April 21, 2009— -- On Thursday, "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden sits down with "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul. In the wide-ranging interview, the award-winning singer discusses her journey to stardom, rumored prescription drug and alcohol use, her tempestuous relationship with Simon Cowell, her thoughts on adding fourth judge Kara DioGuardi, and other projects she has currently in the works.
Excerpts from the interview are below.
Watch the exclusive interview Thursday on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. ET
MCFADDEN: So were you consulted before they added the fourth judge?
ABDUL: Well, yes, you want to know when? I just got out of this hospital this past August. I had three days to pack and go on the road. I found out on the way to the airport.
MCFADDEN: To this season's auditions?
ABDUL: To go to the first city.
MCFADDEN: Well, I wouldn't say that's consultation.
ABDUL: That's being informed. Nor was Randy. Randy found out hours before me and …
MCFADDEN: Were you mad?
ABDUL: I thought that respectfully all of us as a group, maybe we could even figure this out together, and I was surprised because Simon has always been against the fourth. We've had guest judges come in before, and he banned that from happening anymore.
ABDUL: Well, I started her success. And I'm proud of it. Happy of it. I moved a stranger from New York, told her to give two weeks' notice to Billboard magazine, and moved a stranger into my home in L.A ...
MCFADDEN: So how is it now? Do you sense that at least some of the audience would love to have the two ladies fighting?
ABDUL: I actually think that Simon got mad that we are friends and that I actually knew her and that her humble beginning began sleeping in my guest bedroom and I just believed in her.
MCFADDEN: No tension between the two of you?
ABDUL: None, seriously.
ABDUL: He's a bully, he's a masterful bully.
MCFADDEN: So of all the egos, is Simon's the biggest?
ABDUL: Without a doubt. Without a doubt. The first day I went to work on season one I quit seven times. Seven times.
ABDUL: Because I couldn't believe that that someone was actually getting away with crushing fragile kids. This happens behind your back, [not] in front of your face.
I couldn't take the pain that I saw, and I think being an artist who has had success, it's very vulnerable when you are the talent. And when someone attacks you with criticism that isn't constructive, sometimes it's hard to take.
Paula Abdul on Her 'American Idol' Contract:
MCFADDEN: So is your contract up?
ABDUL: Cynthia, this is my last season under contract.
MCFADDEN: Do you think she [DioGuardi] will replace you?
ABDUL: I don't think anyone [can]. First of all, Kara says I could never replace you. And I said, whenever there is change it's not about replacing anybody. It's about possibly moving on. ,MCFADDEN: So do you want to stay on the show or not?
ABDUL: I love the show, I do. I love what I do on the show, and I'm loving it more this season than ever. It's taken me a while to get comfortable in my own skin with the show.
MCFADDEN: So let me just ask you the question straight up. Absolutely crystal clear you have not abused prescription drugs?
MCFADDEN: You have not consumed alcohol before going on the air?
ABDUL: Never. I've never been drunk in my life. I don't like it. It's not my thing. Spending money on clothes and shoes -- that's another thing.
MCFADDEN: There'd be no dishonor in taking pain medication if you're in pain. Vicodin, Oxycontin, those drugs?
ABDUL: No, no. no no no. will not take those drugs. And you can check my medical records. There is nothing like that. I was never on Oxycontin or Vicodin or anything like that. I was on nerve medicine and anti-inflammatories.
MCFADDEN: But on your reality show ["Hey Paula"] there are so many times where you don't look like you are really there. You're eyes are closing, your head is falling back ...
ABDUL: Because I'm falling asleep and a camera is on me. I don't have anything that is shameful. I don't have anything to be embarrassed about that was NOT accurate documentation of my life.