Paula Abdul says she was never attracted to Simon Cowell when they worked together on American Idol. The choreographer and TV personality, who co-starred with Cowell and Randy Jackson for eight seasons on the original incarnation of the TV talent competition, said her longtime co-star was more like a brother to her.
In a video posted by TooFab, Abdul is seen talking on Dr. Judy Ho’s podcast, Supercharged Life With Dr. Judy. When asked about her playful relationship with her longtime Idol co-star, Abdul poked fun at the rumors that she had a thing for Cowell and that she wanted him “so bad.” The rumors were so rampant that on the Season 2 finale of American Idol, a video teasing their “affair” was shown.
“No!” Abdul told Dr. Ho of the romance rumors. “Not even for a nanosecond. I love him like a brother. I don’t have brothers but I learned what it’s like to have them between me being the only girl. No!”
Abdul agreed with Dr. Ho’s assessment that Cowell’s past comments about her wanting him sounded like possible projection on his part.
“He’s like the boy in school that hits you,” Abdul explained of their dynamic. “I learned how to spar with him and that’s when it became very very fun for me. You can’t recreate that magic.”
For years, fans watched Abdul and Cowell’s back-and-forth banter on American Idol. In early seasons of the show, the two appeared to have a dislike for one another as they delivered jabs and zingers. But that turned into more of a playful and sometimes even flirty relationship as the seasons progressed, and their chemistry became undeniable.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Abdul has addressed her not-so-romantic relationship with Cowell. During a previous interview on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, Abdul was asked by a fan if anything romantic ever happened between her and Cowell.
“Oh, guh… no!” Abdul said, per Today. “No! I mean, ew! No!”
Abdul’s denials of a romance are in response to a 2011 interview Cowell did with Barbara Walters in which he boasted about a “spark” between him and Paula that he claimed came from her.
“I think it was the sexual tension on her part,” Cowell said at the time. “A million percent.”
While they no longer work together on a TV judges panel, Abdul and Cowell maintain a good friendship. Last year, Abdul even surprised her former American Idol colleague by disguising herself and joining in on one of the acts during the Season 14 finale of America’s Got Talent, where Cowell is a judge. Cowell was stunned by the unexpected reunion and he called Abdul’s surprise “brilliant.”