Talent Recap

‘X Factor’ Star Lucy Spraggan Reveals She Was Raped During Her Time on the Show

Lucy Spraggan Performs At O2 Shepherd's Bush EmpirePhoto by Joseph Okpako/WireImage

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Former X Factor UK contestant Lucy Spraggan has revealed in her new memoir that she dropped out of the competition in 2012 after being raped by a hotel worker. She also shared that Simon Cowell apologized to her years later for her experience on the show.

Lucy Spraggan Was Raped While Competing on The X Factor

Spraggan competed on the ninth series of The X Factor UK, making it through the first three live shows before leaving the competition due to illness. The singer has since revealed that the real reason she left was because she was raped.

During production, Spraggan and her fellow contestant Rylan Clark were told that they were being moved to another hotel due to bad behavior. The singer told The Guardian that she “got the impression that it was all helpful to our storyline [for the show].”

While the other contestants stayed on a private floor with 24-hour security at the Corinthia in London, Spraggan and Clark were moved to another hotel on Edgware Road. After drinking at Clark’s 25th birthday party and passing out, Spraggan was escorted back to the hotel by a member of the show’s production team.

A hotel porter offered to help Spraggan to her room, and he flipped the security latch to leave the door unlocked as he left. When Clark came in to check on Spraggan, he made sure the door was locked when he left. This made it so that when the porter returned later to assault Spraggan, he had to use a traceable keycard.

“I woke up the next day with this sense of sheer dread,” Spraggan told The Guardian. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt that level of confusion since. I knew that I’d been raped, but I could not process that. So I put my clothes on and went into autopilot.”

In the days after the rape, Spraggan became unwell from the side effects of Pep, a drug that prevents HIV if taken within 72 hours of exposure. She had to leave the competition, and she says she was advised against revealing the true reason.


Simon Cowell Apologized to Spraggan Years Later

Spraggan’s rapist pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years. The trial made the news, but the singer’s identity was kept anonymous, as she was only referred to as a “television star.” Spraggan said no one from the show checked in on her after the trial.

In 2021, the singer wrote to ITV, Fremantle, and Syco asking for an apology. ITV responded by denying that they lacked in their duty of care toward contestants on the show. Spraggan later received a phone call from Simon Cowell.

“I went on the call thinking I’d give him a piece of my fucking mind,” Spraggan said. “But instead of breaking my heart, he put it back together. It sounds weird, and it was weird. I didn’t know that that was what I needed.”

Cowell (who didn’t work on Spraggan’s season of The X Factor) told the singer that he “should’ve been there for you,” adding that he was “truly, truly sorry.” Spraggan is now signed to Cowell’s publishing company.

Spraggan is preparing to release her seventh album in August of this year, and she’ll join Robbie Williams on his next tour.

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