Get ready to pop the champagne because Season 11 of Vanderpump Rules is hitting your TV screens! After the mind-blowing #Scandoval drama rocked our world in Season 10, we're all itching to dive headfirst into the aftermath of the cheating scandal that shook the Bravo universe.
However, before we jump into the excitement, let's take a moment to rewind. In the Season 11 premiere, several cast members disclose their lack of communication with Tom Sandoval. Despite reaching out regarding the tragic death of his close friend, Ali Rafiq, he remained unresponsive.
With that said, sit tight as we unravel the tale of Ali, a chapter in Tom's life he's "finally starting to grieve."
Tom Sandoval's close friend, Ali Rafiq, passed away in May 2023.
On May 19, 2023, tragedy struck when Ali Rafiq collapsed at his parents' home. His sister, Rabia, spoke with TMZ and revealed their mother discovered Ali on the floor of their St. Louis home, having fallen and hit his head on a table.
Rabia mentioned that aside from asthma, her late brother had no known illnesses, and the family didn't consider it a serious concern for him. Although she noted that Ali's death certificate listed "organ failure" as the cause of death, the family hoped toxicology reports would shed more light on the circumstances.
At the height of his cheating scandal, Tom Sandoval took to Instagram to pay tribute to Ali.
"The love I have for you is way beyond words. I will carry u forever in my heart," Tom wrote on May 20, 2023. "Always cherishing the beautiful memories, uncontrollable laughter, and epic experiences we had together. You were My best friend, my brother. I'll catch u on the next sunrise… 5min/5hour 5or500."
Tom's ex, Ariana Madix, also shared a close bond with Ali and expressed how deeply she missed him: "I keep wanting to text you. It feels like this can't even be real," she shared via her Instagram Story. "We were just planning your trip to L.A., talking about our futures and all the things we were looking forward to.
"I miss our talks about life. I miss sending each other cat memes. I miss geeking out over food or DJ videos. I miss you bringing your turntables over," she continued. "I miss us both wanting to go home but still staying out and having fun. I miss cut copy and Chromeo songs."
The reality TV star concluded, "I love you always and forever. I'm grateful for the moments we spent together and for the love and friendship you showed me over the last  years. You are so loved, and you are so missed. I am proud to be able to say I know Ali the great because you ARE and will always be the greatest."
Tom Sandoval is finally starting to mourn the loss of his friend Ali Rafiq.
During the Jan. 30, 2024, episode of The Viall Files podcast, Tom Sandoval opened up about the scandalous events of the past year. When asked about his therapy journey and what he has gained from it, Tom told host Nick Viall that he's "finally starting to grieve the loss of my best friend, my brother, Ali."
"I cried so f--king hard last night, like, my eyes were bloodshot…," Tom explained on the podcast, recounting that his tardiness to the recording was due to a sleepless night filled with tears. "I didn't sleep last night. I f--king cried for, like, two hours."
Reflecting further, Tom expressed, "Ali was one of the most f--king beautiful human beings. I came across a picture of him, and I ... when he died, there was so much going on. I never truly got to grieve him, and last night, I literally f--king sobbed for two hours. I was up all night, I was pacing around."
Catch new episodes of Vanderpump Rules on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on Bravo.