Paula Abdul claims it was a moral decision to leave American Idol after reportedly rejecting a $5 million a year offer to continue serving on the Fox mega-hit's judging panel.

"I stand on principle where many people stand on money," Abdul told TV Guide Magazine in a Sunday interview.

"I'm a hard-working artist. I've lasted in this business for 23 years. And you can't do that unless you are good at what you do. I believe in myself and you have to have your own self respect. And sometimes decisions are very difficult to make, but I've always believed that at the core I'm a survivor. There's not one thing I've done that I've really set my mind to that I've failed at."

Earlier this month Abdul announced via her Twitter page that she would not be returning for Idol's upcoming ninth season after the three-year contract she signed with Fox in March 2006 expired this past spring.

Despite being the one who made the decision, she said it's something that hasn't been easy to come to terms with.

"To say 'no regrets' isn't easy," she told TV Guide

"I feel like I have been such a big, huge part of the success of the show from day one. I loved being able to be the artist's artist; being there from my point of view of knowing what it feels like to be vulnerable and to be out there wanting to achieve the most magical moment in a minute and thirty seconds. To be able to do that was an amazing experience and the show was wonderful for me in that regard."

Abdul added she's going to "miss" her Idol family as well as having "the experience of watching young talent evolve into a place where they get to take off and soar." 

Because of that, Abdul said she plans to still watch Idol's ninth season when it premieres next spring.

"I'll watch it as much as I can," she told TV Guide.  "I had some really unforgettable moments that hit plateaus for me and I'm very blessed to have been a part of what made television history."

Abdul's manager David Sonenberg recently stated there have been "no discussions whatsoever" about her return to Idol and she expressed uncertainty when asked by TV Guide if there was anything the show could do to bring her back.

"That's a hard question to answer right now," she said.  "I mean, I don't think I can answer that right now."
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One of the first post-Idol offers Abdul had been linked to was a guest starring role on ABC's Ugly Betty, however she says she turned it down due to poor timing.

"That happened so quickly it was already announced before my mangers even knew," she told TV Guide.  "I'm a big fan of Ugly Betty. I love that show, so if there's ever a chance again when the time is right..."

Abdul said she'd "absolutely" like to try her hand as a talk show host "because it would be different."

"Since there is talk about me possibly doing one I don't want to give the goodies away," she told TV Guide when asked what an Abdul-hosted talk show would be like.

"I'd be Paula. It would be a lot of fun variety with a ton of unexpected stuff and tributes to everyday people getting their big chance."

While the Ugly Betty role and competing as a celebrity participant on Dancing with the Stars upcoming fall season never materialized, Abdul will appear in at least two episodes of Lifetime's scripted Drop Dead Diva drama.

She said she'll be playing "a fantasy version of judge Paula Abdul" and added she's "never had more fun."

"It takes very funny writers to say, 'We'd like you to play judge Paula Abdul,' but differently. So there's a similarity to what I did (on Idol), but expands it to everything I want to do," she told TV Guide.

"It's really tongue in cheek and allows me to just go for it. When I saw the pilot I'd never gone through such a full gamut of emotions -- from feeling sad for someone and then feeling so thrilled for them, and in between that there's hysterical writing. It's such a charmed show, that when I saw it I said, 'I'm in!'"

In addition, Abdul described the Drop Dead Diva role as "recurring."

"They're talking about me doing the second season premiere episode," she told TV Guide

"When you get to work with people you admire, I would drop everything to work with (executive producers) Neil Meron and Craig Zadan. I've known them for years and years and they are sweethearts. They protect you and want the best for you. They've always known that I'm an actress. And it's time I started getting out there and doing it."