Tom Schwartz needed ‘transformational’ time away from ‘VPR’ Scandoval: ‘I’ve lost control of my life’ (exclusive)

Schwartz tells PEOPLE he “wanted to disconnect” from mounting personal and professional pressure, and “Stars on Mars” made him feel “absolutely in the moment” (thanks in part to flamethrowers!)

<p>Scott Gries/Bravo</p>
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Tom Schwartz had to jet off to another planet to truly deal with the problems weighing him down on Earth.

THE Vanderpump Rules the star, 40, has joined Fox Stars on Mars this spring in the midst of Scandoval’s cheating drama, which was sparked by the discovery that his friend and business partner Tom Sandoval had been in a months-long secret affair with costar Raquel Leviss behind then-girlfriend Ariana Madix.

But the turbulence in the VPR friendship group was just one of many problems for the co-owner of Schwartz & Sandy, who was just over a year away from his divorce from costar Katie Maloney and had been mired in several health issues in the family, including living room of his father in the hospital and a cancer diagnosis to his little brother Brandon.

“I felt like I had a little rain cloud overhead,” Schwartz tells PEOPLE. “He was very sad and gloomy. I think I was a little too melodramatic, self-indulgent.”

He adds: ‘I feel like I’ve lost control of my life. I’ve fallen apart a little bit. Every now and then, we fall apart. ‘”.

Related: Tom Schwartz stepped away for ‘Stars on Mars’ in the thick of the Scandoval: ‘I needed a break from reality’

<p>Brook Rushton/FOX</p>
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AND Stars on Mars it gave him the opportunity to do just that. “This couldn’t have come at a better time,” he says. “It was transformative.”

“When I came back, I had this new perspective,” he says. “I keep talking about the panning effect for astronauts, they go up and then they look at the Earth, and that gives them this new perspective, almost like a spiritual enlightenment. And I feel like I have at least one version of that. really done”.

In retrospect, he realizes he’s “retired into my own little bubble over the past few years, e [Stars on Mars] it just pulled me out. She has given me a newfound appreciation for my life in Los Angeles.”

<p>Brook Rushton/FOX</p>
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Plus, he and his castmates, including Porsha Williams Guobadia, Tallulah Willis, Ariel Winter, Lance Armstrong and Marshawn Lynch, got to play with the kind of gadgets and toys most people can only dream of, from a dog high-tech robotic dubbed “MARSha” at the flamethrowers on Monday night’s episode.

Schwartz calls this week’s one Stars on Mars challenge “one of the coolest missions ever”.

He teases, “We got to go into these caves and it was absolutely amazing. Spoiler alert: There are flamethrowers involved and it was probably my favorite day of the whole mission.”

Related: Tom Schwartz Says He’s ‘Moving Away’ From Tom Sandoval ‘Permanently’ After ‘Incredibly Messy’ Deal

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

Schwartz is someone who can admit to “getting caught in these negative thought loops and… becoming hyper-focused on these worst-case scenario doomsday outcomes.” So the turbulence with his friends on Earth, especially Sandoval, 40, who “exploited” his and Schwartz’s friendship during their relationship with Leviss, 28, was a major motivation for making a leap into the intergalactic abyss.

But ironically, bar co-owner TomTom says embracing the futuristic surroundings of life on Mars has actually brought him back to real life, especially as he heads into another season of Vanderpump Ruleswhich typically begins filming in the summer.

“It’s like my mind is constantly wandering into the future,” she explains. “So I guess one of my main goals for myself is to be more present. And on Mars, I was very present. I was absolutely in the moment, and it was a welcome retreat.”

But, she points out, “I wasn’t running away from my problems.”

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Stars on Mars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox and Vanderpump Rules can be streamed in full on Peacock.

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Read the original article in People.

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