Simon Cowell has revealed that he advised Cheryl Cole to dramatically reduce her workload, after she contracted malaria earlier in the year.
The X Factor boss revealed that he worried about his protégée when she was ill, because she had committed herself to so many projects and felt guilty when she wasn’t able to carry through on some of her work.
Simon told The Sun:
“I told her I understand the pressure – you want to be successful, you want to carry on doing what you are doing.
“But there is a massive amount of pressure that you are going to feel.
“She was thrown right into the middle of this.
“She was in a group, she is a solo artist, she is a star on the X Factor, she does all these campaigns.
“At some point I think you start to feel guilty about letting people down.
“And my advice to her was – ‘You don’t have to feel guilt, you have a choice now to choose what you want to do. And it’s for you and not the people around you’.
“We used to talk a lot and we still do have these conversations.”
Cheryl contracted malaria during a holiday in Tanzania with Derek Hough but Simon admits that at first, he and the X Factor team, thought the Geordie lass was just suffering from a bad hangover.
“We didn’t know what was going on. I remember saying funnily enough that she had gone to Africa for a trip and had come back for filming and I thought she was a bit off-colour, but more personality than physically.
“And then the day it kicked off we actually thought she had a hangover, so we were winding her up all day, and she was sleeping it off or whatever.
“And then of course we realised that it was serious a couple of days later. I got the call from her manager who told me just how serious this really was.
“In that situation you are not even thinking about the show at that point. You are just thinking, ‘I hope she is going to be OK’.
“I didn’t know much about it, but apparently it was a serious strain. We were very, very worried about her, she was seriously ill.
“When I knew she was on the mend, we got all the doctors’ reports, she was kind of back to normal.
“And then I think within about a week she started getting in contact asking us when she was going to the home visit shows or something.
Simon revealed that Cheryl will be filming her judges houses segment with the Girls category later this month and added:
“She can’t wait to do it. She made a decision what she wanted to do, what she didn’t want to do, because obviously under doctor’s orders that was the case anyway.”