Simon Cowell has been supporting Cheryl Fernandez-Versini over the last few difficult months as her marriage has split apart, according to a new story published the music mogul’s brother Tony.

Writing in Best magazine earlier this week, Cowell’s brother said that the ‘X Factor’ judge had been a constant shoulder upon which to cry for Cheryl, who recently announced her separation from her second husband Jean-Bernard, a French restauranteur, after their relationship had grown increasingly distant in the latter half of 2015.

Tony Cowell writes that Cheryl “just wasn’t herself” throughout the most recent series of the ITV singing contest, adding (like many viewers had remarked) that she often looked “thin and frail, and appeared preoccupied and distant at times.”

Simon CowellSimon Cowell has apparently been closely supporting Cheryl through her divorce

“Despite her veneer, the frequent tears showed something was hurting,” the article continued. “Chatting to her backstage often proved difficult.”

His piece also speculated as to the possible reasons why Cheryl and Jean-Bernard’s marriage seemed to disintegrate so quickly, suggesting that the strenuous workload of ‘The X Factor’ and Cheryl’s popularity in Britain might have contributed towards this.

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“’The X Factor’ workload is horrendous,” he wrote. “Cheryl and all the judges work crazy hours for the whole three months of live shows. It's a huge challenge and I'm not sure JB realised the scale of that commitment. Cheryl takes her job extremely seriously. She never stops working and often calls Simon late at night. This, too, may have become an issue.”

Furthermore, Cowell added, “JB may have found it difficult being suddenly thrust into the celebrity spotlight. I'm not sure he realised how popular Cheryl is in the UK.”

Cheryl, 32, and Simon, 56, have been working together and remained friends for over a decade. She has stood by her side in the last few months, during which she now appears to have been secretly separated from Jean-Bernard, only setting divorce proceedings in motion since Christmas.

“He [Simon] recently told me that Cheryl had become one of his closest friends,” Tony writes. “Simon will be there to offer advice and help her through the coming months if needed, and I know he was in contact with her while on holiday.”

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