After receiving some backlash for making a joke less than a month after Sofía Vergara and Joe Manganiello’s split, Howie Mandel doubled down on his comments: "It's never too soon"
During Tuesday's live episode of America's Got Talent, the 67-year-old television personality joked about how Vergara, 51, is now single and looking for new bachelors after her divorce from husband Joe Manganiello.
Mandel later clarified that he doesn’t actually need to step in to play matchmaker for Vergara, telling Extra, "I think everybody watching who is available believes they’re the perfect match for Sofía. 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. I mean, she is a great friend, a brilliant person, businessperson, a powerhouse, an amazing sense of humor. She checks every box, so whoever ends up with Sofía is going to be really, really lucky," 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."
He also clarified that he doesn’t think Vergara should wait to date after her split from Manganiello despite users "online saying, ‘Too soon.'" He added, "I think as soon as you’re available, it’s never too soon. She’s fresh, people."
"People thought that was mean and insensitive. If you watched Sofía, she screamed after she came over to me and thought it was funny," he added. "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 joked that they were open to receive submissions from available suitors, adding, "We will either swipe left or right."
During Tuesday’s episode of the NBC talent show, ventriloquist and mentalist Brynn Cummings performed an act in which she "set" Heidi Klum up with an eligible bachelor puppet named Lovebird.
After the performance, Mandel raved about Brynn's talents. He then quipped to the young ventriloquist: "I have one more piece of advice for you: if you're looking for eligible bachelors, you should've talked to Sofía because she's in the market right now."
Vergara appeared unbothered by Mandel's comment, simply responding with a loud cheer and throwing her hands into the air.
Host Terry Crews attempted to intervene, telling the judges, "No, we're not doing that here!"
Mandel's comment comes a few weeks after sources confirmed to PEOPLE that Vergara and Manganiello, 46, were divorcing after seven years of marriage.
“We have made the difficult decision to divorce,” the couple shared in a statement to Page Six in July. “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.”
Manganiello officially filed for divorce two days after the breakup was announced. Per docs obtained by PEOPLE, he cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the split and listed their date of separation as July 2. He also noted the pair had a prenup.
However, in separate court docs obtained by PEOPLE, Vergara requested in her filing that the court uphold the former couple's prenup. She also requested that certain assets should remain hers, including jewelry, artwork and "other personal effects." She claimed her earnings from before and during their marriage as her assets as well.
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America's Got Talent's results show will air Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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