The Untold Truth Of Howie Mandel's Wife, Terry

Comedian Howie Mandel burst onto the scene in the 1980s, at the time best known for his signature bit: taking a surgical rubber glove, placing it atop his head, and then pulling it down over his face before finally blowing it up like a balloon through his nostrils. After segueing into a lengthy career acting in television and film, these days, Mandel is best known as the longtime judge of the NBC reality competition, "America's Got Talent," having previously headed the network's hit game show, "Deal or No Deal."

Through it all, at Mandel's side has been his wife, Terry Mandel (née Soil). Married since 1980, the two are parents to three children and have a couple of grandchildren, continuing the love they've shared since meeting as teenagers in their hometown of Toronto, Canada.

Terry has been making headlines of her own, thanks to an anecdote about a somewhat gruesome accident that her husband relayed on a daytime talk show. To find out more about that, in addition to all the scoop about their extraordinary life together, read on to discover the untold truth of Howie Mandel's Wife, Terry.

When Terry and Howie Mandel met, he borrowed money from her

Howie Mandel first met his future wife, Terry, when he was 12 years old, waiting in line at a McDonald's. "I didn't know her, and I was short a couple of bucks for french fries ... and she lent me money," Mandel recalled during an interview with hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on "Today." "She was, like, 14 at the time," he said, before jokingly adding, "I've been paying her back ever since." When Bush Hager asked Mandel if he knew that Terry was "the one" at that moment, he kept on joking. "Yeah, a 14-year-old gives you a quarter, you go, 'This is my life!'" he sarcastically responded.

Mandel became intrigued by Terry and went on to ask her out. She declined the invitation. "She didn't want to go out with me, ever," Mandel said, admitting that she was well aware of the reputation he had developed for pulling outrageous pranks. He offered an example of one of these pranks in an interview with Ability Magazine, recalling how he once phoned some construction firms to put in bids on building an extension to his school's library, leading to construction workers showing up the next day to take measurements. "I thought that was funny," Mandel noted. "But nobody else did." (That particular stunt, by the way, got him expelled from school.)

Finally, she agreed to go out with him. "I think the first time I dated her I was 19," he said on "Today."

Her first date with Howie was a wild ride — literally

Howie Mandel finally convinced Terry to go out with him while they were in high school, but their first date proved to be unexpectedly exciting thanks to a vehicular mishap. "We drove to the movies in my mother's Cutlass Supreme," Mandel recalled in a 2018 interview with The Wall Street Journal.

When interviewed by "Today," Mandel admitted that his propensity for silly stunts was certainly not unknown to his date, which came to the forefront as they drove. "My reputation was that I was crazy, and obnoxious," he said, revealing that, as he motored down a wintry Toronto street, he made a turn and hit a patch of ice, sending the car careening out of control, which Terry initially believed was on purpose. "The car spun, hit the center curb, went up on two wheels, and then fell down," he said. Mandel was near tears at the time, remembering, "We came this close to death. And she looks at me, and goes, [sternly], 'Very funny.'"

According to Mandel, he's still not entirely sure what she saw in him all those years ago. "You know, she wasn't all that attracted to me," he told Ability Magazine. "It took me the longest time to get her." Ultimately, however, his persistence paid off — and may well have been the defining quality that sealed the deal for her. "I would imagine she saw the charm in my persistence," Mandel mused. "Maybe. I don't know what it was."

Howie proposed in a deli and they honeymooned at a comedy club

While Howie Mandel's first date with future wife Terry nearly ended in a car wreck, it seems like a Hallmark Channel rom-com when compared to how he popped the question. "I was sitting in a deli, and I'd bought a loose diamond, and I put it on the table and said, 'I got to go to the bathroom, but if you want to make a ring go ahead,'" Howie recalled in an interview with Streets of Toronto. "I'm not a romantic; neither of us is romantic."

Despite that train wreck of a proposal, she said yes, and they wound up getting married in 1980. "We went to Yuk Yuk's for our honeymoon," Mandel said, referencing the famed Toronto comedy club where he got his start. The couple had moved to Los Angeles and were broke by then, but still needed to fly to their hometown to get married. "We barely had enough money to buy the plane tickets for the wedding, so I timed it as a business trip (although I didn't have big business then)," he said.

The club's owner, Mark Breslin, gave him a spot on stage on the day after their wedding. With Terry sitting beside him on a stool onstage while he performed, he recalled of the performance, "I explained to the audience that this was my honeymoon show. Again, I'm not a romantic, but this was a moment that she'll never forget (or she'll never let me forget!)."

Terry gave Howie an ultimatum to seek help for his OCD

Howie Mandel himself has admitted that he's not the easiest guy to coexist with due to his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and germaphobia. "People have seen me on television or in concert and think I'm fun, and I probably am for a couple of hours, but living with me is not easy," he explained to Streets of Toronto.

During the course of her marriage to Howie, Terry Mandel came to realize that what she had initially taken to be his squeamishness about certain things was actually mental illness, a germaphobia that sprang from his then-undiagnosed OCD. "I think she thought I was odd, but very clean," he joked to Ability Magazine about taking up to five showers per day. Over time, it became increasingly difficult for Terry to turn a blind eye to his behavior that made perfect sense to him but appeared bizarre to everyone else. 

A point came when his germaphobia had become so severe that Terry laid down the law. "She goes, 'I can't do this anymore and I can't have the children do it anymore. And if you don't get help, that's it," Mandel recalled to The ultimatum forced him to seek professional assistance, which led to his diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Admitting his OCD had placed a strain on their relationship, Mandel gives his wife full credit for being his rock. "[Terry] has been nothing but supportive," he said.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Terry is a Hollywood agent and producer

When he spoke with Ability Magazine back in 2011, Howie Mandel revealed that he and wife Terry Mandel had recently celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary, and he shared some details about her career at the time. "She used to be in retail," he said. "But she sold that business and now does real estate."

Since then, Terry has joined her husband by embarking on more Hollywood-themed pursuits; unlike Howie, however, hers have been behind the camera. She became an agent at the L.A.-based talent agency, Abstract Talent, which is owned by the Mandels. In addition, she served as an associate producer on Howie's special on the TV series, "Cinemax Comedy Experiment." She's credited with special thanks on the 2022 film, "Silent Night in Algona," and her husband's 1983 comedy special, "The First Howie Mandel Special."

Throughout their lives, Howie and Terry have also had the jobs of parents and grandparents together. Their eldest child, Jackelyn, was born in 1984, followed by Alex in 1989, and Riley in 1992. Jackelyn has welcomed two children, Abbey and Axel, while Howie gushed in a January 2024 episode of "The Jennifer Hudson Show" that daughter Riley was pregnant with grandchild number three.

She's the reason Howie said yes to Deal or No Deal

Howie Mandel's career was revitalized in 2005 when he agreed to host "Deal or No Deal," a hit game show in which contestants were faced with 26 closed briefcases held by models (one of whom was the future Duchess of Sussex). Each briefcase contained a sum of money, and the contestant was forced to decide whether they wanted to keep the briefcase in hopes of a higher sum, or accept an offer from the show's unseen "banker."

When Mandel was offered the show, he initially turned it down because he didn't feel that being a game show host was an appropriate gig for a standup comic. "I said no to it three times," Mandel revealed in an interview with The Gazette. According to Mandel, he just couldn't wrap his head around how he could string out such a seemingly thin concept for a full hour of television. "I don't want to just read trivia questions," he recalled himself thinking at the time.

It was Terry who finally convinced him to give it a try. "My wife said, 'You'll see. It's good,'" he recalled. Ultimately, he took Terry's advice, it and wound up changing his life. "My wife told me to take the deal, and I took the deal," he added.

She's just as funny as her hilarious husband

If there's one solid bond that Howie Mandel and wife Terry have shared over the years, it's laughter. In fact, he shared in a 2009 interview with Good Housekeeping that he realized that Terry was the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with when she made him laugh. "It was wonderful to meet a witty woman," Mandel declared. "The biggest void that people can have in their lives is a sense of humor. Spending your life with someone who doesn't have that wouldn't be palatable."

While laughter has always brought them together, so has being apart. "The more career I have, the better the marriage is," Mandel explained while speaking with Streets of Toronto. "People ask us, 'How do you make it last so long?' My wife says it's because I'm always on the road."

Absence may not always make the heart grow fonder, but it's been the secret sauce that had held together the Mandels' union for four decades and counting. "When I'm up in Canada filming 'Canada's Got Talent' and she's not there with me, it makes her love me even more," he added.

Terry is a pet lover with a passion for animal rescue

Terry Mandel is a committed lover of animals, and she has become a huge proponent for animal rescue. Her husband, Howie Mandel, jokingly quibbled about that particular word choice when he was interviewed by Pet Lifestyles Magazine. "She calls it 'rescuing.' I call it 'taking.' She takes any animal in her path," Mandel joked of his wife's propensity to tend to any and all critters that she happens to encounter. 

To make his point, he launched into an impromptu comedy routine, pretending to answer a phone call for Terry from a wildlife rescue facility. "We have her crow here. You know the one she found by the side of the road? Just advising we are ready to set I free back into the wild now, it's healed," Howie said.

"My wife loves animals, any kind of animals," Howie reiterated during an appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show." Howie put that love to the test when he surprised her on her birthday by renting a live elephant and transporting it to their backyard. Not only did Terry not appreciate the gesture, the elephant also did extensive damage to their yard. "There was $45,000 damage!" he revealed to the show's host, chart-topping singer Kelly Clarkson. "The sprinklers, the trees — and elephant poo removal is not a service that is nearby."

Terry sustained a serious injury after taking weed gummies

Howie Mandel wasn't laughing when he woke up one night while he and wife Terry were staying in a hotel in Las Vegas, and discovered what looked like a crime scene. Mandel recounted the story while appearing on "Live with Kelly and Mark," revealing that Terry was a bit more "tipsy" than he realized when they returned to their room from dinner. "I did not know that, and in the middle of the night she got up and, I don't know where she was headed, but she headed into the wall," he said, recounting how she fell down and smashed into the wall's wainscoting. "She slipped, went down, hit that on her eye, then fell on the floor, and broke her cheek," he divulged.

He continued by describing what he saw. "Blood is pooling out and I freaked out," he continued, telling hosts Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa that he placed her on the bed, and panicked. "I saw her head, and you could actually see her skull," he recalled. "It opened up. So I freaked." Thankfully, Terry completely healed with no evidence she'd ever been injured. "There is not a scar," he beamed.

He later clarified his claim that his wife hadn't been drinking, telling TMZ that she had actually imbibed in marijuana edibles. "She doesn't have an alcohol problem," Mandel declared. "She took gummies."