Simon Cowell was genuinely upset when he was 'forced' to fire Cheryl Cole from The X Factor USA, his pal and former girlfriend Sinitta has claimed. Speaking to Reveal magazine this week, the 'So Macho' singer also revealed how Simon was "protective" over the Girls Aloud singer.
Cheryl was sacked from the American show back in May after filming just four auditions for the new US series, replaced by then co-host Nicole Scherzinger. According to Sinitta however, the shake up on the first ever American version of the show was just showbusiness.
"Simon was genuinely upset things didn't work out with Cheryl," she said. "He felt protective over her through some difficult periods in her life, in particular her split from Ashley.
"But he had to be professional. It's showbusiness."
Simon previously defended the decision to axe Cheryl from the show, saying last month: "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."
Cheryl will now be introduced as a guest judge on the US series when it premieres in the states this autumn on September 21.
Meanwhile Sinitta also gave her thoughts on Cheryl and Ashley's reunion, saying: "I met Cheryl and Ashley in the early days of her first series and they were like two kids in love.
"They were very sweet together."