Howie Mandel has insisted Sofia Vergara wasn’t offended by his on-air joke about her divorce from husband Joe Manganiello – which was said to have caused her to storm away from a segment on ‘America’s Got Talent’.
The actress, 51, had been sitting on a seat for a lie detector test during Wednesday’s (13.09.23) episode of the show while spilling the beans on her fellow judges and her time on ‘Modern Family’.
But when her co-host Howie, 67, asked whether she was “interested in” anyone in the audience she abruptly ended the segment, according to Entertainment Tonight.
The Emmy nominee is said to have shouted: “That’s it!” before apparently removing the cuff on her arm and returning to her regular seat at the judges’ table.
Howie has now told DailyMail.com Sofia has “got a good sense of humour about it” and is “always the first one to laugh”.
He added: “I would not do it if I felt in any way that I would be offending her even in the slightest.”
Howie also said the funniest ‘AGT’ judge was Sofia.
He went on: “She’s just a funny person... she’s probably – all kidding aside – one of the smartest, funniest people that I have met.
“Everybody’s got a really good sense of humour on this, but she knows what she’s doing, and she’s got a really good sense of humour.
“And even though I’m getting in trouble a little bit online for digging at her circumstances right now, she’s always the first one to laugh.
“And I know her really well and she isn’t offended, and I’m not defending myself. I’m just telling you who she is.”
Howie had first mocked Vergara’s single status while critiquing a ventriloquist in August.
He told the competitor in August: “If you’re looking for eligible bachelors, you should’ve talked to Sofía. She’s in the market right now.”
Sofia laughed off the joke at the time, but host Terry Crews, 55, ended the joke by saying on stage: “No. We are not doing that.”
The following week, Sofia had a flirty response when a contestant referred to her as “Sofía Viagra” during a stand-up comedy set.
She exclaimed in response: “I’m single!”
Sofia and her ex Joe, 46, confirmed in July they were splitting after seven years of marriage.
The former couple said in a joint statement: “We have made the difficult decision to divorce.
“As two people that love and care for one another very much, we politely ask for respect of our privacy at this time as we navigate this new phase of our lives.”
Sofia – who has son Manolo, 31, with her 52-year-old former husband Joe Gonzalez – and Joe started dating in 2014 before they married the following year.
The actress was previously engaged to Nick Loeb, 48, from 2012 to 2014, with whom she fought over frozen embryos in court.