Simon Cowell on Cheryl Cole: ‘I Hate Seeing Her Hurt’

9:26 AM PST 06/07/2011 by THR staff
Ray Mickshaw/FOX

"I always, always would hold the door open to work with her again," he says, despite dropping her from Fox's 'X-Factor.'

In a new interview, Simon Cowell says he thinks Cheryl Cole is better off without her gig on the U.S. version of The X Factor.

He tells the Associated Press that he "genuinely" felt the British singer would be happier back home in England.

"Not many people will believe that, but that's the truth," he says.

At another point in the interview, he says Cole "was good on the American show. I personally thought she was missing her family and friends. She just looked a little bit, I wouldn't say uncomfortable, but just not as happy as I've seen her on previous shows."

Cole is being replaced on Fox's upcoming version of the singing competition show by Nicole Scherzinger, who was originally tapped to be co-host with British TV personality Steve Jones.

As THR previously reported, Cole was offered a raise to leave Fox's X Factor and return as a judge on the British version.

Though she was interested and negotiations began, Cowell says talks died when word leaked to the media and her side went silent, notes the AP. With production nearing for the U.K. X Factor (its new season began last week), the panel had to be locked without Cole.

Cowell tells the AP that he and the other producers of the Fox show determined it would be "fair" to offer Cole the chance to return. Despite reports, he said, she was could reject the offer without breaching her contract or losing any pay.

He says he has since sent her one text message, noting that he takes "full responsibility" for what happened.

Fox or Fremantle are not to blame, he says.

"She told me she wasn't happy but that she also accepted it was a business decision and she wished the show well. Typically, in Cheryl form, she was disappointed but charming at the same time," Cowell says.

Adds the tart-tongued judge, "I always, always would hold the door open to work with her again."

Cole might not be unemployed for long: According to British reports, she is  being touted as a possible host for a U.K. version of The Voice, the NBC show that ITV and the BBC are now battling it out to bring to the U.K.

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