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Paula Abdul: Why I'm Leaving X Factor

USMagazine, Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 12:36pm (PST)

Paula Abdul may have been given the X Factor axe Monday, but the 48-year-old mentor isn't placing blame on her longtime colleague Simon Cowell.

Though Deadline claims Abdul -- along with X Factor host Steve Jones and fellow mentor Nicole Scherzinger -- was pink slipped when producers were "cleaning house" and didn't leave on her own accord, the reality TV mainstay respects Cowell's decision.

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"I've learned through my longevity in this industry that business decisions often times override personal considerations," Abdul told Us Weekly in a statement Tuesday, hours after a FOX rep confirmed the trio would not be returning for season 2.

While fans may be surprised, Abdul knew her departure from the series -- which crowned Melanie Amaro champ in December -- was imminent.

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"Simon and I…have been communicating about this for a while now, and I have absolute understanding of the situation," her statement continued, calling her time on the series "a blessing."

For his part, Cowell, 51, expects he'll cross career paths with his former American Idol cohort before too long.

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"I want to say a massive thank you to Paula, Nicole and Steve for being part of The X Factor last year," Cowell said Tuesday. "You do develop friendships with the people you work with and Paula, in particular, is a very close friend and I expect to be working with her on another project in the near future."

Continued Cowell, who created the series and brought it Stateside after massive success in the U.K.: "I'm sure all three are going to have massive success in what they do next, but now is the time to thank them all for everything they did last year."

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