£1m to say goodbye
Golden handshake for Louis Walsh after 13 years as an X Factor judge
LOUIS Walsh has been paid his £1million X Factor contract by ITV, even though he is leaving the hit series after 13 years.
Walsh, 65, has been the show’s longest-serving judge, appearing on all but one edition since it began in 2004. Louis, who was on his third year of a three-year contract, flew to London last week to meet with Simon Cowell and X Factor top brass to discuss the future of the show.
He is said to have told them he was happy to walk away as long as his contract was honoured.
‘The show needs a change and I’m ready to leave,’ said Walsh, in a statement.
He added that he would remain a judge on Ireland’s Got Talent, as well as focusing more on ‘my day job as a manager, writing my memoirs and seeing the world’. A source confirmed that the €1million payment would be made to the music mogul.
‘There are no hard feelings or bad blood between Louis or the show,’ he said. ‘In fact, Louis is very much a friend of the series and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes part in the show in some small capacity.
‘The series is in big trouble and the executives have planned a major rebrand. Louis told them he would be happy to stand down, provided the terms of his contract were met.
‘He relayed the fact that he has built up a strong friendship with Simon and that he has no hard feelings. If anything he feels it is the right time to step away from the franchise and allow
‘There are no hard feelings or bad blood’
whatever changes need to be made.’
Speaking to the MoS, Louis said he was unable to comment on his situation but is extremely happy with his decision. ‘I had some amazing years on the show,’ he added. ‘It was the right time to leave and I have some wonderful friends and memories. I wish them all the best with the new series and the new line-up.
‘I am still in close contact with Simon but for all those who think this is some stunt it is not. I have made the decision and it was the right time for me.’
Cowell will return for the new series, along with three new judges, whose identities have not yet been announced.
high note: Louis Walsh says the time is right for him to leave The X Factor