Belfast Telegraph

SiCo: Cheryl isn't dieting

Simon Cowell has hit out at comments about Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's slim frame.

The music mogul sits on The X Factor judging panel alongside Cheryl, who set tongues wagging with her thin frame at auditions in Manchester last week. She has claimed she lost weight due to the stress of losing her father-in-law recently, admitting the comments did hurt her.

Now Simon has spoken out to offer some support.

"I don’t think it’s necessarily been criticism, I think it’s been concern," he told British newspaper The Sun.

“This is not someone who’s trying to make herself thin. I think she did pick up a bug.

“And I think the way she’s approaching what was addressed about her weight in a very open way — by saying she is thin and is trying to put on weight — is great. I don’t think she would have done that two years ago.”

The record label boss explained that when he first met up with Cheryl in Manchester they went for something to eat, with Simon choosing a burger and the former Girls Aloud singer following suit.

The two stars have a long history together, although their friendship was tested when Simon sacked her as a judge on the US version of The X Factor in 2011. He has previously said she'd "put on a bit of weight" at the time, although that wasn't why he let her go and they have managed to put the incident behind them.

"I read that once, but I didn’t fire her because she put on a few pounds. I couldn’t care less," he insisted.

“All I want for her is to be healthy. My concern when she was working with me in America was nothing about her weight. She just wasn’t herself.

“And she admits that now. She was in the wrong headspace."

That isn't something he has to worry about now though, with Simon saying Cheryl has well and truly got her spark back. The pair are joined on the panel by show newcomers Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw, with Simon insisting there is no bad blood between the group at all.

"It’s been amazing. They met first of all just the three of them with a few producers. Then I invited them over to my house one evening," he said.

“I didn’t really know Rita to begin with, but by the second or third meeting I thought, ‘Actually you’re really funny and you’re someone who isn’t threatened by another girl but likes girls.'

“I think Cheryl feels really comfortable with Rita. They’ve just gradually started to create a friendship.”

Simon added he was initially irritated when Rita starred on the last series of BBC show The Voice as she'd been on The X Factor first, so is glad he managed to tempt her back.

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