Paula: “Bully” Simon Pushed Me to Quit 7 Times

The reality show judge said she quit seven times the first day thanks to mean-spirited Cowell

Straight up -- Paula Abdul isn't fond of Simon Cowell.

The "American Idol" judge said she tried to quit the show seven times her first day because because of expert trash-talker Simon Cowell, who's tortured her and the "Idol" contestants through seven seasons.

"The first day I went to work on season one I quit seven times. Seven times," Abdul told ABC's "Nightline".

"I couldn't believe that someone was actually getting away with crushing fragile kids. This happens behind your back, [not] in front of your face," said the "Straight Up" singer and ex-choreographer, who's known as the sweetheart of the "Idol" judging panel.

Cowell has the biggest ego on the show "without a doubt," Abdul said.

"He's a bully. He's a masterful bully," she said.

The abuse Cowell gives contestants -- he's called singers out on their lack of talent, poor stage presence and even weight -- is often not "constructive" for their progress, she claimed.

Abdul revealed in the interview that this is her last year under contract with the show, but wouldn't say whether she'd re-sign with the smash Fox hit.

Cowell himself has said that he'll soon leave "Idol." Like Abdul, his contract his up this season, and he told the New York Times Tuesday that letting go of his space on the Fox panel this year "feels right."

Abdul also glossed over rumors in the ABC interview that she's been under the influence on the air during her time on "American Idol," saying she's never tipped a few back before the show -- or ever.

"I've never been drunk in my life," Abdul said. "I don't like it. It's not my thing."

Whispers of a feud with fellow judge Kara DioGuardi were also put to rest -- Abdul is "proud of" DioGuardi's success on the show, she said.

"American Idol" is in its seventh season on Fox, where it continues to pull millions of viewers.

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