Cheryl was a complete mess and she'd put on weight ... says Simon on US disaster
SACKED: Big hair, purple trousers and orange frills drove Cowell overboard
SIMON Cowell is not one for diplomacy - and his latest explanation for the infamous fallout with Cheryl is bound to land him in more hot water.
The UK X Factor judges were firm friends on home soil but when they travelled to film in the US, their relationship fell apart.
And Simon (54) said that part of the reason was because Cheryl had become unrecognisable following the end of her marriage to Ashley Cole - and she had put on weight.
"There was so much expectation on the show in America and I definitely wasn't myself. I was uptight," Simon said.
He said of the former Girls Aloud star's appearance, complete with big hair, purple trousers and an orange frilly top on the first day filming the US show: "When I saw her I didn't recognise her. Literally. The hair and outfit were crazy. Just totally crazy.
"I asked her manager, 'What's she wearing, what's happened to her hair?' He was defensive about it. I haven't a clue why she turned up like that."
He added in the Radio Times magazine: "She'd put on a bit of weight, but not loads. That wasn't the issue. The only way I can describe it is that it wasn't Cheryl sitting in that seat. She'd lost her confidence."
He said that Cheryl (31) "turned on" him when he mentioned her outfit and told her that her appearance on the US show had not gone well. She was fired from her slot on the show within a few days.
Cheryl, who is back as a judge on the X Factor along with Louis Walsh and 'Scary Spice' Mel B, has previously explained the "very abusive" text message she sent Simon, saying: "F**k you, f**k the orange and purple outfit, f**k big hair, f**k you all."
Mrs Fernandez-Versini said of her sacking: "In hindsight he was right because I wasn't myself. He wasn't himself either. But he handled it wrongly - he got somebody else to sack me. The sacking came on top of everything else, it was just the cherry on the cake."
Simon has admitted he is a more content father now as his son finally recognises him.
"If you'd seen me 18 months ago and said 'Simon, back at home now you've got two dogs and a six-month-old baby,' I'd go 'Yeah, right!' It was never going to happen, but it did. And I'm enjoying my life now."
Cowell added: "The first five months were weird. Eric didn't have a clue who I was - I could have been anybody. But the last two weeks have been good - he's started to recognise me, and as everybody knows, I demand recognition!"
Cheryl said there's bound to be fireworks in this series.
"Simon has his very own way of being very annoying," she said.
"He knows which buttons to push and he'll push them, and push them. But I play the long game. I'm waiting. Don't worry about me, I'll get my own back."