Simon Cowell on Cheryl Cole's X-Factor Exit: For Her Sake

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Simon Cowell says Cheryl Cole is "one of [his] closest friends."

This may come as a surprise, considering the pop singer was just let go from her judging gig on The X-Factor, but Cowell says the move was made with Cole's well-being in mind.

“Not many people will believe that, but that’s the truth,” Cowell told The Associated Press today. “She was good on the American show, [but] I personally thought she was missing her family and friends. She just looked... not as happy as I’ve seen her on previous shows.”

At X-Factor Auditions

Now, Cole is off both versions of the competition. Simon says the plan was to keep her on the British version, but then word of her American firing got out and "things went south... fast."

Has he spoken to her since the debacle? Yes, via text message.

“She told me she wasn’t happy but that she also accepted it was a business decision and she wished the show well. Typically, in Cheryl form, she was disappointed but charming at the same time.

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