Jax Taylor says things ‘went awry quickly’ on ‘The Valley’ – but for the most part has ‘no regrets’

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Jax Taylor, Kristen Doute and Brittany Cartwright of "Vanderpump Rules" fame have come a long way since their early days working for Lisa Vanderpump at SUR, but in many ways, they haven’t changed at all.

Jax’s and Kristen’s dramatic antics, which included cheating (with each other), stealing, fighting and a near-drowning incident (IYKYK), captivated the attention of “VPR” fans for a full eight seasons. Brittany first joined the group in the fourth season and stayed on through Season Eight, forming her own friendships with the crew and eventually marrying Jax in 2019. The couple also welcomed their first child, a son named Cruz, in April 2021.

Despite their departures, “VPR” has had no problem maintaining the drama and was recently at the center of one of the biggest pop culture scandals to rock the world of reality TV — “Scandoval.” In March 2023, the news broke that Tom Sandoval cheated on his longtime girlfriend, Ariana Madix, with their friend Raquel Leviss. The reality show, which had finished filming Season 10, picked cameras back up to resume filming for a special final episode, and Kristen, who used to date Tom, made her first return to the show since her exit to comfort Ariana.

More recently, Jax, who has cheated on several girlfriends on “VPR,” returned to the show to film a scene with Tom, which was teased in the Season 11 midseason trailer.

“You’ve been relentlessly talking s--- about me,” Tom says in the clip.

“The whole world has talked s--- about you, the whole entire world,” Jax replies.

However, Jax has recently been the subject of conversation among Bravo fans after Brittany revealed on their podcast, “When Reality Hits with Jax & Brittany,” in February that she and Jax are “taking time apart" after a “particularly rough year.”

Some fans questioned the timing of this news, as it coincided with the approaching premiere of the “VPR” spinoff “The Valley,” which stars Jax, Brittany and Kristen — along with another group of their friends. Andy Cohen asked “VPR” star Lala Kent about the fan speculation during a recent episode of “Watch What Happens Live.”

“They don’t need any help with that (promotion),” Lala said. “They’re all a hot mess. They don’t need separations.”

“She’s one of my dearest friends,” Lala added about Brittany. “So, I obviously knew that things were not great. And I told her I support you, but I always say, ‘Leave him!’”

“Entertainment Tonight” recently reported “The Valley” started filming again after the news of Jax and Brittany’s separation. The spinoff was officially announced in January and teased that the familiar faces would be “taking a shot at adulting.”

In addition to Jax and Brittany’s marital woes, the show will follow Kristen as she continues her fertility journey with boyfriend Luke Broderick. In November 2023, Kristen and Luke explained on her podcast, “Sex, Love, and What Else Matters,” that Kristen did get pregnant but experienced a miscarriage about six weeks in.

Joining the trio and Luke are cast members Jesse and Michelle Lally, Danny and Nia Booko, Jason and Janet Caperna, Jasmine Goode and Zack Wickham.

Ahead of the premiere of “The Valley” on March 19, TODAY.com caught up with Jax to get a preview of the drama to come, including why he gave Kristen "a lot of tough love." He also shares where he stands with Stassi Schroeder and if he’d ever want to join "The Traitors."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Your new show hasn’t started yet, but you're already back in the headlines. How are you doing?

I’m doing great, thank you for asking. I’m really excited about this new show, and my podcast is doing really well, my bar is doing really well — my family’s healthy. I can’t complain.

In one of "The Valley" trailers, Danny says it’s a 'three-way tie' for who is the most dramatic in the group between you, Kristen and Jesse. Do you agree with his assessment?

It’s not a tie. Here’s the thing, the first episode — it’s not going to be the most interesting in the world because the job of the first episode is to kind of show everything that’s going on, to introduce everybody. It might look a little dramatic in the beginning, but it’s kind of just setting the precedent. Obviously, me and Kristen and Brittany are the ones that have been around, but we’ve got a lot of new people. And then it really gets into it. I’m pretty excited about that.

Jax Taylor and Jesse Lally on season 1 of
Jax Taylor and Jesse Lally on season 1 of

But as far as me being dramatic? Maybe a little bit, but I’m definitely not in the running for (the most dramatic) for sure. Not like the old days, no. In fact, I was uncomfortable during the season because I wasn’t involved as much. There were times where there were arguments, and I’m like, “Should I be involved in this?”

Do you think Kristen and Jesse brought the most drama if it wasn’t you?

Yeah, and I didn’t see that coming at all. That was just out of left field, like everything this season was out of left field. When I developed this show, I wasn’t planning on things going crazy right (from) the get-go. I was really just kind of seeing the next chapter of our lives, everybody kind of going through their own different situations. We have a lot of different couples that are going through different parts of their lives, whether they’re getting married, separating, divorce, having children, not having children — a lot of things going on.

So that’s kind of what the plan was, to show everybody that, but it went awry quickly. I’ll leave it at that.

You’ve had a lot of experiences with relationships on reality TV. Do you think being on TV is to blame for relationship problems, or are the issues already there and the show brings them to light? It’s not just you and Brittany — there have been rumors about other couples on your show who have separated.

All that stuff was going on prior to the show. It just so happens that some of it was happening a bit more afterward, some a little bit more before, and then halfway during the season things were escalating. But the cameras had nothing to do with it.

Brittany Cartwright and Jax Taylor from season 1 of
Brittany Cartwright and Jax Taylor from season 1 of

That stuff happens either way. We have the same formula as “Vanderpump Rules.” It’s going to happen regardless of if the camera is there. We’re not amping anything up, we’re not creating anything.

On your podcast, you said you’re working on bettering yourself and you acknowledge how difficult that is. What does that process look like for you right now?

I feel like I’m always a bit of a work in progress. I feel like I’m going to be a work in progress the rest of my life. That’s just me. As long as you’re working on yourself and you’re aware, and I’m very self-aware of who I am and what I do, I’m working on it the best that I can and that’s all I can really do.

You watched a bit of "The Valley" trailer on your podcast. After seeing yourself and some of the things you said, do you have any regrets about anything we’ll see play out?

No regrets, no. I mean, maybe if I was a little short with Brittany at times, maybe I can look back and be like, “I probably was a little short there.” But for the most part no, no. I am who I am. Yeah, nothing really changed too much. That’s the problem, nothing’s changed. We’ll see what happens after some therapy and maybe some medication. We’ll see where it goes.

In the midseason trailer for Season 11 of "Vanderpump Rules," we see you talking to Tom Sandoval. Where do the two of you stand in your friendship right now?

It’s kind of touch-and-go right now. You’re going to see, obviously, next episode. That’s kind of when I come back. You’ll see what happens. I don’t really want to get into that question right now. If you ask me that next week, I will answer it. But I don’t want to give it away for everybody.

That's a good tease. So, Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz have a bar and restaurant, but you have your own bar, Jax’s. What could fans get at your bar that they couldn’t get at anyone else’s?

You’re definitely going to save a lot of money — that’s for sure. (Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz's) bar is great, don’t get me wrong: It’s a lot of fun. Mine’s just a little bit different. My price point’s a little lower, but I’m also in the Valley. Their overhead is a lot higher than mine. Different food, you get a little bit of a different vibe.

Tom Sandoval, Jax Taylor and Tom Schwart on
Tom Sandoval, Jax Taylor and Tom Schwart on

We have karaoke, we have watch parties, we have trivia nights. We have a little bit of everything for everybody. We’ve got a beer garden, we’ve got a lounge if you want to go with your girlfriend, if you want to come with your guys, we’ve got a sports bar area. It’s a little bit more laid-back. I want you to be able to come in your flip-flops and shorts as opposed to coming in a dress jacket or a dress or whatever.

When I (opened Jax's), I wanted people to come comfortable and not break the bank. Everyone loves the food, and they love the prices — so that makes me happy.

Everyone is excited to see you and Kristen because you both have been through a lot, and she’s trying to have a kid of her own. What was it like for you to be there for her this time?

I gave her a lot of tough love. I know it looks like that I’m coming down on her hard, but that’s kind of (my motto), how I grew up. That’s how your friends should be. They should tell you the things that you don’t want to hear because that’s what a true friend is, in my opinion. I don’t want (someone) to just tell me what I want to hear. I want to be told what I don’t want to hear.

I know it looks like I’m coming at her kind of hard in the first episode. I’m truly just trying to look out for her because Kristen is kind of like me in the ways of like, she kind of shoots first, asks later. I just wanted her to be prepared. That’s all. I saw the life that she’s living, I know the life that she wants. I want her to get to this point, but I want her to make sure she does all the things she needs to do to get to this point.

Kristen Doute, Michelle Lally, and Brittany Cartwright on season 1 of
Kristen Doute, Michelle Lally, and Brittany Cartwright on season 1 of

It’s very expensive here. There are a lot of things going on here. I was just a little concerned about her relationship, where (Luke) was living at the time. She’s already kind of like me. We both stress out a lot, and I just wanted to make sure she was prepped before she decided to bring a child into the world. That’s all.

Stassi Schroeder said in a recent interview that she didn't want to be on "The Valley" for "a lot of different reasons." I'm just curious, where does your friendship stand with her now?

Unfortunately, it’s nonexistent. I wish it was different. Regardless of how (Stassi and husband Beau) feel about me, I still love them to death, and it obviously bothers me that I don’t get to talk to them as much, especially Beau, too, because I love him.

Jax Taylor and Stassi Schroeder  (Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images)
Jax Taylor and Stassi Schroeder (Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images)

They’re upset (with) how I handled their wedding a few years ago, and I don’t blame them. I didn’t handle that correctly, and I’m mad at myself for that, but there’s nothing I can do. I’ve apologized many times. I don’t really know what else I can do. I would love for them to be part of ("The Valley"). Maybe another season they might decide to (join), but they’re both doing very well right now. They don’t really need something like this.

A little bit off-subject, but are you a fan of "The Traitors"? A lot of fans have said they’d like to see you on the show.

I have not watched it yet. I don’t watch a lot of reality TV, to be honest, but I would do it. I really think Brittany would be really good at it, to be honest. She’s really into Clue — she’s more into the brain games. I’m more of the guy that kind of wants to muscle my way through things. I’d love to see her on it, but if they asked me to be on it, I’d try it. Sure.

"The Valley" premieres March 19 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo and streams the next day on Peacock.

(Peacock is part of our parent company, NBCUniversal.)

This article was originally published on TODAY.com