X Factor presenter Dermot O'Leary has admitted it was "hard to watch" Cheryl Cole's axe on The X Factor USA earlier this year. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday yesterday, the hunky host however insisted that the Geordie star would quickly pick herself up.
Cheryl joined Simon Cowell on the first American version of the show back in May, but was given the boot by FOX bosses after filming just four audition shows.
Simon revealed last month he had offered Cheryl "a lot of money to go back as a hero" to The X Factor here in the UK, but the Geordie star declined after the public humiliation of being given the chop from the US show.
"It’s hard to watch somebody go through that," Dermot said.
He continued: "I would consider her to be a friend. When you get that kind of smack in the chops publicly, it’s difficult to pick yourself up again, but she will. She’s one of the most strong-willed people I’ve met."
And 'The Marriage Ref' host added: "Of course we’ll miss her. She’s the nation’s sweetheart."
Speaking previously, Dermot said The X Factor would become a "different show" without Cheryl or Simon. "We will miss them," he explained. "We will have to up our game now. It will be a different show.
“Whoever they bring in, no one can replicate Simon. There will only ever be one real Mr Nasty. He is a force of nature, he’s our boss.
“It’s disconcerting because I signed up to host the show this year not knowing who the new judges would be so it will be a challenge not having Simon there week in, week out. Whenever I have a problem or a question, I go to him. Now I’ll have to figure it out for myself. We all have to work a little bit harder.”
The X Factor 2011 continues Saturday on ITV1.