Published Wednesday, 08 February 2012
Abdul was dropped from the line-up of the reality show last month, along with fellow panel member Nicole Scherzinger and host Steve Jones.
Antonio 'L.A.' Reid kept his place as a judge, and Cowell reveals he did everything he could to keep Abdul alongside him on the Fox series when negotiations began at the start of the year.
He tells Extra: "I would've liked to have kept her. She was very gracious and I said that to her. She understands it's business; it's never personal."
Speaking about Scherzinger's departure, he adds: "I don't think she's mad. I think she's disappointed."
Cowell also dismissed reports he is offering new mother Beyonce a spot on the second series of the show, declaring: "I have no idea where this rumour came from. I read it online that I offered her $100 million a year. It's complete nonsense."