A Look Back at Sofía Vergara, Joe Manganiello’s Love Story: From White House Encounter to Her Last Engagement
The two confirmed their split to Page Six, explaining, “We have made the difficult decision to divorce.”
“As two people that love and care for one another very much, we politely ask for respect of our privacy at this time,” they said. The former couple also described this time as a “new phase” in their lives.
Vergara and Manganiello have been married for seven years, often sharing adorable snaps like these on Instagram:
While the divorce has come as a surprise to many fans, some outlets say there were “signs” the two were in rocky territory. In fact, as per Us Weekly, Manganiello did not attend Sarah Hyland and Wells Adams’ wedding in August 2022, leaving Vergara to assist with her son Manolo Gonzalez, 31.
The two also relisted their Los Angeles home in May 2023, and just this month, Vergara celebrated her birthday without her husband. The “Modern Family” actress took a fabulous vacation to Italy with her pals instead, suspiciously captioning an IG photo with: “When life gives you lemons you come to Italy to squeeze them.” Hm.
Still, long before the couple’s relationship went sour, their love story was one for the books. Interestingly enough, the two met at the White House… while Vergara was engaged to someone else.
Vergara and Manganiello’s love story began at the White House in 2014
Manganiello actually met the “Chef” actress when she was still engaged to her ex-fiancé Nick Loeb, 47.
The two first locked eyes at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in May 2014, when Manganiello was actually “busted” by paparazzi while checking Vergara out.
He talked to E! News in August 2014 about a photo from that night that shows him looking at Vergara’s backside (LOL).
“I totally got busted. That was actually funny when we first started dating,” he admitted. “We had talked, I guess, or kinda bumped into each other but we didn’t start dating until she was single. She had a boyfriend at that time.”
As he put it, “I’m not trying to start a fight at the White House.”
Still, Manganiello later told PEOPLE for their Hottest Bachelors issue that year that Vergara’s gorgeous looks “manipulated” him into checking her out.
“It’s like a moment of Zen. There is nothing in my brain,” he described the moment (well, okay then!). “I don’t go after other people’s women. She’s got a guy. If she was single, I would be like, poof!”
In fact, while he called her “just gorgeous” and “naturally beautiful,” describing her as his celebrity crush, he asserted, “I don’t want to be like a home-wrecker. This person is engaged.”
However, Vergara and Loeb announced their split by the end of May 2014 — just a short time after the White House event. Once their two-year engagement was over, Vergara was single… and Manganiello wasted no time.
The “True Blood” actor got Vergara’s number from a mutual friend after her split
Manganiello knew it was go time once his celebrity crush was on the market again. So, he reached out to their mutual friend, “Modern Family” actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, to get her number. Stars— they’re just like us!
Ferguson described on the “Late Late Show with James Corden” that Manganiello was always into Vergara.
“I said: ‘Have you ever met Sofia?’ and of course, Joe was, like, ‘Mmm!’,” he said.
“When she broke up with her fiancé at the time, Joe — like, immediately, the moment it was out in the world— called me and was, like: ‘I need her number’,” Ferguson recalled.
Still, Vergara wasn’t exactly pumped about it. “I called Sofia and I was, like, ‘Can I give Joe your number?’ And she was, like, ‘Ay, no!'”
The phone number exchange took place just a month after Vergara announced her split from Loeb, which possibly made her tread lightly.
By the end of the conversation, Vergara agreed — and Manganiello “took over from there.”
How? Well, by flying out to New Orleans, where Vergara was filming her movie “Hot Pursuit.”
As per PEOPLE, the actor said on “The Jess Cagle Show” that his introductory speech to the actress went like this: “‘I’m coming to New Orleans. If you’re not available, I’m just gonna do some sightseeing, but I’m gonna be there and if you’re free I can take you out.”
While Vergara called the move “crazy” at the time, the two went on their first date in June 2014.
Manganiello told Haute Living the next year that Vergara gave him “every reason why it would never work out” during that first date.
“She was trying to talk herself out of going there,” he described, recalling how she told him, “You’re too young, you’re an actor.”
While Vergara thought Manganiello was “too good-looking,” they got engaged that year
Vergara told InStyle that she doubted getting together with her future husband because he was “too good-looking.”
“I didn’t want to go out with him for a long time because I thought he was too good-looking,” she described. “It’s too much work, and I’m older. I’m 43 years old. I don’t want to deal with a guy that every girl is after, you know?”
However, she soon gave him “a chance” after noticing he was different. “I realized he’s not like a typical handsome guy. He’s not vain. He’s very serious, very straightforward, very easy.”
By August 2014, Vergara confirmed to Extra that she was in a relationship with Manganiello. “You know I’m just having a great time and it’s a special time in my life and I’m trying not to think too much about it,” she said.
By November, things moved quite quickly. In fact, the two spent Thanksgiving together that year. Vergara posted an Instagram photo of the moment, writing, “Giving thanks for a beautiful year and my [loved] ones.”
Another big thing that happened that year? Well, by December 2014, the pair got engaged.
Manganiello proposed to Vergara on Christmas Eve, 2014, while on vacation at the St. Regis Hotel in Princeville, Hawaii.
The “True Blood” actor shared on “Live! With Kelly and Michael” that he prepared “a big speech in Spanish” for the special moment.
“The last thing you want to do is, like, mess up the Spanish on the proposal to the Colombian woman,” he joked. The actor also made sure to include “Eres mi todo” in his proposal.
Although they had just known each other for six months, Manganiello told Haute Living, “When you know, you know, and we knew right away.”
The actor also described the proposal to the outlet: “We had this big bay window [that I opened up], and the sun was going down pink over the mountains and over the bay, and I had this ring.”
“I proposed to her on one knee in Spanish with the sun going down. It was awesome,” he said.
The two moved in together in May 2015 and got married in Palm Beach months later
Vergara shared on “The Ellen Show” in May 2015 that she was officially moving in with her fiancé.
“We’re moving today, to a house actually,” she said. “Today we’re doing the move, and it’s been crazy.”
The actress joked that he was at home “packing her things,” explaining, “We’ve had help, and he’s doing his stuff.”
She also described her fiancée’s huge collection of books. “He has a lot of books that I don’t know where I’m going to put.”
“We have a wine cellar and I was like, ‘Oh, maybe that’s where we should put them instead of wine,'” she laughed.
By that year, the two also planned their spectacular wedding. As per PEOPLE, Vergara said on “Good Morning America” that she was “beyond” bridezilla territory.
“I am very detail-oriented, so I am kind of like a nightmare,” she said. “If you show me swatches of things, I can in two months exactly remember, ‘But what happened with the one with the little border that had the little print?’ I’m really bad.”
However, looking at swatches really paid off: their Palm Beach, Florida wedding in November 2015 was absolutely dreamy.
The happy couple celebrated their nuptials at Palm Beach’s Breakers Resort, inviting around 400 people.
Vergara wore a Zuhair Murad gown and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. The two chose “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra for their first dance, and Pitbull made the crowd go wild later in the evening.
In fact, Pitbull himself recalled the wedding to ET, “By the third song in — I did about a 45-minute set — [Vergara] was onstage with all her beautiful bridesmaids and friends, and that’s when the party started.”
The two had a marriage that was all about having fun and “goofing around”
Vergara often posted cute pictures with her husband on Instagram, writing photo captions like, “Never been so happy.” Here’s an adorable picture the actress posted in June 2020 for the six-year anniversary of their first date, writing, “You are mine.”
The two were very happy — in fact, Manganiello described to Men’s Health how the two always laughed together.
He told the magazine in May 2019, “My life is great because I really like my wife… I like talking to her. I like goofing around with her. We f**king laugh all day long every day.”
Manganiello also said his “favorite thing” was making Vergara “laugh so much she cries.”
In the interview, he said their married life was also very centered on bingeing series. “We marathon Netflix and watch shows like ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mindhunter,’ and ‘Naked and Afraid.’”
He also talked about the importance of being a gentleman to his wife: “I hold the door open for my wife, and that will never f**king change.”
The actor even talked about how much he supported her success. “I love that she knows how to take care of herself, obviously, because I needed to be with somebody confident,” he described.
Vergara also opened up about Manganiello’s unwavering support in an interview with ET: “I receive gifts, but [I don’t need them]. And he loves that and, you know, he supports everything I do and it’s amazing.”
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