Extra correspondent Terri Seymour — also known as cantankerous American Idol judge Simon Cowell’s ex-girlfriend — was assaulted and choked after the American Idol final performance episode last night in Los Angeles. A spokesperson for the LAPD tells E! Online that Seymour, 34, was approached outside the Nokia Theatre (where Idol is taped) by 33-year-old Janice Thibodeaux, who asked Seymour if she was Cowell’s ex. When Seymour confirmed her identity, Thibodeaux grabbed hold of the TV host’s neck and began choking her.
Thibodeaux was arrested and booked on felony battery charges, TMZ reports; she’s being held on $52,700 bail. Seymour refused medical treatment and was escorted from the scene by police officers. Thibodeaux’s siblings got in touch with TMZ to say their sister is “not crazy” and that her behavior outside the Idol taping — at which Adam Lambert and Kris Allen faced off for the Season Eight crown — was “way out of character.”
Seymour and Cowell split in October, ending a relationship that began in 2002, but Seymour continues to interview Cowell on Extra about Idol. “It was Terri’s idea [to break up], not Simon’s,” Cowell’s rep, Max Clifford told Usmagazine.com in 2008. “Simon is doing all right, but they were together a long time and so you can understand that it’s going to be a strange time.”
Cowell is notorious for offering the show’s most negative critique, and many audition episodes have shown angry contestants attempting to hit or throw drinks on him. This is evidently the first time being merely associated with Cowell has lead to physical violence, however.