Offering his side of the story. Howie Mandel has heard the criticism about his tell-all interview with Tom Sandoval — and he stands by his approach.
“[Bravo fans] wanted to hear me cross-examine. They wanted me to grill him,” Mandel, 67, explained during the Tuesday, May 2, episode of the “The Viall Files” podcast. “The tough thing was and I said to [my daughter and cohost Jackelyn Shultz], ‘If you hear something that you don’t agree with then you can’t challenge. There are no challenges on this particular moment. We are not challenging, that is not what this is about.’”
The comedian revealed that he “promised” Sandoval’s team he wouldn’t push back against their client, 40, on the air. Mandel also offered to “edit” out anything the TomTom co-owner wasn’t satisfied with after the podcast taping.
“I would not do anything differently,” Mandel added before explaining the backstory of Sandoval’s rare interview. “As people have found out, one of the people who works for me is married to his road manager. … I [was] not going to put him in an uncomfortable position. I told him, ‘You want to speak, come on and talk.’ My point is — and the reason I wanted to [have him on the show] — that I still don’t understand [the outrage around Scandoval].”
The Missouri native’s personal life made headlines in March when news broke about his split from Ariana Madix after nearly a decade of dating. At the time, Us Weekly confirmed that Sandoval had an affair with Vanderpump Rules costar Raquel Leviss while still together with Madix, 37.
Amid the controversy, Sandoval went on Mandel’s podcast to explain what led to his infidelity. The Schwartz & Sandy’s cofounder claimed the former couple had conversations about calling it quits before his cheating scandal with Leviss, 28.
“We didn’t tell anybody, but she knew,” he alleged on the April 11 episode of the “Howie Mandel Does Stuff” podcast. “She was trying to, like convince me not to be broken up … but that was not the case. She asked me that day as we were leaving about, like — because we had talked about fertilizing [her] eggs, which I never did. She was like, ‘So, what do you think about doing a sperm check to fertilize my eggs?’ And I’m like, ‘What? We’re broken up.’ … I was like, ‘We’ll talk about this later, I gotta go do my show.’”
Sandoval, who first hooked up with Leviss in August 2022, recalled growing closer to the model while filming season 10 of Vanderpump Rules. “I was seeing Raquel as often as I could. I know that sounds horrible,” he said. “And FaceTiming her all the time. And Ariana didn’t even notice because that’s just how separate our lives were. I had to actually tell her, ‘How have you not noticed how distant I’ve been lately?’”
In response to the bombshell interview, Andy Cohen publicly slammed the former Deal or No Deal host for seemingly having no knowledge of the drama.
“Howie Mandel apparently didn’t know what he was getting himself into with his interview of Tom Sandoval today. Because it seems like maybe he didn’t do his homework?” the Bravo executive , 54, quipped on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen while calling Mandel the “Jackhole of the Day.”
One day later, Cohen elaborated on why he was “annoyed” by the podcast. “I’m surprised [Tom] gave an interview to someone who doesn’t seem to be familiar with the show or watched the show on any level,” he explained. “And [Howie’s] like, ‘I don’t understand why this is a big deal,’ but, you know, maybe that’s what Tom felt he needed from an interview, so that he could just be completely unchallenged. I think he went on because for sure he thought it was a friendly environment.”
Mandel, for his part, clarified on Monday that he put in an effort before speaking with Sandoval. “[The backlash] doesn’t annoy me and it doesn’t bother me. I am incredibly confused and amazed by this Scandoval thing. I thought I was going to learn something,” he added. “My homework was talking to him and I wanna hear this story. I wanna hear why it’s so big.”
The Canada native went on to joke that Bravo “hates” him for getting involved in the discourse, saying, “I was a jackhole, I [was named] a jackhole on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. Andy Cohen said I’m a jackhole [and] I think that’s positive. I just like to have a title.”