Simon Cowell was by Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's side as she struggled to come to terms with the breakdown of her 19-month marriage during The X Factor filming last year. Simon's brother Tony has revealed that the pop star "just wasn't herself" throughout the series, adding that she had looked "thin and frail, and appeared preoccupied and distant at times".
Writing in Best magazine, Tony said: "Despite her veneer, the frequent tears showed something was hurting. Chatting to her backstage often proved difficult."
Simon Cowell has been supporting Cheryl Fernandez-Versini through her divorce
He went on to question whether the X Factor workload had been a contributing factor to Cheryl's split from Jean-Bernard. "The X Factor workload is horrendous," he wrote. "Cheryl and all the judges work crazy hours for the whole three months of live shows.
"It's a huge challenge and I'm not sure JB realised the scale of that commitment. Cheryl takes her job extremely seriously. She never stops working and often calls Simon late at night. This, too, may have become an issue."
Tony added: "JB may have found it difficult being suddenly thrust into the celebrity spotlight. I'm not sure he realised how popular Cheryl is in the UK."
Cheryl, 32, and Simon, 56, have been friends for more than ten years now, and the music mogul stood by Cheryl during the months she was reportedly secretly separated from her husband – she allegedly only setting a divorce in motion over Christmas.
Cheryl and Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini married in secret in July 2014
"He recently told me that Cheryl had become one of his closest friends," Tony said. "Simon will be there to offer advice and help her through the coming months if needed, and I know he was in contact with her while on holiday."
Cheryl and JB married in a romantic secret wedding on 7 July, 2014 – three months after meeting in Cannes. There were just a handful of guests as the bride and groom, both dressed in white, exchanged vows on a beach in Mustique just as the sun was setting.
"In the end Cheryl realised she had married too soon and had been swept away by a bit of a whirlwind romance," a source recently told the Mirror.
"Over time it became clear to each of them that they were very different people and from very different worlds."
"They are now focusing on making sure they stay friends. The divorce is amicable and they have both said they will always be there for each other."