August 7, 2020 2:03AM EDT

Tom Schwartz confessed that he still hasn’t ‘processed’ the firings of his close friends Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni from ‘Vanderpump Rules.’ Nonetheless, the Bravo star revealed why he’s staying positive.

Although the cast of Vanderpump Rules just lost much of its main players, Tom Schwartz is still excited for Season 9. The TomTom co-owner, who has appeared on the Bravo show since its first season, opened up about the firings of Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni on the Aug. 4 episode of Lala Kent and Randall Emmett’s podcast, Give Them Lala … with Randall.

Tom SchwartzTom Schwartz, pictured here, has appeared on every season of Vanderpump Rules since the show’s premiere in 2013 (he became a main cast member in Season 3). (Tommy Garcia/Bravo)

“I don’t think I’ve processed it. It doesn’t feel real,” Tom admitted, in reaction to his friends’ departures from the show, which happened all at once. He added, “Maybe I’m running from it a little bit or I’m in denial that it ever happened.” Regardless, Tom is still looking forward to the new direction that Vanderpump Rules is taking.

“I’m optimistic about the future of Vanderpump Rules. I feel like the show still has legs…it has so much life to give,” Tom said, although he did acknowledge that the Bravo show is “never gonna be the same, that’s for sure.”

Tom tip-toed around the controversies that preceded his friend’s firings, however. “I love my friends and I support them. It’s been rough, but we’ll be OK. We’ll get through it,” Tom simply said. Right before they were booted from the show, Stassi and Kristen had come under fire after their former co-star, Faith Stowers, talked about how the two friends tried to call the cops on her over a crime she did not commit. Stassi and Kristen made the attempt in 2018, and Faith shared her true feelings about her co-star’s actions during an Instagram Live chat with Floribama Shore’s Candace Rice on June 1, in the wake of the growing Black Lives Matter movement.

Bravo and Evolution Media confirmed today that Stassi Schroed

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