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.”

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