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Howie Mandel Calls Tom Sandoval A 'Very Sweet Guy' After Facing Backlash For Controversial Podcast Interview: 'I Have Empathy For Every Human Being'

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Apr. 13 2023, Published 3:00 p.m. ET

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Howie Mandel is speaking out after Bravo exec Andy Cohen and Vanderpump Rules fans slammed him for his controversial interview with Tom Sandoval earlier this week.

The former America's Got Talent judge was accused of "not doing his homework" on the ins and outs of the show, as well as being overly empathetic to Sandoval after his cheating scandal with costar Raquel Leviss hit headlines.

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"Listen, I don’t watch… and I made this clear. I don’t watch ‘Vanderpump Rules,'" Mandel defended himself in a Wednesday, April 12, interview with Billy Bush. "I met Tom at a wedding. He’s a friend of a friend... I saw this Scandoval thing going into all this normal news cycle… and it was big!"

The 67-year-old confessed he initially knew so little about the popular Bravo series that he had to ask his daughter to explain the situation and remind the reality star that they'd met prior to making the decision to ask Sandoval to appear on his podcast.

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However, despite having little knowledge of the stars and plotlines of the hit show, he remained firm on the fact that he believes he knew enough to have him on the podcast.

"I don’t need to do homework. I know who he is," Mandel added, referring to Cohen's biting jabs about his research abilities. "I wasn’t gonna weaponize his information and kind of, you know, challenge him on each thing. Those people that watch Bravo, you could challenge any piece of information you get from my podcast, but it’s just amazing how it has blown up everywhere."

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The Gremlins actor also revealed that he'd promised the TomTom co-owner that he would get the chance to tell his side of the story without judgment or argument after.

"It’s not a deposition, it’s a podcast," he added.

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"I think my interaction with Tom Sandoval is he's a very sweet guy who is going through a real rough time right now," he shared. "I probably feel just as bad for the girl he cheated on, [and] the girl he cheated with."

And while Mandel admitted he did not "condone cheating," he couldn't help but feel "worried about him" after their candid conversation.

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"He was visibly shaken, visibly damaged at this point. He's a human being and I have empathy for every human being, I really do," he continued. "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."

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Mandel spoke with Extra about his podcast interview with Sandoval.

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