Paula Abdul Demanded $20 Million to Stay on Idol

Entertainment Aug. 5, 2009 AT 10:46AM
Paula Abdul Paula Abdul is seen backstage at the American Idol Season 8 Top 2 Performance Show on May 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Before announcing she was leaving American Idol Tuesday, Paula Abdul -- who was believed to have earned about $2 million in salary last season -- had demanded "a substantial raise," according to The New York Times.

A person close to negotiations tells The Times that the producers had offered Abdul, 47, a 30 percent raise and a total multi-year deal worth more than $10 million.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Abdul asked for about $20 million to continue with the show.

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She "felt unappreciated" in recent months, The Times reports.

Ryan Seacrest had inked a three-year $45 million deal, and Simon Cowell, who has suggested he may leave at the end of his current deal, is already in talks to sign a deal for a reported $100 million a year.

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Despite denials, Abdul also was "surprised and upset" that Kara DioGuardi was added as a fourth judge last season, The Times reports.

According to the paper, DioGuardi's hire was "widely viewed as an insurance policy" against Abdul should she leave.

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On his KIIS-FM radio show Wednesday, Seacrest said it was sad that Abdul's exit has "come to fruition."

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He said her departure isn't just a publicity stunt. "As far as I know, it's real," he said. "Obviously, she has her reasons for doing it, and if she didn't feel like she was getting what she needed, then I understand that, too."

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