Former ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Star Rachel Leviss Talks to Psychologist About Her Habit of Smiling During Serious Situations

Rachel, rocking her best serious face.

On the latest episode of her Rachel Goes Rogue podcast, Rachel Leviss addressed the seemingly happy behavior she’s been known to display while discussing controversial topics, which she claims is something she does unintentionally. 

As fans of Vanderpump Rules know, Rachel has a tendency to smile (and often laugh) while speaking about heavy topics, even sporting a grin at times during Season 10 of ‘Vanderpump Rules’ while discussing her affair with fellow cast member Tom Sandoval. 


Though Rachel’s ‘Vanderpump Rules’ days are behind her, the former pageant contestant recently invited psychologist Dr. Hillary Goldsher to be a guest on her newly-launched podcast in an effort to better understand her behavior, which continues to be criticized on social media. 

“Listening back, hearing me laugh about, especially the Graham situation for me, like, that’s not a funny thing and I want to know why,” Rachel said. “Like, what is this thing that my body does without me even knowing?”

As The Ashley previously told you, before Rachel and James Kennedy ended their relationship in 2021, the couple adopted a puppy together named Graham. Following James and Rachel’s split, Graham lived with Rachel’s parents, though it was reported last summer that Rachel had abandoned the pup at a shelter. Rachel denied abandoning Graham; however, the dog was ultimately reunited with James– and renamed Hippie– and now lives with James and his girlfriend Ally Lewber. 

Rachel noted on her podcast that she was excited to have a professional on-hand to explain why she defaults to a lighthearted demeanor, admitting that most people do not smile through their traumatic memories. 

“ … I’m getting a lot of feedback from people saying I’m smiling too much,” she said. “I’m laughing through the things that are more of a serious topic. And as I’m describing these things and recounting these memories, I don’t think it’s funny and I don’t enjoy it.”

“Uh huh…sure, Rach.”

Rachel–- who, as you may recall, spent months in a trauma therapy center amid the immediate Scandoval fallout– told Dr. Goldsher that she has “more of a serious demeanor” when talking to family and close friends, but admits she had to “modify” her behavior as a child in order to appease those around her. Dr. Goldsher noted that Rachel’s “unspoken but assigned role” as a child was to show up happy, “as the pleaser, as the easy kid, as the one that was ok.” 

“ … you came to know this is how I have value, this is how I take up space in this family dynamic,” Dr. Goldsher said, adding that while identifying this is a “great first step” for Rachel, it doesn’t mean Rachel is automatically able to stop exhibiting that behavior as an adult. 

Rachel, realizing she has to do a lot more than just cut back on her smiling…

“In fact, in situations, particularly where there’s stress and duress, it comes out again, right?” Dr. Goldsher continued. “And we may know it at the time, we may understand it in retrospect, but we’re vulnerable. So I imagine as you move through the world as an adult, when things are stressful, you might return to that old, comfortable way of being.” 

Rachel acknowledged that her behavior is a form of “protection,” relating it to the concept of a “wall of pleasant”– a protective mechanism that can hinder an individual from forming deeper connections with others– that she was introduced to during her time at the trauma center. 

Rachel also reveal to Dr. Goldsher that she is taking an extended break from the dating scene in order to continue focusing on herself and her emotional well-being. 

Rachel’s last relationship summed up in one sentence.

“I’m not dating for a year, and in doing that, I’m just focusing on myself,” she said. “And after this talk, focusing on my emotions that come up for me. Like what are my own needs that I need met? And not adding an additional person into the equation, so that it is just focused on me and other people, as well as my friends and family and the people that are in my inner circle that are safe friends.”  

Season 11 of ‘Vanderpump Rules’ premieres– sans Rachel– Tuesday, January 30 on Bravo. 

RELATED STORY: Rachel Leviss Spills Details On Scandoval; Claims Tom Schwartz Knew About Her & Tom Sandoval’s Affair All Along 

(Photos: Bravo; Instagram) 


  1. She smiles during the Sandoval thing because it’s duper’s delight. She very much enjoyed talking about it. She never showed remorse about the whole thing. “I’ve never had sex like that” is definitely a statement of bragging about how good it was. She can go away now. This is all old news. Feels like she is just wanting attention that has already faded.

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