£1m to say good­bye

Golden hand­shake for Louis Walsh af­ter 13 years as an X Fac­tor judge

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Eoin Mur­phy EN­TER­TAIN­MENT ED­I­TOR

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

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