Sean "Diddy" Combs Passed on American Idol Because of Ex-Girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, Ex-Manager Benny Medina

Entertainment Aug. 21, 2013 AT 12:20PM
Sean "Diddy" Combs and Jennifer Lopez Sean Combs turned down American Idol Credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic; Slaven Vlasic/Getty

So much for leaving the past in the past. It's been more than a decade since Sean "Diddy" Combs and Jennifer Lopez broke up, but it looks like there's still some lingering awkwardness between the former loves. A source tells Us Weekly exclusively that Combs, 43, was in contention for the third spot on American Idol's season 13 judging panel -- until his ex-girlfriend signed on to fill the second spot.

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The source says that the hip hop mogul passed on the opportunity because of his apparently not-so-ancient history with Lopez, as well as his history with Lopez's manager, Benny Medina. (Medina also previously managed Combs; they parted ways several years ago.)

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Ultimately, the Dirty Money rapper "felt it was a 'her or me' situation," the insider tells Us. And producers went after her. (As previously reported, Lopez, who served on the panel in 2011 and 2012, will join returning judge Keith Urban for the upcoming season.)

In response, a rep for Combs tells Us it's "not true" that Diddy declined the gig because of Lopez or Medina.

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Incidentally, Lopez and Combs had a near run-in on Idol last year, when he appeared as a guest mentor during a March episode of the reality competition. Combs' work with the show's singers was pre-taped, but Lopez appeared flustered by her former flame's involvement anyway.

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Speaking about the rapper's mentoring work with Idol's season 11 contestants, the "Dance Again" singer took a long, uncomfortable pause when she had to speak her ex's name. "I was going to say Puffy," she said, laughing, before dropping her head in embarrassment. (Lopez and Combs dated from 1999 to 2001, back when he was known as Puff Daddy or Puffy; after their split, she began a romance with Ben Affleck.)

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Combs isn't the only hip hop star who's had a near-miss with Idol recently. As Us Weekly exclusively revealed earlier, new dad Kanye West was being considered for the final judging spot, too. According to a source, he turned it down because he was worried it would affect his reputation and rob him of street cred. Other contenders have included Will.i.am and Rodney Jerkins.

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