Paula Abdul cleared of sex scandal after 'American Idol' inquiry

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Executives of the U.S. Fox network said Friday that singer Paula Abdul was cleared of any wrongdoing in regard to charges that she had an improper relationship with former American Idol contestant Corey Clark. The network cleared her to return to the show for its fifth season.

American Idol has topped network television ratings as the most-watched program in the U.S. for the past three years. Abdul is one of the three judges of the talent/variety program, where she is popularly referred to as the "nice one" by contestants.

Fox reportedly hired a former federal prosecutor to lead an investigation into whether Abdul compromised the integrity of its flagship series. After an investigation of more than three months, interviewing 43 people and looking over documents supplied by both Abdul and Clark, the investigation showed no proof that Abdul had a sexual relationship with Clark.

Clark was booted from the second season of Idol after it was discovered he hid a previous domestic violence arrest record from producers. Two years later, he told reporters that he had been involved in a secret romantic relationship with Abdul, which would have been a violation of the show's rules and Abdul's employment contract.

"I'm grateful this ordeal is over, and I'm so looking forward to getting back to the job I love," Abdul said in an Associated Press interview after the decision was announced to keep her on the show.