'X Factor's' Simon Cowell takes 'full responsibility' for Cheryl Cole's departure
Cowell tells the AP of Cole, "She's one of -- I hope -- she's one of my closest friends, and this was a decision we made which we thought would be beneficial to her, funny enough. Not many people will believe that, but that's the truth."
In a text message, Cowell says he told Cole he takes "full responsibility" for the decision to replace her - it was not FOX or Fremantle Media's decision.
Of the reason behind her departure, Cowell says, "I personally thought she was missing her family and friends. She just looked a little bit, I wouldn't say uncomfortable, but just not as happy as I've seen her on previous shows."
"She told me she wasn't happy [about leaving] 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. I always, always would hold the door open to work with her again," says Cowell.
"The X Factor" debuts in September on FOX.