Abdul's decision to leaveAmerican Idol occurred after she rejected an offer that would have paid her close to $5 million a year to continue being part of the show's judging panel, The New York Timesreported Wednesday.
The multi-year offer would have represented a significant increase over the $3.5 million -- $2 million in salary and $1.5 million in "expenses and other benefits" -- Abdul was paid for American Idol's eighth season, according to the Times.
However Abdul reportedly had her eyes on a much higher figure that would put her "closer to parity, if not on par" with the $30 million figure Simon Cowell is believed to current receive annually under the terms of his own soon-to-expire American Idol contract.
In addition, Abdul reportedly began feeling further under appreciated when American Idol's 19 Entertainment production company announced "a new partnership" -- reportedly for three years and $45 million -- that will result in Ryan Seacrest working on "new entertainment endeavors" with Idol creator Simon Fuller and continuing to host the Fox reality competition through 2012.
(Seacrest has produced several reality shows via his Ryan Seacrest Productions production company in recent years, including Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Denise Richards: It's Complicated and Paradise City for E!; Momma's Boys for NBC; and Bromance for MTV.)
Seacrest's new pact consists of $10 million a year in salary and $15 million over three years for the production deals and the rights to his image, according to the Times.
Abdul reportedly informed American Idol's producers that she was rejecting their offer only shortly before she publicly announced she had decided to leave the show in a Tuesday posting on Twitter.
"With sadness in my heart, I've decided not to return to [American Idol]," Abdul wrote in a series of Tuesday night postings on her Twitter account.
Idol's producers subsequently quickly confirmed the departure in a late Tuesday night statement issued with Fox.
"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," the statement said. "While Paula will not be continuing with us, she's a tremendous talent and we wish her the best."
Abdul had hinted money was the primary stumbling block in her contract talks in a previous Twitter posting several days earlier.
"I hope you understand I can only return to [Idol] if the deal is fair," she wrote on July 30.