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Unless the Mirror is making up these quotes (and hey, they could be, ’cause that’s what British tabs do) Simon Cowell is finally speaking out on the Cheryl Cole debacle. Although Simon thought Cheryl would be happy to move back to the UK show, he reportedly chickened out of telling her in person. He sent X Factor’s executive producer Richard Holloway to deliver the bad news instead.
eta: Another report from The Sun HERE.
“The hardest thing to accept is that everyone has painted me as a monster because I embarrassed her, but the truth was I was protecting her. I just want people to be in the best place at the right time.”
“When she turned down the UK show, we got back in touch and said, well she is still under contract with the US show so we invited her back. Her position was still there.
“We had some heated conversations with her US manager Will.i.am and he inferred this wasn’t a genuine offer. They thought that if she didn’t turn up on Wednesday then we wouldn’t pay her.
“We made it clear that she was always going to be paid in full. We got to the point on Saturday when we genuinely thought she was going to accept the offer but again neither she nor they returned any calls. So we’ve announced Nicole.”
Cowell explained he and TV bosses had previously decided Cheryl was “uncomfortable” on the US show and felt offering her the chance to return to the UK X Factor would be the best option.
He confirmed the deal would have been worth €2.8million if she agreed to it, but talks broke down when news of her problems in America began to leak out.
He said: “Knowing Cheryl like I know her, we noticed she was quieter than normal, looked a bit uncomfortable but I put some of this down to nerves. The overall feeling was that she was slightly out her comfort zone in America, compared to what she was in the UK.
“If she had accepted my original offer, she would have made a sensational return and would have understood she was more comfortable in the UK than the US.”
He went on: “I apologise that all this has become public and I understand the stress she is under, and I hate that. But we have all been under a lot of stress.
“When things like this happen I look at the contestant, they must think this is crazy. All the attention is on us. I am sorry this has caused so much anguish and embarrassment, but I stand by what I believe was the right intention. And I would say that to her face right now.”
He said: “I had a text from her last Wednesday. She said she felt let down but at the time she understood that it was a professional decision. I replied saying this was never personal or saying you were terrible. It wasn’t that she was terrible – she was good – I just thought she’d be happier in the UK.
“After the year she’d had with Ashley and the whole malaria thing, you either shut it down and go for it or you have to be with your friends and family to deal with it.
“We are close friends. I still hope we are but sometimes when you’re that close, when you’re making these decisions with someone’s life you have to be certain. I stand by what I said to her. I hope we’re still close friends. I’m sure if she was here now there would be a frank discussion, but will I work with her again? Definitely. She’s a star.”
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