Howie Mandel Is on a Mission to Find Sofia Vergara’s ‘Perfect Match’

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Howie Mandel defended his joke about Sofia Vergara’s newly single status — and revealed he’s on a mission to find her Mr. Right. 

“I think everybody watching [America’s Got Talent] who is available believes they’re the perfect match for Sofia,” Mandel, 67, told Extra in an interview published on Wednesday, August 23. “I don’t think Sofía, to be honest … she doesn’t need my help. She really doesn’t. I believe that she’ll be fending them off.” 

He continued: “Let’s try and do it by the end of the season. We’ll find her a match and leave it to America to vote.”

Mandel, who cohosts AGT with Vergara, 51, called the actress “a great friend, a brilliant person, businessperson [and] powerhouse” with “an amazing sense of humor” before noting that whoever she ends up with is “really, really lucky.” 

Mandel’s comments come one day after AGT’s first week of live shows, which kicked off on Tuesday, August 22, where he had some surprising advice for 12-year-old ventriloquist Brynn Cummings. 

“I have one word of advice. If you’re looking for eligible bachelors, you should have talked to Sofia, because she’s in the market right now,” he joked, to which Vergara — who split from estranged husband Joe Manganiello in July — enthusiastically replied, “Yes!” 

When talking to Extra on Wednesday, Mandel defended his remarks, despite receiving some pushback for trying to get Vergara to go on a date so quickly after calling it quits with Manganiello.

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“People were online saying, ‘Too soon.’ I think as soon as you’re available, it’s never too soon. She’s fresh, people,” he quipped. “People thought that was mean and insensitive. If you watched Sofia, she screamed after she came over to me and thought it was funny. She said, ‘Yes,’ so she’s got a great sense of humor and I wouldn’t do anything to hurt a fellow — a friend first, and a fellow co-worker.”

After clearing the air, Mandel added: “‘[If] you can think of somebody [for Sofia to date], send it our way and we will either swipe left or right.” 

Tuesday’s episode of the NBC talent show marked Vergara’s first TV appearance since Manganiello, 46, filed for divorce after almost eight years of marriage. According to court documents obtained by Us Weekly at the time, the estranged couple’s date of separation was listed as July 2. A source later told Us that Vergara and Manganiello were no longer “on the same page” in their relationship. 

“She would rather go out with friends and he would rather stay home, so they wouldn’t spend a lot of time together,” the insider explained. “They’ve been living separate lives for about a year now, so it was time to call things off.”

The actress has since filed legal documents requesting for the course to enforce the pair’s prenup, requesting certain assets to remain under her ownership and to maintain her earnings from before and during her relationship with Manganiello.

As Vergara sorts out the details of her split, Mandel isn’t the only one of her friends to comment on her potential future romances. Julie Bowen, who starred alongside Vergara on Modern Family from 2009 to 2020, gushed over her longtime pal earlier this month. 

“Everything [Sofia] does, she does with grace,” Bowen, 53, told E! News on Monday, August 21. “And she rises above and she just goes forward. She’s warm and generous and giving to everybody around her. I have no doubt that if she wishes to be in a relationship she will be but she sure don’t need one.”