Simon Cowell has admitted Cheryl Cole is “one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life”.
The media mogul, whose Britain’s Got Talent hit returns to ITV this week, says he was knocked off his feet by the petite star when he signed her as a judge on his X Factor show in 2008.
Meanwhile the 53-year-old has confirmed he is very much a ladies man, telling the Radio Times he often hires female TV judges based – at first – on their looks.
Asked if he hires “women he fancies” the star laughs: “A lot of them, yes, I’m not going to lie.”
As for Cheryl, 29, he says: “I think my entire production staff – including a lot of gay people – were madly in love with Cheryl.
“I mean, literally, when she walked on set on the first day in the UK I thought that she was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life.
“I mean, genuinely. She was just absolutely stunning. She still is but I remember that day vividly as in ‘God, you are gorgeous’.”
Asked if it bothered him when people say he is gay, he replied: “I work in possibly the gayest industry in the world! Music and TV! It would make no difference to my life or my career.
“A lot of my friends are gay, but I’m not and don’t even think that way any more. I couldn’t care less [if people think I’m gay] because it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
The star said that while “not looking” for marriage, he was happy when in long-term relationships.
“I’m happy single, and when I’m in relationships as well. I tend to be in a relationship more than being single.
“Terri [Seymour] lasted six years, Mezhgan [Hussainy] lasted two years, and that was in a nine-year block, so I was only single for about a year out of those nine.
“But I’m very good on my own, a) because I never get bored and b) because there is always something I need to catch up on.”
He describes the falling-out with Cole as a time he became public enemy number one – “she didn’t like me very much” – but says they have made it up.
Simon Cowell, WomenSimon Cowell has admitted hiring women he fancies on a regular basis
“It’s almost back to where we were.”