Howie Mandel Addresses Meghan Markle's Time on 'Deal or No Deal'

Howie Mandel is looking back on Meghan Markle's time on Deal or No Deal as a briefcase model before marrying Prince Harry and becoming the Duchess of Sussex. Ahead of the return of Deal or No Deal to CNBC in December after nine years off the air, the longtime host and show's executive producer, Scott St. John, joked that the former actress had an air of royalty about her even back in her modeling days.

"She was not involved in many episodes, but I did remember her. She was a very nice person," St. John told reporters Wednesday when asked if they saw anything special about the former royal at the time at the 2018 Television Critics Association's Summer Press Tour, reports Fox News. "I can't say that I saw anything — I actually think all the women on our show are special." Mandel chimed in that Markle was "slightly duchess-y" at the time, earning laughter from the audience. 

St. John continued, "I mean, she actually developed a relationship with someone in the Royal Family and there were qualities that he saw in her and she saw in him. That's all that mattered — it doesn't matter what we saw." Mandel then used the question as an opportunity to praise all the briefcase models on the show. 

"That speaks to who we have now and who we had then," he said. "Not everybody will have the opportunity to meet royalty, but these are all accomplished people that have something substantial — they're not just standing there holding a case." He continued of the varied interests and backgrounds of the women, "They have careers, they have hobbies, they have families, they're entrepreneurial — they're all people. So, when somebody like Harry meets somebody who just happened to be on our show, there's a lot to offer."

Markle, who also starred in Suits before marrying Prince Harry in 2018, previously opened up about working on the game show to Esquire in 2013. "I would put that in the category of things I was doing while I was auditioning to try to make ends meet. I went from working in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal. It's run the gamut," she said at the time. "Definitely working on Deal or No Deal was a learning experience, and it helped me to understand what I would rather be doing." Deal or No Deal returns to CNBC on Dec. 5