Simon Cowell says X Factor star Lucy Spraggan is one of the bravest people he’s ever met after ‘horrific’ sexual assault
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Warning: This article contains details of sexual assault
Simon Cowell said Lucy Spraggan is one of the bravest people he's ever met after she revealed she left The X Factor after being raped.
Spraggan had been one of the favourites to win the 2012 edition of the hit ITV competition when she suddenly quit during the live rounds. The makers of the show told the public her unexpected departure was due to ‘illness’.
However, the 31-year-old musician has spoken out about the ordeal she went through behind the scenes by waiving her legal right to anonymity.
Spraggan was 20 years old when she took part in the show. Both she and fellow contestant and friend Rylan Clark were moved from the Corinthia Hotel in London, which had 24-hour security, to another hotel due to their behaviour. However, they were not given extra security at the new hotel.
Spraggan was a guest at Clark’s birthday party at a Mayfair club and she was taken back to the hotel after falling unconscious by a member of the production team, after which a porter offered his help.
Speaking to the BBC, the singer said she can’t remember what happened that night and has pieced it together through information from the police and others.
"The hotel porter that had offered his help to get me up to bed… got a key card, let himself into my room and raped me," she told the BBC.
In her new memoir, Process: Finding My Way Through, the singer wrote: "I woke up the next day with this sense of sheer dread. I don't think I've ever felt that level of confusion since.
"I knew that I'd been raped, but I could not process that. So I put my clothes on and went into autopilot."
Recalling the police examination, Spraggan said it was 'one of the worst experiences' of her life.
"It was like, this extraordinary thing's happened," Lucy said. "The police are here, I've just had this examination. And people still asking me, 'What do you want to do? What do you want to do?' And I was like, 'I want to carry on with the show'.
"It kind of shows you what kind of world you are in, in what kind of mindset you are in, to not be able to really measure what has happened, and what you should do now."
Spraggan eventually quit the show and although TV juggernaut Cowell wasn’t involved with the 2012 series as he was in America launching The X Factor US, he called Spraggan to apologise. The ‘Tea & Toast’ singer said the TV and music producer was the only person to apologise 11 years after the assault.
Cowell has also released a statement in which he praised Spraggan for coming forward and said he has ‘always supported her wish to tell her story’.
He said: “What happened to Lucy was horrific and heartbreaking.
"When I was given the opportunity to speak to Lucy, I was able to personally tell her how sorry I was about everything she has been through.
"Although we met under tragic circumstances, a genuine friendship and a mutual respect has developed between us. Lucy is one of the most authentic, talented, and brave people I have ever met.
"Since we connected, I have had the honour to work with Lucy and I have always supported her wish to tell her story, as well as her efforts to bring about positive change."