Ending speculation about her future on one of the most popular shows on television, Paula Abdul confirmed Tuesday she will no longer be at the judge’s table on American Idol.
“With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return to Idol,” Abdul, 47, wrote on her Twitter page. “I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day one become an international phenomenon.” She adds: “What I want to say most, is how much I appreciate the undying support and enormous love that you have showered upon me. I do, without any doubt, have the BEST fans in the entire world and I love you all.”
No reason was given for her departure just two days before she was to return to work. Abdul’s rep declined to comment except to confirm she was leaving. The highly rated show is about to begin taping segments for its ninth season, with auditions starting Thursday in Denver. The show returns on the air in January.
“Paula Abdul has been an important part of the American Idol family over the last eight seasons and we are saddened that she has decided not to return to the show,” FOX TV says in a statement. “While Paula will not be continuing with us, she’s a tremendous talent and we wish her the best.”
The news comes less than a week after Kara DioGuardi confirmed that she will be returning to the judges’ table. Abdul’s rep didn’t immediately return a request for comment, but her manager, David Sonenberg, was blunt recently when asked about Abdul’s prospects in the wake of the $45 million deal inked by Ryan Seacrest and the even more mind-boggling sum reportedly being negotiated by Simon Cowell. Sonenberg told the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago that producers hadn’t even approached Abdul with a number, a lack of action he called “kind of unconscionable and certainly rude and disrespectful.”
Reps for show producers Fremantle, 19 Entertainment and Fox had remained quiet amid the rumblings that Abdul was getting ready to walk (or being given her walking papers). An Idol source said that the invested parties made Abdul what they considered to be a “fair offer,” but that she turned them down. And “Kara made her expendable,” the source said.
Laura Ling: The Past 140 Days Have Been The Most Difficult, Heart-wrenching Times of Our Lives
Two American journalists freed by North Korea returned home to the United States on Wednesday for a jubilant, emotional reunion with family members and friends they hadn’t seen in nearly five months. Lee emerged from the jetliner first and was greeted by husband Michael Saldage and 4-year-old daughter Hanna. She hugged the girl and picked her up before all three embraced in a crushing hug. Ling embraced her husband Iain Clayton as teary family members crowded around.
Moments after freed American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling landed in Burbank, CA, Ling spoke to the crowd saying, “the past 140 days have been the most difficult heart-wrenching times of our lives.” Ling, 32, and Lee, 36, who work for former Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV, were officially pardoned Tuesday following their meeting with former President Bill Clinton and his meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong II.
Ling reveals how she and Euna found out they would be coming home. “We feared that at any moment we could be sent to a hard labor camp and suddenly we were told we were going to a meeting and we were taken to a location and we walked through the doors we saw standing before us, President Bill Clinton,” she said. “We were shocked. But we knew instantly in our heart that the nightmare of our lives was finally coming to and end and now we stand here home and free. Euna and I would like to express our deepest gratitude towards Bill Clinton … to our loved ones, friends, colleagues, and to the complete strangers with the kindness of hearts who showed up so much love and sent u so many positive thought and energy. We could feel your love all the way in the North Korea — it’s what kept us going.”
Laura said that after nearly five months away, she and Euna just wanted to spend quality time with their families. “We are so anxious right now to spend some quiet private time to get reacquainted with our families.”
Al Gore described the families of the two women as “unbelievable, passionate, involved, committed, innovative.” “Hanna’s been a great girl while you were gone,” he told Lee. “And Laura, your mom’s been making your special soup for two days now.” He also thanked the State Department for its help in the release. “It speaks well of our country that when two American citizens are in harms way, that so many people will just put things aside and just go to work to make sure that this has had a happy ending,” he said. Bill Clinton chose not to speak, but released a statement. “I am very happy that after this long ordeal, Laura Ling and Euna Lee are now home and reunited with their loved ones,” it read. “When their families, Vice President Gore and the White House asked that I undertake this humanitarian mission, I agreed. I share a deep sense of relief with Laura and Euna and their families that they are safely home.”
Meanwhile, President Obama spoke about the women returning home. “The two young journalists are safely back with their families we are extraordinarily relieved,” he said from the White House. The reunion is a source of happiness not only for families but for the entire country.”