Simon Cowell: 'Cheryl was going to return to UK Factor'

Simon Cowell has spoken for the first time about Cheryl Cole's exit from the US version of The X Factor.

The music mogul said the Girls Aloud singer planned to return to the UK version of the show despite her exit in America.

'The intention was to do it quietly and simply say to her that you have an option to rejoin the UK show,' he said.

'She was certainly interested as we exchanged a few texts and she asked if she could have my dressing room at the studio and I said, 'Of course'.

Simon added: 'We genuinely thought it was going to happen, The condition was that it was to be kept under wraps and she would make a big entrance last week at the Birmingham auditions and everyone would have loved it.'

The music mogul also said that there was an offer on £2.5 million offered to the singer but her manager turned it down.

'We had some heated conversations with her US manager and he inferred this wasn't a genuine offer,' he told The Daily Mirror.

Simon said that no calls were returned, which resulted in yesterday's (June 6th) statement confirming Nicole Scherzinger as the new judge.

'The hardest thing to accept is that everyone has painted me as a monster because I embarassed her, but the truth was I was protecting her,' he added.

'I apologise that all this has become public and I understand the stress she is under, and I hate that. But we have all been under a lot of stress.'

Simon also said he hopes they can still be 'close friends' despite what has happened.