Simon Cowell has opened up about parting ways with Little Mix, the most successful act on his record label Syco.
The music mogul and X Factor judge told The Sun that the decision to sever ties came after falling out with their management company Modest over a songwriting credit on their latest single Woman Like Me.
Little Mix also said they weren't keen on recording the song, which was co-written by Ed Sheeran, Jess Glynne and Steve Mac. The track peaked at Number 2 on the Official Singles Chart earlier this month.
“The irony was the record they were arguing about, which is Woman Like Me, they didn’t want to record," Cowell said. "This was one of those ironic times that we were having a hit and nobody was happy."
"It was just embarrassing but, funnily enough, I was more annoyed, again, not about me, but about the fact people who had worked so hard in my company were being misrepresented. Why do artists think they’re more important than staff members? They’re not. They’re the same.
Simon explained that the decision "wasn’t down to money", adding: "Basically, they said we’d done a terrible job. I had agreed not to talk about this publicly because I thought it was a private matter. I said, 'We can’t work with the management, it’s as simple as that'.
"Everyone’s like, 'There must have been something massive and that’s why it collapsed'. Well, I can show you all the correspondence between me and the girls over the years, there’s never been an instance when we’ve fallen out. As I said in my email to them, I stand by the fact they are the hardest working bunch of girls I’ve ever worked with. They deserve everything they’ve got."
Little Mix are gearing up to release their fifth album, LM5, on November 16. The group are due to perform on the new series of Michael McIntyre's Big Show on BBC 1, which kicks off on November 17.