Tom Schwartz Blasted Off for 'Stars on Mars' in the Thick of the Scandoval: 'I Needed a Break from Reality'

The 'Vanderpump Rules' star's simulated trek to outer space couldn't have come at a crazier time as his pal and business partner Tom Sandoval blew up their world when his shocking affair was exposed

<p>Brook Rushton/FOX</p>

Brook Rushton/FOX

Tom Schwartz is escaping to another planet amid the fallout of #Scandoval.

In PEOPLE's exclusive preview of the new Fox competition series Star on Mars, the 40-year-old Vanderpump Rules star is welcomed to the red planet, where he and his fellow celebrity contestants will “live, eat, sleep, strategize and bond with each other” in “authentic conditions that simulate life on Mars,” according to a press release from network.

The clip begins with wrestler Ronda Rousey wondering who the newest arrival will be and she already has someone in mind. She says, “I want Matt Damon.”

<p>Brook Rushton/FOX</p>

Brook Rushton/FOX

Related: &#39;Stars on Mars&#39; Lineup Unveiled: Tom Schwartz, Porsha Williams, Ariel Winter, and More Will Set Off to Conquer Outer Space

As the reality star arrives in a full spacesuit, a voice says, “Matt Damon unavailable. Welcome Tom Schwartz.”

Schwartz then shares his reason for taking part in the show, saying, “So I chose to do this little Stars on Mars experiment [because] maybe ironically, I needed a break from reality, specifically my reality.”

He went on to explain to fellow competitor Christopher Mintz-Plasse the premise of Vanderpump Rules. He says, “Our show is actually kind of a derivative of The Housewives. It's Vanderpump Rules. It's like people work and have sex with each other.”

Mintz-Plasse jokingly responds, “We’re not doing that here.”

<p>Brook Rushton/FOX</p>

Brook Rushton/FOX

Related: Ariana Madix Says Tom Schwartz &#39;Actively Participated in My Downfall&#39; by Hiding Tom Sandoval&#39;s Affair

In addition to Mintz-Plasse and Rousey, Schwartz will be joined by professional cyclist Lance Armstrong, comedian and actress Natasha Leggero, former NFL star Marshawn Lynch, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, NFL player Richard Sherman, singer Tinashe, Real Housewives of Atlanta alum Porsha Williams Guobadia, entrepreneur and artist Tallulah Willis and actress Ariel Winter on his out-of-this-world adventure.

Star Trek's William Shatner, who went to space in October 2021 on Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin space shuttle, serves as Mission Control and gives the participants their interstellar assignments.

Schwatz likely needed the break after news broke in March that his best friend and business partner Tom Sandoval had split from his girlfriend of nine years, Ariana Madix. Madix and Sandoval broke up after she learned of his affair with their VPR costar Raquel Leviss.

Last month, Madix, 37, called out Schwartz during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen when host Andy Cohen asked if Madix thought Schwartz was "covering" for her then-boyfriend's affair with Leviss.

"I don't think it was covering," Madix replied. "I think it was actively participating in my downfall."

Ralph Bavaro/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; Paul Archuleta/Getty; Phillip Faraone/Getty Images
Ralph Bavaro/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; Paul Archuleta/Getty; Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Related: All About the &#39;Vanderpump Rules&#39; Cheating Drama Involving Tom Sandoval, Ariana Madix and Raquel Leviss

Schwartz admitted on the Bravo show’s finale that Sandoval had told him about the affair with Leviss, 28, prior to Madix finding out — though the timeline of when exactly that conversation happened appears to still be up for debate. (Costar Lala Kent, 32, even criticized the Schwartz & Sandy's owners for "not putting their timeline together to match" during the reunion.)

Madix also confronted Schwartz directly on the finale episode. While at cocktails for a girls' night out, Katie Maloney's ex-husband arrived to speak to Madix.

"I just wanted to look you in the eyes and say I'm sorry for this whole thing," he said in a one-on-one conversation with Madix. "I'm not looking for sympathy here, but I'm being painted as this co-conspirator, and it's f---ing devastating to me."

It was then that Madix ended their friendship for good. "I don't think that you are that person, but I will not have mutual friends with him. So, I'm not your friend anymore."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Stars on Mars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.