After making yet another joke about Sofia Vergara being single, Howie Mandel faces backlash.

While recording the most recent edition of America’s Got Talent on Wednesday, September 13, Sofia Vergara participated in a lie-detector exam, and the judges made the most of the chance. She wore an arm cuff to track her vital signs and sat in an unusual chair that was shaped like a stack of tater tots.
Terry Crews revealed the “tot seat”—which is a heated seat constructed of tater tots—and Simon Cowell offered up Vergara when Crews asked if any of the judges would like to participate. The judges asked her a number of questions, including one by Howie Mandel that didn’t turn out as expected.

He asked her if there’s anyone in the audience that she’s interested in – referring to the fact that she’s now single for the first time in nearly 10 years. Unfortunately for Mandel – and the audience – she refused to answer the question and, instead, took the arm cuff off and walked back to her seat at the judge’s table.

Howie Mandel is receiving a lot of backlash online as a result of his question, especially since it comes just a few weeks after he made a similar joke about her being single. It happened last month when Brynn Cummings (a 12-year-old mentalist and ventriloquist) was looking for an eligible bachelor for her puppet.

After the puppet flirted with both Mandel and Heidi Klum, Mandel offered some words of advice. “If you’re looking for eligible bachelors, you should’ve talked to Sofía because she’s in the market right now,” he said. While Sofia Vergara appeared to laugh at the joke, her fans online didn’t take the joke very well.

The backlash prompted Howie Mandel to defend himself in an interview with Extra. While people online were saying the joke was ‘too soon,’ Mandel didn’t think so. “I think as soon as you’re available, it’s never too soon. She’s fresh, people,” he said – adding that he wouldn’t have said it if he knew it offended her.

“People thought that was mean and insensitive. If you watched Sofía, 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,” he added – in full damage control mode.

Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello announced their separation on July 17 and their divorce was filed by Joe just two days later – citing ‘irreconcilable differences,’ like most celebrities do. While their joint statement didn’t provide any exact details of the divorce, they shared that it was a mutual decision.

“We have made the difficult decision to divorce,” the July 17 statement read – court documents revealed that the separation date was listed as July 2. “As two people that love and care for one another very much, we politely ask for respect for our privacy at this time as we navigate this new phase of our lives.”

The couple had a prenup in place and the split came just one week before Vergara celebrated her 51st birthday. Several sources speculated that Joe wanted a divorce because Vergara didn’t want children. “ “He really wanted to have a baby with her and she wasn’t interested and it caused a rift,” one source said.

The former couple originally met in May 2014 at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner and went on their first date the following month. Joe proposed on December 25, 2014 and they officially tied the knot in Palm Beach, Florida on November 22, 2015. Sofia has one child from a previous relationship.

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