Sandoval also asks fans to remember that "I am a human being" while watching the highly anticipated new season
Sandoval, 41, got real with PEOPLE at the show's season 11 premiere this week when asked what it was like the confront his costars as VPR's friendship group was still processing his affair with former costar Rachel "Raquel" Leviss.
"It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to face on such a regular basis," he admits. "It was very, very challenging and very, just very emotional."
Less than a year has passed since Vanderpump Rules producers picked back up cameras when Sandoval's ex Ariana Madix discovered an intimate video of Leviss on Sandoval's phone and instantly ended their nine-year relationship. A few months of international headlines after that, the cast — minus Leviss — began filming on season 11 as they continued processing the betrayal and navigate their shifting social dynamics in real time.
One of Leviss’s last public appearances before that was at the Vanderpump Rules season 10 reunion, where she faced her costars — including Madix — for the first time since the cheating scandal.
At this week's premiere, Sandoval told PEOPLE he hopes fans watch the new episode with compassion.
Admitting that "I'm definitely not perfect," he laid out his plea: "I am a human being, I'm not a character, you know. This isn't the Cardinals versus the Cubs, like, you know, I am I'm not Negan from Walking Dead. I'm myself who's putting myself out there along with the rest of my castmates."
He added, "This just happens to be like a s--- time for me because of what I've done. You know, just keep in mind I'm a person."
He could barely get a word in when attempting to speak, beginning, "It feels good to be here in Vegas. It's BravoCon" before the crowd erupted into boos that continued any time he tried to talk.
Toward the end of the panel, when asked by moderator Karamo Brown why he chose to appear at the convention even though it was inevitable he would get major the heat, he said resolutely, "I’d rather stand here and face it. I don't know what you do."
As for Madix, she met Brown's inquiry about filming season 11 with a terse response: "It was weird, it was difficult and I’m glad it’s behind me."
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Vanderpump Rules season 11 premieres Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.
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