You might not remember it, but British pop star Cheryl and TV judge Simon Cowell had a bit of a feud going on in 2011. Cheryl (who then went by Cheryl Cole) was fired from the US version of X Factor after only a few episodes.
The Mirror has now reminded us of Simon’s subsequent comments on Cheryl’s appearance, and the singer’s response years later. Things became friendlier between the two, and Cheryl admitted something surprising about her firing.
Cheryl was a member of the girl group Girls Aloud, which was formed on the reality show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. She became a judge on the UK version of The X Factor in 2008, and in 2011 she joined the American version.
However, Cheryl only lasted a few episodes, despite having signed on for two seasons. Simon reportedly offered to let her return to the UK version instead, but Cheryl rejected it. She was replaced by Nicole Scherzinger.
Simon later made rude remarks about Cheryl’s appearance at the first auditions, saying, “When I saw her I didn’t recognise her. Literally. The hair and outfit were crazy. Just totally crazy.” He added, “She’d put on a bit of weight, but not loads. That wasn’t the issue.” He said she had “lost her confidence.”
Cheryl was initially angry with Simon Cowell for not firing her himself, instead having executive producer Richard Holloway do it. She sued over the issue, and received a settlement out of court.
In 2014, Cheryl said she “went through hell” during this time. “I became so desensitised, you could say terrible things to me and I wouldn’t even think about it,” she told Elle UK. “I’d read awful stuff about myself and not blink. I shut down because I didn’t know what else to do.”
However, she shared her belief that Simon was “right” to fire her. “I wasn’t well in the head when that was going on,” she explained, “so it wasn’t going to work. But he wasn’t right not to tell me to my face.”
Cheryl returned to the UK X Factor in 2014, and also made a guest appearance as Simon’s adviser in 2017. It looks like things are friendlier between them now.