Paula Abdul lashes out at 'American Idol,' Fox, and Simon Cowell
By Steve Rogers, 12/09/2008
Paula Abdul has lashed out at American Idol's producers, alleging that they allowed Paula Goodspeed, the obsessed Abdul fan that is believed to have committed suicide near Abdul's home, to audition on the show's fifth season despite Abdul's warnings that she was a stalker.
According to Abdul, Goodspeed had been sending her disturbing letters for nearly two decades before she was found dead near the Idol judge's home last month.
"She had been writing disturbing letters for 17, almost 18 years," Abdul told Barbara Walters during a Monday interview on Walters' Here'sBarbara! Sirius Satellite Radio program. "We had restraining orders at times."
"The letters that were written to me were to do bodily harm," Abdul said. "She said that the only way I will serve her purpose is when I'm up in heaven being her guardian angel."
However according to Abdul, Goodspeed took her obsession to an even higher level when she decided to attempt to meet Abdul by auditioning for American Idol's fifth season -- where despite Abdul's protests, the producers allowed her to audition before Abdul and fellow judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.
"I was lucky enough that all the letters would come through my fan club, my fan mail club. But come American Idol when everyone can audition, she showed up," Abdul told Walters. "I was pre-warned by the producers 'Wait until you see this next girl, oh my god she is crazy about you' ... [and I said] 'This girl is a stalker of mine and please do not let her in.'"
But the producers ignored Abdul's pleas and let Goodspeed into the audition room anyways, according to Abdul.
"Everyone knew, I mean I was shaking," Abdul told Walters. "They thought, it would [be] for entertainment value... [It was] fun for them to cause me stress and I couldn't even look up,.. If you watch the YouTube [video] of her auditioning, I can't even look up... [and] this was something that [they thought would] would make good television."
Abdul elaborated further about her allegations when Walters asked for clarification.
"I explained to them through shaking that 'I do not feel comfortable, please do not let her come into the room, this is not a normal fan,'" Abdul said. "And I even went as far as my -- the guy who was doing my hair and makeup was aware, he'd been with me forever, he said 'This girl sends naked pictures, and it's very frightening, please do not let her in' and they let her in anyways and I couldn't look up."
According to Abdul, once Goodspeed was able to use Idol to get into the same room with Abdul she auditioned for the show at least a couple of more times -- and then used one of the show's auditions to find out where Abdul lived by following her home.
"It wasn't just once, later on that year she showed up in Las Vegas -- she was asked to come to Las Vegas -- and them she showed up the following year and [the producers] never took into considerable what that meant and what was happening at that point is now I'm being followed home," Abdul said.
"[She was] following me home with mom," Abdul reiterated.
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"And they knew about it," Abdul responded when Walters suggested "this was a tragedy waiting to happen."
During the interview, Abdul also accused Idol's Fox broadcast network of publicly revealing the location of her home and cited the disclosure as one of the reasons she recently decided to put the house of for sale.
"Fox Broadcasting literally went to my home and gave my address away and showed my home and how easy it is to break in," Abdul told Walters. "[After that] what Fox gave me was two weeks of allowing me to use their security."
Although her 2007 Bravo reality show seemed to show that Abdul's odd behavior extends far beyond Idol's cameras, Abdul also used the interview to blame Cowell and the show's producers for the ditzy reputation she's developed since she began serving as one of the show's judges.
"It's called creative editing and creative mouth of Simon's... you know prior to American Idol I sold over 55 million records, I was never out partying," Abdul told Walters.
"I was always put into so much controversy and I was the last to know. I'd be listening in on a conversation and going 'Who are you talking about, me' and then all of the sudden I'm dodging bullets," Abdul said. "All of the sudden my reputation -- which I take seriously, I mean a lot of celebrities don't want to be the role models [but] I have always enjoyed being the teacher and the role model -- all of the sudden now I am at the mercy of the Internet and that whatever Simon says."
"People don't realize he's in my ear saying crazy things while I'm trying to formulate something with grace and dignity," Abdul continued. "So I try not to listen to him, but he's saying things like 'say the moth that binds the melon ball' and 'a wonton will win' and at that moment he's saying it over and over that I start laughing and [host Ryan Seacrest] says 'What's up?'"
"He claims to be that... what he is creating is great television and I said 'Well what you've created is doubt in my character. You created defamation in my character and you've lied,'" Abdul said of Cowell. "You know I could listen to crisis publicists but the truth is the voice inside of me -- I don't have to dignify and stoop so low to that of what Simon says. If people are going to believe that -- and believe me, I lost a lot of money. I lost endorsements. I'm not -- and Simon, all he had to do was retract what he said, but he didn't. He waited two years."
Despite her comments, Abdul confirmed that she still plans to remain part of Idol's eighth season which premieres in January.
"Like what am I seriously going to do?" Abdul asked Walters. "The truth of the matter is I've put up with so much B.S. that I've had to crawl on my belly. But I rise like a phoenix. I'm a stealth warrior, I'm a smart lady."
"I'm under contract," Abdul had noted earlier in the interview.