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Paula Abdul Claims ‘American Idol’ Winner David Cook Caused a Major Fight Among the Judges: ‘I Threatened to Quit’ (Exclusive)

A house divided. Paula Abdul claimed that she almost left American Idol after the judges fought over contestant David Cook.

Related: ‘American Idol’ Winners: Where Are They Now?

“I threatened to quit the show because I believed so much in David Cook, and Simon [Cowell] and Randy [Jackson] weren’t big believers,” Abdul, 57, recently told Us Weekly exclusively while promoting her partnership with Voltaren. “I said, ‘This is crazy. I think this guy can win.’ This was before The Green Mile. It was right after Hollywood Week. And I said, ‘You guys are wrong. You’re wrong. And I’m so steadfast on this. He can win this show.’ And that is the truth.”

The “Straight Up” singer continued, “So we shut down production for hours and hours, until they finally gave in. It was like, the producers let me fight it out with Simon and Randy, because Randy initially was going for David Cook and then he changed his mind because Simon got to him.”

Abdul said that “it all worked out fine” in the end as Cook, 37, won season 7 in 2008. From there, he went on to have many hits including “Come Back to Me” and “Time of My Life.”

Paula Abdul Claims American Idol Winner David Cook Caused Major Fights Among the Judges
Paula Abdul and David Cook Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock(2)

Related: ‘American Idol’ Winners Through the Years

Though Abdul believes that the contestant who “needs to win” does typically end the season on top, the dancer noted that winning isn’t everything.

“There’s things that happen, and you never know for whatever reason,” she explained. “But sometimes when you win, [it] doesn’t mean as much as the person who’s the first runner up.”

david cook david archuleta
David Archuleta and David Cook Greg Allen/Shutterstock

The former So You Think You Can Dance judge added, “Our show made it crazy for the contestants because they are so secluded in their own little bubble while we’re producing and doing the live shows, that they had no idea what it was like on the outside world.”

Related: Stars Who Got Their Start on Reality TV

American Idol aired on Fox from 2002 to 2016 before being revived by ABC in 2018 with new judges. Adbul, for her part, was a judge on the original series for eight seasons before leaving in 2009. She believes the series has launched so many success stories, including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, unlike similar shows today because they “were the first” of its kind.

Abdul recently teamed up with Voltaren, a new over-the-counter option to ease pain for osteoarthritis sufferers. As someone who is impacted by joint disease, she shared how the medication has helped her.

“Voltaren is a drug that I’ve been prescribed by my doctor for almost five years now. It’s saved me in so many ways,” she explained to Us. “I wouldn’t have been able to perform, to do the Billboard [Music] Awards, to do my [Las Vegas] residency if I didn’t have this. What excites me is that it’s the first and only full prescription strength, over-the-counter, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory gel that now everyone can have access to.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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