“I don’t need to do homework,” the comedian, 67, told Extra on Wednesday, April 12. “I know who he is. I wasn’t gonna weaponize his information and kind of, you know, challenge him on each thing.”
The former Deal or No Deal host went on to say that he assured Sandoval, 40, he could open up without fear of judgment from his interviewer. “I also said to Tom, ‘If you come in, just tell your side. I’m not gonna judge it. I’m not gonna argue with you. I’m not gonna call you out,'” Mandel explained. “It’s not a deposition, it’s a podcast, right?”
The Canada native added that he doesn’t “condone cheating” but he’s “worried” about Sandoval’s well-being. “I was in the room with him. He was visibly shaken, visibly damaged at this point,” Mandel claimed. “He’s a human being and I have empathy for every human being, I really do. He’s going through a real tough time, maybe he deserves to go through a tough time, but I really do feel for him. I feel for Ariana [Madix], I feel for Raquel, I feel for anybody who is involved in this.”
Mandel and Sandoval both drew criticism for the Tuesday, April 11, interview, during which Sandoval claimed he broke up with longtime girlfriend Madix, 37, in February. The TomTom co-owner claimed that his Fancy AF Cocktails coauthor refused to accept the split. (Us Weekly confirmed on March 3 that the duo, who started dating in 2014, had called it quits after Sandoval was caught cheating with Leviss, 28.)
“Obviously, [Ariana] was very upset. She freaking punched me and all this s–t,” Sandoval claimed of the alleged February breakup. “A couple days later, I sit down and talk with her again, and she’s like, ‘I’m not letting you leave me. You’re gonna have to force me out of this relationship.’ I was like, ‘Ariana, I don’t think I could be faithful in a relationship with you right now.’ I hadn’t told her about Raquel yet. She’s like, ‘If you break up with me, you will effectively be ending my life.’”
Hours after the interview, Cohen, 54, called Mandel the “Jackhole of the Day” during the Tuesday episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. “Howie Mandel apparently didn’t know what he was getting himself into with his interview of Tom Sandoval today,” the Most Talkative author quipped. “Because it seems like maybe he didn’t do his homework?”
One day later, the Bravo exec 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,” Cohen 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.”
The producer also theorized that Sandoval agreed to the interview because of personal connection to Mandel. Jason Bader, the drummer for Tom Sandoval & The Most Extras, is married to Kimmie Bader, who works for Mandel’s Alevy Productions.
“I think he went on because for sure he thought it was a friendly environment,” Cohen said.
After the podcast, however, Howie’s son, Alex Mandel, denied that Kimmie had any involvement with Sandoval’s interview. “Kimmie does work for Alevy, but Alevy does not produce the podcast. My company, AMP Digital, does,” Alex tweeted on Tuesday. “I’m not friends with Tom personally and would never allow questions to be predetermined. What you watched was actually their raw conversation.”