in their heads,” the California native said. “Foreseeing this future and what it was all coming down to, [I realized] I don’t want that.”
Although breaking up with a longtime partner is difficult, Raquel revealed James took the news better than she had expected.
“He was calm. He was listening to me,” she recalled. “I was preparing for the worst, and it was the best possible outcome, I guess, that it could have been. Because he really did listen to me and was understanding of where I was coming from. He respected my decision.”
The Bravo star even divulged how her former fiancé responded upon hearing her out, saying, “He was like, ‘If your heart isn’t in it anymore, then I understand we need to go our separate ways.’”