Simon Cowell has explained at last why Cheryl Cole is now out of The X Factor on both sides of the Atlantic.
After Cheryl was dropped from the US series, she turned down a chance to return as a UK judge and then didn't respond to an offer to go back to the US show.
'When she turned down the UK show, we got back in touch and said, well she is still under contract with the US show so we invited her back. Her position was still there,' explains Simon, 51.
'We had some heated conversations with her US manager Will.i.am and he inferred this wasn't a genuine offer. They thought that if she didn't turn up on Wednesday then we wouldn't pay her.
'We made it clear that she was always going to be paid in full. We got to the point on Saturday when we genuinely thought she was going to accept the offer but again neither she nor they returned any calls. So we've announced Nicole.
'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. I just want people to be in the best place at the right time.'
Simon, 51, could see that Cheryl, 27, was not enjoying her time on the American judges' panel.
'Knowing Cheryl like I know her, we noticed she was quieter than normal, looked a bit uncomfortable but I put some of this down to nerves,' he says.
'The overall feeling was that she was slightly out her comfort zone in America, compared to what she was in the UK.
'If she had accepted my original offer, she would have made a sensational return and would have understood she was more comfortable in the UK than the US.
'We were saying move to another show for even more money. There was offer of around €2.8million on the table including bonuses.
'So how is that sacking someone? If that's being horrible to someone then I would be quite happy with someone doing that to me.'
Where to next?